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Mt Zaldiaran EA2/VI-032. Beware on RFI

Motivation

I took the chance of activating a new one for me while visiting some relatives in Vitoria, west of my hometown. Activation date: February 13th 2022

Despite this activation was done some time ago, I put the article as for summit information.

Climb

From Vitoria, take road A-3102 and park on the port of Zaldiaran, at 780 m. Parking is at left hand side of the road.

  • Track length: 1,2 km (one way)
  • Summit elevation: 977 m
  • Height gain: 197 m

From this point a service road takes you to the radio and TV broadcast relay link on top of the mountain. Walking this road is boring but you can leave it and do a proper hike on a path:

The path pass by a forest. Weather today was foggy and I could just see a few meters ahead.

After about 20 minutes walk I arrived in the final ramp to access the ugly relay link.

Just pass the relay station with its big antennas I found the small very summit, marked by a big metal cross:

Activation

The very summit is a very small area, on a corner of the relay link, leaving little space to deploy my HF antenna.

Today I installed just a sloped random 9m wire with 4 ground radials, trying not to obstacle the access to mountaineers, difficult task!

Weather was still miserable, foggy and there were some drops of rain. I waited a bit and then I put the gear (KX3 + 3 x 21700 batt + ZM-2 tuner) on ground over a small nylon layer:

Today the activation was not long. I expected a lot of RF interference from the huge aerials just a few meters from mine, but the KX3 did a good job and I could work without big issues on 14 MHz SSB for about 20 minutes and then a few more in 10 and 7 MHz CW.

Thanks @9A6CW, @EA2WX, @EA8RM, @OE6FEG, @HA2EBA and @EC2AG for S2S.

I tried using the handheld to work some locals in VHF FM but the near broadcast station caused a really huge interference. With difficulty I just logged Fernando EA1AAP.
I closed my log with 35 qso. Highlight of the day was the DX call from FY5KE!

After I dismantled and packed the gear the clouds vanished. Looking through the trees I could see in the distance the big city of Vitoria:

History tip of the day

The big metal cross on top replaced in 1950 a former wooden cross wooden that existed in the summit before.

This metal cross was in the past a broadcast radio antenna located in Vitoria: radio station EAJ-62, operating by mid of the 20th century.

The station changed its location and after dismantlling this aerial, it was converted into a cross, adding some parts. Then, some members of the Vitoria mountaineer club installed it in the summit, and started the tradition of visiting this summit every first of January, something that still goes on today.

It is 16,5 meters high, and at the basement there is a mountain mailbox, with the shape of a castle:

73 de Ignacio

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Awesome pictures @EA2BD I really enjoyed them it almost looks like its out of a movie. I’m back to activating now so hopefully I hear from you again soon!

73 VE6JTW

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That looks like a wonderous and yet somewhat ugly summit. You did really well getting your QSO’s in such a claustrophobic environment, surrounded by all of that metalwork. Well done!
73, Fraser

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Thanks Jesse. Perhaps we’ll have a chance next April 23rd? Hope so… GLin your activation.

Right Fraser, activating from down the summit meant to have the terrain blocking
my signals in some direction, therefore I decided to stay on top despite the ugly environment.
There are some summits I visit every year, and there are some others like this one you just visit once.

Best 73 Ignacio

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