Definitely mankini weather Walt.
“Light of the sun, let me look upon you no more after today!” (Oedipus Tyranus if anyone cares!)
Montana Tersa EA8/LA-014
First activation of our Lanzarote holiday this morning. Noting that it was previously unactivated, I was a little concerned as to the narrowness of the crater rim. As it happened, it was fine; at its worst, there was still a metre of flattish ground either side of me. The initial lower flanks, and the summit area were much wider. Only the first 20 minutes or so required headtorch.
The summit itself had a different problem - wind. Far too much of it to expect my GP antenna or Jimmy’s MFD to remain intact. Finding a sheltered spot that was not on steep dangerous ground was tricky.
We did find a spot that we could nestle into, just a few metres south of the summit cairn. But as this was only about 3m lower than the summit, it meant that the mast would be back in the firing line of the northerly.
I investigated what might be possible with the handheld first. We both worked Jerry EA8/G4CAZ, and I managed to connect into the SOTA-LINK room 44050, surprisingly via ED8YAL repeater on Gran Canaria, with my handheld. We were going to need to set up HF though.
A trial-and-error approach was adopted as we assessed how few sections of the travelmast we could get away with. I sat on a rock and held the base of the mast while Jimmy walked out the groundplane legs and found pegging points. This proved easier than expected - but not that easy.
Anyway, 20m was working just fine, and we both qualified easily enough on CW and SSB respectively.
The descent was pleasant with sunlight and lack of earlier mist allowing for great views to the sea, neighbouring SOTA summits, deep down into the vast volcano cauldron, neighbouring volcanos and vineyards. We were back out our hotel in time for breakfast!
No gurning selfie? Must have been extreme up there.
Nowhere is too extreme for one of my universally popular dashing selfies Richard. They will be edited into the report upon my return next week. In the meantime, please consult M0HGY’s Facebook wall.
Friday 20th April 2018 - Montana Roja EA8/LA-026
This was a very rare activation, in that the whole family came along. Yes, Marianne and Liam both hiked up to the summit with us! They soon moved on and left us though, while Jimmy and I hunted for somewhere to set up.
We started from the end of a cul-de-sac road in a housing/villa development on the outskirts of Playa Blanca. The initial path was quite steep up gravelly ground, before easing off to join the crater rim.
The rim was much broader than that on the previous day’s summit, but it was almost impossible to find a place to set up. This was due to the very strong wind blasting all around the crater rim.
First we tried handheld VHF and both worked Stu EA8/G0JUL. But it was clear that there was going to be no further VHF traffic.
Eventually Jimmy and I decided to do what we could on the corner about 15m below the summit. The mast was set to the lowest possible height that would still accommodate the 20m groundplane antenna. Jimmy ran the radials out as best he could despite the difficulty of pegging into the rocky ground.
On SSB, Jimmy made a further four QSOs to qualify with room to spare. I went on CW and also qualified quickly. We both remarked on how well the Travelmast held up in such severe wind, albeit at much reduced height.
We packed up, descended and met Maz and Liam at the hire car. Following this, we spent a pleasant late afternoon in Playa Blanca, with me taking the opportunity for a swim in the clear waters of the ocean while the rest of the gang had drinks and ice cream on the beach terrace.
Thanks to all chasers that worked us. Probably one more activation during the holiday, most likely to be early Monday morning.
VHF (FM) Activity in EA8 Canary Islands
I gave up trying to peg after my first activation there, Most of the summits will have large-ish rocks that can be tied to along with finding corners and lips to loop lines round.
It was a nice summit and an easy walk. ISTR you can see Fuerteventura if the air is not too hazy from there.
But pegging on volcanoes is not possible, someone has set the ground hardness to solid. I can remember wedging the pole in a crack in the rocks and use other loose rocks to hold stuff in place. All the best rocks were at the bottom not on the rim! It’s so different to Gran Canaria and I guess Tenerife where tent pegs will go in the ground.
Making me very jealous…
Selfie of the swim please!
NO NO NO ! Please resist the urge of the swimming-selfie Tom, we want to keep our clean rating for this reflector, no horror rating please.
Just joking - hope the holiday is going well Tom, Jimmy and family and I may get an S2S with you this afternoon with the improving radio conditions.
I know there is a naturist beach at Maspalomas on Gran Canaria, but I didn’t know there was also one on Lanza-grotty!
Jimmy @M0HGY seems to have found the knack of pegging on Lanzarote volcanos. Maybe he can elaborate? I don’t know how he does it. I have been sat down clinging onto the travelmast at the base, dispatching Jimmy to walk out with the radials and find a pegging solution. He claimed to have been successful on four out of four attempts.
I’m hoping his expertise continues for our third activation in the next couple of days.
There is more than one way to use a peg to secure a guy line. Sticking it in the ground is the most common way but on surfaces where that is not possible other techniques come into play. By attaching the guying loop half way along the peg; the peg can then be placed on the ground normal to the expected tension in the line and a heavy weight, such as a stone or a couple of tins of soup, placed on it. That works well in many cases.
Ultimately a bit of ingenuity is needed - that’s what makes portable activations so interesting. Every one is a bit different.
This shows a similar technique; but as used in mountaineering.
Most time I have just been lucky enough to find some soft ground to get my pegs into. However when activating Montana Roja EA8/LA-026 last Friday, I could not find any soft ground for the 4th guy and had to lie the peg on the ground and stick a rock on the peg instead.
Ok, looks like we’re back on tomorrow. The wind/rain forecast was not favourable last night - plus we’d had a late one in the karaoke bar, so we shelved the plan.
However, the forecast is significantly better for early tomorrow morning. We do fly back tomorrow, but the flight isn’t until 3pm. Breakfast is until 11am and checkout at midday, so with an early get-up, we should grab a third EA8/LA summit and be back in time for breakfast, swim and suitcase packing!
Off to see the caves today. We’ve enjoyed Lanzarote.
Will be on the look out for you thank’s for the SOTA’s Jimmy.
Well done on working all three that we did Terry. You were a huge signal into the Canary Islands every time I heard you (notwithstanding whatever ungenerous report Jimmy gave you hi!).
Intriguingly, you often responded to Jimmy’s CQ call on whatever QRG on 20m SSB, before the spot had been submitted. How did you do that?
Well he normally come’s up on 14.320 or 14.285 plus i use webMon which detect’s what come’s up o the SOTA web site and the antenna is the Hexbeam at 35ft and works well, ok hope you have a safe journey home will be at Newark on Sunday. 73
We’re all going to Blackpool. Have a nice time at Newark.
Yep Newark is September 28/29 - and YES I will see you there!!