Monday, 8 September 2014

Day Three CT7/G4OBK Algarve SOTA: AL-006 - AL-002 - BT-001

Day Three: 6th September 2014

CT/AL-006 Serra da Salir QRV 1046z - 1145z

XYL Judy arriving on the summit of Serra da Salir

6 Km west of AL-007 Rocha da Penna (which I activated the previous day) is the AL-006 Serra da Salir. 

We drove to Salir and then took a rural road north to a road junction, parking on some rough land opposite a steep uphill earth track to the summit.  We walked 700m to reach the trig point in less than 20 minutes - the ascent was less than 200m. 

Operating on Serra da Salir AL-005
The huge trig point had steps fixed to the side and a pole integral with the top so there was no need to use a fishing pole to support the inverted vee. 

View over the town of Salir
Propagation was good and the weather was settled so an hour was spent on the air. I started on the 30m band and then worked up to 20m, finishing off on the 17m band before I closed down. 

Band - Mode (QSOs): 30m CW (8) 20m CW (24) 20m SSB (22) 17m CW (10) 17m SSB (7)
Total contacts: 71                           S2S QSOs = 3

Distance walked: 1400m with 190m ascent (both ways)

CT/AL-002 Serra do Caldeirao QRV 1336z - 1404z

After leaving Serra da Salir we went into Salir and found a cafe for some refreshments and then headed east to meet the main N2 old road which goes through the mountains eventually reaching Lisbon. The summit plateau is shown as Pelados on maps. I drove across it before I turned back to find a suitable operating position off the road that was away from several antenna installations and overhead power lines. This was where I ended up 50m off the road:

There was a fair amount of passing traffic and a few drivers blew their horns and gave me a wave as they passed, friendly people the Portuguese... Propagation was dissapointing - the HF bands had the "middle of the day blues" it seemed, so no pile ups and only 20 contacts resulted on all three bands used - 30/20/17m in both modes. The high point was working my friends Barry M0IML/P and Alan G4VPX/P on the highest English Mountain - Scafell Pike. Then Heinz HB9BCB/P was worked on HB/BE-102. 

CT/AL-002 - a "drive on" activation in the Algarve
I was wasting time calling CQ to no avail on 17 metres so after five short fruitless calls (that is usually my limit once I know I have been spotted on SOTAWatch) I packed up to head for the Baixo Alentejo Region and CT/BT-001 Serra de Mu...

The highest two summits in Algarve are "drive on activations" and so was BT-001, which was a half hours drive away and well worth activating. 

Band - Mode (QSOs): 30m CW (3) 20m CW (3) 20m SSB (9) 17m CW (5) 17m SSB (NIL)
Total contacts: 20                           S2S QSOs = 3

Distance walked: 100m with zero ascent (both ways)

CT/BT-001 Serra de Mu QRV 1505z - 1543z

I enjoyed the drive on the rural back roads to the wind farm with the large watchtower that is Serra de Mu. The Seat Ibiza we had hired was perfectly suited to our needs - it did well over 50 MPG.
The car parking area on CT/BT-001
There was a huge watchtower on the other side of the main road from where I parked the car - unfortunately I did not take a photo of that. From the car park I walked up a track for about 200m to the next wind turbine and set up my station beneath it. I know some operators have reported interference when operating in wind farms but so far I haven't experienced any.

CT/BT-001 operating position
Band conditions had now improved and I continued operating in the same vein - starting with Morse on 30m before moving up to the 20m and 17m bands. The same staions were coming back to me on every summit, the most prolific being Terry G0VWP, Roy G4SSH, Don G0RQL and Colin G4UXH (Now SK). I appreciated the following. It seemed that the daily alerts of my activity on the SOTA Reflector and Spots pages were helping progress to a full log book...
Band - Mode (QSOs): 30m CW (8) 20m CW (4) 20m SSB (NIL) 17m CW (6) 17m SSB (13)
Total contacts: 31          S2S QSOs = 1 (DH7FK/P DM/NS-170) 

Distance walked: 300m with 10m ascent (both ways)

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