Nowhere is too extreme for one of my universally popular dashing selfies Richard. They will be edited into the report upon my return next week. In the meantime, please consult M0HGY’s Facebook wall.
Friday 20th April 2018 - Montana Roja EA8/LA-026
This was a very rare activation, in that the whole family came along. Yes, Marianne and Liam both hiked up to the summit with us! They soon moved on and left us though, while Jimmy and I hunted for somewhere to set up.
We started from the end of a cul-de-sac road in a housing/villa development on the outskirts of Playa Blanca. The initial path was quite steep up gravelly ground, before easing off to join the crater rim.
The rim was much broader than that on the previous day’s summit, but it was almost impossible to find a place to set up. This was due to the very strong wind blasting all around the crater rim.
First we tried handheld VHF and both worked Stu EA8/G0JUL. But it was clear that there was going to be no further VHF traffic.
Eventually Jimmy and I decided to do what we could on the corner about 15m below the summit. The mast was set to the lowest possible height that would still accommodate the 20m groundplane antenna. Jimmy ran the radials out as best he could despite the difficulty of pegging into the rocky ground.
On SSB, Jimmy made a further four QSOs to qualify with room to spare. I went on CW and also qualified quickly. We both remarked on how well the Travelmast held up in such severe wind, albeit at much reduced height.
We packed up, descended and met Maz and Liam at the hire car. Following this, we spent a pleasant late afternoon in Playa Blanca, with me taking the opportunity for a swim in the clear waters of the ocean while the rest of the gang had drinks and ice cream on the beach terrace.
Thanks to all chasers that worked us. Probably one more activation during the holiday, most likely to be early Monday morning.
VHF (FM) Activity in EA8 Canary Islands
I gave up trying to peg after my first activation there, Most of the summits will have large-ish rocks that can be tied to along with finding corners and lips to loop lines round.
It was a nice summit and an easy walk. ISTR you can see Fuerteventura if the air is not too hazy from there.
But pegging on volcanoes is not possible, someone has set the ground hardness to solid. I can remember wedging the pole in a crack in the rocks and use other loose rocks to hold stuff in place. All the best rocks were at the bottom not on the rim! It’s so different to Gran Canaria and I guess Tenerife where tent pegs will go in the ground.
Making me very jealous…
Selfie of the swim please!
NO NO NO ! Please resist the urge of the swimming-selfie Tom, we want to keep our clean rating for this reflector, no horror rating please.
Just joking - hope the holiday is going well Tom, Jimmy and family and I may get an S2S with you this afternoon with the improving radio conditions.
I know there is a naturist beach at Maspalomas on Gran Canaria, but I didn’t know there was also one on Lanza-grotty!
Jimmy @M0HGY seems to have found the knack of pegging on Lanzarote volcanos. Maybe he can elaborate? I don’t know how he does it. I have been sat down clinging onto the travelmast at the base, dispatching Jimmy to walk out with the radials and find a pegging solution. He claimed to have been successful on four out of four attempts.
I’m hoping his expertise continues for our third activation in the next couple of days.
There is more than one way to use a peg to secure a guy line. Sticking it in the ground is the most common way but on surfaces where that is not possible other techniques come into play. By attaching the guying loop half way along the peg; the peg can then be placed on the ground normal to the expected tension in the line and a heavy weight, such as a stone or a couple of tins of soup, placed on it. That works well in many cases.
Ultimately a bit of ingenuity is needed - that’s what makes portable activations so interesting. Every one is a bit different.
This shows a similar technique; but as used in mountaineering.
Most time I have just been lucky enough to find some soft ground to get my pegs into. However when activating Montana Roja EA8/LA-026 last Friday, I could not find any soft ground for the 4th guy and had to lie the peg on the ground and stick a rock on the peg instead.
Ok, looks like we’re back on tomorrow. The wind/rain forecast was not favourable last night - plus we’d had a late one in the karaoke bar, so we shelved the plan.
However, the forecast is significantly better for early tomorrow morning. We do fly back tomorrow, but the flight isn’t until 3pm. Breakfast is until 11am and checkout at midday, so with an early get-up, we should grab a third EA8/LA summit and be back in time for breakfast, swim and suitcase packing!
Off to see the caves today. We’ve enjoyed Lanzarote.
Will be on the look out for you thank’s for the SOTA’s Jimmy.
Well done on working all three that we did Terry. You were a huge signal into the Canary Islands every time I heard you (notwithstanding whatever ungenerous report Jimmy gave you hi!).
Intriguingly, you often responded to Jimmy’s CQ call on whatever QRG on 20m SSB, before the spot had been submitted. How did you do that?
Well he normally come’s up on 14.320 or 14.285 plus i use webMon which detect’s what come’s up o the SOTA web site and the antenna is the Hexbeam at 35ft and works well, ok hope you have a safe journey home will be at Newark on Sunday. 73
We’re all going to Blackpool. Have a nice time at Newark.
Yep Newark is September 28/29 - and YES I will see you there!!
Nice one Terry. But nonetheless, as chasing goes, impressive work Sir!
Final activation report of the EA8 Lanzarote holiday:
Tuesday 24th April 2018 - Montana Tahiche EA8/LA-019
This was a perfectly executed early morning expedition by Jimmy and myself. The agreed get-up was at 4.30am. We ascended in the dark and were on the air just before sunrise.
We parked on a wide rough track just off-road, and started walking up the initially gentle slope. It was yet a good hour plus before sunrise, so we were walking with headtorches for the entire ascent.
After the path levelled out, we turned left and attacked the steeper slope. We were to later discover that a much better route would have been to continue straight on, leading to a gentle zigzag path up to the crater rim.
We missed this in the dark though, and were now committed to a painful slog up a 45 degree slope on loose volcanic scree. I thought my calf muscles were going to explode! It would have been impossible for me without my trekking poles!
Once the gradient eased, I could stretch out a bit - a breathe a big sigh of relief! Keeping well away from the deep plunging crater to my right, I ambled up to the summit marker post, and then a little beyond to what appeared to be a nicely sheltered and flat area a couple of metres lower than the summit. Some large rocks formed a sort of balcony rail on the steep southern edge of this mini-plateau.
Jimmy set up his MFD there, and I started to set up - but I noticed a pile of discarded wire mesh fencing back up towards the summit post. I sensed an opportunity for some support for my mast. That support had been me on the previous two Lanzarote activations!
I slotted in the Travelmast, and it was well supported in a vertical position. It was less windy than the previous two activations, but I still only extended the mast to the minimum necessary to accommodate the driven element of the 20m groundplane antenna. The radials were almost horizontal with the feedpoint being so low. On one radial, we couldn’t get a peg into the ground, so a loop was made on the guying cord, and tied around a large rock!
Pleasingly though, the antenna was fine and the VSWR indication was more than acceptable. As we settled down to play radio, the sun began to rise, and with it, so opened up the 20m band. Jimmy had no joy soliciting activity on VHF.
We both had fun on the 20m band, me working on CW and making several contacts including Japan. Jimmy operated with the microphone and worked down a big European pile-up, which he enjoyed.
It was a lovely walk on what appeared to be a pair of twin volcanoes. The descent route involved an airy ridge between the two craters. Beautiful volcanic landscape which we could fully appreciate on the descent, now illuminated by a fabulous morning sunshine. Breathtaking.
In daylight on the descent, we could clearly see the zigzag path that would have made for a more comfortable ascent! At least we descended that way. We were back at the villa at 0940 in plenty of time for the breakfast, and a refreshing swim before checkout.
Later, we were relaxing in the departure lounge at the airport with Cerveza Grande Tropical. It had been an excellent holiday.
OK, all the activation photos, gurning selfies included, have been edited into the Lanzarote activation reports above.
Great report, looks like you have some adventures and made some memories!
Regards, Mark. M0NOM