SOTA 2014, to summarize

Well, It's time for 2014 to go. This last date uses to be a good one to look back and see the big picture.Having started my SOTA activity on the late 2013, 2014 has been the first full year I've dedicated to this hobby (hobbies must be said, as radio and hiking came together).

61 activations from EA2, EA1 and F/PO Associations, 2713 QSOs, 49 DXCC worked and a handful of nice EU-VK SOTA to SOTA QSOs made this year deserve the time and energy invested. (Thank you, Ian VK5CZ)

EA2/BI-061 Tontorramendi, last 2014 activation

Today I had again the pleasure of making a new activation with my fellow friend Marcial EA2BDS. It was Tontorramendi EA2/BI-061, a low summit just on the border between Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, very close to the coast and near the fisher village of Ondarroa.



Como hay gente que se queja de que toda la documentación del diploma SOTA esta en inglés, y esto puede ser un impedimento grave para algunos a la hora de participar, he creado una nueva pagina , http://ea2sota.wordpress.com donde intentare ir traduciendo algunos de los contenidos que considero interesantes para los participantes actuales o futuros en el programa SOTA.

New address of the Euskal Herriko Mendiak Award "mendiak.eus"

Once the first level domain name (TLD) .EUS has been agreeded by IANA for web sites from the Basque Country, our site has been migrated to the new address: http://www.mendiak.eus

From now, the contact e-mail address will also change to mendiak@mendiak.eus. So, please update your bookmarks! 

A "news" section, and a new link from every summit to its MENDIKAT http://www.mendikat.net info page have been added as well. This web site is one of the best I've ever seen about mountaineering, although it has only information about basque summits and some other iberian mountains. 

The links between every summit and its mendikat reference was a hard work made by Marcial EA2BDS. 

73 and good SOTAs de Mikel! 
Euskal Herriko Mendiak - Mountains of the Basque Country 


Propuesta modificacion catalogo SOTA EA2

Bueno, despues de unas semanitas de trabajo, ya está listo el borrador de los cambios propuestos al catalogo SOTA de cumbres de la asociacion EA2, regiones BI, VI, NA, y SS.

Se lo he remitido ya a los managers de la asociacion, Iñaki EA2CTB e Iñaki EA2CIA, para su revision, y si asi lo estiman, remision al MT de SOTA para la modificacion del catalogo.


Urregarai EA2/BI-031 26/10/2014

These days we have been suffering the effects of a big sun flare (Sunspot 2192) that has affected seriously the propagation, making the normal conditions change. In a minute the bands are opened or closed, with 28 Mhz being quiet active. Even more, last weekend was the CQ WW SSB contest, making the phone sections of the bands almost unuseable for SOTA activities.

Despite all this, and being not totally recovered of my arm surgery, we chose Urregarai EA2/BI-031 as our sunday target.


Dos Hermanas EA2/NV-131 2014-10-04

Following the route to achieve a new level , "Haize" (wind) of the Basque Mountains award as activator, and at the same time, paying a visit to my sister who lives in Navarre, I've planned a new trip to that region.

In order to make the "Haize" level, you need to activate 5 summits on 4 territoires. I've already worked the necessary summits on Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Araba, having only 2 on Navarre. (I need three more there)


2014-09-28 Lemoatxa EA2/BI-063. EA2BDS' First QSO S2S with VK

Yesterday, sunday 28/9/2014, was a good SOTA'ing day. As rain, winds, and probably storms were forecasted, we -Marcial EAS2BDS and me- decided to go to Lemoatxa EA2/BI063. This summit is almost a "ride-to-top" summit, with only 250 m walk from the parking lot and 60 m below the summit. This allowed us to carry the "heavy guns", our biggest antennas and even a camping table and chairs with little effort. It has also another advantage. On the very summit, there is a small forest-chapel that provides shelter on windy or rainy days.  It is also at 30 min. from our QTHs only.


EA2/BI-025 Untzueta

first slopes
Yesterday, after several weeks without activity, Marcial EA2BDS and me returned to the mountain. The one selected was Mt. Untzueta, near Orozko (Bizkaia). We went a bit late on the afternoon, as it was impossible to hike on the morning, and started the trip at 18:00 local (16:00 z). Unfortunately, we are suffering the highest temperatures of this summer, and we started the hike with about 36ºC and 80% humidity. Not best conditions for SOTA.

I was carrying the basic equipment, FT-817, telescopic antenna for HF, LiFePo battery and some water.


Mountain Hunter Platinum achieved

Just yesterday I received from Barry GM4TOE the SOTA certificate Mountain Hunter Platinum level, which means having made contacts with activators on 20 different associations (2 qsos on each one) and at  least on 3 different continents. The best of this is that I made all of them while being activating summits, so they are all summit to summit (S2S for short) QSOs.


SOTA EA2/BI-051 Ganeroitz, and 3K chaser points

good day for hiking
Today, early in the morning,  Marcial EA2BDS and me were ready to make another brief activation on Mt Ganeroitz 561 m), and 16 km from Bilbao. We both were busy after noon, so we met at 06:30 EA beside my home to begin the short trip. After arrival, 1,5 km approach (30 min) was necessary to reach the summit.


Santa Cruz EA2/VI-051 a small jewel

Hi everybody!
the "horse" beside the road once all dismounted
Today severe storms (yellow danger level) with all sort of rays, thunders, hail, etc were announced. Just like yesterday. What a weekend! Actually, yesterday the storms distribution was inequal, and while at Bilbao just some rain drops falled, just 30 km away golf balls sized hail were suffered!. I didn't want to take the risk.


A new S2S with VK5CZ and Mountain Hunter Platinum achieved!

Today "Big gun" activation: 25watts and full size dipole!
Yesterday Ian VK5CZ announced that today wednesday 18/6/14 he was going to activate Mt Jay South, VK5/NE-047 around 06:30 UTC. I needed one more summit on VK5 to try to complete the association to reach the platinum level of the Mountain Hunter SOTA award. To get it, you must work 20 or more associations (two summits on each one) and in 3 continents at least. I already had EU, AF, just 1 S2S QSO with NA, and 2 S2S QSO with VK, but in different associations. My goal was to get it using summit to summit QSOs only.


EA2/BI-055 Mad morning! S2S with VK/PB2T/p

The setup: FT-857 and linked dipole on 9 m. fishing rod
Today, friday 2014-06-13, I would activate EA2/BI-055 Ganguren, near Bilbao, trying to make a summit to summit QSO with Hans who was as VK/PB2T/P at VK4/SE-112 Beerburrum. Yesterday night I set the FT-857 -for having a bit more power than with the FT-817- the linked dipole and the 8.2Ah LiFePo4, ready to give its juice.


SOTA Trip to EA1: 7-8/6/2014 First VK-EA S2S QSO.

This weekend I wanted to do some SOTA on the near regions EA1/BU and EA1/CT, as there are some summits that, given their height, are more valuable than ours. It's not easy to find 6 points summits on the EA2 association (although you go to the Pirinees or longer trips). However, the EA1 regions of Burgos and Cantabria have several 6 or more points summits closer to Bilbao.

So, after some preparation, I decided to activate the following summits. None of them has TV or GSM repeaters, so the RF noise is usually low:
  • EA1/CT-049 (Cañoneros)
  • EA1/BU-016 (Picon Blanco)
  • EA1/BU-050 (Otero Mayor)   


SOTA & Dinosaurs EA1/LR-039 and EA1/SO-010

This weekend, as we hadn't any plans for sure, I decided to make a short "raid" around our vecinity regions of La Rioja (EA1/LR) and Soria (EA1/SO) new for me.

To make it more interesting for my son Oier, we organized at the same time a visit to the exposition of "ichnites" -dinosaur footprints- quite abundant at La Rioja (which is already famous around the world because of its wines).


SOTA EA2/BI-055 Ganguren fast & wet activation

2 photo composition to see the antenna
Today we were going to have here at Bilbao a small window of sun from 07:00 to 10:00 UT between last two rainy days. Thus, I decided to continue my norcal doublet tests making a quick activation in our "local" SOTA summit, Ganguren, just 5 km from Bilbao, and pretty easy to hike. 

I arrived by motorbike to the zone under the rain as I did the short ascension. Then I must wait for half an hour to the rain to calm down enough to start the setup. 

It was 07:20 when finally I was able to start transmitting. 4 minutes later I heard VK2IO calling on 14 Mhz (Gerard, believe me, this time the antenna was well oriented, but the condx seemed not to be the best..) making a poor RR339-RS559 on my side. 

After some CW and SSB QSO's with the unconditional week chasers and some band changes, I caught a short SE on 24 mhz, being able to listen and work some EU stations, and listening -only- 9G5ZZ and Z21GF. 

Today odd thing was making 4 QSOs, in no more than 1 hour, with Jan OK2PDT on 10,14,24 and 28 Mhz! thanks a lot for your reports, Jan! 

BUS (Basic Underwater System)
Regarding the norcal doublet antenna, using the elecraft T1 tuner was not any trouble fitting it perfectly on all worked bands. How it performs, may be answered after some more tests. But in any case, being under the large golf umbrella I bought for these rainy days, is pretty much easier to make band changes than while using the linked dipole, reducing the risk of wetting the equipment as well.

73 de Mikel (not yet octopus but starting to develope gills)


SOTA EA2/VI-060 Luxamendi

Beautiful sight from the summit
Here we are again! A new SOTA summit for me, and in CW for all as well. 

After the "La Vida" EA1/CT-098 early morning experience, having made 2 VK QSO with such a small antenna (just an 1.5 m telescopic one), I wanted to try another early activation, now in better conditions.

I chose Luxamendi, near Laudio in Araba, because it is relatively easy, never activated nor HF neither CW, and was a new one for me. 

Wheather predictions expected rain around 11:00 local (09:00 UT), so it would be a fast one. 

Despite going by motorcycle -around 54 km from home- I carried a new 6 meter fiber fishing pole, that later I will use as home antenna. It is about 1.45 m length, and not too easy to carry on the bike, but I managed to do it well enough.

Also, yesterday evening, I had prepared a new antenna for testing. No comparision could be made with previous activations, as propagation makes always his work introducing unexpected variables. 

It was the light norcal doublet, made with computer ribbon, as described by KI6DS at http://www.norcalqrp.org/norcaldoublet.htm It cost me no more than two hours to prepare the 4 wires ribbon , the 4:1 balun, and 2 meters RG-174 wire to connect the Elecraft T1 ant. tuner later. 
Here is the system schematics:

Equipment used

Finally, today morning, I arrived at the summit at 08:15 UT, after leaving the motorbike on a near country house, where the owner was so kind to allow me to leave it on a small shelter aside the main house. So, later, and despite of the rain, I found it pretty dry. As it was the bike jacket which I left at the same place (~2 kg less to carry up!)

At the beginning was no wind, so I could set the antenna up quite easily. Just after tuning it on 14 mhz. (pretty fast with the elecraft, which seemed to be a little surprised by the new norcal) I heard Patricio EA2EX who was activating a near one. Fine signals on both sides! It might be success! A couple of minutes later, 2 S2S QSO's more, this time with Michael GW0HIO and Klaus DF2GN. The signals were not the best, but nice enough to make a total of 7 S2S along the activation.

At 07:11 UT came my first dx, with Joao CU3AA from Azores (14 mhz CW) with 599/599 pretty strong signals. Later, at 08:00 UT, I made a new QSO with Gerard VK2IO, 559 sent, 339 received. So the antenna was making its work, at least to jump out of EU with the usual 9-10 watts. 

Around 08:15 UT, the clouds were appearing from the north, and it was clear that they were carrying rain, which could be easily be seen. So, a handful of SSB QSOs later, and with the wind becoming stronger by minutes, I decided to make a quick retreat. I phoned Patricio who was already under the rain. This put me wings and I ran mountain down (well, ran...) towards the country house,  just a 20 min descent, at my average "water-coming" emergency speed. 

So, a bit wet after arriving, I ended the activation. More tests must be made to the norcal to see if it can replace the old and reliable linked dipole. 

More to come ;-)

Download the GPX track file

73 de Mikel EA2CW


"La Vida" (Life) EA1/CT-098, an odd activation.

Today was a really odd activation. It might be a short one, as I might later go to work. I didn't know the route, as it was going to be my first EA1/CT region activation. It would be no matter with summit height (an impressive 264 m), and just about 200 m to hike, after leaving the motorbike parked. I need also to make it short as some rain was announced, and I didn't want to go back home on the bike (54 km) under the water. 

Carrying the 9m mast on the bike is quite problematic. So, I decided to use, by first time a vertical portable antenna (SPX-100) ( +- 1,5 m telescopic and coil). I want to test it as an alternative to the 20 m. length switched dipole, but I didn't expect brilliant results, being used to the "real/royal" one.

The summit name could give me some clues: "La Vida" (Life) made me expect something special. As always is with the new ones, I tried some paths, choosing at last a short one that leaved me at 10 m. from the summit. It was the access to a water depot (which later brought me some odd sounds, imagine...)

Unfortunately, the area is surrounded by a metallic fence that would act as a perfect Faraday cage for my small antenna & power. So, I chose to put the FT-817 on top of one of the posts (just 15x15cm area), cw keyer on top of the xmitter, LiFePo4 on the side (red plastic box), and the watch, pencil and notebook hanging.

On the other side, I was able to connect my three 5 m radials to the wire fence, so it made a very good counterpoise, I think. The bad side was that this position kept me standing up all the activation long.

But finally "The Life" deserved it! An early start gave me QSOs not only with some well known EU chasers, but also with Rhett VK3GHZ and Gerard VK2IO, and few minutes later with John N4DSP. Not bad for "so big" antenna... I guess the activator's high performance level had something to do with it ;-)

Perhaps some of you have noticed the long lapse between calls and being answered, or the bad keying. Well, it was really tricky to (without my 8 needed hands) manage the keyer, notebook, pencil, etc. That was a bit better later on SSB.

So, final results were: 41 QSO's, no S2S, 3 continents (AU, EU and NA) .
Rig: FT-817ND @ 10 watts, Vertical portable antenna SPX-100, 8 Ah LiFePo4 battery and homebrew CW keyer (need to improve it)

73 de Mikel (still needing some more arms/hands)


Easter short trip around Euskal Herria

Even the weather was not the best, and being with my son this week, we decided to make a 3-4 days trip around Euskal Herria.

Our goals: activate some SOTA summits valid for the Euskal Herriko Mendiak award, visit the Eureka Science Museum at Donostia-San Sebastian, and pay a short visit to my sister and nephews at Allo, Nafarroa.

That was the plan. So, on tuesday 22th,  we rented a small car (as I have just my motorbike, and my son is already too young to share it with) and started our trip towards Donostia.

Mr. Einstein preparing the SOTA log
As we planned, we spent all day at Eureka! Science Museum. This is mainly oriented for the young people to experiment with many phenomenae of the nature (weight, electricity, gravity, fluids, sensorial perceptions, and so.) and its aim is to be accesible to them. They can see, touch, smell, hear, anything. This focus generates a lot of questions too... but it well deserves a day-long visit.

Jaizkibel Mt.

I have expected that perhaps, after the visit, we would have some time to activate Jaizkibel EA2/SS-047 at Lezo, about 20 km. from Donostia, but at last, we have so many work at the museum, (plus a last hour visit to the planetarium) that it was imposible.  I was only able to have at sight from our hotel, an ancient forest house today turned onto a cheap and well managed hotel.

Next day, wednesday, we aimed to activate a long waited one, Larhun (La Rhune, Larrun) double referenced as F/PO-212 and EA2/NV-118, near Askain, between Lapurdi and Nafarroa. So, we followed our route through Gipuzkoa to Urruña, Askain, finally arriving to the "Col of Saint Ignace", where a small mountain train carries you to the very summit in a 30' trip across beautiful first Pyrenees, close to the Biscay Bay.

As there were a lot of tourists from France (on holidays onthese days) we had to wait more than one hour to take the train.
Down on the starting station, the sun was shining and the temperature nice, but as we started the climb, the weather was rapidly getting worse.
Once at the summit, we made out from the AZ while watching the amazing views around. Not during too much time, as a dense fog and some suspicious clouds were carried by a pretty strong wind from the west. So, while Oier was researching around the zone, I mounted quickly the rig, and started operating. First the F/PO reference, no more than 30 min. and the EA2/NV, this last only during 10 min. The rain had already started, and the temp was going low.

At the summit of Larhun, before starting activation
On the other hand, I had to "suffer" a lot of people looking at "that strange man, conected to some king of rig, aside a fishing pole, shouting no-sense words to a microphone, or even worse, padding ... God knows what!". I felt like a monkey at the zoo...

After the descent, now really cold, and eating some sandwiches, we headed to Nafarroa,not without a planned stop at the gardens of Bertiz (at Oieregi).
On the first 1900s a man who went to "the Americas"  to "make fortune" came back and spent most of the money earned on building a small palace and a garden, having specimens for a lot of countries from all the world. After his death, all was donated to the Nafarroa people for their enjoyment. Nowadays, it receives a lot of tourist, and it's very well set to that.

Monjardin Castle
After that, we arrived to Estella Lizarra, and spent the night. Thursday morning, we met my sister and her two sons, Ibon (10) and Peio (9), at Allo, where they live.
After the meet, we all went to Villamayor de Monjardin, at about 20km, to make the second activation, the Castle of Monjardin, EA2/NV-121. It was a 2 km path from the village to the summit, quite easy, but with the weather turning stormy again.
We reached the castle (unfortunately closed) in half an hour, and, while the children started remembering old fights, I set up quick all the equipment. Just it was time enough to make a dozen of QSOs when the rain started, and as the youngest couldn't play anymore, the activation was ended quite fast.

So back to my sister's home, where we spent two days more, and back to Bilbao. (2 h). I think that, despite of the bad weather we both have reached our targets.  Now, we'll just wait to the next holidays to calm the SOTA fever with the motors started...

 73 de Mikel EA2CW


A special sunday / Un domingo especial

Yesterday, sunday, was something special. At Gorbeia massif we met a good group of "soters", both activators and hunters. On Saturday, at the summit Gorbea EA2/VI-001 the 300 activations of Javi EB2FDT were celebrated, although they hadn't very good weather. Just watch the photos...


Later on sunday, Marcial EA2BDS, myself and our two kids, Carla and Oier, after spending some time with Jose Luis EB2JU at Pagomakurre and just glancing Antonio EA2AG and Javi, headed to Lekanda EA2/BI-003 where we arrived after some hard hike. Meanwhile, Javi , Soraya , Begoña and Antonio activated Murga EA2/BI-042.

The weather was splendid and the sun accompanied us all day . Being with the children, and as the summit was small and they could not run up and down, we made a short and 144 mhz only activation, leaving the HF and telegraphy for another day.

Anyway, we had still the pleasure of doing FM S2S QSOs with dear people like Iñaki EB2GKK activating Marinda EA2/VI-031 and Guru EA2IF in Gaztelu EA2/NV-099. Then, some eating at the summit and started the way down.

Again in Pagomakurre we joined the rest of the group, Javi , Antonio, Jose Luis , Soraya and Bego to have a nice talking about SOTA. Below is photo of the group
We also made the "papers" for Jose Luis' Euskal Herriko Mendiak award "Galtzagorri Haize", who had tons of QSOs made! This man is the Basque N4EX !

One more SOTA fine day!

73 de Mikel

Ayer domingo fue un dia especial. Coincidimos en el macizo del Gorbea un buen grupo de "soteros", activadores y cazadores.

El sabado, se celebraron, en la cumbre del Gorbeia (EA2/VI-001) las 300 activaciones de Javi EB2FDT, aunque no tuvieron muy buen tiempo. No hay mas que ver las fotos:

Ya el domingo Marcial EA2BDS , yo y nuestros dos crios, Carla y Oier, despues de estar un momento en Pagomakurre con Jose Luis EB2JU y ver de refilon a Antonio EA2AG y Javi, enfilamos hacia el Lekanda EA2/BI-003 a donde llegamos tras una buena caminata. Mientras tanto, Javi, Soraya, Begoña y Antonio activaron el Murga EA2/BI-042 (la activacion 301 para Javi!).

El tiempo estuvo esplendido y el sol nos acompaño toda la jornada. Como estabamos con los enanos, y la cumbre era pequeña y no podian campar a sus anchas, hicimos solamente 2 metros, dejando la HF y la telegrafia para otro dia.

Aun asi tuvimos el placer de hacer qso S2S en FM con gente tan querida como Iñaki EB2GKK activando el Marinda EA2/VI-031 y Guru EA2IF en el Gaztelu EA2/NV-099. Comimos en la cumbre y para abajo.

Nuevamente en Pagomakurre nos unimos ya a la charla con todo el resto del grupo Javi, Antonio, Jose Luis, Soraya y Bego, y nos hartamos a hablar de SOTA. Aqui teneis la foto del grupo:

Tambien hicimos los "papeles" para el diploma Galtzagorri Haize de Jose Luis, al que le sobraban QSOs a espuertas! Este hombre es el N4EX de Euskal Herria!
Un buen dia sotero mas!
73 de Mikel


It is to be proud

Today I was analisying the SOTA activating work I've made since october 2013 using the amazing tools at http://tools.adventureradio.de
The data in graphic format was enough to be proud of the activity made until today.
These numbers were achieved with just 10 watts and a linked dipole or HWEF.  From the summits. Just it. Here you have the results:

Map of the countries worked from summits

List of countries and # of QSOs for a total of +1300
I have not done anything special, nor have any special hability. Just take your radio, a piece of wire, a CW keyer, and go to the mountains, you will enjoy it for sure!


Murugain SOTA EA2/SS-030 VHF S2S Day

Today was a nice day for "sotting" at the Basque Country. Marcial was again riding the world, and in these days I am trying to achieve my first level Basajaun certificate. (I'll publish more about the new Basque Country Summits on the Air new award). I need already two more summits from Gipuzkoa, +-100 km far from Bilbao. So I chose a summit not too high and near the border between Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa  (Here you can see the trip)
So, I set up my motorcycle as usual, carrying the light rig, that is: FT-817ND, LiFePO4 12v 8Ah, 10 mtrs wire, 3,5 fishing pole and Fusch kit QRP antenna tunner. It was one hour trip going not too fast, as there were a lot of people cycling on this roads at weekends.
Udalatx from Murugain
After a coffe and some advise from people of Aretxabaleta, I managed to find the route and a couple of km ahead, I started walking up to Murugain EA2/SS-030. As usual the mountains looked amazing, in this I had at sight Udalatx, with its impressive stone walls (perhaps some day I'll try to hike it up,mmm...)
Even better, despite the weather predictions, the sun was heating pretty well, with no trace of clouds, and only a light wind at the summit. 

In these optimal condx, just after arrival, I quickly set up the FT-817 and its rubber antenna to find the 144 mhz full of avid activators, from 145.475 up to 145.575mhz

I finally managed to contact with 8 of them across 4 EA2 territories:
  • Iratxe EA2DNO & Alberto EA2DCA at Montejurra EA2/NV-090
  • Antonio EC2AG at Altun EA2/BI-026
  • Juan Carlos EA2EEB at Larrunarri EA2/SS-002
  • Alberto EA2DYS and Roberto EA2DXY at EA2/NV-015
  • Iñigo EA2CQ at Orisol EA2/VI-014 (he was with Cruz EA2EBX but I couldn't contact him)
  • Salvador EA2OX at Eretza EA2/BI-016
I don't know if there were more people up over there, but it was definitely the best 144 mhz day I've enjoyed untill today.

Then I use the iron cross on the summit to tie the "short" 10 m wire to make some HF CW. A fast passing thru by 10 and 18 mhz, as my antenna was not very well fitted, gave me 20-25 QSO's more, including several old known ones as Tonnie PA9CW (nice to meet you again!) Roy G4SSH (twice) and the "always-in-the-front-line" Rick N4EX.

In the meanwhile, I met Carlos EB2CZT from Legutio, who was enjoying the beautiful day with his wife, and we had the chance of chatting about... radio, of course!

73 de Mikel EA2CW
Euskal Herriko Mendiak


Intxorta EA2/BI-028: A new one on a fine day

Raul, Mikel & Marcial at Intxorta Summit
As Antonio EC2AG said, today was a 1st class day for sotting at the Basque Country. After a couple of weeks in which we have had only rainy and windy days, today we have not only enjoyed a truly summer day, with abt 20 deg. C. and sun, but also some beautiful experiences.

First of all, Marcial EA2BDS, Oier, my 9 y.o. boy (no callsign yet) and me, were joint by Raul EA2DPA, for his first SOTA activation after more than one year "activator holidays". So we were able to cover 3 bands at the same time, mostly 10, 14 and 24 mhz. We've had place enough to mount 3  full size dipoles, running 3 CW HF rigs as well. The landscape was amazing too, with more than 10 sota summits at sight under the noon light.

Secondly, I was using by the first time my new 2nd hand FT-857 and LiFePO4 8ah batteries (1st hand) and they both have performed very well.

Anboto EA2/BI-002 and  Mugarra EA2/BI-013. Such a beautiful landscape from Intxorta!
At the summit we have got the visit of a group of children from a near ikastola (basque school), more than ... well they moved too fast to count them... but a lot of! Belong theier parents was Roberto EA2AF, from Elgoibar (EA2/SS) and he was carrying a 144mhz talkie, so, after a short chatting, we "compelled" him to use his equipment to activate the summit too... "I have no paper,... no writting machine,.." excuses were fast avoided and we made him ready to the action. So he hadn't any chance, and made his work!.

There you can see Marcial EA2BDS under his new linked dipole while operating
Despite the large number of small people running thru the summit, they didn't "hurt" our preciate dipoles. Even more, I had a group on my side, listening quite serious and interested while I was making CW QSO's on 10Mhz. Later came some explanations (where is your keyer? not this even saw blades you are using? In which language do you all speak while CWing? How do you know which country are the people from) and a hundred more questions. 

Finally, and even with all this entertainment, I has been able to make 89 QSOs, 11 of them S2S, reaching 2K chaser points, and 330 S2S points to become at the first place at all EA CW S2S. 

So I can properly say that today has been a good SOTA day for all of us, but specially for me!

Thank you very much to all the people (a lot of them!) hiking the summits as to all the sloths enjoying the day from home and keeping a short time to "make my day" (as Clint Eastwood said).

73 de Mikel


Berreaga SOTA EA2/BI-062

Today I was alone. No son (Oier), no mate (Marcial). So, it was the day to make a new SOTA alone. That mean I might use the motorbike to move.. Unfortunately, bad weather was predicted. 

Anyway, thinking on something easy enough, not far from Bilbao, I chose Berreaga, a 364 m. high summit very close to Bilbao. Nice road, and short path (just half an hour) to climb. And a new one for me. 

I thought it was full of trees, so I prepared just my basic sota pack. FT-817, CW keyer, mike (that thing that I normaly use to tune the antenna), 7ah plumb batt, 8 m. long wire and Fusch tuner. Enough to be on the air from 10 to 24 mhz. I didn't know there was a nice CW contest... Thank we already have WARC bands to live!

The 85 y.o. man and his son on the hide box
All set up. I was on biker dresses soon. Just 30 min later, I was at the last houses before the path begins. This was not exactly where my GPS said to be, but close enough to gain the summit. Well, both summits. eh... where is the mountaineer box? No trace!

More that 20 min later and already on the search, I met a group that, apparently knew where it was. Thanks God! was pretty well hidden between trees, and 10 min away from the path, normally used to cross along some more summits near. The group was great, a couple (of 85 and 82 y.o.) and his son (in his 40s...) The couple had been done 85% of the summits of Bizkaia, and only have pending 20 summits of all Euskal Herria to hike! (of more than 400, up to 2500 m!) So nice history! 

Well, some photos, and quick setup for 144 mhz. I was able to make S2S with Antonio EC2AG/1 from Burgos, and a handful of locals with the 817 rubber antenna.

Then, I started to setup the hf wire, at a small clear zone, by throwing a piece of rope over the trees until I had the antenna almost vertical. 

The funny thing was that weather predictions were absolutly wrong. No trace of clouds, and due to the dense forest, any wind. I think I were at more than 16-18 deg. That's comfort!

Bike clothes are not the best for hiking!
Peacefuly, I made some QSO's on 10 mhz, with no strong signals, where I met Marcial EA2BDS/1, who has the opportunity of activating a never activated before summit at Burgos, Mirador EA1/BU-075. This has been my first S2S with him, as we usually do SOTA together.

Later, I noticed that there were no choice of using 14 mhz. Was full of contesters. No place for poor QRP SOTA stations today...

So, I drive slowly to 24 mhz. Very fast QSB and weird propagation... just on the same minute I made QSO with Matt VK2DAG and another station from 9A... 

And the clouds started appearing... So I decided to dismount the rig, as I might walk the path down and take the bike back to Bilbao hopping not to be caught by the rain on the trip. It was time to left!.
Operating positon, not very large, but warm!

Just another funny SOTA day (except for the search of the "lost" summit!)

73 de Mikel EA2CW

SOTA EA2/BI-064 Malmasin

Ganguren  Malmasindik ikusita

Joan den igandean, pentsatu gabe, eta azken momentutan, Oier -semea- eta biok, erabaki genuen SOTA "relampago" bat antolatzea. Marcial ez zegoen Bilbon, beraz garraio publikoak erabili behar genuen.

Bilbao alboan, oso mendi txiki eta ezezagun bat badaukagu. Malmasin. Denok barrutik (autobideko tunelenik) zeharkatzen gara, baina gutxiok igo gara gora.

Basauriraino heldu ginen metroz. Basozelai futbol-zelaitik hasten zen bidea. Igoera ez zen batere gogorra edo luzea, baina lokatzaz beteta zegoen.

Gero, gailurrean, konturatu ginen oso txikia zela, eta hf antena ipintzeko lekurik ez zegoela. Horregatik, eta haize eta hotz handia izateagatik, bakarrik 2metroko talkia erabili genuen QSOak egiteko.

Nahiz eta mendi txiki bat izan, oso ondo ikusten da Ganguren, beste Bilboko aldeko SOTA mendia.

Zorionez, Iñaki, EB2GKK, Lekandan zebilen, eta Oierrek berarekin bere lehen Sota To Sota QSO egin zuen. Gero, bakarrik lau QSO gehiago, eta nola ez, handik zegoen txakurrekin jolastu ondoren, behera!

Azkenean, beste bide berritik itzultzea erabaki genuen. Gure asmoa, La Peña auzora joateko zen, baina bidaia eder bat egin ondoren, Boluetan amaitu genuen... Hau nekea!

Beti bezala, ondo pasatu genuen, mendietan eta irratizaleekin ibiltzeagataik!
Hurrengo arte!


SOTA EA2/BI-033 Sollube

As today Marcial EA2BDS was not able to make any SOTA activity due to family matters, I finally decided going "soting" alone. Yesterday it was the opposite, I was enjoying my 9 years old son's handball match (he won! at last) and I could not follow Marcial to the mountains.
So, not to soon in the morning (it was 09:30 UT while I started the trip), I ran my motorbike to Sollube, a beautiful summit not far from Bermeo, one of the nicests fishermen village in Bizkaia. Weather was not announced to be rainy, but It was pretty cold on the motorbike!. I reached the summit (there is a road just to the top),  took my backpack and left the activation zone to reenter by foot. A few hikers were coming and going, while setting the rig.
When doing it, I noticed that I'd carried, not the 8.2 m wire which I planned to use with my 3,6m fishing rod, but the big one (22m) that I normaly set up with the 9m pole! Well, there was not chance, so I set it on the small rod, and only 3-4 m high. I hope It would be enough to make some QSOs...
Due to the presence of a large TV and FM radio repeater, I soon discovered that 10, 15, and 20 m bands would be unuseable, so I started on 30m making some QSOs along Europe.
Later, being already a bit cold, I QSYd to 24 Mhz, to validate the summit for the challenge. So, I was so lucky to be found by our favourite VK operator, Matt VK2DAG who -I think- has worked almost all EA2 SOTA activators!. Thank you for giving me a new DXCC SOTA country!
I was able to work also ZP as new country and a lot of old SOTA friends as N4EX (always on the battle) N1EU, N7UN and several NA all-time-there chasers.
It was a sunny day, and I'd the chance of enjoying the views of the mountains, Bilbao Port and the coast, but at last, I couldn't follow operating CW as my fingers started to freeze, so after a couple of calls on SSB, I packed it all, and went back to Bilbao (40 min away) to meet Marcial for a short coffe.
So, a new summit for me, not very good as by the RF noise, but a new fine SOTA day.
73 de Mikel

Rig.: FT-817 (8w), CW & SSB
Ant: 20 m EFLW with Fusch tuner
QSOs: 38
Bands: 24, 14 and 10 Mhz
S2S: na
Countries wkd: 18. CT, DA, EA, G, HA, HB, I, LA, OE, OH, ON, PA, SM, SP, VK, K, KP4, ZP.
Continents: NA, SA, EU, OC
Longest QSO: VK2DAG 17532.4 km


EA2/BI-057 Ereñozar, first QSO with ZL QRP in SOTA!

Today has been a beautiful day, anysense!

beautiful view of the Cantabric Sea from the summit

After a couple of weeks in which it hasn't been possible due to our different work schedules, I met my old friend Marcial EA2BDS to make a new SOTA activation. That could be enough...

Later, while at the summit, we have received the visit of Dani EA2DFG, (he will be involved as our next victim onto SOTA fever, for sure!).

We chose EA2/BI-057 as heavy rains were announced, and there is a small forest-chapel that allowed us to cover out from moist and rain.

BUT, having had already the pleasure of working new and old friends (Hi, Iñaki, Tonnie, Juerg, Roy, and so many others...!) and after having Marcial worked VK again, I had the day "cherry of the cake" (as it's said here):

My first QSO with ZL, when Simon ZL4PLM, has been so kind to call me -on 10 Mhz!- while I was working with a simple inv. V dipole and FT-817 giving aprox 8 watts...

This was a clear case in which HE worked me ;-) as I was on the EU pile-up when he came with more than 579/589 sigs.

So, today has been a beautiful day, indeed!

73 de Mikel
Simon was so fast and kind that, when arriving home, I already had his e-QSL!

DATE: 2014-01-19
REF: EA2/BI-057
QSOs: 97 (FM:4, CW: 67, SSB: 26)
S2S QSOs: 6.
COUNTRIES: 26. (CT3, DL, EA, EA8, EU, F, G, GI, GM, GW, HA, HB9, I, LA, LY, OE, OH, OK, OM, ON, PA, S5, SP, W, YO, ZL)
LONGEST QSO: ZL4PLM, 10 MHZ, 20,370 km