G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-008 Pico Chao dos Terreiros on 10-04-15

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-008 Pico Chao dos Terreiros on 10-04-15

This report covers No5 in the CT3 series of eight activations.
For a general introduction see report No1 (MI1).

List of eight SOTA’s activated between 2nd and 12th April 2015:
CT3/MI-001; MI-005; MI-004 (Night Activation); MI-002; MI-008; MI-006; MI-009 and MI-004 (Day Activation). I also tried to activate CT3/MI-007 on the morning of 04-04-15 but this failed.

Note: CT3/MI-006 was activated in the afternoon of the same day (see separate report.)

Bands: 20m-17m CW/ SSB
G4YSS using alternative personal callsign CT9/ M1NNN/P. Unaccompanied.
All times ‘WEST’ UOS. (Western European Daylight Saving Time which is UTC + 1hr and also equivalent to BST).

FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver.
MX-P50M HF 50 Watt Linear Amplifier.
Adjustable link dipole for 20-17-15-(12)-10m (built 1992 for CT3).
Two 7m-long end strings for dipole.
5m Telescopic Mast with ground spike. (Guying kit and end sticks not carried).
6 Ah Li-Po battery.
Garmin GEKO miniature GPS.
Packweight: 7.8 kg (17 pounds) including food and 2 x 0.5 litres of water.

With only three days remaining from a 14 day holiday which had passed far to quickly, I was starting to get anxious regarding how many more summits that could be fitted in. So far only four had been knocked off so like a student with exams looming, it was time for a bit of cramming. I am no stranger to this in the UK but Madeira is a different matter. It’s much warmer for a start and each summit was new to me as it came along. Surely though, if I planned it well I could get two into a day, which I think is what Phil & Nick did when they were here.

To my mind, MI8 and MI6 were two obvious targets for pairing, not because they were close together for driving (which they certainly aren’t) but because neither would take much time to ascend. The fabulous new roads and tunnels on Madeira would solve the driving time problem.

The starting point for this walk (and also for CT3/MI-002 Pico Grande) is the small car park at Boca da Corrida; N32 42.659 W16 59.204. Phil G4OBK wrote an activation report for MI8 and also supplied me with a tracklog of the route after he and Nick G4OOE activated it in 2014.

08:00 was today’s start time from the hotel after a quick breakfast. 45 minutes later I was back at Boca da Corrida for the second time in 2-days after a slightly easier tussle with my satnav.

It was a misty, damp morning but I started my walk a few minutes earlier than 2 days previously when I was doing Pico Grande. The 08:53 start combined with cool conditions made for quicker walking but what made the real difference was the confidence I had in the GPS route I was using. It was based on Phil’s 2014 tracklog and if not for this I think I may have got lost. I could see little ahead of me for any useful distance and there are a few twists and turns along the way. Though Phil must take all of the credit, I will list the waypoints here:

N32 42.659 W16 59.204 Boca da Corrida car park (Take the left track)
N32 42.662 W16 59.248 left bend on track
N32 42.588 W16 59.312 right bend on track
N32 42.607 W16 59.272 left bend on track
N32 42.715 W16 59.418 left bend on track
N32 42.633 W16 59.444 right bend on track
N32 42.715 W16 59.632 right bend on track
N32 42.757 W16 59.607 left bend on track
N32 42.838 W16 59.710 left bend on track
N32 42.810 W16 59.832 leave track on path to right
N32 42.904 W16 59.816 follow path over high points
N32 42.965 W16 59.916 follow path up
N32 43.030 W17 00.024 cross stile by broom bushes
N32 42.966 W17 00.114 summit trig (GPS’d 10-04-15)

All I could see at the summit was a tall trig point at the opposite side of a high fence and a few indistinct shapes of cows in the field beyond. Windblown cloud covered the mountaintop so I elected to backtrack as far as the stile and broom bushes. There I could hide from the wind and activate in a civilised manner using a bush as a backrest. The dipole was easy to erect and tie off to the fence at one end and some bushes at the other.

PICO CHAO dos TERREIROS CT3/ MI-008: 1,436m, 2pts, 09:31 to 11:44. Temp: 8C. Wind 15mph. Intermittent low-cloud/ slight drizzle until the descent. LOC: IM12LR; IOTA: AF-014. Orange (EE via Portuguese network) phone coverage on summit and ascent route.

18.092 CW - 8 QSO’s:
After tipping off Roy that 17m would be the starter band, I found that it was not yet properly open. Another SMS text asked for a spot on 20m but then a few stations found me on 17. The third text which, would have clarified the situation, got stuck in my outbox. I couldn’t leave the chasers on 17 so using a power of 50 Watts, I worked eight stations in: HB9; DL; PA and ON. There didn’t seem to be any propagation to the UK. At the start of this session there was an S2S with Heinz HB9BCB/P on HB/BE-158. Roy and the waiting 20m chasers must have been left wondering where on earth I’d got to.

14.052 CW - 17 QSO’s:
I only got a 339 from G4SSH on here so it wasn’t much better than 17m. However QSB may have been doing its mischief. Once we got going things seemed to improve and I worked G4OBK with 599 both ways. Again power was 50 Watts and Nick G4OOE followed Roy and Phil into the log. After these a further 14 stations made it into the 20m log as follows: G; F; DL; EA; DJ; GI; OE; ON; PA and HB9.

14.265/ 14.275 SSB - 29 QSO’s:
Phil responded to the first SSB offering with a 59/ 56 exchange. It’s always more interesting when the person you are working has been to the summit upon which you are sitting. The weather report didn’t impress him much however. The cold, damp fog still hadn’t cleared. After Phil and I finished our conversation, I passed on to the lucrative business of working a further 28 stations. Countries logged: G; EI; EA; ON; SV1; CT2 and KA1R. As many as fourteen QSO’s were with the UK which was an exception. There was one S2S and that was with Dave G6DTN/P on G/WB-002. The exchange was 56/ 47.

At 10:15z a pileup landed right on my frequency causing confusion. One or two of the chasers helped me find a clear channel 10kHz up the band so that the operation could continue. Thanks for your help.

Descent of MI8:
Counting the re-ascent on the altimeter as I went, the cloud had now cleared, making the walk down a lot nicer. I arrived back at the car at 12:10. I now had to get to MI6 ASAP.

Ascent/ Distance - PICO CHAO dos TERREIROS CT3/ MI-008:
Ascent: 246m (807ft) including reascent of 2x 20m.
Distance: 2 x 2,8km = 5.6km (3.5 miles).

Walking Times:
Ascent: 38min net.
Descent: 26min.

17m CW: 8
20m CW: 17
20m SSB: 29
Total: 54

2 SOTA points

I can’t pronounce it’s name in a manner intelligible to any Madeiran but MI8 was every bit as good as shown on G4OBK’s blog; apart from the weather that is. As far as ascent and distance are concerned, I found myself comparing it to Pen-y-Ghent but though it was as easy to activate, that’s where any similarity ended.

Excepting MI4’s night activation, the QSO count was well down on anything previous. However, it was meant to be a one-band summit so that MI6 could be put on in the afternoon. A mix up due to initially weird propagation made it into a ‘1.5-bander’ but I seemed to get many of the regulars into the log. With one summit - one day operations the non SOTA chaser contingent tend to creep in at the end. I don’t mind that but the object is to target only SOTA chasers if possible. Despite our enjoying a high point in the sunspot cycle, working DX for the sake of it doesn’t interest me for the same reason.

I didn’t see anybody on this summit but when the clouds parted, like all the other CT3 summits I’d been on, the views were spectacular.

At 12:13 I set off for a 65 minute drive to Pico Ruivo de Paul MI6 via the south coast and Canhas. The detour was due to the fact that the road out of Encumeada had been closed for the past 18 months because of rockfall. The Madeirans are prolific tunnellers and road builders so maybe with all the motorway work being undertaken, they overlooked the Paul da Serra road. See separate report for MI6.

Thanks to all stations worked and to G4SSH; G0UUU; G6TUH; IK2ILH; G4OBK; DL3HXX; SP9AMH and GM4AXY for spotting either during this activation or on others in the fortnight. Also to Andy MM0FMF for the indirect use of his text spotting service on 12th April. Special thanks to Roy G4SSH for SMS text liaison for the duration of the activation and for posting advanced alerts.

Thanks to Phil G4OBK for the use of his tracklog.

73, John G4YSS
(Using CT9/ M1NNN/P)

Photos: 6-13-19-24.

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: Misty path to MI8.

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: A stile with style (unlike most UK ones).

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: MI8’s tall trig point. Cows in the mist.

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: MI8 QTH.

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: The return.

G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN/P. Above: Nearly back to Boca da Corrida and the car park.

Links to all CT9/M1NNN/P 2015 Reports:
CT3/MI-001 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-001 Pico Ruivo on 02-04-15 - #4 by G4YSS
CT3/MI-002 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-002 Pico Grande on 08-04-15
CT3/MI-004 (LF) G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-004 Pico Areiro on LF, 05/ 06-04-15
CT3/MI-004 (HF) G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-004 Pico Areiro on HF 12-04-15
CT3/MI-005 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-005 Pico Casado on 04-04-15 - #3 by G4YSS
CT3/MI-006 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-006 Pico RUIVO de PAUL on 10-04-15 - #2 by GM4WHA
CT3/MI-007 G4YSS (CT9/M1NNN): CT3/ MI-007 Picos da Achadinha, FAILED! 04-04-15 - #4 by G4YSS
CT3/MI-008 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-008 Pico Chao dos Terreiros on 10-04-15
CT3/MI-009 G4YSS as CT9/M1NNN: CT3/ MI-009 Pico da Coroa on 12-04-15 - #2 by HB9BQU