We are aproaching the end of 2020, a difficult year we will always remember due to Covid 19.
Weather forecast is not good for the next few days, and therefore we took the opportunity to activate this morning. To carry on the tradition of previous years, EA2LU and me went to Mt. Artxueta EA2/NV-032, that we have visited several Christmas before.
I will take the chance to test a new EFHW antenna tuner that I have homebrewed this week.
Activation date: 26th December 2020
There is a road that goes up until the sanctuary of Saint Michael of Aralar, an old romanesque church built on the twelve century, located up in the mountain, at 1200 meter elevation. The climb starts from this point.
Yesterday afternoon there was snow and today the road is well covered. As soon as we gained height the layer started to get thicker, but to our luck we found the snowplough going up in front of us!
- Track length: 1,4 km (one way)
- Height gain 133 m (from the parking)
- Summit elevation: 1343 m
We parked next the sanctuary and put on our gaiters, grabbed the walking sticks and headed to the SOTA.
The summit is plagued of TV broadcast relays but we couldn’t see it because a cloud covered everything. We followed the service road which was fully covered in snow, and had an accumulated deep layer in some areas. The trees were beautiful, with all branches in white.
It was cold, -3º C, but there wasn’t wind in the way up so we could walk with ease.
See some pictures of the nice scenery:
The summit was, as we expected, more windy and the fresh air produced a colder feeling. We looked for shelter.
Jorge sat next one of the buildings and installed his setup there.
The big broadcast aerials looked like an isolated artic station, all in grey color and foggy…
I continued a few meters ahead and decided to descend some meters by the hillside to protect me against the wind. It took me mucuh more than normal to deploy my EFHW as it was very difficult to hold the supporting cords as the pegs didn’t stand over the fresh snow layer. That delayed my start for 20 minutes.
I connected my LNR LD-5 and started checking SWR in 20m CW. I used my brand new homemade EFHW tuner, as I’m suffering with SWR issues in some summits, and decided to try a small tuner easy to build. It worked fine! More details in some weeks, when I have extensively tested my kit…
Jorge ran on 5, 7, 14 MHz all CW, as usual, logging 40 qso, including S2S with Roger F5LKW (on his 3rd Mgoat!), Jarek OM/SP9MA/P and Andrei ZL1TM as a bonus DX!
I ran on 14 and 7 SSB and 10 MHz CW, logging 64, including S2S with Jarek OM/SP9MA/P and Manuel EA7GVZ. I had some issues with QRM and splatter on 7 MHz (crowded band…) and in 10 MHz with RF noise from the broadcast antennas around me. Sometimes when logging the breeze sent snow over my paper logbook making it hard to anotate and keep the pace.
At the end of the activation I was shaky and suffered from cold hands.
We got down happy from another Christmas activation. See you soon.
73 de Ignacio & Jorge