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Weather change at Mt. Txaruta EA2/NV-079

Motivation

Weather in Pamplona has been miserable lately; almost two weeks raining non stop, and another week of fog installed in our town permanently, causing no sun at all… Where is the sun in Spain?

This sad situation made Jorge EA2LU and I to agree for a joint activation. A visit to the weather forecast helped us to focus on Mt. Txaruta, EA2/NV-079

Activation date: December 18th, 2021

The climb
When we arrived at the start of the hike and parked, we were in the fog again, gosh! Despite the cold temperatures we started walking. Soon the first morning sun rays illuminated the beautiful icy scenery around us:

As we progressed by the path, we reached some trees covered in ice, creating spectacular images in contrat with the clear and bright blue sky as the fog started to vanish:

The good news was to reach the basement of the summit and see there was no ice at all; what a huge variation of weather in just 3 kilometer!

We headed towards the summit ascending the last meters zigzagging by the steep big slope, leaving the clouds in the distance:

Activation

A constant wind was blowing at the very summit and therefore we found shelter by going a bit down.
Jorge installed his random wire and connected his KX2.

He ran on 5, 7, 10 and 14 MHz CW, where he logged local and distant chasers, being his longest qso ZL1TM!

Although the summit is not big, I separated a bit and installed my aerial with a single guy rope. The antenna wire was swinging on that hard wind but I had not issues to start actvating.

I used my LNR LD-5 seating in its SOTA pack for quick deployment, running on 14 and 7 MHz SSB. Later I spent the last minutes collecting some S2S present in the bands.

Just before going back to the car a last panoramic picture.

All in all a good day to rediscover the sun and greet many friends on air.

Testing an alternative hand warmer
It is sometimes very cold in winter. In order to keep my hands warm I have used in the past Zippo hand warmers (filled with lighter fluid) with success.

Nevertheless I found a curious USB heating pad. The one I bought is marked for reptile use.

The heater is made from carbon fiber and I decided to try it in the wild. Al home it works fine with a 18650 batt holder. I measured 42º Celsius (107º F) , not too hot, and it draws about 800 mAmps, not little.

How did it perform in the summit? Badly. The cold environment was too much for this little pad to keep its temperature. When laid over my gear it soon wasn’t hot. Only when putting the pad inside a pocket or pressed against my legs for some time I felt a bit of heat, not much.
That is a fail, a higher temperature difference is required to hold the heat in the open air, therefore I should stick to my zippo hand warmers when required.

73 de Ignacio

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