Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Breamo: The best SOTA activation so far

Some months ago I tried to activate the summit of Breamo (EA1/CR-035) without much success. The day of Christmas Eve I went to try my antenna setup.

The day was special and the lace as well. The summit, which only has 1 point, turned out to be my best SOTA activation to date.

IZ2LRT/QRPp: 0.9 Watts

On Christmas Eve I went to the country to make some adjustments in my manpack radio. I resetted the memory of my antenna tuner and recorded new memories for the 2.9m whip I am currently using. This is the test QSO I made, on 20m SSB.

Before this QSO I had never heard of QRPp and later I realized it means lower power than QRP, with power outputs up to 1 Watt máximum. On this video, IZ2LRT is using only 0.9W. Outstanding!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pico Ribón II (EA1 LU-028)

On Christmas Day I went with EA1AQ to activate Pico Ribón (1051m) and I made 17 QSOs on 17m SSB. On this video you can see a sample.

As you can see, it was a very productive activation. Overall, I am very satisfied with the performance of my manpack.
Special thanks to HA7UG, DL3JPN, and all the other colleagues who are always ready to help with an activation.

United States from the summit of Formigueiros (EA1/LU-002)

This is a video of a QSO with American station K8CW from the summit of Formigueiros, for the Summits On The Air (SOTA) programme. That day I was accompanied by my friend Robi, who recorded the QSO.

The weather was good but it was starting to get colder, and this was a really good QSO. Just in time before the camcorder's battery died.

Pico Ribón (EA1/LU-028): Part I

This is the video of the approach to Pico Ribon (SOTA ref. EA1/LU-028) that I went to activate with EA1AQ on Christmas day.

The car left us very close to the summit, but the last 300m were very hard, because of the snow and the weight of the backpack radio (some 9kg overall). As you can see from the elevation profile, the final ascent had slopes of up to 40%. This also made it virtually impossible to stop for a rest until the summit was reached.
While on the way I was in contact by radio with EA1AQ, who stayed in the car. Although it was not necessary, we used the R5 repeater frequency because it also gave us the opportunity to keep in contact with other hams in the region.
To be continued...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Slovenia on 40m (S51MA)

Last week was very active as far as SOTA is concerned. On Tuesday I attempted the activation of Cedeira (EA1/CR-010) but I was not happy with the results because I arrived there too late, the propagation was not good, and it became dark and cold before I could make my needed four QSOs.

On my second attempt I focused on the 40m band because propagation was still terrible on higher bands. This QSO with Slovenian station S51MA shows that the short whip is also usable on that lower band with the FC-40 antenna tuner.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Scotland from the peak of Formigueiros

This is the video of a QSO with Scottish station 2M0ONW (operator: Kevin) on 20m SSB.

It was my second QSO from the peak of Formigueiros (SOTA ref. EA1/LU-002).

First QSO from Formigueiros (OE6ECG)

This is the first QSO I made from the peak of Formigueiros (SOTA ref. EA1/LU-002). It was a QSO with Austrian station OE6ECG on 20m SSB.

Mike (Michael in German) told me he has also been a SOTA activator in Austria, but mainly on VHF and UHF. This QSO was a very good start.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Formigueiros: Google Earth track

This is the track of our way to Formigueiros and back on Google Earth.
When you look at the elevation profile, it seems that we made some 2.5 extra kilometres because we walked to the summit of Teso das Papoulas before we found our way to Formigueiros.
Another thing that surprised me is the total ascent of nearly 500m.

Formigueiros Revenge: Part 1

As you may know from previous posts, we attempted the activation of Formigeiros some weeks ago without success. But this time we were better prepared...

As if it were not enough, we climbed another peak first (Teso das Papoulas) from which we saw the access to Formigueiros that we had missed when we passed by.
I was accompanied by my colleague Robi, with whom I exchanged backpacks from time to time to share the effort.

Monday, December 20, 2010

DL9KU on 40m from EA1/CR-010

This is another QSO from the summit called Cedeira (EA1/CR-010), also known as Alto do Castelo, on 40m SSB.

As you can see it was already getting dark, but this was my fourth QSO, which is the minimum necessary for a valid activation.
According to his QRz.com entry, DL9Ku is a great expeditioner, with operations from numerous places all around the word including South Africa, New Zealand and Antartica.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

EA5CC from Cedeira (EA1/CR-010)

This is another QSO from the summit of Cedeira (SOTA ref. EA1/CR-010) on 40m SSB.

I was standing by while EA1AQ and EA1LQ made the QSO from Alto do Anxelio, and then I made the QSO myself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Summit to summit from Cedeira (EA1/CR-010)

Yesterday I went for the second time to try the activation of Cedeira (EA1/CR-010). On this video you can see a couple of summit-to-summit QSOs on 20m SSB.

EA1AQ and EA1LQ were at a different peak not very far away called Alto do Anxelio (SOTA ref. EA1/CR-020) which I had already activated in the past with the help of José Luis (EA1HNP).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Transylvania (YO6OAF) on 15m

This is a video of a QSO with Romanian station YO6OAF (operator Bela, from Miercurea-Ciuc) on 15m SSB.

Miercurea-Ciuc is the county seat of Harghita County, Romania. It lies in the Székely Land, an ethno-cultural region in eastern Transylvania. The town is situated in the Olt River valley.
Miercurea-Ciuc was captured by Hungary between 1940 and 1944 as a result of the Second Vienna Diktat. In 1944, the Soviet Red Army captured the town. It became part of Romania again in 1945, a move confirmed by the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947. Between 1952-1960, the town was part of the Magyar Autonomous Region, later named the Mureş-Magyar Autonomous Region between 1960-1968. In 1968, Miercurea-Ciuc became the county seat of Harghita.
In the post-WWII period, the town was industrialized; among other projects, a tractor factory, a textile factory and, in the 1960s, a beer factory were built here. The Ciuc Beer products have gained an increasing popularity in Romania.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

United States from the summit of Pradairo (1029m)

This is the video of my QSO with Steve (N3EON) from the summit of Pradairo (EA1/LU-031) on 15m SSB.

That day I was accompanied by Ernesto (EA1LQ), who is currently the leading SOTA activator in Spain. As you can see from my GPS at the beginning of the video, we were operating from the summit, at an altitude of 1029m.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yaesu FT-857D manpack: Pedestrian mobile

This is a video of a first test of the FT-857D manpack on 6m SSB.

The battery I am using is home made from 11 rechargeable C-size NiMh batteries in series, for a nominal voltage of 13.2V and 4000mAh.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another QSO with IK0TRV

This is my QSO with Riccardo IK0TRV on 20m SSB using my FT-897 manpack.

The antenna I am currently using is 2.9m long and should be slightly more efficient thant the shorter 2.4m whip that I used before.

EA1LQ/P: From Pradairo to Monte Cassino

On this video you can see Ernesto (EA1LQ) making a QSO with Italian station IK0TRV (Riccardo) from near Monte Cassino.

The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the Battle for Cassino) was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.
In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans holding the Rapido, Liri and Garigliano valleys and certain surrounding peaks and ridges, together known as the Gustav Line. The Germans had not occupied the historic hilltop abbey of Monte Cassino, founded in AD 524 by Benedict of Nursia and which dominated the town of Cassino and the entrances to the Liri and Rapido valleys, although they manned defensive positions set into the steep slopes below the abbey walls.
On 15 February, the monastery, high on a peak overlooking the town of Cassino, was destroyed by 1,400 tons of bombs dropped by American bombers. The bombing was based on the fear that the abbey was being used as a lookout post for the German defenders (this position evolved over time to admit that German soldiers were not garrisoned there but that the risk of the monastery becoming occupied justified the action).
Two days after the bombing, German paratroopers took up positions in the ruins; the destruction caused by the bombing and the resulting jagged wasteland of rubble gave troops improved protection from air and artillery attack making it a more viable defensive position. From 17 January to 18 May, the Gustav defences were assaulted four times by Allied troops. For the last of these the Allies gathered 20 divisions for a major assault along a twenty mile front and drove the German defenders from their positions but at a high cost.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Canary Islands (EA8CBC) from Pradairo - EA1/LU-031

This is the video of my second QSO from Pradairo on the 20m band, with EA8CBC (Antonio) from the island of Tenerife. I was using my FT-897D with a 2.9m whip.

We started with the 20m band because we could not hear any stations on higher bands. The efficiency of the 2.9m antenna is not very high on that band but at least on this case propagation was more important than radiated power.

EA1LQ/P from Pradairo (EA1/LU-031)

Last Tuesday I went with Ernesto EA1LQ to activate the peak of Pradairo for the Summits on the Air programme (ref. EA1/LU-031). The height is 1029 metres, which means 4 points, plus a seasonal bonus of 3 points for the winter activation.

Ernesto is currently the leading SOTA activator not only in EA1, but also in the whole of Spain, with 13 summits and 38 points, followed by EE1URO with 4 activations and 26 points.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pendella (EA1/CR-002)

Yesterday EA1AQ (Juan) was activating the summit of Pendella (SOTA ref. EA1/CR-002) and we made a QSO with him on 2m FM.

The recording was made with Anca's photo camera, and she also made the QSO herself.

I was testing my new backpack project based on a Yaesu FT-857D.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Virginia (W4JTE)

This is a video of a QSO with W4JTE (Jack) on 15m SSB. W4TJE is now QRV from the blue ridge mountains in southwestern VA, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The elevation at the shack is 3000 feet with a nice take-off in most directions.

The last picture was taken in his woods by his motion activated wildlife camera. It is mama bear with her 3 cubs.

Formigueiros 4: Calling CQ

This is a video of the expedition to Formigueiros. I am calling CQ on 15m SSB.

The best from this video is the view from the peak.

EC1CW - EA1LQ: Lithuania (LY2PX)

This ia s video of two QSOs that I and Ernesto (EA1LQ) made with Lithuanian station LY2PX (operator: Willy from Vilnius) on 15m SSB.

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 (850,324 together with Vilnius County) as of 2010.
The city was first mentioned in written sources in 1323, when the Letters of Grand Duke Gediminas were sent to German cities inviting German members of the Jewish community to settle in the capital city, as well as to Pope John XXII. These letters contain the first unambiguous reference to Vilnius as the capital; Old Trakai Castle had been the earlier seat of the court of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to legend, Gediminas dreamt of an iron wolf howling on a hilltop and consulted a pagan priest for its interpretation. He was told: "What is destined for the ruler and the State of Lithuania, is thus: the Iron Wolf represents a castle and a city which will be established by you on this site.

Ukraine from Torres de Arneiro (UR7EP)

Yesterday we went to see the remains of the so-called Torres de Arneiro, which were erected by the Germans as a radio navigation aid on the Atlantic.

On this video I make a QSO with Yuri from Ukraine on 15m SSB using my Yaesu manpack with a 2.9m whip anttena.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Senegal (6V7Z)

I have just receive this very nice eQSL for a QSO with Senegal on the 15m band. 6V7Z is now back@home now and doing homework.
The operation took place between 8 and 18 November 2010 from Somone, about 80 km south of Dakar "Le Calao" (http://www.le-calao.com/).
The operators were Jo (DL4MAQ), Matt (DL5MFL), and Sven (DF9MV). The QSL-Manager is Fredy DE0MST (mor ederails on http://www.qrz.com/). These guys really know how how to choose their activations!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Formigueiros 3: Final ascent

On this video you can see the final ascent to the top, where we set up the station. This last stage was probably the hardest because it was steeper and there was a lot of ice and snow.

Here you can also see Anca (YO8SOY) carrying the radio and greeting fellow radio amateurs.

Formigueiros (EA1/LU-002): Part 2

I am afraid we don't have the video of how we managed to turn the car around, because at that time we were just thinking of finding a way to get back home safe.
After checking the way up and down we decided it was safer to go backwards to a slightly wider point and turn the car around over there. I was driving while Anca was giving me directions from outside.

After turning the car around, we decided to walk to the summit. As you can see, we were much happier now, but there was a long way to go...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Formigueiros (EA1/LU-002): Part 1

This is the video of the expedition to Formigueiros (1640m), an 8-point summit. As you can see on the video, we got into trouble. The main issue was that we went too far with the car. The way was more and more dangerous, narrow, with snow and ice, and a cliff on the left side.

Anca (YO8SOY), who was recording the video, did not realize the seriousness of the situation until she got off the car and saw the cliff... At this point the SOTA activation was the least important thing. Now the only objective was to get back home safe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nice eQSL from M0WGI

I have just received this nice eQSL from M0WGI, for a QSO on 40m SSB in January 2009.
I think I remember this QSO because I don't have so many on that band, and Steve had a distictive Asiatic accent. If I remenber right, I was in the car park by the Torre de Hercules on a very stormy day, and I was using a mobile D-Original DX-UHV antenna. EA1AQ was in his car with another mobile antenna similar to the Outbacker.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My fourth QSO from Chao da Poza (DL3JPN)

This is the video of my fourth QSO from Chao da Poza (EA1/LU-010) for the Summits On The Air (SOTA) programme, on 15m SSB.

The fourth QSO is always a happy QSO because that is the minimum required for a valid SOTA activation, and everything is easier after that.
DL3JPN (Steffen) is an avid SOTA chaser that has worked more than 5,000 activator to date, acording to data on http://sotadata.org.uk.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another QSO with the Czech Republic (OK2LDH)

This is the video of another QSO with the Czech Republic from Chao da Poza, SOTA reference EA1/LU-010.

Ludvik has already sent me a nice QSL card with a picture of the city of Olomouc. Olomouc (Czech pronunciation: [ˈolomou̯ts]) is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis of Moravia.
During teh Second World War most of the town's German residents sided with the Nazis and the German-run town council renamed the main square after Adolf Hitler. The Czech residents changed the name again after the town was liberated. When the retreating German army passed through Olomouc in the final weeks of the war they opened fire on the town's old astronomical clock, leaving only a few pieces (that can now be seen in the local museum). The one that can be seen today is a 1950s reconstruction and features a procession of proletarians rather than saints.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sultanate of Oman (A43ND/40)

This is a video of a QSO on 15m SSB with A43ND/40, a special event station celebrating the 40th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman.

The station was operated by Sami (A41OP) and the recording was made by Eric (EA1HTJ, ex EB1DNP).
In November 2010, The United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) listed Oman as the most-improved nation in last 40 years from among 135 countries worldwide.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Czech station from Chao da Poza (OK5RK)

This is yet another video with the Czech Republic (Karel, EA5RK) from Chao da Poza, SOTA reference EA1/LU-010.

I am looking forward to my next activation where I will have a chance to test my new slightly longer 2.9m whip.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Testing the FT-897D manpack

Today I have been testing my FT-897D manpack with the help of EA1AQ. The antenna was a 2.9m military whip for which I had to create a special mount with an M10 thread.

The QSO we were listening to was so long that we didn't have a chance of making a call...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Onother QSO with the Czech Republic from Chao da Poza

This is a video of a QSO with Czech station OK1SDE (Borek) from Liberec. It was my second QSO with the Czech Republic from Chao da Poza (SOTA reference EA1/LU-010). I was using my FT-897D on 15m SSB, with a 2.4m whip anttena.

Liberec is a city in the Czech Republic. Located on the Lusatian Neisse and surrounded by the Jizera Mountains and Ještěd-Kozákov Ridge, it is the fifth-largest city in the Czech Republic.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canada from Punta Fiateira Rear Lighthouse (VO1TX)

I have just received this nice eQSL for a QSO with Canadian station VO1TX on 20m SSB when I was activating Punta Fiateira Rear Lighthouse together with EA1HNP (José Luis). That was a short but very fruitful activation.
Christopher has been a licensed Radio Amateur since April 19, 2000 and he volunteers as a Certified District Emergency Coordinator( ARES) for The Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hungary (HA5CW)

I also made a QSO with HA5CW from Chao da Poza on the 15m band.

After my QSOs in SSB I tried CW for some minutes but I didn't have as much luck, probably because I had not announced that mode of operation in the SOTAwatch alert system. I didn't have much time either because we had to leave for Madrid.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Activating Chao da Poza II (EA1GIB)

This is a video of a QSO with EA1GIB from the summit Chao da Poza, SOTA reference EA1/LU-010.

The summit has an altitude of 1405m and an associated score of 6 points.

Chao da Poza (EA1/LU-010)

On this video I am setting up the station for my SOTA activation of Chao da Poza. The summit has an altitude of 1405m and is located on the border between the provinces of Lugo and Leon.

I was using my FT-897 with a 2.4m whip and an FC-40 automatic antenna tuner. The video was recorded by Anca (YO8SOY).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

OK2JUA (Czech Republic): SOTA Ref. EA1/LU-010

Last Thursday I activated SOTA summit EA1/LU010 (Chao da Poza). I made 7 QSOs on 15m SSB. The first on ewas with Czech station OK2JUA (operator Tony). You can see it on video here.

The weather was wonderful. Clear sky and a very nice temperature at 1400 metres of altiture.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Italy (IK2DZN)

I have just received this nice eQSL card from Italian station IK2DZN (operator: Claudio) for a QSO on the 15m band in July 2007.
Claudio has been Licensed Ham since February 1984: from 1984 to 1993, resident in the province of Bergamo and from 1994 to present, resident in the province of Milano.

United States (W2AJI) on 20m

This is a video of a QSO with American station W2AJI (operator: Mike) from North Carolina on 20m SSB. First licensed in 1961, this year marks 46 years of continuous operation of W2AJI.

Mike has been associated with the wire industry for over 39 years, involved in the production of conductors from copper and copper alloys, and currently is the General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Wheeler Industrial Corporation. Station equipment at W2AJI includes a Ten Tec Orion II with MC 60 microphone, Yaesu FT 1000MP Mark V with a MD-200 microphone, W2IHY EQPlus, and modified W2IHY noise gate, driving a Command Technologies HF 2500 or Alpha 76CA. Tower number 1 holds a five element 20 meter monoband yagi with a 44 foot boom at 75 feet. Tower number 2 holds a six element tri-band yagi with a 24 foot boom at 50 feet. Bases of the towers are 1025 feet asl. 20 meter SSB is the main mode of operation.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Canada (VE3UUH) on 15m SSB

This is a video of a QSO with Canadian station VE3UUH (operator: Bob) from Jasper, Ontario, SW of the capital city Ottawa, on the 15m band.

Bob has been licensed since 1992. He enjoys chasing the DX or a quality rag chew. He is a hobby musician. He plays the guitar, mostly rock, blues, Indie music. He also enjoys fishing, cottage life, life in general. He invites one and all to check out his music site at www.myspace.com/robcalver warning his music is not for the faint of heart!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Morocco by night on 20m SSB (CN8ZG)

This is a video of a QSO with Moroccan station CN8ZG (operator: Hassane) from Salé on 20m SSB. The QSO was made by night.

Salé (Berber: Sla / Sala, Arabic: سلا‎; from the Berber word asla, meaning "rock") is the twin city to Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Today it is home to approximately 500,000 people, mostly impoverished factory workers. It was once a self-contained, self-ruled Republic with international scope, situated on the mouth of the Bou Regreg river on the Atlantic coast.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Germany on 15m with my FT-897 manpack (DK1MHW)

This is a video of a QSO with German station DK1MHW (operator: Hans) on the 15m band, using my Yaesu FT-897D manpack with a 2.4m whip.

Today I received his eQSL as well. I hope he enjoys this video.
The trees in the background are laurel trees. Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub reaching 10–18 metres (33–59 ft) tall, native to the Mediterranean region.
Bay Laurel is the source of the bay leaves, which are used for their flavour in cooking. It was also the source of the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, and therefore the expression of "resting on one's laurels". A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo, and the laurel was one of his symbols ever since his unsuccessful pursuit of Daphne. In the Bible, the sweet-bay is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In Christianity, it symbolizes the Resurrection of Christ and the triumph of Humanity thereby. It is also the source of the word baccalaureate (laurel berry), and of poet laureate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zrenjanin radioclub (YU7AOP)

This is a video of a QSO with Zrenjanin Radioclub - YU7AOP (operator: Boris) on the 15m band. This is the second QSO I have made with this station in 2010. You can see a video of the other QSO here.

The radio club at Zrenjanin was established in May 1933, and was active from 1933 to 1941, but there was no activity during WWII. In 1949 amateur communication started to be more popular, so in 1951 the first radio station on short wave was aired for the first time. Its callsign was YU1ARO which is later substituted with YU1AOP. As of today both YU7AOP and YT7P are in use.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Activating SOTA EA1/CR-028 (Monte Francoi)

Today I went with Ernesto (EA1LQ) to activate Monte Francoi for the Summits On The Air programme. The summit was far away from the road so we had to carry the radios for half a mile or so, with spiny gorses and slopes up to 100 per cent. But in the end it paid, as you can see on this video featuring a QSO with EA8UP (Chano) from the Canary Islands:

We made five QSOs each on the 20-, 17- and 15-metre bands, with countries such as Italy, Germany, Greece and Israel.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

South Africa (ZS1AX)

This is a video of a QSo with South African station ZS1AX (Ben) on the 10m band.

The recording finished early because the camcorder run out of storage space.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Canary Islands on 12m (EA8CQW)

This is a video of a QSO with EA8CQW (Oscar) from the Canary Islands on the 12m band. It was raining in Tenerife.

Tenerife is known internationally as the "Island of Eternal Spring" (Isla de la Eterna Primavera).[37] The island, being on a latitude of the Sahara Desert, enjoys a warm climate year-round with an average of 20° - 22°C in the winter and 26° - 28°C in the summer and high sunshine totals. The moderate climate of Tenerife is controlled to a great extent by the tradewinds, whose humidity, principally, is condensed over the north and northeast of the island, creating cloud banks that range between 600 and 1,800 meters in height. The cold sea currents of the Canary Islands, also have a cooling effect on the coasts and its beaches and the topography of the landscape plays a role in climatic differences on the island with its many valleys.

Crete on 12m (SV9GPV)

Today the propagation was very good on the higher bands. This is a video of a QSO on the 12m band with SV9GPV from Crete.

Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization (circa 2700–1420 BCE), the first advanced civilization in Europe. The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it as "the first link in the European chain." The early inhabitants of Crete settled as early as 128,000 BC, during the Middle Paleolithic age. However it was not until 5000 BC that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared, marking the beginning of the civilization.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moscow on 15m (RK3BU)

This is a video of a QSO with RK3BU (Alex from Moscow) on the 15m band.

Alex has made a very interesting adaptation of a Yaesu FT-897 to accommodate 11 D-Size batteries.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Italy with the Clansman PRC-320

Today I was trying my Clansman PRC-320 with a random wire antenna and I made an interesting QSO with Italian station I1ASU/P.

The contact was valid for the Italian Castles Award with reference SV133. I checked it out and it corresponds to the Castle of Ortovero, a municipality in the province of Savona, region of Liguria.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dominican Republic: The country no. 71 (HI8LAM)

I have just received an eQSL from Dominican station HI8LAM (Operator: Luis) of a QSO on the 15m band when I was activating the Torre de Hercules lighthouse. This makes the country no. 71 validly confirme for my eDX100 award.
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 square kilometres (18,704 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people.
Christopher Columbus arrived on Hispaniola on December 5, 1492, during the first of his four voyages to America. He claimed the island for Spain and named it La Española. In 1496 Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother, built the city of Santo Domingo, Europe's first permanent settlement in the "New World". The Spaniards created a plantation economy on the island.[19] The colony was the springboard for the further Spanish conquest of America and for decades the headquarters of Spanish power in the hemisphere. Christopher was buried in Santo Domingo upon his death in 1506.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Activating Torre de Hercules lighthouse (SPA-276)

Today I was activating Torre de Hercules lighthouse on the 15-, 17- and 20-metre bands. I made a total of 26 QSOs, mainly with European stations.
The Tower of Hercules (Galician and Spanish: Torre de Hércules) is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the centre of A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain. The name of the town that hosts the lighthouse Corunna is said to be derived from the Latin columna, meaning "column". Until the 20th century, the tower itself was known as the "Farum Brigantium". The Latin word farum is derived from the Greek pharos for the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The structure is 55 metres (180 ft) tall and overlooks the North Atlantic coast of Spain. The structure, almost 1900 years old and rehabilitated in 1791, is the oldest Roman lighthouse still used as a lighthouse.
The Tower of Hercules is a National Monument of Spain, and since June, 27 2009 the Tower of Hercules is also considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3] It is the second tallest lighthouse in Spain, after the Faro de Chipiona.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Activating Punta Fiateira Rear lighthouse (SPA 293)

Last Friday I joined José Luis (EA1HNP) in the activation of a lighthouse in the vicinity of A Coruña.
It is called Punta Fiateira Rear and together with its Front counterpart (380m away) is used to indicate the entrance in the port of A Coruña.
I made 12 QSOs on 20m SSB, all of them with North America (the US and Canada) in just 15 minutes. This gave me 2 new validly confirmed states for my eWAS award.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eastern Sovereign Base Area, Cyprus (ZC4ESB)

This is a video of a QSO with ZC4ESB, which stands for the Eastern Sovereign Base area in Cyprus. The QSO was on the 15m band using my FT897D manpack with a 2.4m whip.

The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are two UK-administered areas on the island of Cyprus that comprise the Sovereign Base Areas military bases of the United Kingdom. The bases were retained by the UK following the granting of independence and the eventual transition of Cyprus from a crown colony to an independent sovereign state. The United Kingdom demanded and succeeded in continuing to occupy a portion of Cyprus in the form of military bases because of the strategic location of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea in pursuit of UK interests.
The bases are split into Akrotiri (Greek: Ακρωτήρι; Turkish: Agrotur, along with Episkopi Garrison, is part of an area known as the Western Sovereign Base Area or WSBA) and Dhekelia (Greek: Δεκέλεια; Turkish: Dikelya, along with Ayios Nikolaos, is part of the Eastern Sovereign Base Area or ESBA).

Friday, August 27, 2010


On this video Anca (YO8SOY) makes a QSO with the trainer of her Radioclub, Adrian Zait (YO8OW) on the 15m band.

She was very happy to have the opportunity to make a QSO with the trainer of the Radioclub Suceava, in her home town.

Propagation towards South America was not as good as before, but the conditions between Romania and Spain were excellent. The fact that Adi Zait (YO8OW) was running a kilowatt into a yagi beam also helped...

On this video I am celebrating the successful QSOs with our third operator Adi.

As you can see, he was also very happy for the QSOs...

Romania on 15m (YO8OW and YO8SXX)

This is a video of a QSO on the 15m band with Romanian station YO8OW from the city of Suceava.

Adi is a friend and it was great to be able to hear him so well in A Coruña. You can also hear another fellow ham from Suceava named Radu (YO8SXX).

On this video I went home and tuned him on my FT-990 with a Butternut HF6V antenna. It was only a couple of minutes from the car park to the home shack.

Great signal on the FT-990 as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ukraine (UT7UV)

This is a video of a QSo with Ukraine on the 15m band with my FT-897 manpack in my summer QTH.

I have made several QSOs with this Ukranian station in the past, always with good reports.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Croatia (9A3WL)

This is a video of a very nice QSO on the 17m band with Croatian station 9A3WL (operator: Milan).

I made this QSO on my summer QTH with 20W and a short whip antenna, whereas he had 300W and a yagi beam.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another English QSO from Alto do Anxelio

This another QSO from Alto do Anxelio.

After that we wanted to try some digital modes but we discovered tha my manpacks CAT port was already occupied by the antenna tuner, so we had to leave it for another occasion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breamo (EA1/CR-035)

The other day I went to Breamo (SOTA reference EA1/CR-035) to test the Yaesu manpack radio. Breamo is near my summer QTH so it was a quick trip that did not require much preparation.
On the first picture I was using the radio on VHF, and I made QSOs with Ernesto (EA1LQ) and Julio (EA1UP). I also tried the radio pedestrian mobile around the Breamo monastery.
As you can see, my second operator was preparing the HF whip antenna, a 2.4m whip of the Clansman series.
Later I also tried a 4m whip to see if I could get better results with Ernersto, but the truth is that things did not improve much. This summit is not very high, and there are lots of trees all around.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cyprus (5B4AIX)

This is a video of a QSO with Cypriot station 5B4AIX on the 15m band.

I was using a 2.4m whip of British military origin.

Alto do Anxelio (EA1/CR-020): G0VOF

This is a video of a QSO with English station G0VOF, when I was activation Alto do Anxelio on the 15m band.

This summit is worth two points for the SOTA awards.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sicily (IT9PQO)

This is a QSO with a Sicilian station IT9PQO (Tony) on the 17m band from my summer QTH.

I was using the 2.4m whip with my Yaesu manpack's internal antenna tuner.

Monte do Anxelio (EA1/CR-020): G3RMD

Yesterday I went with José Luis (EA1HNP) to activate Monte do Anxelio (SOTA ref. EA1/CR-020). This is a video of a QSO on the 15m band with English station G3RMD (operator: Frank).

You can also hear EA5HJO calling. After seeing the videos I noticed that he called several times. I hope I can make the QSO with him next time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moldova (ER3ZZ)

This is a video of a difficult QSO with the Republic of Moldova on 17m SSB. At a given point I decided to replace the 2.4m whip with a longer 4m whip to see if I could get though.

The effort paid off because this is not an easy DXCC entity to work, and despite the fact that I have worked Moldovan stations in the past, I still don't have that country confirmed for my eDX award.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greece (SV2MAP)

Yesterday I was on he countryside and I made several contacts with my Yaesu manpack. This one is with Greek station SV2MAP, from Ptolemaida, on the 17m band.

Ptolemaida (Greek: Πτολεμαΐδα, Ptolemaïda, Katharevousa: Πτολεμαΐς, Ptolemaïs) is a city in Northern Greece. It lies in the prefecture of Kozani, which is part of the periphery of West Macedonia. It is known for its coal (lignite) mines and its power stations.
According to archaeologists, the Ptolemaida region has been occupied since 6000 BCE. Prehistoric jewelry found in Ptolemaida. Archaeologists, in November 2005, discovered the remains of two farming villages dating back to the Neolithic period. A press report notes that such farming villages were trading centres and had a "developed knowledge of metalworking".
A golden necklace dating to roughly 4500 BCE was discovered on February 16, 2006. Associated Press reporter Costas Kantouris describes the item as a "flat, roughly ring-shaped [which] probably had religious significance and would have been worn on a necklace by a prominent member of society."
Lately in the lake Zazari near Ptolemaida there were found 16 houses that belong in the Neolithic era due to archaaeologists. These houses were in the lake and were exposed because of the decreased water level of the lake. That particular small settlement gives information about the society and the people in the Neolithic era.

Striving for the fourth QSO from Monte de Oural

The SOTA rules require a minimum of four QSOs for the activation of any given summit. On this video you can see the drama of having only three and having to leave. On the video you can also hear Indian station VU2PAI.

But after the timely intervention of Ernesto (EA1LQ) we managed to save the day with a couple of QSOs on 20m with nearby colleagues. This is me in QSO with EA1PX and EA1UP.

And this is José Luis (EA1HNP) working the same stations with the assistance of his second operator Luca.

With our four QSOs on the log we were able to return home with another valid activation, and a lot of excuses to give for being late...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Portugal on 20m with the FT-897 manpack

This is another video of a QSO with Portugal on the 20m band using a 4m whip.

I still don't have Portugal validly confirmed on eQSL so these are potential new countries for my eDX diploma.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

EA1FAU: The SOTA-chaser

This is a vide of a QSO with Marcos (EA1FAU), our third station worked from Monte de Oural (SOTA ref. EA1/CR-018), on 14342.5 SSB, the HFpack frequency on the 20m band.

Marcos has been there to make the QSO on every expedition so I think he will be soon on the SOTA Chaser Roll of Honour.

Portugal (CR6M) on 20m

This is a video of a quick QSO with Portuguese special event station CR6M on the 20m band.

I made this QSO last Thursday in preparation for the activation of Monte de Oural. As you can see on the video, I am not using the 2.4m whip this time but a longer 4m whip.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Second QSO from Oural: EA1GIB on 17m

The second QSO we made from Monte de Oural was with EA1GIB, Manuel, from Vilagarcía de Arousa. This was a real surprise because he is in another province and we had not arranged a sked with him. In fact, I was the first time we met him.

We were already using the 4m whip from the East German army, which should be a great improvement as comparad to the shorter whip.

Monte de Oural: EA1/CR-018

Yesterday I went to activate Monte de Oural (SOTA reference EA1/CR-018) with José Luis EA1HNP, and this is the video of the first QSO from up there:

It was a 2m FM QSO with Ernesto (EA1LQ), who is always there to help with the activations. We had already contacted him on our way to the summit, so he was standing by on our usual 2m frequency.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Germany on 17m (DL5XAT)

This is a video of a QSO on the 17m band using my FT-897 manpack with a 2.4m whip and the FC-40 antenna tuner.

That day I was also using several solar panels making a total of 37W. When I started operating the batteries were completely empty and at the end of the day they were full. I even disconnected the panels at some point because I was afraid they would overcharge the beteries.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My fourth QSO from Pendella (France - F/G4CAF)

The activation of a summit for the SOTA programme requires the completion of at leat four QSOs. Sometimes this is not possible and the expeditioners have to go down and leave the activation for a later date.
I my case the weather was becoming very ugly, as you will see on the video, so I decided to move to the HF bands in order to get my desired fourth QSO, and this is what I found:

A nice QSO with Dave, who was operating as F/G4CAF from Cerizay, on the Atlantic coast of France. Thank you dave for the cherished fourth.
Cerizay is a commune in the Deux-Sèvres department in the Poitou-Charentes region in western France.
The name Cerizay probably originated during the closing centuries of the Roman occupation. During the Middle Ages the old town centre was situated beside a feudal castle. The last two towers of the castle, along with its 12th century chapel, were destroyed when the present (rather flamboyant) church was constructed in 1890.
The automotive coachbuilder firm Heuliez has its main production plant on the outskirts of the town. They have been involved in the production of various niche models for French car manufacturers. The firm currently construct the roof module for the Peugeot 206CC and build the Vauxhall/Opel Tigra Twin Top.

Some eQSLs for my collection

Today I made several QSOs on the 6m band and I have already received this beautiful card from Belgian station ON7KC.
I also made QSOs on that band with Denmark (5P1DX), Germany (DL1JEK) and Scotland (MM0TFU), and some others on 10m (Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands), 12m (France) and 15m (Italy), using a 4m whip with the Yaesu FC-40 antenna tuner.
I also received another nice eQSL from Brazilian station PY2VM (operator: Carlos) for a QSO on the 17m band.
I also made a QSO this evening on the 15m band with a German amateur who was on holiday in Goiania, Brazil. I was on the car park of a German supermarket (Lidl) where I bought some NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More SOTA contacts in 2m FM

In this video you can see our second QSO from Pendella, on 2m FM, with EA1TF (Juan).

Ernesto (EA1LQ) was joking about the fact that his summit (Cova da Serpe, EA1/LU-046) was worth 4 points, double as ours, because it was above 800m of height (ours was little over 730).
On this other video I make contact with José Luis (EA1HNP), who was activating Breamo (EA1/CR-035).

He asked us about where we would have lunch and how long we would stay...

My first SOTA activation (Pendella)

This is a video of my first Summits On The Air activetion, from the summit of Pendella (EA1/CR-002).

On the video you can also see EA1AQ. We both made QSOs with Ernesto (EA1LQ) who was activating SOTA reference EA1/LU-046.

Friday, July 30, 2010

SOTA Activation: Cova da Serpe (Snake's Cave)

My friend Ernesto (EA1LQ) has been from the beginning one of the main promoters of the SOTA programme in the North West of Spain (EA1). Next Sunday 1 August nearly 200 peaks will qualify for SOTA activation and Ernesto is getting ready to activate Cova da Serpe, a summit in the nearby province of Lugo, above 800m and thus worth 4 points for scoring purposes.
Ernesto has sent me some pictures of the material he has been preparing for his expedition, where he intends to use two dipoles for the 20m and 40m bands. On the first picture you can see the dipole junction he has prepared for this expedition and on the second picture you can see the mast and mount he will use to elevate the centre of the dipole.
The SOTA programme does not allow contacts from motor vehicles or the use of fossile fuels as a source of power for the rigs, which adds to the challenge of getting to the summits.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Switzerland on 12m with the FT-897 manpack

This is a video of a QSO with Swiss station HB9BTI (Peter) on the 12m band, using the same 2.4m whip of British origin.

On this video the ATU box is painted all black because I was not convinced by the finish of the paint I used for the camo version.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

AO7ISH with the FT-897D manpack

This is a video of a QSO with AO7ISH (Francisco) from Huelva using my Yaesu FT-897D manpack. AO is a special event prefix authorized to EA stations to celebrate the Spanish victory of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This day I was testing a 13W briefcase solar generator from the Chinese manufacturer Topsolar. In following videos I will show some tests with the two additional panels, making a total of 37W.

Germany (DJ3HJ)

I have just received this nice eQSL card from German station DJ3HJ (operator: Rudi) from Breisach, for a QSO on the 17m band using my Yaesu FT-897D manpack radio.
Breisach is a town with approximately 16,500 inhabitants, situated along the Rhine in the Rhine Valley, in the district Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about halfway between Freiburg and Colmar—20 kilometers away from each—and about 60 kilometers north of Basel near Kaiserstuhl. A bridge leads over the Rhine to Neuf-Brisach, Alsace.
Its name is Celtic and means breakwater. The root Breis can also be found in the French word briser meaning to break. The hill, on which Breisach came into existence was—at least when there was a flood—in the middle of the Rhine until the Rhine was straightened by the engineer Johann Gottfried Tulla in the 19th century, thus breaking its surge.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting ready for SOTA

We are approaching 1 August, the day the Summits On The Air (SOTA) programme will start in EA1 (Spain - North West). There are nearly 200 references in four regions that will be valid from next Sunday, 1 August, and other regions that will follow shortly (hopefully).
I plan on going to EA1/CR-002 (Pendella) and be active on 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m, 10m and 6m as propagation conditions permit, both on SSB and CW. You may check the HFpack calling frequencies:

  • 14342.5
  • 18157.5
  • 21437.5
  • 24977.5
  • 28327.5
  • 50162.5

I may also try some 2m FM frequencies in order to be in contact with other activators and the fellows back home, such as 145375.

Friday, July 23, 2010

70th Anniversary of the clandestine crossings from Bretagne to England (TM70TC)

This is a QSO with French special event station TM70TC using my FT-857D with a 4m whip and an FC-40 antenna tuner.

The callsign commemorates the 70th anniversary of the clandestine crossings from the French Bretagne into England.
After the call of 18 June, 1940, many men from the island of Sein departed, from June 26, on boats to the English coast of Cornwall to continue the fight against totalitarianism. One of those boats took the same route 70 years later.
Ham radio from Finistère (ED REF-29) wanted to join in this tribute and remember the work in the dark and danger of all radio operators in the Resistance to ensure contact between London and the internal forces. Many of them were arrested and lost their lives.
For this reason, on land, the special callsign TM70TC was active from 26 June to 10 July. At sea, MM station on board the Coronasia will be active during the journey into Cornwall with callsign TM70SN.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CW with an FT-897D Solar

On this video you can see a test of the Yaesu FT-897D manpack in CW on the 15m band. The manpack is operated by EA1AQ (Juan) in a QSO with German station DF2DM (operator: Bodo).

This is a great rig for CW, with its internal keyer and DBF filter. The CW paddle is made in Romania by a fellow radio amateur.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Carary Islands on 6m (EA8AQV)

This is a video of a QSO with EA8AQV on the 6m band, with my FT-897D and a 2.4m whip.

It took me until the end of the QSO to copy his complete callsign. However, in the recording you can gear it clearly from the beginning. This is probably due to ambient noise. I think that some kind of headset would help.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Canary Islands (EA8CEQ)

This is a video of a QSO with EA8CEQ (Manuel) from La Palma in the Canary Islands.

I promised him I would post this video to show how well his signals arrive in A Coruña.

FT-897D Solar - Faro de Cacilhas (CR5FC)

This is a video of a QSO with Portuguese special event station CR5FC from Faro de Cacilhas, operated by the Portuguese Navy's radio amateur group.

In this video we were operating an FT-897D with a 13W solar generator that helped extend the duration of the internal batteries. The power was 20W and the antenna was a 2.4m whip.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Solar powered FT-897D

This is a video of some tests with my FT-897D manpack in the following configuration:
  • 2.4m whip
  • FC-40 antenna tuner
  • Internal batteries
  • 13W suitcase solar generator

On this video I make a QSO with English station M0UOO/P (Richard) operating from the beach in Southampton.

The solar generator produced just enough energy to keep the battery's charge. I also had it connected to the radio for 15 minutes after I had finished operating (with the radio switched off) so I think that the batteries were fuller at the end of the day than when I started.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yaesu FT-897D Camo

This is my FT-897D with some camo paint. I am not entirely convinced about the final result, but I wanted to show you my version of camo stripes. I think this is not bad for a first test.
I will probably end up painting evarything black, but I will use another type of black paint (water based) that has a less shiny finish than this one, and also dries faster.

Zebra stripes

It was previously believed that zebras were white animals with black stripes, since some zebras have white underbellies. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal's background color is dark and the white stripes and bellies are additions.[1]
The stripes are typically vertical on the head, neck, forequarters, and main body, with horizontal stripes at the rear and on the legs of the animal. The "zebra crossing" is named after the zebra's black and white stripes.
It has been suggested that the stripes serve as visual cues and identification.[1] With each striping pattern unique to each individual, zebras can recognize one another by their stripes.
Others believe that the stripes act as a camouflage mechanism. This is accomplished in several ways. First, the vertical striping helps the zebra hide in grass. While seeming absurd at first glance, considering that grass is neither white nor black, it is supposed to be effective against the zebra's main predator, the lion, which is color blind. Theoretically, a zebra standing still in tall grass may not be noticed at all by a lion. Additionally, since zebras are herd animals, the stripes may help to confuse predators - a number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack.[4] A herd of zebras scattering to avoid a predator will also represent to that predator a confused mass of vertical stripes travelling in multiple directions, making it difficult for the predator to track an individual visually as it separates from its herdmates, although biologists have never observed lions appearing confused by zebra stripes.
A more recent theory, supported by experiment, posits that the disruptive colouration is also an effective means of confusing the visual system of the blood-sucking tsetse fly.[5] Alternative theories include that the stripes coincide with fat patterning beneath the skin, serving as a thermoregulatory mechanism for the zebra, and that wounds sustained disrupt the striping pattern to clearly indicate the fitness of the animal to potential mates.

Germany (DO1KRT)

This is a video of a QSO with German station DO1KRT (operator: Ralf).

DO1KRT always has a good signal, even when propagation is not good. This was probably the second QSO I had made with this station in the past month.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Operation as AN1CW

Yesterday I started operating as AN1CW. The use of special prefixes AM, AN and AO has been allowed to Spanish radio amateurs from 12 to 31 July in celebration of the Spanish victory at the FIFA World Cup that took place in South Africa.
My first QSO was on the 20m band with German station DL6SDI/P, who was operating from his father's (DL5PR, SK) QTH in Altenkirchen, near Cologne. Dieter was using an IC706Mk2 with a 3-element tri-band beam.
Today I also made a QSO with Portuguese station CT1EHI (operator: Marcos) from Faro. I don't have this country confirmed on eQSL yet, but I think I'll have to wait because Marcos doesn't use the system very much. It is funny that after 70 countries confirmed I still haven't got Portugal.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Melilla (EA9IB)

This is a video of a quick QSO with EA9IB (Pedro) from Melilla.

Melilla was a Phoenician and later Punic establishment under the name of Rusadir. Later it became a part of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana. As centuries passed, it went through Vandal, Byzantine and Hispano-Visigothic hands. The political history is similar to that of towns in the region of the Moroccan Rif and southern Spain. Local rule passed through Amazigh, Phoenician, Punic, Roman, Ummayyad, Idrisid, Hammudid, Almoravid, Almohad, Marinid, and then Wattasid rulers. Melilla was part of the Kingdom of Fez when The Catholic Monarchs (Spanish: los Reyes Católicos) Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon requested Juan Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, known as Guzmán el Bueno, the 3rd Duke of Medina Sidonia to take the city.
The duke sent Pedro Estopiñán who conquered the city virtually without a fight in 1497[2], a few years after (1492) Castile had taken control of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, the last remnant of Al-Andalus.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FT-897 Portable

Here is a picture of the Yaesu FT-897 with the FC-40 antenna tuner attached. This tuner is suitable for long wire and whip antennas.
On the pic you can see the aluminum box painted with white multipurpose primer. I haven't decided yet the colour of the final paint. The main candidates are olive green, black, o a combination of both.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Worked All Continents (WAC) certificate

I have just received my Worked All Continents certificate in the Phone modality. I made my application though the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC).
In recognition of international two-way amateur radio communication, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) issues Worked-All-Continents certificates to amateur radio stations of the world.
Qualification for the WAC award is based on an examination by the International Secretariat, or a member-society, of the IARU of QSL cards that the applicant has received from other amateur stations in each of the six continental areas of the world. All contacts must be made from the same country or separate territory within the same continental area of the world.