Saturday, 17 May 2014

SOTA in Madeira - Day Two Saturday - 17 May 2014 CT3/MI-004

CT3/MI-004 Pico do Areiro (1818m - 5964 ft)

Surveying the summit for the best two places to set up our stations
The summit of Pico do Areiro MI-004 must be one of the most visited places in Madeira. You can drive along an excellent tarmac road virtually into the activation zone, where there is a military radar station, tourist shops, toilets and a cafe. 

The large car park on CT3/MI-004
When we arrived we had plenty of time to spare so we investigated operating on the adjacent hill which sports a lattice mast and which does not attract the tourists. Between there and the main summit with the radome there is a roundabout in the col before the rather more craggy summit rises.
The roundabout and col in between the two hills which we had doubts was within the 25m drop zone
For the avoidance of doubt as to whether the col was within the 25m drop zone or not, we decided to set up nearer to the highest point yet try to keep our stations as far from the public as we could. Nick set his station up on the "switch back" accessible ramp for wheelchair users, while I found a perch on a ledge to the side and below the viewing platform near to the trig point. 

Nick CT9/G4OOE rigging his antenna alongside the accessible ramp for wheelchair users
Neither of us were pestered by the public asking questions, although we had some curious looks from the many people visiting the summit. 

My perch just below the public viewing platform on MI-004
We didn't suffer any interference from the radar installation, however we were disappointed by the poor HF conditions compared to our morning activation on MI-001 Pico Ruivo. I stayed with my FT-817 (the only transceiver I had with me), whilst Nick used the higher power from his FT-857.  We both used linked dipoles mounted on 5m poles. 

The view towards MI-001 Pico Ruivo - the path looked excellent 
Once again I stuck with the 15m and 17m bands on both modes, Morse and Voice and this time made some contacts outside of Europe with N4EX (Rich - North Carolina) and N7CW (Bud - Arizona) logged on 21 MHz CW. Nick stuck with 20m CW and worked  Heinz HB9BCB/P on the Swiss summit of VD-029 Les Rodomonts. In one hour of operation each we shared 53 contacts which was considerably down on our previous efforts on the preceding three summits. With no further stations calling who could hear us we packed up and headed for the cafe for a cool bottle of Coral lager - the local brew. 

It was then time to head back to Funchal, to try to forget about SOTA for a few days and continue with our walking holiday! We wondered how long it would before someone would go to Porto Santo to activate the five summits there...

Back at the hotel for our dinner (Thanks to Nick for taking the photo)
Bird of paradise flower

We had a third day with the car so all five of us took a tour of the Island, returning to show the ladies the MI-004 summit, before I returned the hire car back to base. Before that we visited the volcanic lava caves at Sao Vicence, which were intriguing and featured a fantastic AV presentation called "Journey to the centre of the earth".  Here we are inside the caves:

73 Phil CT9/G4OBK/P & Nick CT9/G4OOE/P now QRT....

After operating in Madeira I picked up another 4 unique summit activation towards my SOTA Complete score. This still leaves me in 5th position in the all UK table with a score of 234. There are 22 operators in the UK now with a complete score in excess of 100:

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