The widely and well in advance announced activation to celebrate my 57th birthday took finaly place on Sunday 16th of January.
As I explained in the preplanning original post,
given the lack of a SOTA with reference number 57 in my region Navarra, I decided to activate the 57 in my neighbouring region EA2/SS.
This is the location of this chosen summit:
The drive from my home QTH to the hike start point was 48 Km mostly driven on Highway and very good National roads. It took me under 45 minutes to get there.
As you can see by reading the (Part 1) thread after my original pre-planning activation announcement and the 2 following threads (Part 2 and Part 3) created automatically by the system after they reached the limit of 100 posts, there was an absolutely amazing and overwhelming warm and fantastic, kind response from the great SOTA community or I’d better say SOTA family, which materialised in a very nice plan for a joint activation as well as many other friends announcing their intention to activate other summits around the World aiming to provide a Summit to Summit contact, as well as many others ready to chase me from their respective base locations.
The hike was about 5 Km one way and a bit less than 400 vertical meters.
We agreed to meet at the parking place by 10h45 local (09h45 utc) and we were all right o’clock. Perfect synchronisation!
The hike started like this:
Following through places like these:
During the ascent, Alain F5ODQ and Ignacio EA2BD were trying to identify some other visible mountains around:
We were not far from the summit here:
And finally, the summit at 993m a.s.l.
These were some of the views from the top:
There was quite an impressive drop to the North:
Setting up took me a while, as I had to re-position my fishing rod from an initial more inconvenient tree, to another one, but I finally got my sloper OCF 9.1m long wire set up and I got ready to start my activation:
With Ignacio EA2BD’s handheld and VHF flower pot antenna, I started with some S2S contacts on 2m FM. It was very nice and emotive for me chatting with Iratxe EA2DNO, Alberto EA2DCA, Gotzon EA2CSC, Roberto EA2DXY, Javier EB2FDT, who were on other summits waiting for me to show up and also with Pedro EA2CKX and Salvador EA2OX. It was hard for me to keep talking on voice and I had to pause some times because the emotion and the tears in my eyes didn’t let me speak, so I QSYed to CW…
I initially started CQing on 60m CW but I had not a single call back. It’s clear that the short antenna I had today wasn’t performing well on a long wave band as 60m is. I knew there were many friends waiting for me, so I just spent a few minutes CQing on 60m and I soon QSYed to 30m CW, where I had a good run of 11 QSOs in 20 minutes, which included 3 great S2S contacts with friends Tom M1EYP, Mark M0NOM and Armin DL6GCA.
I knew Jimmy M0HGY was with his dad at the same summit and wanted to make S2S QSO with me on SSB, so I decided to QSY to 20m SSB looking for that contact, as I knew they had been long time waiting for me. Unfortunately this S2S contact didn’t finally happen, but I had 11 QSOs in 15 minutes, including S2S with Stavros SV2RUJ, Csaba YO6PIB and Lukasz SQ9JTR. The contact with Victor GI4ONL was fun when he mentionned he was giving me a 57 signal report on the 57 birthday celebration at the summit reference 57. It was a nice 57 TRIO!
Then I QSYed to CW on that same 20m band and there I logged 41 QSOs in 57 minutes, including S2S with Marcial EA2WX and Heinz OE5EEP, as well as 2 DX contacts with the USA chasers Rich N4EX and Scott WB8ICQ.
Towards the end of my 20m CW activity, I received a request from Heinz HB9BCB to try 30m, as he wasn’t copying me on 20m and I wanted to QSO with the father of the antenna I was using today. This second pass over 30m didn’t make the QSO with Heinz HB9BCB possible, but I could log 7 more QSOs, including José EA7GV and Éric F5JKK, which gave me a lot of joy.
I would have worked 40m, but André F5UKL was having knee problems and he needed to descend slowly and it was getting late if we wanted to finish descent in daylight. Time to QRT though and a few final pictures of the group before descent:
Descent was fortunately uneventful and we got to the parking in time for the three of us you’ll see in the picture to have a drink at the bar there after having left all our mountain and radio gear in the car. Ignacio had some work to do at home and left us shortly before getting into the bar.
The activation finally produced 77 QSOs, 13 of which were S2S and 2 were DX with the USA, which is not a bad result at all given the not very good propagation conditions we had after a recent CME had hitted us and the 5W output I used.
You can see following the map showing the location of all the contacts made. The yellow, blue or green triangles represent the summit to summit contacts:
Dear friends Ignacio, André and Alain: you really gave me a very nice gift with your company in an unforgettable SOTA birthday celebration at a beautiful part of the Basque Country.
Thanks dear chasers and activators for your efforts and all the very nice QSOs.
I’ll be looking forward to celebrating my 58th birthday with you all again at Mt. Ireber EA2/NV-058.