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Winter Activations in EA8/TF Tenerife


#1

Prologue (pre Tenerife warm up in England):
I arrived in England for Christmas with the relatives on the 22nd of December. The weather had been pretty lousy in Austria, but that didn’t really matter, given the endless bouts of flu and bronchitis I had been suffering. I had intended to get out and about for day in England if a suitable weather window came along, and amazingly it did. However, car hire was pretty much impossible on the 24th, so I was limited to somewhere accessible by bus from Harrogate. Rombalds Moor (G/NP-028) is only a short walk from Ilkley bus station, and busses to Ilkley from Harrogate run every hour and cost only £6.50 for a day return. The weather didn’t disappoint, and a hard frost helped firm things up in places:

There was barely a breath of wind and I was a lot warmer than expected. Only my feet got a bit cold, due to my wearing my summer shoes with waterproof socks; an unfortunate necessity given that the rest of the walking I do this holiday will be in Tenerife. The new waterproof socks were a good investment and I look forward to using them in Iceland next summer. The activation went ok; there was only one contact on 20m but a steady stream on 40m:

The highlight of the day was getting a call from Laurent F8CZI: nice to hear you on the bands today Laurent! I fly to Tenerife on the 26th and should manage a few 10 pointers while I’m there. I would also like to go to La Gomera for a day or two and activate there at some point.
73 de M0FEU/P
Matt


#2

Hi Matt,
The song containing " on Ilkley moor bah Tat…" comes to mind …

Sorry I didn’t catch you today. Good luck with the activations on Tenerife!

73 Ed.


#3

ROTFL!

Actually, it’s “On Ilkley Moor baht 'at”, which means “On Ilkley Moor without a hat”. :slight_smile:

I know that, because my grandmother came from Ilkley.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#4

Thanks Walt that has clarified a misunderstanding of many years - I thought it meant near some place called “Tat” ! :grin:


#5

Thankfully, a hat was not required today.


#6

Well as I have no hair to speak off I can safely say a hat was needed up here today. It never got above 0C and the ice on my car never melted.


#7

EA8/TF-005, Montaña del Cedro & EA8/TF-006, Colorados de Chinoia: Double Activation

After 2 days of fantastic paragliding it was time to get organised and do some SOTA. Thankfully, there are several relatively easy 10 pointers on the Las Cañadas caldera rim directly opposite a bus stop. I set my alarm clock and got to the main bus station in Costa Adeje nice and early. The bus (number 342) fills up as it goes through the main resort areas on the south of the island, so it is a good idea to get on at the first stop. There are no reservations, you just pay the driver; in my case a very reasonable €11 for a return to Boca Tauce. The drive up takes about an hour and a half. I got off around 10:40 and headed off north to Montaña del Cedro. It took a little over an hour to reach the summit from the south. There is a little used trail marked with rocks but not signposted. The terrain is very straightforward. There was a cold wind blowing at the bus stop as I set off, and I was imagining myself wearing every stitch and shivering on the summit. In fact, once out of the wind in the sun it felt about 20°C; about 14°C in the shade. Never did those 3 winter bonus points feel less deserved. The view from the top was simply amazing:

And towards la Gomera, where I hope to be from the 31st December to the 1st of January:

20m proved to be the only viable HF band today, and I got plenty of contacts stateside from these lower latitudes. I did try calling on 40m, but was not picked up by the skimmers, suggesting that 40m would have been a waste of time anyway. I packed up as quickly as I could and headed over to Colorados de Chinoia. The way up here was a bit more demanding, but nowhere did I feel myself to be in any danger, just some big rocks to negotiate. The pine trees here are able to survive forest fires, and it is fascinating to pull charcoal off the bark of a living tree. The view of the vast lava fields from the 1798 eruption is also awe inspiring:

By this time, 20m had improved a bit (although I see that the K index was a bit high today) and I was able to work more EU stations, including a S2S with Guru, EA2IF. It was also nice to hear Heinz, OE5EEP, who had contacted me with some advice for the activation today; thanks guys. By this time it was 14:20, and I was starting to worry about getting back to the bus stop in time. I was following rough trails that do not appear on any map, so I was not sure if the way down the south side of the mountain was passable. For this reason, and because I was not even spotted on 40 on the first summit, I decided not to try 40m. Sorry to any EU chasers who may have been waiting eagerly. I promise I will have more time over New Year to try 40m (and conds may improve as well). In the event, The way down to the south was quite passable and I made it to the bus stop with time to spare. I ate the rest of my sandwich while waiting. It was the only point today where I was tempted to put on a windproof. That said, I will always take one along, as well as my fleece gloves, which I forgot today. Nature may not be so forgiving next time. A sun hat was most definitely required!
73 de EA8/OE6FEG/P
Matt
P.S. There is some very interesting (if a bit technical) information on the formation of this amazing area here:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0377027300002213


#8

31st December, Garajonay (EA8/GO-001), 1st January, Enchereda (EA8/GO-002)

Just got back to the beach after a much longer trek than planned. Put simply, there is no bushwhacking whatsoever on la Gomera; if there is no path marked on the map, then there is only impenetrable sub-tropical rainforest: full stop.

The excursion started well enough. The ferry left bang on time and made good speed over to la Gomera whilst affording a nice view of Tenerife:

It was a very smooth crossing and I only felt mildly seasick. I got to the main bus terminal in la Gomera with half an hour to spare, then boarded the number 1 to Pajaritos: paying only €2 for a 35 minute bus journey! It was cold at the top of the mountain, and I did not regret bringing my zip-off windproofs. I found a nice spot to set up in the lee:

When the clouds began to dissipate, the view was spectacular:

As with Saturday’s activations on Tenerife, 40m was a non starter. Thankfully, 20m yielded the necessary contacts (with many stateside chasers) and I was able to pack up and head over to Enchereda. At first, everything went well. The path wends its way through lush sub-tropical forest:

Whilst affording extraordinary views of the rugged and vertiginous landscape:

However, I was brought swiftly back down to earth when I reached Mirador del Bailadero: there was, as said above, absolutely no bushwhacking over the summit, and no minor unmarked trail either. I had to detour along the road. The one piece of luck I had was being picked up by some German tourists. They took me to the junction on the main road and saved me many arduous kilometres pounding the tarmac. I got back on a marked trail and headed back up to the ridge, but again, there was no way over the mountain directly towards my target. Once again, I had to descend to the road and make a lengthy detour: ****!!
After about 3km, and a lot of lost altitude, a path headed back up to another ridge and heading roughly in the right direction. By the time I got up to the ridge the sun was setting on Teide:

The double activation I had hoped for lay in ruins, and my legs were killing me. I could have probably slept on a cactus I was that tired.
I got up before first light and packed up my gear as fast as I could; I had to walk about 3.6km to the summit, activate it, and then walk about 13km back to San Sebastian to get my ferry home at 18:00. There is a well marked trail to the summit of Enchereda which provides good views to the west:

The summit is fairly spacious and there was plenty of room for my 5m mast:

There seems to be some deep QSB at the moment and I had to call for quite a while before getting picked up by the skimmers. I got there in the end thanks to the usual band of chasers, thanks guys. With a long hike ahead, I packed up quickly and headed down to San Sebastian. Once off the tops, the walk became a sunbaked slog down a rocky path to town. However, the view remained just as breathtaking:

It’s hard to put into words how amazing la Gomera is, you have to see it for yourself. But anyone thinking of a winter holiday in Tenerife should really consider taking a few days out to visit this island. I’m very glad I missed a day’s paragliding to come here.
HNY es 73 de EA8/OE6FEG/P
Matt


#9

Hi Matt,
I was very disappointed when I saw your spot on the Sotawatch this afternoon that I was not in the shack this morning to work you. May be next time.
I wish you all the best for this new year and I’m already enjoying myself to meet you when I will be in Graz in March.
Enjoy your stay in Tenerife;
73’s
Laurent de F8CZI


#10

I will be on Cruz de Gala (EA8/TF-007) on Thursday, probably QRV late morning.
HNY es 73 de EA8/OE6FEG/P
Matt


#11

3rd of January, Cruz de Gala (EA8/TF-007)

I had planned to activate Cruz de Gala in the morning. However, after due consideration I decided to go after lunch to hopefully get more stateside contacts. Cruz de Gala, like all the summits I have activated whilst here in Tenerife, is easily accessed by bus. It is only a short walk from Santiago del Teide, which is only 50 minutes by bus from Adeje. On the way up I thought I might have a huge tower to activate from:

However, it turned out to be locked. I still managed to get the antenna a couple of metres higher by using a wire fence for support:

The activation went pretty much as all the others and the same band of chasers both in the EU and USA came back with the goods. I gave 30 & 40m a good go, but once again there was not a peep to be heard down here. Towards the end I became aware that I had not changed the operator callsign in VK Potalog, so 4 of my activations have been uploaded under my UK callsign M0FEU. Don’t worry, I will edit the logs soon and re-upload. The view from the summit is just as spectacular as everywhere else:

If you are a bit out of shape, I would definitely recommend this summit as a good starter as it is easy, but not to easy (my legs are still sore from la Gomera, but I’m sleeping like log).

Well, tomorrow is my last day here in Tenerife (paragliding I’m afraid). I would not have missed it for the world: what a fantastic place to spend Christmas activating (and flying). And like I said above: la Gomera is an absolute must for any visiting SOTA enthusiast! Time to dust the skis off and hit the slopes - many of which are on SOTA mountains - back in Austria.
73 es SK de EA8/OE6FEG/P
Matt


#12

Epilogue, 6th January 2019

Sigh!


#13

It looks like you are already missing La Gomera…
So I would.
Cheers,

Guru