Saturday, 17 May 2014

SOTA in Madeira - Day One Friday - 16 May 2014 CT3/MI-006

CT3/MI-006 Pico Ruivo do Paul 1640 m / 5381 ft

Road trip from MI-008 to MI-006 (Click to enlarge)
The car journey from MI-008 to MI-006 took far longer than we had anticipated due to a road closure on the ER 110 west of Encumeada which we were unaware of until we found the road blocked by large boulders. I had enquired with the hotel reception who had told me that the road was clear - it looked as though it had been closed for months! In fact when I checked later I found that the ER 110 was closed in February after heavy snow falls caused significant damage to the road. Madeira is a difficult place to get around in a car, it's far easier on foot...

MI-008 to MI-006 line of sight is exactly 10 Kms. If the road thorough Encumeda had been open we would have driven for 53 Kms to reach the summit car park, and this included seeking out a petrol station in Ribeira Brava as we were running short on fuel. Due to the road closure and having committed ourselves to choosing the route we did, we actually drove 91 Kms, going north from Encumeada to Sao Vicente and then on the much improved ER 101 newly tunneled road to Ribera da Janela. The ER 209 hill road was taken from there which was surprisingly good. This brought us to the other side of the ER 110 close to the parking place for MI-006 on the Paul da Serra plateau. 

The nearest parking place for MI-006 - 1.2 Km walk to the summit
It was a very easy six SOTA point walk to the summit of Pico Ruivo Paul da Serra
We walked on a red earth track and then turned right to make our way on a narrow path through some gorse. It was Nick's turn to fall now (I fell on the walk back from MI-008). He fell backwards into the gorse, without any injury. We were soon on the summit which was visited by several other hikers during the 90 minutes we were there. A German couple agreed to take our photo before we left the summit...

Nick CT9/G4OOE and Phil CT9/G4OBK near the trig on MI-006
The equipment deployed on MI-006 was different to MI-008. Nick used his FT-857 running higher power, whilst I stuck with my FT-817. Between us we completed 84 contacts in just over the hour, with Nick remaining on the 20m band in CW/SSB and me using the 17m and 15m bands, also in CW/SSB. I used my link dipole and Nick used a 20m dipole - we both had 5m fishing poles which we fastened to the fence posts around the summit. We operated around 100m apart, and had no problems with interaction between the two stations.

The writer operating from CT3/MI-006 Pico Ruivo da Paul in Madeira
Getting back to Funchal after the activation was very straight forward. We just drove downhill and followed our instincts. Once again the TomTom was giving us totally inaccurate instructions telling us to use the most unlikeliest of tracks into peoples back gardens! We were soon on the VR1 Motorway reaching our hotel.  This was only a 42 Km journey - much easier than the outward one. 

We looked forward to our second day with another early start planned, heading out to CT3/MI-001 Pico Ruivo de Santana. Link to CT3/MI-001

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