The reflector post by Anders and Peder on their Madeira SOTA expedition was to me a real surprise and big coincidence. I happen to be on Madeira during the very same week 7 to 14th October. Not only that, but we found that we stay in the same hotel in Funchal! So we already had an SM/OK SOTA get-together with Madeira wine and a lot of radio talking.
We are here for a holiday with my XYL. Of course I brought my FT-817 with me with the plan to activate some CT3 summits here.
We had considered renting a car but later we decided to book three guided tours instead, covering east, west and central part of the island. I carefully selected the tours so that two of them included SOTA mountains.
First the Pico Aeiro CT3/MI-004 on Wednesday. After reaching the mountain we had 30 min time before going on, fortunately I succeeded in persuading the guide to make this 40min. So this had to be a quick one. I was becoming a bit desperate as despite Sotawatch alert and RBN spots I called CQ in vain on 24, 21 and 18 MHz. Finally worked a 7X3 on 14 MHz followed by PA0ALW and 8 chasers on 20m including an S2S with HB9BCB/P. Finished just in time, 5 min before departure of our van.
Yesterday we went on another tour, a 4 hour mountain trek where we were supposed to walk with a group of 18 people from Pico Ariero to Pico Ruivo, the highest mountain of Madeira (CT3/MI-001) through narrow walkways, steps and tunnels, up and down in the rocks, with breathtaking views over the mountains and precipices. After walking one hour we learned about the landslide on the way ahead, the same that prevented Anders and Peder from reaching Pico Ruivo that must have happened the night before. So we had to go back to Pico Ariero. We were then driven to a place with a parking space in the mountains near Santana and from there it was another one hour ascent to Pico Ruivo. Fortnately this trek was a bit easier than the one in the sharp rocks before. The guide gave us one hour time to spend on Pico Ruivo, however he did not mention that there were ten more minutes to and from the summit to the meeting point. Therefore again I only had 40 minutes to set up the antenna and make QSOs. On the summit my walking pole served as support for the antenna feedpoint and nearby bush, about a meter high, supported the antenna wire.
CQ on the alerted frequencies produced no response, I had no luck connecting to the internet on my mobile either so could not spot myself, so finally I ended up on 10m which was open nicely to EU and NA and worked OK, DL, 4X and W4, all with good reports. Altogether 5 QSOs just in time before taking a few nice photos from the summit and coming down to make it before the group return.
Anyway, we had a spectacular day outdoors with beautiful weather.
Surely Anders and Peder made up for my lack of QSOs today on their repeated attempt to reach CT3/MI-001 and satisfied all the chasers. I was lucky to work both CT9/SM0HPL/P and CT9/SM0GNS/p from there today from the hotel with a simple 8m wire from the balcony and 5W QRP. Their signals on 20 and 17m were much weaker here in Funchal than in Europe. They enjoyed the trip although WX was much worse than yesterday and the mountains stayed in clouds all the time.
A few pictures from both Pico Ariero and Pico Ruivo trips can be seen here:
73 Petr CT9/OK1CZ/p