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Mt. Erreniega EA2/NV-092 by EA2IF/P on 10/08/2021

I had been willing to go out and activate SOTA for testing my 2 power banks connected in series to supply power to my vintage Yaesu FT-23R HH, but several duties kept me home until about 18h30 local. The good thing is I populated a good chasing log with more than 30 QSOs, including some transatlantic ones.
I finally could leave home at about 18h30 local (16h30z) for a quick visit to the hospital, as they wanted to extract some blood off me for a regular analisys. This usually takes just a few minutes, so I took all my SOTA stuff and Lucho, the dog, into the car. As soon as I left the hospital, I headed to the top of Mt. Erreniega EA2/NV-092 for an activation.
Today we had quite a warm day in Pamplona with temps of about 30º C and it was really nice getting to the summit at 1037m a.s.l. and a much cooler temperature with the nearly ever present wind (from the North today).
In the following picture, you can see my FT-23R still ON on my desk while still being powered by the 2 power banks connected in series.


In this picture, the FT-23R has the rubber duck antenna, but, at the summit, I used my Diamond 2m/70cm mobile whip antenna with one single wire radial like this:
imagen

The refurbished 3 ways coax switch seen in the above picture wasn’t used today and this is what I used instead, which is much lighter. The RG213 coax inside the blue PVC tube was connected at the bottom, the wire radial was connected at the side and the antenna at the top of this T-connector.

As soon as I called my first CQ on 145.525, Fernando EA1AAP responded and we had a nice chat. My transmission seemed to be OK, although my signal (< 5W, as I was powering the HH with 10,2V) was not as strong at Fernando’s place (51Km to the SouthWest) as his was (he was running 50W). After some minutes chatting, I decided to also install my HF endfed wire and power on my FT-817ND for some CW fun on 20m.
I selfspotted twice, one for being QRV on 145.525 FM, in case some chaser wanted to call me, and the other for being CQing on 20m CW. It took some few minutes CQing for the first chaser to show up. He was Rick @M0LEP with pretty weak signals, but highly welcome this first call on 20m.
Sergiy @SO9TA followed and we had a difficult QSO thanks to a LID tunning on top of him. I wrongly called him Jarek, as I confused him with SP9MA. Excuse me Sergiy!
Next chaser calling in was Phil @G4OBK and we exchanged not only reports but also pleasanteries and good wishes.
Then it came Chris @KQ2RP/1, the DX of the day, with very, very weak signals and QSB. He had to repeat several times his callsign because I was missing all or parts of the suffix in the rapid QSB.
The following chaser was Lars @SA4BLM with whom I have a special connection after the nice chats we had on Peanut during the lockdown period in 2020. His signal was good as it’s most of the times and he gave me a pretty good report too.
My following and last chaser today was Mike @DJ5AV, probably one of the most loyal chasers for most of the activators, at least in Europe. Thank you!

After some more unresponded CQ calls I decided to call it a day, given the cooler temperature of 17º C and the dense fog which had invaded the summit.

During my operation on 20m CW, when there were no chasers responding, I also kept calling CQ SOTA on 2m FM from time to time, but nobody else responded to me.

After about 1 hour on air, this is the full log with only 7 QSOs, 1 of which was DX with the U.S.A.:

The test with the 2 power banks was successfull and after my Baofenf HH got dead, I’ll now be able to be back again QRV on 2m FM during my hikes and also during my HF activations. Since these 2 power banks have a 1A output each and a capacity of 5000mAh, I think they may also be a good back-up to power my FT-817ND in case my LiFePo4 4S2P fails one day.

Thanks dear chasers for your calls and QSOs.
I’ll be looking forward to copying you all again from a SOTA soon.

73,

Guru

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Hi Guru…

Thanks for this nice report about your latest activation. Best of health to you.

73´s Siggi, TF3CW

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Thanks Guru for you detailed report and of your experimentation’s.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Thanks for the contact Guru! I did not expect to hear a European activator so late in the afternoon. You signal was 559 at the time of our QSO, but it’d built up to a solid S7 right before you went QRT

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Yes, it was pretty quiet at this end, too. Not even a twitch on the S-meter, but almost no background noise, either. I suspect part of that is that I have a bit of a hill to the south of me, and quite a lot gets lost in the geography, even on HF. Glad to make the contact. :slight_smile:

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Hi Rick,
I wrongly called Jarek to Sergiy SO9TA, but at least I called you Rick yesterday, not Rich, as I have done some times in the recent past…
It’s not easy for me to remember all chaser’s names and the correct spelling too. I know the existing logging programs and apps are perfect for this, but I still want to keep the old fashioned but 100% reliable pencil+paper logging method and doing the typing afterwards af home.
Thanks very much for your call. I know it’s quite rare in Europe to be activating that late in the evening, but we EA are so much to the West and our local time is CET that our summer evenings are very long having sunlight until nearly 22h00 local now. Even 23h in June or even now if you move to the West coast. The day is often too busy and late in the evening is sometimes a good moment to squeeze an activation, which for me in these days have to be and are drive-ups.
HPE TO CU AGN SN.
73,

Guru

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Hi Guru

I like the Beret and “the look” - real smooth man…!

Always worth popping into the shack after dinner. I usually have my station in a state of readiness until bedtime (its not a very “green” thing to do though is it? guilt…) and there was the EA2IF spot on my screen. Spain and Portugal is usually still a good propagation path in the evening time when the rest of the EU has faded out.

Quite a good day here today, dry apart from a small shower. I have been working on my LF aerials before the winter comes, so they are now ready. This meant a few ascents up the tree in my garden to get everything resonant and nicely secure.

Stay safe and keep well dear friend.

Phil G4OBK

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Thanks, Phil, for the flowers :blush:
I don’t wear it much but given that I have trimmed very short my hair and beard and the cool temperature + wind + fog at the summit, I decided to wear it to keep my head warm. The beret is made of whool and it’s nicely warm on a bald head like mine.

Well, I guess that’s not too bad for the environment. My remote station is OFF from midnight to 9h00 (local) (i.e. from 22h00 to 7h00z). I have a programmable mains power socket with all my remote station rigs plugged into it. While the mains power socket is ON, I can switch ON and OFF my IC-706 from my appartment, just by pushing the power button, but I also keep my laptop ON all or most of the day, so I can switch antennas accordingly.

The UK, EI, and the Iberian peninsula are the
Westernmost countries is Europe and that’s why conditions on 20m remain a bit longer than for the rest of the continent. We also have conditions with Northamerica when the rest of the continent are in pure darkness and preparing for going to bed.

We’re having really hot days with temperatures of around and over 30ºC. They said we should get up to 38º or 39º C today, so I think I’ll better find a high spot for an activation this afternoon preferably above 1000m a.s.l. where the temperature should be cooler and I may even need the beret again, which will be a pleasure!

Very good! That’s the key for the success you often get with your transmissions. But, please, be very careful with those climbs to the tree, as you are not a teenager :wink:
I have some pending works on my tower (i.e. take the rotator down for repair, repair a cut coax cable for the 2m antenna, change a broken bolt at the clamp of my TH5-DX yagi to the mast) but, with all my health issues over the last 3 years, I haven’t felt in good shape and in the mood to climb up to the tower. I’ve recently contacted a local colleague to do this for me and I hope he’ll be able to do it by the end of August (WX permitting). I’d like to be back able to chase SOTA on 2m and I also have the intention of getting my Hy-Gain Ham IV rotator back to life. Then I’ll get one of the EA4TX systems to control it remotely, so hopefully I’ll be able to rotate my yagi from the appartment before the end of the year.

You too my dear friend Phil.

73,

Guru

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Hi Guru, I agree with Phil’s comments about your beret, but would also mention the great smile as well.

take care an stay safe.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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The Summits site told me the beam heading should be 176 degrees, so near enough due south. Local sunset is still around 19:40 UTC, so a daylight path to you. Like Phil, I skimmed the spots and yours stood out among the ones from the other side of the ocean (that propagation was not favouring me with…).

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Our sunset today will be at 19h13 utc. You are at about the same Longitude (here 1º 39’ West), but well further North so you still have a later sunset than us here in summer. But you local time is 1 hour ahead of utc, while ours is 2, so in local time our sunset is later than yours.
It’s being very hot here today and tonight should be the peak of the perseids, so I may go up to a local drive-up summit for an evening activation and some stars rain witnessing.
I’ll selfspot if I finally do it.
73,

Guru

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I didn’t finally activate any SOTA, but I went with my 2 daughters to see the falling stars near Mt. Iguste EA2/NV-127. We saw some really good ones!
73,

Guru

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Shame I missed you Guru, but then it did save you from my comical CW skills :scream:
Thanks for the report.
Regards, Mark.

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I’d have loved another CW QSO with you, Mark. Your CW skills have nothing to do with comical. You are starting on it and that’s something we’ve all had gone through at some moment. In these days with so many gadgets doing everything automatically for us, taking the upheaval of learning and making morse the old style is something to admire and recognise.
Comical are other’s manners when they send their callsign 6 times or more in a single SOTA QSO. It’s just ridiculous!
I’ll be looking forward to making SOTA QSOs with you at any time, preferably CW, but SSB too.
Take care my friend and have a good, slow and steady progress on your CW.
73,

Guru

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I agree Guru. Mark is being unnecessarily modest and self-deprecating.

After encouragement by Nigel M5TUE, me and a few other local CW diehards, in less than two years Mark has gone from commitment to CW, learning Morse code from scratch, doing practise QSOs online and with locals, to holding down HF CW pileups in recent months.

The speed will come with time and making more mistakes in CW compared with voice modes is inevitable - it’s more demanding, more multi-tasking.

And more embarrassing. With voice mode, you can often give a quick explanation if something goes wrong. That’s not possible in Morse. Examples that happened to me in the last year or so where my CW chasers probably thought I was crazy or drunk:

  1. your keying has gone wrong cos you’re being attacked by a biting fly,
  2. you can hear nothing - not even your sidetone - for 30s whilst 3 military jets fly over you (on SSB you can still shout into the mic),
  3. the wind has blown your clipboard and paddles away,
  4. it’s not a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) that caused your signal to drop from S7 to S1, the wind blew your pole / dipole down,
  5. {Maybe you want to substitute your own embarrassing CW moment}.

It’s all part of the challenge and fun of CW ops.

73 Andy

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Looking at QRZ.com today’s featured member,

it looks like the beret look is becoming trendy among the ham radio community.

Cheers,

Guru

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Great observations Guru, sure looks like a trend. :grinning:

73 Geoff vk3sq

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