Visiting Spain, a few activations planned

As a part of walking the Camino Frances between St Jean Pied de Port and Santiago de Compostela, I am planning to activate several EA2 summits with the help generously offered by Guru EA2IF and Ignacio EA2BD.

Yesterday 28/8/2019 the first of these activations took place at ea2/nv-012 Ortzantzurieta (corrected) with the help of Ignacio EA2BD and Jorge EA2LU.
I have worked both of those operators from vk so it was a great pleasure to meet them and an honour to be given such hospitality.

Yesterday the 20m band produced great conditions around Europe and workable signals from the US on cw. I found it a great pleasure to be able to end a fairly challenging day with a sota activation. I made many keying errors and at one stage gave the summit reference as my callsign! It had been a tough day.

More activations are possible on Sunday 1st of September. We will post alerts.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
In the town of Bizkaretta tonight.


Hi Andrew,
I guess it will be rather difficult for you to convert into reduced size and post pictures in the Reflector while you are a pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago, so I’ll do it for you with great pleasure.
The 3 activators:

Station #1 with an inverted vee dipole attached to the trig point:

Andrew VK1DA and Jorge EA2LU at work. Isn’t an empty chair what they have there? :thinking:

Two satisfied and happy activators (despite not having used the chair…):

Station #2. Another inverted vee dipole. Jorge EA2LU is looking to the West, so he wasn’t praying towards Meca… :wink:

A closer look to Jorge EA2LU concentrated while dealing with the chasers. I wouldn’t be able to operate like that for much time or my back and knees would kill me…

Weather was deteriorating, so it was time to finish, pack up and descend:

I know it’s a rather difficult name that of the SOTA you activated yesterday. The correct spelling is Ortzantzurieta. As you said through whatsapp the other day, we’ll have a chance of kidding and laughing if you try to pronounce that name when we’ll meet this weekend, ha, ha, ha!
We might be able to do 2 or even 3 drive-up SOTAs this weekend. We’ll speak about that.
Glad to read you will make it to Bizkarreta/Gerendiain tonight. You are making good progress. Have a good rest there and enjoy. Let us know when you get to Pamplona and we’ll plan SOTAs accordingly.



You set me a difficult goal! But I have your audio message on WhatsApp to copy. I have no doubt that I will still not be really correct.

Thanks for posting the pics. I have a photo reducer app but care is needed to put the reduced photos into a new folder otherwise it is impossible to distinguish between original and reduced photo on the iPhone. The standard apps don’t reveal the
dimensions in pixels.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


Hi Andrew and Guru,

It was a pleasure to join you yesterday. A tough day to add an activation further to your long walk in the Camino!

Yes, it is great to have the chance to chat and meet a SOTA friend.
Hopefully you will be able to complete the EA2 summit in which you chase me.
I will then need to travel to VK to complete your summit and close the whole loop (double complete maybe?)

It was a pity that I could just run for some minutes on 14 MHz CW instead of the planned SSB but it was better not to stay for much longer yesterday afternoon.

I’ll see you again in the weekend and hopefully will have time enough to activate and have a beer.

73 and have a safe trip towards Pamplona.


Andrew, are you the only “Pilgrim” with a squid pole?
Enjoy! Exploring the possibility of a French Camino out of Le Puy

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It’s great to see these things !!

73 de Dani EA5FV


Congratulations Andrew for your succesfull third activation in EA2 !

Andrew activated EA2/NV-119 this morning, working on 20 CW and SSB.

I wish you continue your Way of Saint Jacques all right and hopefully you can find some support to do some more activations along the long route.
It was a pleasure to meet you and enjoyed a lot with your visit.

Take care and all the best for your trip. Remember we will need another S2S from this summit oonce you are back in VK!
73 de Ignacio

Andrew happy after qualifying.


Yesterday afternoon Andrew VK1DA and Guru EA2IF activated Mt. Erreniega EA2/NV-092.
>Ayer por la tarde, Andrew VK1DA y Guru EA2IF activaron Mt. Erreniega EA2/NV-092.

Andrew worked on 20m CW where he logged a good number of QSOs and he also called CQ on 20m SSB and 10m CW with not a single response.
VE2DDZ was copied activating SOTA very weak on 20m CW, but he didn’t seem to copy when Andrew called him with the 5 Watts of my FT-817ND.
>Andrew trabajó en 20m CW donde anotó un buen número de QSOs y también llamó CQ en 20m SSB y 10m CW sin una sola respuesta.
VE2DDZ fue copiado muy débil activando SOTA en 20m CW, pero no pareció copiar cuando Andrew le llamó con los 5 vatios de mi FT-817ND.

Here you’ll see Andrew operating:
>Aquí verán a Andrew operando:

I had planned an activation on 70cm band with my Baofeng HH, but it wasn’t possible for me to log any QSO, so I worked on 20m CW for a while and logged 3 QSOs.
>Yo había previsto una activación en banda de 70cm con mi walky Baofeng, pero no me fue posible anotar un solo QSO, así que trabajé en 20m CW por un momento y anoté 3 QSOs.

This was my 70cm band setup:
>Ésta era mi instalación para la banda de 70cm:

A Baofeng HH connected to a Diamond mobile vertical antenna with one wire radial.
>Un walky Baofeng conectado a una antena Diamond vertical de móvil con un radial de cable.

Thank you dear chasers for your calls and QSOs.
>Gracias estimados cazadores por sus llamadas y QSOs.



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Great job Andrew did not know abt the trip to Spain been out of the loop a bit. I must watch for your alerts more closely from now on see if I can work you I had a qso with Ignacio on the first SOTA activation in vk5 in 2012.
Hope you Pilgrim Hike goes well for you too.
73 regards
Ian vk5cz …

I was going to bring a small pole but it was too long even when packed down. It jutted out of my pack and I felt sure it would not have a safe trip in an aircraft conveyor system etc.

As it turns out I have been able to use Jorge’s, Ignacio’s and Guru’s rigs and I haven’t yet made a contact with my own radio. We did use the LNR EFHW 10/20/40 yesterday, which was lent to me by Andrew Vk1AD. His campaign to encourage me to try end fed antennas has finally succeeded. It worked very well yesterday with reasonable reports from anyone we could hear on 20m cw.

We missed a few s2s chances due to propagation problems. On 14062 a few stations called me and I thought we exchanged reports but they called me again on 14063 after we realised there was a French station also on 14062 who was inaudible to us. As we would be to him. I hope that confusion wont invalidate contacts for anyone.

So no squid pole. I do use walking poles though.

Thanks Tony, I think my next activation will be from the Léon area more than two weeks away.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH



You succeeded in getting me to use your chair! Thanks for being so helpful to me. It was great to meet you and have a meal with you too.

73 in all ways

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Yes I am keen to complete that one. I feel sure we will find a way to do that.

Many thanks again for all the help. But we will continue to liaise off this reflector.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Mission accomplished :grinning:

73 Andrew VK1AD

Some more activations from Spain are planned for Monday 23rd September with the kind assistance of Juan EA1EAR.

Alerts to be posted closer to the event.

Camino progress: I have walked about 430 km from St Jean Pied de Port in France and am now near Leon. About 350 km to walk before I reach Santiago. I’m doing between 15 and 25 km per day, with a 10kg backpack. For the last section I may well decide to have my pack transported each day.

Operation will be cw and possibly SSB using Juan’s ft817 and antenna.

My blog for this walk is at

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


It is a pity that the road to Santiago does not pass through Murcia.
It would be a pleasure to share a SOTA with you.
Force !!
73 de Dani EA5FV

Hi Dani

If I had realised how hospitable the EA group is, I would surely have allocated more time. As it is I have to skip a few sections of the Camino in order to make my deadline. Today has been very enjoyable with Juan EA1AER and being a visitor and tourist. A good break from the walking. It was raining today in Leon.

Will try to catch up with you on a future trip. I have enjoyed this one so much I feel sure I will return.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


I’ve received this photo through whatsapp at noon EA (10h00z).
Andrew @VK1DA has just made it onto his 1st EA1/LE summit in company with Juan EA1AER.
I envy you, guys, in such beautiful scenery.

Andrew is currently activating EA1/LE-197 as EA1/VK1DA on 14.062 CW.
Good luck in your activation!



Picture of Andrew @VK1DA with Juan EA1AER and a group of EA hams at the second summit of the day EA1/LE-165.

Thanks for the QSO.


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I was really pleased to work you on both summits today Andrew. It was a pity that I was not able to be on a summit to make the special S2S we discussed some time ago. Hopefully we will manage that sometime soon.

73, Gerald

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After a very exciting activation of the summit ea1/Le-197 on Monday 23/9/2019 I was given a tour of the remarkable scenery in the area. Finally we drove up to Le-165 where a group of ea1 hams were waiting to meet us and help with the setup of the station.

It was here that the language difficulties caused by my very limited Spanish and by limited English knowledge of the locals created a problem for us. Due to inexperience with SOTA the group decided to set up the station using the car as protection from possible imminent rain. I realised at the time that this was not a valid station setup but I was unable to explain the problem and the group was really keen for me to operate. In my tired state I think I rationalised that I could give chasers the contacts but not claim the activation points. It makes no sense after the event.

I realised the next day that if I had enlisted help from Guru via our WhatsApp connection, he would have sorted it out promptly. I contacted Guru the next morning (after a sleepless night) and he agreed with me that the activation was invalid and undertook to contact the ea1 group and explain the situation.

The outcome is that I am declaring the activation of ea1/Le-165 invalid. I will certainly not log it in the SOTA database. I believe this also means that chaser points are not claimable despite the power source and activation zone requirements etc being met. The general rules do not permit operation within a vehicle.

I must have been very tired as well as not wanting to offend my hosts in particular Juan who had gone to so much trouble to make it a great day for me. But that does not justify or excuse a violation of a basic rule.

I’m normally a stickler for adhering to the rules and I believe they are well founded and logical. Without rules the awards mean nothing. In this case my judgement was faulty.

I can only offer my apologies to those I worked.

Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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