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Ortzantzurieta EA2/NV-012 and Girizu EA2/NV-042 by EA2IF/P on 28/02/2022

It was the day before my scheduled 5th chemo session and, with several tough days I had after the 4th session, I just wanted to enjoy mountains and radio before the 5th chemo session will get me again into bad times.
I have not felt any urgency nor too much interest on the activator points since I started SOTA in November 2013, because being 1, 2 and 4 pointers most of the summits around my QTH and having a limited time for activating due to work and family commitments first and due to health contrains later, reaching 1000 points struck me as a very long term task. Little by little the points have continued adding up and I’ve found now that MG is something really close and something I now feel like achieving.
With my health constrains, drive up summits or short easy hikes is all I can afford now, so I targetted these 2 summits, because I’ve activated both before and I was able to get to the very top with my Rodius AWD. I need to make a warning because the path to the top of Girizu in very much on the limits of the 185mm ground clearance of my car and a regular can will not make it at all.

These 2 summits form a perfect pair and suit perfectly my needs.

The WX forecast was for a sunny day so, what else could I ask for?
The 65 Km drive go through very courvy mountain roads until Roncesvalles, a village well known by all those walkers of Camino de Santiago like Andrew @VK1DA and other walkers or passers by. The so called Camino Francés = French Way starts at Saint Jean Pied de Port (France) and soon crosses the border getting into Spain. The very first stage ends here in Roncesvalles.

I had this coffee with a chocolate muffin:
imagen
at Roncesvalles casa Sabina:

Then I continued a few hundreds of meters (perhaps 1 Km) up to the Col of Ibañeta:

where I took the road to the right before the hermitage:

This broken road can be driven up to the top of Mt. Ortzantzurieta EA2/NV-012.
During the ascent I was delighted with the view of this majestic Griffon vulture on top of these rocks. Looking ahead here:

Looking over the shoulder here:

And the summit was finally reached:

Awesome views from the top, where there still remained some few snow patches:

I setup my usual sloper OCF 10m wire to an unun 9:1 with a shorter elevated 3.1m wire about 1m above the ground, but I forgot taking a picture of it. Only this picture I took from my operating position shows part of the elevated shorter leg:

When that picture was taken, the antenna was beaming to the NorthEast to enhance chances with Europe on 40 and 30m. Later I changed the orientation to the NorthWest to enhance chances with North-America on 20m.
The activation went like this:




It was a CW only activation, with the exception of a S2S with César EA4IS on 40m SSB, because speaking out to the michophone is far more energy consumming to me than CW and I’m pretty short of energy in these days…

A total of 61 QSOs on 40, 30 and 20m band, with 3 S2S and 2 DX USA.


And 6+3 activator points in my bag.

I remember having announced QRT a couple of times after some unresponded CQ calls on 20m and then having still a number of chasers calling in. Of course I worked them.

I finally went QRT, packed up and descended to just cross the road at the Col de Ibañeta and start the ascent to my second summit of the day. Mt. Girizu EA2/NV-042.

I had to open, pass and close behind me a couple of gates with its corresponding cattle grid on the floor. Then I continued along a very steep dirt road up, having to stop some times to inspect the feasibility of some crossing water evacuation channels with my vehicle. I even had to abort some attempts and retry with a slightly different trajectory and the bottom of my car touched/rubbed the ground in one or two occasions. With a bit of holding my breath sometimes, the great Rodius AWD and it’s driver finally made it to the top.

Given the time of the day and my remaining time available, I setup like this beaming North-West to enhance chances with North-America:

The activation went like this:



It was again a CW only activation, with the exception of another S2S with César EA4IS on 40m SSB.

A total of 53 QSOs on 20, 17 and 40m band, with 1 S2S and 6 DX USA, being one of those with the state of Alaska on 20m and other with California on 17m.


And 4+3 activator points in my bag.

The call from @NL7V in Alaska was a thrill with a strong signal and a typical auroral fluttering and echoes. Something very interesting to hear.
The call from @N6WT in California was a big surprise too because he was my first chaser after I had just selfspotted and started CQing on that band, which I haven’t used much so far because my manual MFJ antenna tuner had problems to tune my antenna on that band, but my brand new mAT-10 automatic antenna tuner easily tunes on that band, so I think I’ll give this band many more chances from now on.


The Sun was lowering and the wind had picked up, so I went QRT, packed up and descended with no problems at crossing the evacuation water channels crossing the track.

A great time in the mountains and playing SOTA.
I forgot making a selfie at the summits, so here is a selfie made upon my arrival home:

Thanks dear chasers for your calls and QSOs. I’ll be looking forward to copying you all again soon from a SOTA.

73,

Guru

38 Likes

Great pictures and write up Guru. It was a pleasure to make contact with you on Girizu! 73 Bob AC1Z

1 Like

Hello,
Great activation and report Guru, I’m happy you enjoyed the beautiful day and got a bunch of chasers and these surpresive DX.
Soon we’ll celebrate your MG: you know you are already in the herd with us!
73 de Ignacio

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Nice report Guru. You are very close to the goat! 73

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It’s always nice to read your reports about this region. I was there in 2003 doing the Pyrenees High Level Route and camped at the col below Urkulu [EA2/NV-022] just to the north:

Urculu

I will always remember walking up that rough track from the Hermitage as far as Astobizkar and then heading north. It had been foggy all day and rather dull, but as I walked up the road I gradually rose out of the cloud to enjoy an inversion as far as the eye could see. I took this picture from Okabe [F/PO-175] the next morning, when conditions were much the same:

Sky Islands

Such happy memories, thank you Guru.

        73 de OE6FEG
              Matt
2 Likes

Hi Guru,

You are stirring up some great memories, of both Roncesvalles and Ortzantzurieta which I was fortunate to activate through the kind assistance of Ignacio @EA2BD and Jorge @EA2LU. It’s nice to see your photos of the summit again. :slight_smile:

Keep going for your MG award, you certainly deserve it. You are looking very strong!

73 Andrew VK1DA

3 Likes

Hi Guru, nice write up and great photos. Thanks. :+1:

Cheers to you :beers:

Geoff vk3sq

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Nice report Guru. Stay strong. :innocent:
Eva, HB9FPM

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Mountain air, the distraction of radio, all wonderful for the soul.
Um, well, two West Coast US contacts as well eh? Those are a very nice catch to tell the SOTA community and log.

I have been in bed with COVID for the past four days. Today - having dropped my motorbike off for an MOT on Monday - I dragged myself out to retrieve it from the mechanic some 10 miles away in Kendal and it was wonderful to experience the outside again!

Best of luck with the next session Guru. Thanks for the report.

Mark. M0NOM

3 Likes

Guru. Excellent activations with beautiful day and scenery. Also, I’m impressed with the high number of contacts. You setup is very effective.

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I also think my setup is effective, but being an experienced CW operator and contester (not much now, but quite a lot some years ago) makes my pileup handling quite efficient and that’s key for a good QSO/ minute ratio. I have partipated in a number of QRP contests and that’s also good training on copying weak signals.
Copying the chaser callsigns in just one go is key. Avoiding ? and repeats improves the QSO/minute ratio.
73,

Guru

2 Likes

Indeed, I can feel my personal batteries recharge when I do SOTA.

Yes, those were great surprises to me. My first ever SOTA QSO with Alaska and very likely my first California on 17m. I will remember these QSOs for ever.

So you’ve needed 4 days in bed! That sounds not good at all. But the fact that you’ve felt good enough to drop your motorbike off for a MOT (don’t know what this is) and then retrieve it while enjoying being in the outdoors is a good sign.

The 5th session didn’t happen this Tuesday for different reasons and it will now happen on the 15th of March.
I hope I’ll be activating SOTA again soon.

73,

Guru

3 Likes

It’s a pleasure to read my callsign in your impressive list, Guru. Such a number of connections shows your experience in telegraphy. I am working on it. :wink:
Best wishes
Chris

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I also was very pleased with your call and QSO.
I’ve spent time working contests and that’s an excellent training but I’ve also spent long times late in the evening of the weekdays, after work and once the kids were in bed, just making standard ragchewing QSOs and that was for me a great way for my mind to disconnect of the daily problems at work or at home, as well as a great CW training.
73,

Guru

2 Likes

I’m very happy to listen s2s with you this days. I talked with Alfonso EA4R about your mountain goat a few days ago. I recommended him some hi points summits near Madrid (8 and 6 points+ bonus) very easily to climb, some in the car other walking but if you need, there are there, to climb by you. If you need more info just write me or talk with Alfonso.

Best 73s Guru

EA4IS César.

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It’s the annual test of a vehicle to check it is still roadworthy.

MOT = Ministry of Transport

The government department is now called the Department for Transport also know as DaFT due to its inability to run our railway system and having a roads policy in direct contradiction to the government’s supposed desire to become carbon neutral.

3 Likes

Ok, Richard, thanks for the info.
I see MOT, in this context, is equivalent to our ITV = Inspección Técnica Vehículos = Vehicles Technical Inspection.
My Ssangyong Rodius is 11 years old now and I must take it to ITV every year now. I took it last January and I got the pass card. I’ll have to take it again before the end of January 2023.

73,

Guru

2 Likes

Hi César,
I’d love visiting and activating some or all of those summits, but things are not going too well regarding my health and a 400Km drive is not the best for me right now. Even a short drive might not be possible, as I’ve been having a very low blood pressure.
Let’s see if things improve in the coming days, but everything may degrade even further.
If I was stronger, I could achieve MG in one day. Moncayo EA2/ZG-001 and Peña Negrilla EA1/SO-003 are both 10 pointers with their corresponding winter bonus points and are doable as a pair for 26 activator points. I activated them in June 2018, but that’s not something I could do now. You can see the report here: 2x10 points in 1 day. Moncayo EA2/ZG-001 & Peña Negrilla EA1/SO-003 by EA2IF/P on 02/06/2018

73,

Guru

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My 1999 Yamaha R1, bought new when I didn’t have kids and turned 30 has now passed its 20th consecutive MOT (you don’t need an MOT for the first 3 years).

It is only 5% gaffer tape.

Mark

3 Likes

A great report Guru and some impressive QSOs. Your system works very well.

I will be visiting France next month in our campervan/camping-car and if things go to plan later cross over the Pyrenees to visit the source of the Garonne/Garona after following the river from Bordeaux. That is the plan but the weather might influence things but I hope to then turn north west and head via Pamplona to the north coast of Spain and then back up the French west coast. This will be around the middle of May/Mayo. I will try a few SOTA activations on the trip - the opportunities are limited in Western France but the Pyrenees offer almost unlimited scope. Sadly, I fear I am not up to most of them so will be seeking easier summits. :slight_smile:

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