After reading the subject of this article, you could think that I’m retiring from SOTA. No no!! I have nothing in my mind so far away than that…
Then what? What is saying goodbye to SOTA is the summit I activated today.
Starting on February the 1st, a new version of the EA2 Association reference manual is going to be introduced. This improved version includes some summits that are removed from SOTA (they don’t meet all criteria) as well as the introduction of some new ones (uniques!!).
To be honest I spent the morning at home doing some of my normal duties (Sota-chasing, washing machine, food preparation, exam correction…) and I didn’t even considered activating SOTA today. After chasing EA2IF/P in his every-Saturday-activation of EA2/NV-119 in VHF, he confirmed all summits around were covered in snow.
Yes, the weather has been so bad, raining continuously since the last 2 days…
But then, unexpectedly, my daughter asked me to carry her to the basketball match in the afternoon. The match was scheduled in a court not far from the summit of Miravalles. I remembered this was one of the summits planned to be removed and I said to myself: why not? It was snowing, much better than if it was raining, and therefore I quickly packed everything and got ready for a farewell activation of this summit.
I planned to do a very short activation, both because of the weather and also because I had to pick my daughter after her match. I wasn’t sure that I could reach the summit depending on the cummulated snow on the paths and therefore I didn’t add any alert in Sotawatch.
As we drove down to the court the snow started to drop. After leaving the court, I drove a bit more to the next village and parked.
I started walking and since the beginning a fresh layer of snow covered the path. There was light enought and I walked for about 20 minutes to reach a big cross on top of the summit. Some 150 meter ahead there is an old castle in ruins, but I opted to stay and start assemblying the antenna near the cross.
Here you see a picture taken during the ascent (sorry for the poor quality):
I was happy I had taken two umbrellas with me: one was used to protect my rucksack with the radio gear while I deployed the wire using a fishpole. I used the rucksack cover to avoid the rig getting wet on the ground as you can see in the picture.
Then I sat by the radio and used the second umbrella while activating. Every now and then I had to shake the umbrella because the layer of snow on it was getting bigger!
I first logged a couple of locals in VHF and then switched to 20m SSB. After 10 minutes with few chasers I gave 20m CW a try but againg few callers were added in the log.
After some minutes calling in CW without a reply I looked at the clock and decided to go QRT. I didn’t want to get down in the darkness and I was already at nightfall. There were 15 in the log in the end. Seems not many active chasers on Saturday afternoon…
I packed back again, lighted my head torch and left the summit. On the way down the nice view of the village lighted between the frozen trees was really beautiful.
Good bye Miravalles summit. I have performed my first 2015 activation and soon will be back in action again.
VY 73 es CU Ignacio