Planning my first radio trip abroad to Spain

My wife and I are planning a short trip to Andalucía in Spain and I’m trying to plan a SOTA activation while I’m there. I have never taken a radio abroad before and I’m looking for some advice or even just reassurance I’m not going to muck this up.

HF Rig will be going in my hand luggage. The internal battery is below the level needed to be hand luggage. Linked dipole. The plan is a 4m telescoping pole and paracord/tent pegs to pin it out. They’ll be in the checked luggage.

I need a printout (and PDFs on my phone, and PDFs on the Internet) of my license and the Spanish regulations (which I’ll need to translate and read). I’ll also have a PDF of the band plan. I will be operating on a CEPT license as EA/M0UHR. reckons there are paths up the hill so I’m not expecting to get in trouble for going through private property.

Extra travel insurance to cover radio damage, and plenty of water, light shirts, a hat and sun block.

If anyone can offer me the benefits of their experience I’d love to know.




What do you mean by this? What is the radio and the battery?

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I have just come home from Andalucia where I activated 2 summits north of the town Alora, about 40 km northwest of Malaga. Both summits can be reached by car. EA7/MA 113 Ruinas de Bobastro is close to El Chorro and the south end of Caminito del Rey on a summit with a large water reservoir for a power station. You easily find the road on a map. There are small trees if you need to hang up your antennas. The other summit is El Hacho, EA7/MA 116 is just north of Alora. There is a path from the city center from the south of the summit. By car you must find the road from Alora to Carratraca. Just to the north of the mountain you leave the main road just before a restaurant in a sharp right turn. There are three junctions of small roads, but look at the map and you will be all right. The terrain on the side of the road descends 100m or more extremely steep, so keep inside the road. Good luck. I was EA7/LA6FTA/P Gudleik

The security control in Malaga airport accept HF radio and wire antennas. I once brought a 6m telescopic fly fishing rod for the antenna, about 1,2 meter long that was not allowed on to the aircraft. (dangerous weapon??), so do not bring an expensive rod if you plan to take it home with you.


What do you mean by this? What is the radio and the battery?

Xiegu X6100. It’s got an internal 3Ah battery that will do 5W and I’ve got designs on an external supply that will boost it to 10W. 3Ah times 12v is well below the hand luggage limit of 100Wh.


As someone who has activated just two summits in Spain I am hardly qualified to comment but from this limited experience, including a third summit I failed to qualify because I couldn’t even manage to reach the summit I think you are wise to go for summits with footpaths and have hopefully already been activated.

The reason for saying this is because you may be tempted by the huge number of unactivated summits you will see see on the map. What I discovered is there is a reason why some of these summits are unactivated and it is down to access. The vegetation in Spain knows how to defend itself with thorns and if there is no path then trying to go cross country as you might on a typical UK summit in say the Lake District could be very challenging. Add in fences and at certain times of the year wild boar hunting helps make some Spanish summits more than a little challenging.

I am not suggesting the unactivated summits should not be attempted, I’ve identified a few which look possible and will try for when/if I return some day. :slight_smile:

Best wishes for your trip.


I’ve had a few trips by air to Spain with radio gear.

Everything you mention seems to cover it.

As you say, radio and any battery in hand luggage. Poles, antenna wires etc., guying cords and pegs in hold luggage.

My biggest problem is the “nest of wires” for the chargers, plus all my other electronics (tablets, USB chargers, USB battery packs etc.). I just put it all in a clear plastic bag and get it out of my bag regardless of what they ask for. I’ve been stopped twice for the “wires” stuff, with not a glance at the radio and Hobby King LiFePO battery that looks like a slab of plastic explosive! :slight_smile: :grin:

I’ve only had one approach from an “official” on a busy summit - that was in Germany on a drive up summit. I showed him my “licence” and off he toddled. Other than that, if you pick somewhere quiet your chance of interaction with anyone is very limited.

Only comment I would make is beware of car hire terms. A lot of the smaller “roads” in the mountains are gravel and can be pretty rough. Some car hire firms stipulate that you can’t go off the tarmac roads. I found it amazing where you can get a Toyota Camry last year :wink:

Oh, and I agree with M0WIV, unactiavted summits can be challenging abroad. I’ve managed a couple of successful ones in main land Spain and on Crete. I failed on one on Minorca, defeated by vegitation that would have needed a machete, frustratingly I was about 10m below the AZ, I was hoping I’d find a way for just the last little bit off the marked path… grr.

But I would say “go for it”… it’s VERY rewarding activating abroad - often having to overcome the extra little challenges that you don’t get in the UK.



Hello Chris,
I am the MA of EA7, Andalucía. This association is very large and has summits of very different conditions.
Tell me the area of Andalucía where you are going to be and I will be able to advise you better.
Thank you for choosing my land for your holidays.
73 José


¡Hola, José!

The only non-negotiable thing is we’ll be staying in Hotel Trasierra near Cazalla de la Sierra because they are hosting the event we are attending. Everything else is just the result of my best efforts at figuring stuff out and so is quite flexible.

The plan is to arrange a taxi from the hotel to near El Pedroso, specifically to the junction at 37°51’13.4"N 5°46’57.6"W. Go up EA7/SE-017. It’s around a 3km hike with 200m ascent. Very much within my abilities over here, though I imagine it will be significantly warmer and I’ll take much more water.

Do an HF activation with whatever bands work.

Come down the hill and probably walk back to El Pedroso and get a taxi back to the hotel from somewhere with an address there. Also the tourism website for El Pedroso looks nice so I might hang about there for an afternoon and get coffee and a fridge magnet.

Other people warning that unactivated summits may be that way with good reason are well heeded, but this one looks like it has roads to the summit and the satellite images seem to indicate a good number of paths, so I’m holding out hope. If the wheels come fully off the expedition then I can just set up wherever and do a POTA activation for ES-0021.

Ideally I’m looking to avoid a hire car because this would be the only thing the car would be needed for and I’m not a confident driver in the UK so taking that particular skillset to the continent seems worrying, but if you advise it would be the difference between a safe and feasible activation or not, I’m willing to check out my options there. (really the parking situation at the foot of the hill seems the deal-breaker!)

I’m also open to dumping this plan completely and doing a different summit if you think there are better options. I know there are a few summits and someone more dedicated than me could do one a day every day we were there, but if I can mangage one over the four days we are there I will be quite satisfied.

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.



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I just had a look at Google streetview. Two of the roads seem to have a gate. (37.85368,-5.7827 and 37.86178,-5.79061). This doesn’t mean that you cannot access the summit, but expect to walk a little further. If you put the coordinates in Google maps, you can check yourself. Good luck.


Ah, gates are an excellent catch, thank you. A bit more street view has turned up gates with “No pedestrian” signs so hopping a fence probably won’t go over well.

New approach would be following the road from the municipal pool in El Pedroso up to 37.851377125618896, -5.764269405680933. Then follow the ridge to the activation zone. It’s still about 3km. Alas the street view technique doesn’t reach that far to check.


My experience traveling with radios, batteries etc globally has been quite positive.

The only “surprise” but a legitimate one, at Santander (Spain) airport last summer was the fact I hadn’t removed the battery (12ah monster) and radio (equally monster-like 857d) from my carry on.

Beyond that easy peesy.



Hello Chris,
The northwest area of Andalucía is not very good for SOTA. It has a big problem, there are many large farmhouses(‘cortijos’) and most of them are fenced and access is prohibited. You would have to ask permission.
EA7/SE-017, as you have been told, is prohibited from accessing.
Since you don’t have a car, it is difficult to access other summits. I would recommend a POTA (EA-1961) or WWFF (EAFF-0011) activity since Cazalla is located in the Parque Natural Sierra Norte de Sevilla.
73 José


Thank you very much for the feedback, but can I clarify one point?

When you say it’s prohibited is there anything other than permission to access the land that makes that prohibition?

I ask because there is a tour of the old mines of La Lima which does start at someone’s private property. They have managed to secure access to parts of the hill somehow so I am trying to get in touch with them to see if I can take advantage of that.

I know it is a long shot, but if I don’t ask I definitely don’t get.


1.3 Rights of way and access issues
Footpaths in EA7 are usually well marked. Anyhow you should take a good map of the region where you want to hike plus GPS and/or compass if you have one. Never hike without a map, always follow the footpath. If a summit is in private property or you need to cross private property to access it, you will need the owner’s permission before attempting activation.

It’s a good idea, you have to try it. I hope you get it.
Good Luck


I suggest you pack some waterproof jacket and trousers as it’s quite wet in southern Spain at the moment.


The alert is up. Cross all your fingers and toes!


Good luck

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Hi Chris,
It was good to catch you for s2s today, glad it all worked out.


It was great to work you as well. I’ve popped up an activation report here: First activation of EA7/SE-017

Also, particular thanks to José (EA7GV) who was extraordinarily helpful on making this activation happen.