Jorge EA2LU and I decided to try a far and less visited summit. We choose Mt Illon which had only been activated twice back in 2014, and never on HF bands.
Activation date: August 4th 2020. Well, it’s not such an old activation; why the Bronze age?
- Track length: 4,1 km (one way)
- Height: 1282 m a.s.l.
- Height gain: 450 m
This summit is near the village of Bigüezal, located East of Navarra. You need to park in the hermitage of Santa Quiteria, just next the village, and then the hike starts.
First you have to follow a dirt road in bad condition. The route begins with a hard slope.
Mid way we could look the village from the height:
In the picture we can see the highest peak in the range in front of us is Mt. Arangoiti, a former SOTA summit, now retired.
Further on we found the dolmen of Faulo, a megalithic tomb dated about 1000 BC (Bronze age). It is a nice dolmen, the big stones are in place and there are nice views from this point.
Mid way to the summit there is a deviation left towards the hermitage of Saint Kiriko. You need to keep straight and enter a pine tree forest. The road disapeared and you have to walk on a tiny path, although it’s not difficult.
Close to the very summit there is another deviation with a sign post pointing towards Illon.
From this point it is just a few hundred meters to reach the very summit marked with a curious mountain mailbox, that looks like a drum and flute, two old ethnic instruments. More about this below.
The trouble of this summit is that it is fully covered with dense boxwood plants.
Deploying the wires above the high and wrinkled branches all over was very difficult. It was also complex to separate from Jorge to install my setup further apart avoiding interferences between us and I had some scratches on my arms while moving around to search for a non-existent spacy area. A bit nasty!
- EA2LU station: KX-2 and Random wire inv L (more or less!)
Jorge ran on 5, 7, 14 & 18 MHz, only CW, logging 60 qso.
He logged these S2S: EA3BV/P Jon, IK2LEY/3 fabio, and EB2GKK/P Iñaki.
- EA2BD station: KX-3, ZM2 tuner and Random wire (skewed wire!)
I ran on 7, 14 and 18 MHz SSB, and had the feeling of low signals, perhaps due to my bad antenna deployment. I closed my log with 27 qso.
I tried to chase S2S in CW but my key wasn’t working properly: when I plugged in a series of dots started to ran even without pressing the key!
I checked my key and could find where the trouble was, and spend some minutes trying to solve it unsuccesfully. Then I had an idea: I entered the CW menu of the transceiver and settled to straight key. Then I carefully plugged the key only mid way and finally the right paddle worked as a straight key!! This way I could log EB2GKK/P Iñaki, and F5UKL/P Andre. Thanks both for your great ears to get my bad keying this way!
The rest of my S2S were conducted on SSB: EA2/F5ODQ Alain and EA2/F5PLR Did, who have been very active from summits in EA2/NV last weeks, EC2AG Antonio, and GW4AZS Adrian in Wales.
Just before leaving I took a picture from the Pyrenees from a clear point back in the forest.
Ethnic tip of the day
Remember the mailbox which depicts a drum and flute. These instruments are called txistu and tamboril. They come from Middle Ages, and are still used during the summer festivals that are held in many villages here in Navarra and in theBasque Country.
Both the drum and the flute are played by a single person, called “txistulari”, and a group of them perform walking by the streets, playing old songs that people dance. It is part of the folk tradition that is still mantained.
73 de Ignacio