First activation of EA7/SE-017

You need permission for this one. It’s private property, it’s a working farm and the gates are locked.

The initial plan was simple: My wife wanted to go to Spain. I had a full licence. Pick the hill nearest the place we were staying and head up while herself was doing her own things. EA7/SE-017 looked like an easy walk from El Pedroso and even accounting for Spanish heat and Scottish heritage.

As it was the first time I’ve taken a radio abroad I posted a pre-planning message to see if anyone had input on my plan and I’m glad I did. The initial idea of simply rocking up on the day and marching up a hill was unceremoniously ended as there was no public right of way. Things were looking iffy, but I was not done yet:

Some searching revealed a Mine Tour of the same hill. They’d acquired permission so it wasn’t impossible I could too. I messaged the tour to ask if they could guide me and they were very glad to help but once I gave specific dates they suddenly couldn’t any more and simply gave me the number of the property owner and said I should ask directly.

And directly ask I did. They were very interested in what I was doing and were keen to meet me and know more. We arranged a day and I got a taxi in from my hotel (slightly out of town) to the location of their front gate. I asked the driver to meet me in three hours. At least I tried to. More on that later.

The owners wanted to see what I was up to and I didn’t know how to explain in Spanish that I wanted to walk, so he gave me a lift up the hill in his truck. This isn’t a road for the faint of wheelbase. The walk would have been ok, but a normal car would not make that trip.

The take off from the top was excellent, with Seville visible to the south some 60km away and large mountains to the east. The antenna installation already present looked to be in the VHF range guessing from the antenna lengths and seemed to present no noise issues with my HF rig. The top of the hill is covered in thorny plants, but my jeans were adequate protection walking around and I sat very carefully.

Recent solar activity and sightings of the Nothern Lights up and down the UK were likely to present a greater issue but even though the bands were a bit of a wreck even the day before, things seemed to go well on the summit.

The radio was a Xeigu x6100 with an additional battery to put it up to 10w, fed into a linked dipole about 3m off the ground at the apex. There are plenty of options to improve the setup, but I was limited by what I could fit under an easyJet seat some days earlier.

Two contacts on 40m, then 11 on 20m including summit-to-summits and finally a contact to Norway on 15m. I was just setting up for the 10m band when the taxi phoned me to say he had returned an hour and a half sooner than I’d planned.

Spanish time works on a 24 hour clock so when I asked the driver to come back in “tres horas” meaning roughly 3pm, he had heard “trece horas”. Thirteen hours, or 1pm. He’d had to push it back to 1.30pm which is why I had time to do much at all. I took everything down with help from my new friend and tried to explain what I’d been doing on the way down, with limited success.

I would have like to go again on the same trip but the schedule had only let me have one day to myself.

If anyone is good with Spanish and wants to get in touch with them to help explain what I was doing, it would be a good way to create a warm welcome for the next amateur who wants to activate the summit and I get the impression they might want to get into radio themselves.


Great story and well told. At least you managed to activate the summit.

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