Mt. Txorrotxarria EA2/NV-014 by EA2IF/P on 14/09/2014

I had again the privilege of activating a New unique. Today it was a 6 pointer in the Pyrennes of my birth land, Navarra.
The alert I raised the evening before said I would start activation by 7:30 AM but I had a couple of unexpected problems which put me far behind Schedule.
First problem was with my car Tomtom GPS, which took me to a point where I was suppossed to drive nearly 25 Km through a mountain rocky road, despite I had told the GPS that I wanted to avoid unpaved roads. I had to find an alternative road and this made me loose about half hour. Not too bad.
Second problem was the real bad one. I had planned to approach the base of Mount Txorrotxarria by driving through a long dirt road I had seen on the internet maps and I had inspected and found in pretty good condition on a satelite image.
What I didn’t see on that satelite image was this broken bridge:

There was an alternative path to cross the river but it was suitable for tough 4x4 vehicles, not for my AWD family car. At this point I parked the car and started to walk with my loyal companion Lucho.

In the center of this second picture you can see what I believed it was the Summit of EA2/NV-014 Txorrotxarria, but later I found out it wasn’t. It was indeed one of the secondary summits.
We kept walking and walking, while gaining height little by little…

We kept walking further and getting higher and higher. At one point I managed to see through the forest what I believed it was the Summit of EA2/NV-014 Txorrotxarria, but later I found out it wasn’t. It was indeed other of the secondary summits.

Once the forest openned up, we found ourselves pretty high and nicely surprised with the view of Orhy Peak, the one Ignacio (EA2BD) and Santi (EA2BSB) activated the day before.

We kept walking and getting higher until I found the spot I had seen on the satelite image to start the final hike to the Summit.

We took this path and followed through a pine trees forest. It was very clearly marked. Easy to follow, although becoming steeper and steeper by now.

Once we got out of the pine trees forest, we saw what seemed to be the Summit but it wasn’t:

Finally we passed this secondary Summit, started to approach the real Summit and finally, the mailbox. The walk and hike had taken us more than 2 hours

As soon as we got there, I quickly installed my GP antenna and connected the rigs to start the activation. It was 10AM utc, instead of the initially announced start time of 7:30AM utc.

Since my original alert for starting at 7:30 had obviously disappeared by that time, I raised a new one.
Due to the big delay, I decided to start on 30m. I had a very nice pile-up and worked 37 stations in 33 minutes, including 5 S2S. Once the pile-up cleared and no more calls were copied on 30m, I switched to 20m SSB. By chance, the very first frequency I tuned was the one Iñaki - EB2GKK/P was using on his activation.
With the help of a very kind G station, who warned Iñaki about a S2S calling, we completed the S2S QSO.
Then I moved 10KHz up and started CQing but nobody came back to me after several calls. I looked at Sotawatch and saw that Andy - MM0FMF/P was on 20m CW, so I QSYed and we completed our S2S QSO. I moved a few KHz up and started CQing. 8 more stations were logged.
Then I QSYed to 20m SSB along with a selfspot on Sotawatch. This produced 18 more stations into the log. When nobody else called me, I QSYed to 2m-FM and managed to QSO with my friend Santi - EA2BSB.
This was the end of the activation. All in all, 66 QSOs and 7 S2S.
There was a very long way to get to the car.
A few pictures from the Summit before leaving. The two 10 pointers in EA2/NV can be seen here:

And the 6 pointers Kakueta and Migoleta, one at each side of Txorrotxarria:

Bye for now Txorrotxarria:

Descent was as fast as we could. At one point it started to rain, so I put my rain clothing on. Fortunately it was a very little rain. We kept walking the long way back with legs and feet sore, particularly my right foot, where I later found out that a huge blister had grown up on it.
We finally got to the car and had some rest. I’m not sure but I calculated that we must have walked/hiked nearly 30Km today. No wonder why I was so exhausted…
Thanks a lot to all the chasers, spotters and helpers. I had a great day!
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Great story of your adventure. It has been a pleasure to make QSO with you. I hope you recover well from your injury soon. 73 & DX. Javi

Thanks for the S2S. In a period of about 5mins I was chased by EA2CW/p EA2BDS/p and yourself for 3x S2S. I thought it was an EA2 conspiracy :wink:

Your WX was much better than mine, I had a viscious East wind which was cold, low cloud, grey skies and generably miserable conditions. The forecast suggested you would need extra sunsscreen!

Hi Guru,

tks for your story, it had a great adventure over there. Lovely pictures as well.

Best 73 and tks.

David Quental

Hi Guru,

Very nice report and good photos.

Fine business on the 7 s2s.

73 Mike

Nice one Guru! Thanks for the 2 QSOs yesterday. I listened for a while, there was a lot going on… 20m was better than 30m here.

I worked Andy, Mikel and yourself but could not hear Marcial at all on 30m here at home. I used my HB1B 3W to a "cloud-burner"44’ doublet @ 5.5m - wire oriented 65 deg NE/E- 245 deg SW/W
It is challenging to hear the activators sometimes with all the city QRN…and a low height antenna.

I went up to Orhi in winter back in 1999… nice memories…

73 Angel

Thanks Javi, Andy, David, Mike and Angel.
Javi, it was a very nice surprise finding your very tiny signal at the end of the CW pile-up. Thanks for waiting till the end.

Yes, Andy, after having seen the spot of you working CW on 20m and having QSYed to the QRG, I called S2S S2S S2S but you picked up the /P station. Then Mikel-EA2CW/P and Marcial-EA2BDS/P worked you from their SOTA EA2/BI-034. Seen that you had picked up /P better than S2S, I called you with the full call EA2IF/P once you had finished QSO with Marcial and it worked well, because you picked me up!
Thanks! It was very nice to work you on S2S, Andy.
There’s a lot of SOTA activity in EA2 land, particularly the Basque Country and Navarra. I’d like to see the other EA2 regions (HU, ZG and TE) doing so. HU have plenty of 10 pointers in the Pyrenees.
Regarding the WX, it was perfect because it remained pretty much cloudy for me most of my time at the summit, so I didn’t have to put any sun cream. There was some wind but totally acceptable with the right clothing.
Honestly I don’t like putting solar cream on my skin and I very rarely do it. That’s why I wore long sleeves T-shirt and a hat :wink:

Angel, your 3 watts signal was excellent. It was so good that I was about to ask you about your power when you told me 3 watts. I would have said you were running 100 w. Amazing great signal.
On the other hand, you gave me a pretty poor report. Perhaps my batteries were a bit too weak by that time or it was a matter of polarisation, ground conductivity… who knows…

Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Hi Guru,

The difficulty is on my side, I have a lot of noise around…so normally for me it is more difficult to hear than be heard even with qrp.
You were easy to copy on 20m - 539-549
On 30 there was a lot of QRN & QRM , 339 … Do not know why I gave u 519 !!! - (sri)
I heard Javi calling u a few times too… 529 hr…

The doublet with the 800 ohm ladder line radiates pretty well

I hope to activate some of the ZG, HU or TE summits when I go back this Christmas…

73 Angel

Congrats Guru for your excellent activation.You are really determined when you want to reach a summit!

Well done, but please consider buying a portable GPS to avoid so many uncertain routes and ensure a proper way back… We want you to do many other uniques hi hi

Take a long rest before your next summit. 73 Ignacio

Thanks Ignacio for your words.
I’m currently thinking about getting a GPS, but I don’t think this would have changed anything last Sunday, unless I had downloaded somebody elses track to hike that mountain and get to the summit.
The broken bridge problem wouldn’t have been solved by the use of a GPS.
I was using Sports Tracker on my smartphone and it was of great help when I descent and had to find the exact point where I had came out of the pine trees forest. This was the tricky part of the expedition and I had foreseen that potential problem when I was preparing the expedition by looking at the satelite images of the summit and the mount base. On a first try I descent and tried to find the right point to enter into the pine trees forest but I found one which was not the same I used in the ascent and immediately realised it was taking me down but in a different direction to that of my ascent, so I made U-turn and hiked up again. Then I looked at the Sports Tracker screen and realised I was about 100 to 150 meters away of the right path.
Thanks to this great application I quickly found the right path to descent.
The only issue with this application is that it consumes the phone battery pretty fast, so I’m also thinking about getting a solar charger or something like that.
We’ll see…
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF