Tuesday, 12 January 2016

SOTA in the Estremadura Region of Portugal - Day Two

I left my hotel at  0730 a.m. and made my way north out of Lisbon up the A8 Motorway. It was Tuesday, my second day of three and my plan was to activate four summits. I had arranged to meet David Quental CT1DRB on my second summit of CT/ES-004, and I was hopeful that I could make an S2S contact with David from ES-007 before I joined him on ES-004. 

CT/ES-007 Serra do Socorro

This summit is accessible by car, so I drove up there and walked the final metres to the summit operating position. This is how the Serra do Socorro looked from below as I approached:

The buildings on the summit form a chapel (and I heard from my CT friends - a restaurant). It was a good road to the top, no problem for my Fiat Punto hire car.  I set up the antenna against an information sign:

I enjoyed really good views from ES-007, north to ES-001 where I activated the previous day. I also took this photograph of a housing settlement below me. This looks like lines of newly built terraced houses in the countryside. I think the houses may have been built near to a golf course as I can make out some sandy bunkers in the photo. This illustrates how different planning policy for housing differs between the the UK and Portugal...
The slightly hazy view north to ES-001 from ES-007
The lines of quite new terraced homes seen below from ES-007

After 37 contacts on HF in around half an hour (My friend Nick G4OOE in Scarborough was the first station logged) I packed up the station and had a walk around the buildings on the summit. Whilst strolling round I called CT1DRB on 2m FM with my handheld. David came straight back to me from CT/ES-004 and we had a summit to summit contact. After that I made off for ES-004 to activate it on HF alongside David for a SOTA Complete!

CT/ES-004 Monte Manique

The top of Monte Manique looks interesting, even from a distance. The summit houses a small scale wind farm and an ornamental house behind locked gates. On my arrival I greeted David CT1DRB at the gates which are within the activation drop zone of 25m. We both set up separate HF stations 25m apart.  David using his Elecraft KX-3 and me with my Yaesu FT-817. David took care of 20m CW and I looked after the 30m CW and 20m SSB bands. Here are two pictures of the KX-3 in use and the internals:

Between us we shared 32 contacts. 30m CW was all but closed so I made two contacts there with DL3HXX and DL1FU before moving to 20m SSB. Here is a photo of David activating on 20m CW using a dipole on a 7m high pole:

I was careful on all my activations in Portugal to orientate my dipole east  - west so as to ensure the maximum signal strength was directed due north to my friends back home in the UK, and it paid off as this example from my log shows:

CT/ES-006 Monte de Santa Eulalia

We both drove our cars to the village of Covas de Ferro and turned left on entering the village up a tarmac road leading to a villa where there was room to park both cars. From here a walk of less than 1 Km took us to the summit of Monte de Santa Eulalia CT/ES-006. Here I am having just arrived on the summit:

The partly felled, partly wooded summit is home to a small scale comms installation. I operated around 50m away from David who sat by the old bent mast:

Conditions in the middle of the day were fairly poor on 20m and 30m and we only mustered 26 contacts between us. Back to the car then it was - to eat our lunch before proceeding to the delightful Monte do Alquidao, ES-005. 

CT/ES-005 Monte de Alqueidao

We had around a 30 minute drive from ES-006 and then a pleasant short walk from the car park on a track and footpath took us to the observation tower on Monte de Alqueidao. This was another of the most elevated hills in the area that served as one of the telegraph alerting stations during Napoleon's invasion of Portugal. Here are photos of the observation tower with my 5m travel pole mounted on top, the route taken and my station on top of the platform - a comfortable position to operate from:

I set up my station on top of the platform, whilst David CT1DRB used the height of the platform to mount his 20m dipole as a sloper, with him sitting on the ground below. We made 27 contacts. 
 A day to remember for G4OBK and CT1DRB - last summit of four for me - CT/ES-005
David suggested we enjoy a little hospitality before we said goodbyes. Indeed, what a brilliant idea and so we found a little cafe (the Portuguese equivalent of an English "Village Pub") a short distance away on the main road at the bottom of the hill, where we enjoyed a small beer and a local delicacy - saying our farewells before heading back to Lisbon on the motorway...

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