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!
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. 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.
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.
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 sotl.as later. The total walk there and back was 11km. A view of the summit taken from the campsite is below.