Yesterday it was more radio and less mountain, because I activated a drive on 1 pointer for the Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party, so it was the turn for more physical exercise than radio in my 87th. activation of Mt. Ezkaba.
I felt kind of tired at home this morning but anyhow I decided to do the hike. The start of the hike required a bit more effort than usual. I wasn’t as strong as in previous occasions, but as the hike kept going I got warmer and I felt great by half of the hike and so until the end. However, the time it took me (39 minutes) is the demonstration that I wasn’t as strong today as in previous days.
At the summit, I set up with my repaired fishing rod, the one I broke last weekend. The setup was the usual endfed wire as a sloper to the 9:1 unun and the counterpoise wire elevated off the ground. The rig was as usual my trusty FT-817ND at 5 W.
I started my activation with a S2S QSO with my dear friend Ignacio EA2BD/P, whom I found by chance right after switching ON my rig. He was activating a summit I had activated for a first time ever back in 2018, so I guess it was a complete for me.
I had not alerted this activation and I didn’t even spotted myself. However, S52CU did spot me (thank you!) and this produced a huge pile up where over several moments, all I could hear was a huge wall of S9+++ noise in the form of several morse signals all of them on top of all the others and I just waited for the usual tail ender or the one having something distinctive in the callsign, the morse tone or whatever, which is the ones I could pick up each and everytime until the pileup got reduced. It was a lot of fun and this is what I most enjoy of a SOTA activation! Masoquism?
At one point all the chasers disappeared and I remained CQing for a while with very few callers. During those minutes, I realised the SWR meter in my FT-817 was suddenly showing 1 bulb, when there was none since the begining of the activation. I just tuned a bit one of the variable capacitors in my antenna tuner and the SWR one bulb disappeared.
With no more chasers on 20m, I QSYed to 40m, where I tuned my endfed wire with no problems, as usual. I selfspotted and started CQing on 7.032, after which I had 10 chasers making their way into my log.
By 11h20z there were no more chasers and I decided to go QRT.
To my surprise, when I stood up and turned around to face my fishing rod and endfed antenna, I found the fishing rod broken by the middle and the antenna wire on the ground and on top of a few bushes. Now I understand why that SWR bulb showed up at one point and why the huge pile up vanished in a matter of few minutes.
Probably, the last 4-5 QSOs on 20m and all the QSOs on 40m were made with my antenna on the ground! You all definitely have great ears!
Lesson learnt 1: it’s not very recommendable to operate with your antenna to your back.
Lesson learnt 2: when your antenna SWR goes spontaneously up, ask yourself why.
The total log finally had 20 QSOs on 20m and 10 QSOs on 40m. All CW.
The summit of Mt. Ezkaba is too crowded in these days as to operate on SSB.
Thanks dear chasers for your calls and QSOs.
I’ll be looking forward to copying you all again from a summit.