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Mt. Elomendi EA2/NV-037 by EA2IF/P on 17/02/2018

In a cloudy morning with a not cold temperature of 8.5 C in town, I decided to activate a 4 pointer and get also the 3 extra points of the seasonal bonus.
Located about 25Km South-East from my QTH in Pamplona,
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This mountain has been covered with snow over the last several days but after temperatures warmed quite a lot over the few last days and all the rain we’ve got, it has almost fully melted and washed away. I just found some very tiny patches of snow here and there near the summit, almost nothing.

This is how this mountain looked like when I was driving towards the village of Monreal at its very base. There was a cloud right stuck at the top, so it seemed it was going to be a bit humid up there.

I had not the time for a full hike of the mountain from the base to the top today, so I drove the dirt road up

until I finally parked at its side by one of the last bends before the summit and hiked just the final meters with my dog Lucho.

At the summit, the cloud was still there and the temperature was +5C, which is not too bad but there was a steady medium-strength cold wind from the North-West, so I set up right at the other side of the summit, looking to the East, although seeing nothing due to the cloud being still there limiting visibility to less than 100m.

The take-off in this summit with a nearly 850m prominence with respect to the surrounding terrain towards almost all directions is absolutely glorious.

Here you can see my set-up.
This is my home-made SOTA-kit with everything preconnected inside my rucksack and ready to go at any time.


Yaesu FT-817ND and MFJ-941B tuner with Palm Radio paddle.

Here you can see my home brewed endfed wire antenna coming down as a sloper, actually quite nearly as a vertical from the top of my 7m fishing rod tied to the metal fence surrounding the commercial radio, TV and other telecommunication antennas at the top. The 7m counterpoise wire was laid downhill without any care on the steep rocky ground.
It was hard when I had to tie the fishing rod to the fence because the cold wind froze my fingers and I had no sensibility as to correctly tie the knots in the cords I used.
I should possibly think of getting some velcro straps instead of the polyester cords…

During the operation I sat down righ close behind the rucksack you can see in the picture.

Once sat down on that lower spot out of the wind, it was much more comfortable, although I had to wear all my warm clothing.

The activation started on 10.117, where RBNHole spotted me very quickly.
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When I had already worked several stations, a huge QRM came to the frequency and I was almost unable to copy anybody, so informed to the chasers and I QSYed up.
I found 10.120 clear and started CQing. RBNHole spotted me again. Thanks for that!
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Some more chasers continued calling and were properly logged.
After 35 QSOs and 2 S2S were logged, the pile-up dried up and I QSYed to 20m SSB, as there was a CW contest and I didn’t want to waste my time and energy trying to make my QRP signal pass through the contester QRO ones.
I tried to selfspot through the app. SPOTmySOTA on my smartphone but it seemed not to be working, so after some unresponded CQ calls, I used the web browser in my smartphone to enter into SOTAwatch and raise a spot, which worked perfectly and brought the chasers to my frequency.
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11 QSOs were logged and once there were not more callers and after some more unresponded CQ SOTA calls, I decided to call it a day, pack up and descend to get home in time for lunch with my family.
Here you can have a close look of my SOTA-kit ready to be closed before descent:


The hand microphone and the paddle go in the side compartment of the rucksack.

Now with the wooden lid on:

This is the full log of today’s activation:


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And this is the S2S log:
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On the way down, once I left the summit cloud behind, I stopped to take a few pictures of the great views. Let me share them with you.
View to the North-West.


The city of Pamplona is the bigger town barely visible far in the distance towards the right.
View to the North-East:

Unbelievingly, when I had descended about 2/3rd of the mountain, I looked back up and found that the cloud had finally vanished and there was a great blue sky and sunshine.

Here you can see the village of Monreal and the SOTA Mountain Itzaga which some ancients see like a sleeping dragon.

This is the village of Monreal with Mt. Elomendi behind it.

Good bye Mt. Elomendi and thanks for the fun you let us have.

And this is the happy activator. Thank you dear chasers!

73,

Guru

8 Likes

Thanks for the excellent report Guru and I am envious of your neat SOTA equipment solution - at the moment everything is bundled into a dry bag - somewhat less than ideal!

Regards, Mark. M0NOM

1 Like

Thank you Mark,
When I started SOTA activating, my rig, tuner, cables and accesories were carefully packed in a small compact handbag, which was very good for having all the necessary elements in a single bag and also to take little space up in the rucksack. But I soon realised that the time I was using to take all those elements out of the handbag, connecting all the wires and then doing the reverse at packing up, was a precious time which was not making me possible to activate on HF during my limited in time, rapid activations of Mt. San Cristóbal that I’ve been doing for quite some time every Saturday morning with just 15 or 20 minutes max to be on air.
See my post in this thread: To HF . . . or not to HF
And this thread where I explain how I did it (it has evolved to the better over time)
Mt. San Cristobal EA2/NV-119 by EA2IF/P on 23/05/2015

This proved hugely useful and saved me a lot of time when setting-up and packing up.
Being everything perfectly fitted inside the wooden box keeps the rig and connectors much better protected as I don’t need to connect and disconnect everything at each activation, thus reducing strain/stress to all wires and connectors.
I highly recommend something like this to any activator.
73,

Guru