My First Spanish Activation

This morning I activated EA2/TE-016 Perigañol 1032m in the Aragón region of north east Spain. A few days ago I looked at the nearby unactivated EA2/TE-067 but it looked very difficult with heavy vegetation, no path to the summit and numerous escarpments/cliffs all around the summit. I will leave it for someone else! :slight_smile:

We are staying at Camping Beceite and from here it was a 45 minute walk on a road to the start of the route to the summit.

There is limited parking for cars at the start of the track and at a few spots near the end of the track where the ascent to the summit begins.

The path is steep with lots of loose stones but is well waymarked with the yellow and white paint marks of a local footpath.

It is only 2km to the top but it took me an hour of slow plodding up the almost relentlessly steep path.

On the summit is a curious metal hut which I guess must have been for fire watching. There is also the remains of a stone refugio.

I set up by the hut.

I had pared down my pack to save weight. Equipment taken was IC-705 but without the usual AH-705 ATU, I would use linked dipoles instead supported from the SB Carbon 6 pole which was tied to one of the steel cables keeping the hut in place. Around the base of the pole I placed a few rocks. There was no wind and this arrangement worked.

I had forgotten to put my EA2 callsign into the stored CQ message in the IC-705 or the summit reference. I find this a bit tricky with my fat fingers on the touch screen and I must remember to bring a stylus next time as this makes it much easier. Or maybe just remember to enter things before setting off. :slight_smile: It also helps (see later for explanation) to remember to plug the external battery in afterwards.

I used the stored CQ message to call on 30m and RBNhole picked me up straight away. Five QSOs followed, including some very familiar callsigns. Things became quiet so I called CQ a few more times. I did this “manually” which slightly threw me when after sending EA2/ my brain wanted to add a P after the /. It took a conscious effort to hold off until I reached the end of EA2/M0WIV/P. :slight_smile:

I changed to 20m SSB discovering while disconnecting the Morse key that I had forgotten to plug the battery in and the CW activation had been done with 5W instead of 10W.

The 20m band was extremely noisy with no visible traffic on the waterfall. I don’t think there is anything on the summit which generates QRM but the usual websites were not saying anything about solar storms. It will be interesting to hear if anyone else was experiencing this.

I changed to my 15m dipole hoping things would be better, they were but only slightly. I managed a QSO with EA8DDW in Tenerife but the end of the QSO was interrupted by another station calling CQ. This might have been irritating but it wasn’t as the station calling was ZL1ACE! With not much hope I replied to the CQ and over a few minutes we almost managed to exchange callsigns but Steve, he had given his name, said there was S8 noise over my signal. If I had been quicker I might have just used my M0WIV callsign, being much shorter, this might have had more success. I don’t think I could have counted it as a valid SOTA QSO but I had 5 valid ones already so it wouldn’t have mattered. Steve has an email address in QRZ and I will drop him a message thanking him for trying.

Also in hindsight I might have tried 40m SSB as there was no noise on 30m.

A map of the QSOs.

Far fewer than I was expecting due to the problems on the higher bands but enough for only the 4th activation of this summit and the first since 2017.

A huge thanks to all chasers on a day when CW saved me from failure. :slight_smile:

You might have spotted a vertical grey cylinder in one of the photos above, it’s a Spanish trig point I think.

I wasn’t alone on the summit, a few hikers visited and overhead I had over 20 Griffon vultures keeping an eye one me. Perhaps they hadn’t seen anyone sit still for so long and that I would make a nice lunch!

The views from the summit and from the path during the ascent were excellent.

I took my GPS with me this time and will see if I can upload the gpx track to later. The total walk there and back was 11km. A view of the summit taken from the campsite is below.


Thanks for a great report and photos John, and congratulations on your first Spanish activation. I was parked up on local hill doing a bit of SOTA chasing this morning and saw your spot on 15m. I didn’t hear you, but also heard Steve. My first time to hear a ZL station! I didn’t have any success calling, but amazing for me to hear a station from that part of the world coming over so strongly. Like you say, not so annoying to have QRM when it could potentially be some exciting DX!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and 73,

Matthew M0JSB

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Many thanks Matthew. What were conditions on 15m like for you, did you have the noise I heard?

Hmm, I can’t say that I noticed it was particularly noisy, but compared to the noise levels I suffer from at home, the bands are always going to sound quieter when I’m mobile or portable. I didn’t try and work anyone else on 15m, but I did find conditions on 40m to be a bit hard going when I chased some SOTA stations there.

Are you planning on any other activations during your stay in Spain?

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Yes, but they will be relatively infrequent although we are here for another 7 weeks so I should be able to manage a few. Spain has some very rugged country and choosing a summit which is easy and above all safe for this old man on his own to activate is a bit of a challenge. There are lots of unactivated summits but many are not easy to get too. The other issue is the heat. It was nice today on the summit but next month it could get very hot.

Thanks for the comment about lack of noise. I’ll have to set the radio up tomorrow and test it. Hopefully, it hasn’t developed a fault.

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Nice report John @M0WIV

We tried 15m on GW/NW-002 this morning but also struggled, although we did contact @EA8DDW and a couple of Greek stations. 2m made the summit qualification easy of course :grinning:

Good luck in EA; maybe you could try some POTA activations in-between doing the SOTAs? There look to be plenty of unactivated parks in the area there, which might be easier in the heat?

73, Simon.

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Cheers John. I hope you manage to get a few more in and you enjoy the rest of your stay in Spain. It’s a lovely part of the world.

73 and good luck!

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That’s the plan. :slight_smile: We are off to the Ebro Delta next and should be staying in the reserve area, which is both a WWFF and POTA site. I can see myself operating under the campervan/RV awning with a beer/wine to hand!

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It looks vy nice there in EA. And sunny. Thanks for the QSO, and goodluck for the next days.

73 - Tonnie - PA9CW

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Many thanks Tonnie, hopefully we will have more QSOs. My CW can only get better with practice! :slight_smile:

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Hi John

Re:- the Griffon Vultures - A few times I’ve laid still on purpose on the mountains in Spain and have had them fly quite close to me. Its an odd feeling as their eyes & head stare at you in the hope that you might be on their menu.


Nearly 10 years ago in the Pyrenees we got very close to a group of Griffons. There was something dead but by the time we arrived there was nothing left apart from these disappointed onlookers.

They work collectively although not by arrangement, when they are soaring about they are look at each other as much as the ground. As soon as one bird spots something and starts descending others follow. Hundreds of birds from a vast area can collect around a big carcass. All finding their way there by watching the behaviour of birds closer to the food.


Hi John, thanks for sharing your adventure in Spain, a good read. Great photos and equipment list also.

Geoff vk3sq

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Many tnx for the fb 30m CW-QSO and the fantastic report dear Matthew.
Hope to meet you again soon on the bands!

Vy73 happy easter de Fritz DL4FDM (HB9CSA)

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Great report John,

That cylinder is indeed a trig point, called “vertice” in Spanish, it’s also a good support for your fishing pole :wink:

If you can’t get enough of playing radio, you can do a valid activation for the Spanish DVGE Diploma, on condition that the vertice is on the real summit (not all are, some are even at sea level or on a building in the city). And you must make 100 QSo’s, or there must be at least one hour between first and last QSO if you can’t get to 100.

See more details here, with full rules etc.

There is also a good mapping service to find where all the valid vertices are (select your area under “VER REFERENCIAS”, on the top menu).

For your summit, this would be >Aragon > Teruel

If the vertice IS coincident with a SOTA summit, it often helps to find the pdf document describing the access route used by the IGN. Click on the little pdf symbol after you open the vertice pop-up window.

Again with your summit as an example, you will find the vertice reference is VGTE-041, and it has not been activated! You can be the first if your log meets the requirements. You also need to send a picture of your station with the vertice visible, and not more than 200m away from the vertice.

Most info is in Spanish, but Google can help you translate it.

Have a nice stay !


Luc, many thanks, that was all new to me. I will start looking for them now. :slight_smile: Sadly, I wasn’t on the summit long enough to claim an activation. :frowning:

In the first post in this thread I mentioned a massive amount of QRM which made operating on SSB almost impossible. I experienced this on the summit but also in the campsite which was about 3km from the summit.

This is what the waterfall looked like on the IC-705 using it’s clever screen capture facility.


All that blue shouldn’t be there. It is tuned to a signal but it is almost impossible to see. Turning on both Noise Blocker and Noise Reduction helped and by also turning down the RF gain I could remove all the blue but this also removed the signals I was trying to listen to!

Today I drove to a site on the Ebro Delta and tried the radio again.


It was back to normal on all bands. :slight_smile: I forgot to switch off the Noise Blocker and Noise Reduction but I am confident that there isn’t a fault on the radio.

Why there is massive radio interference around the town of Beceite I don’t know. There are no wind turbines, solar farms or any sort of heavy industry.

So if anyone visits the area be aware of this possible problem - if it hasn’t been fixed.


Hi John,
congratulatioms on your first activation in EA.
I am sorry to hear there was such bad QRN in Belchite. Perhaps there are bad power supply engaged like on Led lights or maybe any house or camping has Solar inverters with a defective filtering.

I’m glad you’re free from noise in your current location.
Good luck and enjoy.
73 Ignacio


Ignacio, thank you. We are well away from QRM tonight in the Ebro Delta at Camping Eucaliptus. No SOTA summits near here but I hope to try a POTA/WWFF activation - but we will also be looking for birds (aves) which this región is famous for.

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Hi John
First of all, sorry for my bad English
The same day I was activating the EA2/NV-021 Saioa peak.
We were 282 kilometers apart and no mountain was blocking us.
I really like contacts in the VHF band and when I saw your spot on 145.450 Mhz I was very happy, I tried to hunt you with my handy and my Flowerpott vhf antenna on the fishing rod but sadly I didn’t hear you, I think you might have been with the short antenna on the handy.
Still I hope you will take good memories of your stay in Spain and your activation.
Best regards 73

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