Sunday, 17 March 2019

SOTA Holiday in Porto - CT/MN-033 & MN-047

After a 2nd day sightseeing in Porto on the hop on-hop off yellow bus, day 3 of our holiday took us away from the city to the historical centre of Guimaraes in the CT/MN (Minho) region.
A cobbled street leads into the square in Guimaraes where we had lunch
A study of the SOTA Mapping Project showed two easy drive on summits in the area. So after a tour around the Paco dos Duques de Braganza (Palace) in Guimaraes we endeavoured to find the twisty lane which left the town and went up the hill to Penha Park (CT/MN-033) pictured here from the town:
We found the lane, however it was a no entry / one way lane, so a satnav reset was needed. TomTom took us via the main road through Mesao Frio to reach the Park. It was Sunday and busy with people and cars everywhere. Penha Park is a popular place at the weekend. We parked a little way down from the top car park and walked through the gardens and the enormous rocks which are a natural feature of the park. 
Around 10m down from the top car park we came across a moss covered stone table and seat near the path, which was not too busy with passing people, just the occasional person who seemed disinterested in my activities on the radio. The 5m pole was trussed against a tree, my link dipole was erected and I was on the 20m band once again:
CT1ETE Paulo was my first contact and he was 599++. I discovered in QSO that Paulo lives just a few miles from the summit! 31 EU QSOs were made on 20m and just two more to finish on 30m. This included a summit to summit contact to Slovenia with Marko S57MS/P on S5/RG-014 Ledenik. I closed down after 25 minutes of activity and we went for refreshments. There was a large church here and this impressive carved stone monument:
Penha is best avoided on the weekends, it was too busy for us in the park so we sought out a cafe later on our way to MN-047. The park was rammed with people and vehicles driving around, looking for parking places. In retrospect I would have preferred to go during the week... 

So with the SatNav reset to 41.405N 8.344W (near Serzedelo) we drove around 10 miles. On the way we spotted a lovely cafe and pulled in for cake, tea and a comfort break before proceeding up the cobble road to the Senhora dos Montes summit car parking place near the top of MN-047 which was another SOTA Complete for me. A stone table was again found with a bench around 10m down from the top, and this is from where I operated, with XYL Judy continuing reading her book:
There was a comms installation on the summit and a few buildings, including a chapel. Condx were below average I thought, and once again USA stations were not in evidence. As the 10 MHz band dried up and I had a little time left I ventured on to 7 MHz SSB for the first time on the trip and picked up my friend Terry G0VWP in York along with Paulo CT1ETE again and regular Chaser Manuel EA2DT. The activation was finished with a 40m Morse contact with Karel ON4FI who I met in 2018 at the Ham Radio Expo in Friedrichshafen. 
With sunset approaching on CT/MN-047 I was already thinking about tomorrows early morning activation of CT/DL-003 near Porto

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