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Activation of Mt. Elke, EA2/NV-036

Summer is a good oportunity to visit new mountains I have never been to. This tiime I drove North-East to the village of Gorraiz de Arce, about 1 hour drive from Pamplona to climb Elke.

Driving directions:

  • Exit Pamplona towards Aoiz (road NA-150)
  • Once in Aoiz continue along North towards Nagore (road NA-1720)
  • At Nagore, follow straight towards Uriz / Burguete (road NA-1720)
  • Turn right the exit towards Imizcoz (asphalt route)
  • Pass Imizcoz and follow the narrow asphalt track towards Gorraiz de Arce. (Be cautious with cars crossing opposite!)
  • Park in the small village of Gorraiz de Arce next the church.

As I was approaching the start of the climb I saw Elke mountain covered with a cloudy dress. Oh, I wish the weather improve!

Elke hidden by clouds at right hand side.

Elke has a neighbor summit in front of it called Pausaran, which is 20m smaller. To climb Elke you need to reach the point in the middle between them, and then turn towards Elke.

The climb is 4,5 kilometer long, starting on a wide dirty road but you have to left it at mid point and enter the forest to climb the hill following a very steep route.
This bleech forest was in bright colour due to humid climate in this area. It is a lovely walk.

Mountain sticks are advisable, and wet floor will make things worse on autumn presumably.
I wouldn’t recommend going to this summit in rainy weather.

Summit is wide for antennas, with a irregular stony surface and it is well covered with boxwood plant. You can use them to tie the pole for the antenna.
Take precaution to avoid fall off and pay attention while walking around.

Panorama when weather is good are very nice, with views to near mountains and to the large swamp of Itoiz:

The summit is marked with a mountain mailbox and a small toy-sized barbecue:

Previous activation were carried out on VHF FM and a single qso on 12m HF was logged before.
Therefore I carried my VHF handheld and the KX3 rig to be able to work both CW and SSB in more common bands.

Here you see the HF EFHW antenna and a detail of the vertical Flower pot (1/2 lambda) for VHF on the pole, tied just below the appex of the inverted vee:

I logged 80 qso running on 7-10-14 MHz CW and SSB and 145 MHz FM. Conditions were not great with deep QSB, frequent behaviour on these days…

I logged 13 S2S qso with pleasure and loose the chance of a few more I heard but that I could not make due to propagation.
I’m glad to count among them my friends Gotzon EA2CSC on EA2/VI-002 (104 km VHF qso), Bidal on F/PO-129 (78 km VHF qso, where he found difficulties to work any other chaser but me!), Aage LA1ENA/P, Leszek and Wioletta doing well on HB0/LI-001 with a massive pile up (good ears! TNX), Jarek SP9MA/P, my dear friend Guru EA2IF while on EA1/CR on holidays, Antonio EC2AG/P, Joseba EA2ECA/P, Dani EA5FV/P, and last Joseba EA2MKR, Rebeka EA2EBN and Jesus EA2OY/P doing a joint activation not far from me.

I wish to add thanks to Jorge EA2LU who was pending on the progress of my activatioin providing great support on Spots and helping to clear an issue with the defective keyer of one chaser.
One change I did in my ham gear was a shorter coax cable and a replacement for the EFHW feeder: in most of my previous activation I had hi SWR and I decided to try a different version of the feed. Today the tune was excellent with no SWR at all.

Views and bothanical:
Views were not great during my stay but once I left the summit sky opened and offered better view of the surrounding mountains.
This is the impressible wall of Larrogain, EA2/NV-041 and Peña de Aintzioa, that faces towards West:

On the way down I stopped to see some mushrooms. They were everywhere, growing high under the thick shade of the bleech trees. I didn’t take any 'cause don’t know if these are edible:

This is a view of Gorraiz de Arce as approoaching back:

All in all a nice day. Thanks chasers and activators and I’ll be doing some more soon.
73 de Ignacio