One year SOTA celebration. Mt. Olotoki - EA2/NV-040 by EA2IF/P on 21/09/2014

One year ago, to be precise last September 22nd, 2013, Ignacio - EA2BD invited me to join himself and his friend Santi – EA2BSB while they were testing some different homemade antennas during a SOTA activation of Mt. Arangoiti – EA2/NV-031.
At that time, SOTA was something unknown for me. I had just read a little about it but I reckon that I did it with little interest.
However, I accepted the invitation and met these two SOTA fellows at the mentioned summit in a nice warm sunny afternoon.
I was watching how these guys were doing and I remember that, at one point, Ignacio passed me his homemade CW paddle and I enjoyed a short run operating as EA2BD/P.
I definitely got bitten by the SOTA bug that afternoon of September 2013.
While we descent from that summit, this is the beautiful picture I took.

Mount Elomendi – EA2/NV-037 Is the far peak on the left hand side and Mount Izaga – EA2/NV-029 Is the closer and higher one on the right hand side of this picture.
I’ve been on those two summits and many others when I was a little child with my parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins. It’s an excellent way to be in contact with nature, doing exercise and have a lot of fun.
I loved going to the mountains and I did it several times when I was a youngster, but, after I joined ham radio at the age of 16, I soon got caught by things like DXing, contesting, etc and I left the mountains to play radio instead. Later, due to work, love in a nutshell, life, I moved away of my birth land for several years and not only the mountains, but ham radio got on stand by for a number of years too.
Due to professional reasons, I returned back to my birth land a couple of years ago and I met Ignacio and Santi, who introduced me the great SOTA program one year ago.
Since I got bitten by the SOTA bug, I’m happy not only for being back home again, but also for having found the perfect way to do two of the things I have liked most: being in the nature and wilderness of the mountains and play ham radio, DX, CW, SSB, pile-ups… great, great fun!
On my 1st anniversary at SOTA, I activated another new unique today in the good company of Juan Carlos – EA2EEB and Teresa – EA2EHK.
It was Mt. Olotoki – EA2NV-040 and I assure you it’s been a fantastic gift and a perfect way to celebrate my first anniversary at SOTA.
The weather forecast announced a sunny day with warm temperatures and just a possibility of some thunderstorms late in the evening. Nothing to worry me as I was going to do a morning activation to be back home for family lunch at 14:00 (local) (12:00 utc)
The day was exactly as forecasted, beautiful warm sunny day.
I got up at 4:00 utc and left home by 4:35. It was still dark when I had completed the 70 Km journey to the very little village of Ayechu, in the Southwerstern Pyrenees.
There, I took the dirt road you can see on this picture. Picture was taken on my way back home, at about 11:00 utc, as it was very dark at my arrival.

I drove this mountain road up for about 6 Km and parked the car right at the red star you can see on this map.

From that point, my dog and I hiked up the path marked with the red arrows on the map to the highest part of the road and then took the mountain ridge to the summit through this clearly marked stony gate:

After a short hike, we got to the summit by 6:40 AM utc. Just 5 minutes before the announced activation start time.

After taking some few pictures of the views form the summit on this early september morning:

I quickly installed the GP and connected the FT-817 + AT to try to find and have QSO with Andrew VK1NAM/P. Thanks to Sotawatch I quickly found him and I had a pretty good copy of him but he couldn’t copy me, so I decided to start my activation on 20 CW. After 7 QSOs I switched to 2m FM and had QSO with Juan Carlos – EA2EEB and Teresa – EA2EHK, who had slept in their mobile home at the village of Ayechu and were on their way up to the same summit I was at for an activation on 2m FM.
After QSO with them I gave a second try to Andrew VK2NAM/P and this time YES, we completed a S2S QSO. Great!
Right after this great S2S QSO, I moved to 30m CW and had another great S2S QSO with my friend Angel - M0HDF/P.
23 more QSOs followed this one on 30m CW with European stations and the 24th was another great DX with VK2DAG.
This summit had a great take-off to both Europe and VK long path.
After this VK on 30m I changed to 20m SSB and had two more QSOs with VK. First one was with the the South of Australia - VK5PAS and second one with VK1MA. This run on 20m SSB produced 18 QSOs.
At this point, Juan Carlos – EA2EEB and Teresa – EA2EHK arrived to the summit. After some greetings they started to prepare the set up for their 2m FM activation with a new and very nice homemade 4 elements yagi and I got back to “my business”, now back on 30m CW, which produced 19 more QSOs, one of which was another VK, but this time in France. It was a S2S QSO with F/VK2IO/P.
My batteries were just about to die and I switched to 20m SSB together with a selfspot. Unfortunately my batteries went dead after just 3 QSOs. I’m sorry but don’t worry too much, there will be more soon…

A this point I packed all my stuff while Juan Carlos – EA2EEB kept going on with his activation and I took advantage of his rig and batteries to make some more S2S QSOs with Iñaki – EB2GKK/1, Iratxe – EA2DNO/P, Alberto – EA2DYS/P, Roberto – EA2DXY/P and Alberto – EA2DCA/P.
Now it was time for me to leave the summit if I wanted to get home in time for lunch with my family,
I said good bye Juan Carlos and Teresa and descended with my dog Lucho while they remained there waiting for some other activators to show up.
Let me share with you this nice picture taken on my descent.

When I got to the car I chased Juan Carlos - EA2EEB, so I could also get this new unique for myself.
All in all, 80 QSOs, 9 of which were S2S QSOs, 4 QSOs with VK and a just activated new unique chased. And I got home right in time for lunch.

Hat trick. Just a perfect celebration of my 1st year SOTA.
Thank you very much to all of you and best 73 de Guru – EA2IF

Congratulation Guru,I look forward to doing my S2S or log activator.

Ec2ag Antonio

Hi Guru,
Congratulations. Those photos show why we head for the hills. Operating the radio is a bonus and LP dx is the cream on the cake.


Thank you Antonio. We couldn’t have S2S QSO this time but, now that I’ve started to activate as well on SSB, I know we’ll have that S2S QSO some very soon and surely many more afterwards.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Thank you Ron.
I’ll be looking forward to working you for the first time soon.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Contrats Guru. Looking forward to many more. Excellent photos and activation. Your 817 must have been sweating on Sunday :wink:
73 Angel

Good anniversary, Guru.
73 and congrats!

Hi Guru,

it’s always a pleasure to read your nice reports and it’s good to know you have done a satisfactory activation and returned safely.

Congratulations on your anniversary and your cool DX in this celebration.
I’m glad to know that Santi and myself brought your interest for Sota.
It’s certainly a different way to enjoy outdoor sports, nature, and the mistery of communications in extreme portable conditions.

Look forward to read your future achievements and to be able to join you in many other summits.

Happy sota-birthday and CU soon. VY 73

Thanks Angel for your words and your 30m CW S2S QSO Sunday.
The FT-817ND did great again, as usual. It’s a fantastic, robust rig and a great investment I would definitely recommend to anybody wishing to have a compact, light all band/mode rig.
I bought mine back in 2008, 2nd hand with very little use and in perfect conditions, very short time after a failed purchase attempt of an ICOM IC-706 MK II through eBay.
I was planning to buy a portable rig to take away with me on our family trips to Galicia (my wife birth land) for holidays, but I was unfortunately (or not) cheatted by someone called Nicolas KOBE, who was supossingly selling the mentionned Icom rig on eBay. I won the bidding, sent the money and the rig never was sent, never came to me. I went to the police, they sent the case to the judge, but they couldn’t or didn’t do anything. E-bay also told me they were investigating the case but nothing happened as far as I know.
Furious, frustrated and with a smaller budget, I looked for some cheaper rigs and I found an FT-817ND for sale at
Everything went well this time. Excellent I’d say.
Now I’m happy for having bought this little QRP rig, as I’m sure I probably wouldn’t be doing SOTA activations as I’m doing today in case I had successfully purchased that IC-706 MK II.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Thanks Mikel,
I’ll be looking forward to QSOing with you again soon.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

Hi Ignacio,
Nice boots! :wink:
Thank you for your words but mainly for your friendship and for having invited me to join you that day at Mt. Arangoiti and some other not much later to Mt. Adi, as all this inoculated the SOTA fever into me :slight_smile:
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF