My day started with a discharged battery in my car. Fortunately, I always have the battery wires for an emergency, so I hooked them to my battery and patiently waited for someone to help me.
It was early and no cars were passing by, but after a couple of minutes, a Volvo showed up from an underground parking close to where I was parked on the street. I asked the driver for a minute to hook my cables to his battery but he responded that it wasn’t possible because the battery of his car was hidden and not accessible. Then a priest got out from a nearby building and took his Opel Corsa. I went to him and asked him for a minute for him to do the first good action of the day. He responded that he couldn’t help me because my car is Diesel and his was Petrol, to which I responded that this wouldn’t be a problem as all I needed was a bit of 12V DC from his battery, which has nothing to do with the type of engine Petrol/Diesel. Fortunately I convinced him and he agreed to approach his Corsa to my Rodius. I hooked the cables, asked him to keep his engine running and I immediately managed to start my can engine, pfew!
On my way to my targetted SOTA, I stopped in a Gas station for some Diesel, which I got quickly with my car engine running just in case…
After a short drive of about 25 Km or so, I got to the village of my ancestors Cirauqui. I crossed the village and as soon as I took the dirt road towards the Mt. Ezkintza EA2/NV-148, I was delighted with a beautiful female or young Roe deer, who crossed the dirt road I was on very calmly, even stopping to look at me several times. I didn’t want to take my camera for a picture as I didn’t want it to run away. I enjoyed very much this wild animal encounter.
After crossing a very narrow bridge over a small river, which could also be crossed with a proper Land Rover like for instance, the ones Fraser @MM0EFI shows us in his activation reports, and driving a few Km on 4x4 LH along this mountain dirt road you can see in the following map:
When I got to the summit, I started to work on my setup, which today would be a colinear GP with 2 wire radials and a 4 el. home made yagi in vertical polarization, both connected to a coaxial antenna swith, down to a Daiwa LA-2035 amplifier
and finally down to the front BNC socket of my FT-817ND.
Mi colinear GP with 2 wire radials would be mounted on this 3 ways antenna switch which I burnt with QRO some years ago and I refurbished to be used as an antenna support in this way:
The first problem of the day arrived when I found that after having erected the antenna on top of its PVC tube, suddenly the SO-239 where the PL-259 with RG-213 coaxial was connected, had popped out and was laying down on the grass. I couldn’t believe it, but there was no way to solve that problem at the summit, so I deployed my back up solution, which was a female T connector in vertical position like this:
To my amazement and astonishment, this T connector tore down in pieces itself, with the SO-239 where the coax cable was connected popping out AND the other SO-239 where the wire radial was connected popped out too.
I managed to insert them back in and finally the colinear GP got installed and transmitted with a SWR 1:1 on the FT-817ND SWR meter, Pfew!
But the sucession of connectors problems was not over yet. I quickly found that sometimes the SWR reading on the FT-817 was full of blocks and some other times not, so there was somewhere and intermittent bad contact, either a short or an open circuit. Soon I found the guilty was the PL-259 I had on one end of the short piece of coax I had from the FT-817ND to the Daiwa LA-2035 amplifier. The other end had a BNC and that was apparently OK. I inspected the PL-259 and realised it was an old one in pretty poor condition. I hadn’t used it for about 5 years and I noticed there was a short between the inner and the outer conductors inside the PL-259. Nothing I could fix myself at the summit.
This new unexpected problem made me take a new decision: my Colinear GP would be disconnected and its coax cable having a PL-259 on one end and a BNC on the other end, would replace the faulty one.
This worked well and now I’d only use my home-made 4 el. yagi for the activation.
I disconnected and forgot about the 2 ways coax switch too, as it wasn’t needed now with a single antenna in use.
As you may have seen in the posts above, each activator had an assigned frequency for him/her to use when calling CQ. Mine was 145.450, but I found it busy throughout the whole duration of my activation with EA2T activating a trig poing for the VGE award. This unexpected occupation kicked me off and left me the only option of being QSYing up and down trying to hear other activators CQing and calling them for S2S.
Many thanks to those activators who let me work some S2S and regular chaser contacts on their frequencies.
With so many connectors problems and almost unable to call CQ for the chasers to find me and chase me, I ended with a small log of 17 QSO, 9 of which S2S, being the longest distance contact 342 Km with EA4GUO from SOTA EA1/AV-043.
This is the full log:
You can see it on the map:
My transmission with the yagi seemed to also have some problem, because sometimes the SWR was perfect 1:1 on the FT-817ND SWR meter and some other times, without even having moved the antenna orientation or changed frequency, the SWR reading showed 3 and even 4 blocks. This was probably the reason why I wasn’t copied by some of the activators like EA3IED and EA2BD to whom I was copying very well with the great help of the RX preamp in my Daiwa LA-2035 Amplifier.
Well, the comments of all participants were that they all enjoyed very much this day. I also enjoyed it, although I admit an HF activation gives me much more fun and satisfaction than a VHF one. However, it was great participating in this successfull event wonderfully organised with much work and dedication by Ignacio EA2BD. Congratulations Ignacio, very well done!
Thanks to all the chasers and activators for contributing to this great success.
P.D. I had no internet access from the summit and I sent some selfspots by SMS from my SOTA spotter app, but I haven’t found any of those spots on SOTAwatch, so it looks like they got lost somewhere in the cyberspace…
P.D. 2. With the visit of Joaquin EA2CCG at the end of the activation and the tireness I was feeling by that late time without having had any food or drink, I completely forgot taking pictures of the setup, myself or the views.
P.D. 3. Not only I found unexpected traffic on my initially asigned frequency of 145.450, but also on the mountain dirt road at descent: