Like a frog in a church! Monte Sameiro, CT/MN-035

March 29th, 2016

After my work duties, the bug attacked: I’m near by a SOTA summit, so I must activate it.

This summit is a Catholic Sanctuary: The Lady of Sameiro (Senhora do Sameiro).

Its the first activation of this summit.

Despite the heavy rain (worst than the previous day) I decided to go.

XYL asked: Do you have a fun in such a bad weather ?

The answer is yes!
With proper equipment it’s possible to have fun in such rough conditions (50 km/h gusts, pouring rain).
Actually I do not remember to drive for 3.5 hours in Portugal without a glimpse of the sun. This is the first time in 30+ years of driving!

In the AZ I found a small cafe with a fair porch.
It’s closed, a big parking lot is between the main road and the building, so it’s perfect for the job!

The rain never stopped, so I had to erect the antenna under the rain.

I looked into the Sanctuary from my location.
I feel like a frog in the church. 😦 😦 😦
Wet, potholes around my op position, mist, nature and 2 small cats staring at me.


I tried to erect my antena ASAP and just after that I manage to do 10 QSOs.
The first and only on the 40 m band and all the other ones on the 20 m band.
It took me 12 min to complete 9 QSOs.
All CW QSOs.

I’m improving… 🙂

I tried to listen to Gerald F6HBI, which are activacting F/AM-313 with a Pixie transceiver but I had no sucess. To much QRM and lots of stations calling around Gerald’s frequency.
It would be nice if we managed to do a S2S QSO!

After I realized by Gerald’s post at Sota Reflector that the Pixie is a little bit deaf (malfunction). Next time!


The Wx conditions were very bad and I fled from there just after the last call of the pile-up.

The car (and XYL) are on the road (50 m away) so it took little time to get there.

Even so, I was soaked when I enter the car to start driving back.

All the equipment (rig. morse key, antenna wire, feeder, etc) was dried at home.

I will try to be back in summer, knowing that this place is prone to huge crowds. 😦

Spring “winter” activation – CT/BA-018, Serra do Ladário

Sunday March 27th, 2016, morning

This summit is located nearby A25 (highway) so it’s easy to get there.

The climb is easy by a dirt track.

The views should be great but spring was a little bit rough on that day… 😦

When I arrived to the summit the Wx is windy and cold but bearable (5C inside the shelter)

The first difficulty was my lack of glasses (i need them to have a clear view of the log, not to see in the distance…). I monted everything and when I entered my shelter I didn’t have the glasses…A moment of deep breath….Let’s rock and roll without them…
“we will see”…

Then, the Wx became rough. A cloud engolfed the summit and the rain set in.
Also, some fog. The temp drop to 5C.

I started calling on 40 m. Silence. Repeated the call several times but no answer…

On the 20 m band, the propagation conditions are better.
After 2 calls RBNHole spot me and the pile-up started…

19 QSOs in 34min (0914z to 0948z).
Wow, I’m improving my deficient pile-up management! 🙂

After those 19 QSO in a row, the pile-up dried and I decided to pack and leave the summit.

On my way back, the glasses are in the dirt track, calmly waiting for me!… 🙂


CU/SM-005 Pico das Éguas. Azores wx…

On March 16th, 2016, on the afternoon , I activated the Sota ref CU/SM-005, Pico das Éguas.

This “Pico” (“peak” in Portuguese) is near some of beautiful landscapes of S. Miguel Island: Protected Landscape of the Sete Cidades Lake!
Some trails are in the vicinity of this one. All of them has magnificent views!

But the wx is tricky sometimes. This is the case.
A white fog cover all the landscape… To do the trail we must rely in our navigational skills and I wouldn’t advise someone to get in to the trail in such conditions.
But I’m there, my navigational skills are good, so I decide to go for it.

It was just a quick activation because the fog combined with the wind was uncomfortable.
Nobody was seen in the trail. I guess why…

I use the same radio set as before (CU/SM-004)

It’s second real hard experience with the MTR-3B and the trapped dipole antenna, made with pico traps, from Sotabeams. I used 8 AAA rechargeable NiMH 2450 mA batteries.

It work flawless!

I made 9 QSO in 34 min and…Ran away from there. Too cold and wet!

Thanks to all chasers. 🙂


From the car park to the trail



Windy, foggy, sunny S. Miguel Isl. CU/SM-004, Pico Bartolomeu

On March 16th, 2016, early in the morning, I activated the Sota ref CU/SM-004, Pico Bartolomeu.

The Azores Isl are beautiful, but been located in the middle of the Atlantic are subject to severe storms.

More than that, they are prone to quick weather change.

People use to say: In the Azores we have the 4 seasons in the same day!

And that’s true. 🙂

My pocket station

It’s my first real hard experience with the MTR-3B and the trapped dipole antenna, made with pico traps, from Sotabeams.

I used 8 AAA rechargeable NiMH 2450 mA batteries.

It work flawless!


15 QSO in 37 minutes, all 20 m band.

The short time on the summit was because of work and rough Wx.

Tnx fer all chasers!


Weather on the summit


On the descent





Cold and sunny. 2m disaster! CT/BA-002, Serra do Caramulo

The activation of CT/BA-002, Serra do Caramulo, happened on the morning of March 6th.

I get up early morning and by 9AM I parked the car at base of the mountain. The temp was 2 C. So I could expect some negative temperatures at the summit.

A nice walk took me to the summit. On the way to the top it was possible to see the outcome of the forest fires that ravaged the area last summer. Lots of burned trees, like masts, rising to the sky…That’s not a beautiful sight! 😦

The landscape at the summit is very nice. The view is awesome both north and south.
To the west is possible to have a glimpse of the atlantic shoreline.

The summit was icy but no rain: Sometimes a sun ray…
It’s winter time. That’s why we got bonus points!…

After choosing an old metal frame to attach the fishing pole, I take the end fed to the best anchor point that was possible to use: A rock beneath my position, almost out of the AZ!…

The end fed antenna worked flawlessly and 11 QSOs were made in the 40 m band, starting at 0947Z.

Some usual chasers showed up after spotting. Jose Carlos, CS7AFI, QRP, was one of the pleasant’s QSO. Weak and loud ! 🙂

At 1007Z QSY to 20m. Another 11 QSO in a row. The log includes 2 S2S QSO with Hans, HB9/PB2T/p (1489 km) and JAN, OK2PDT/p (2153 km).

Hans was running 2.5 W and Jan was running 1 W.  I’m running 3 W.

At 1030Z I decided to try the 2 m band.

I attached the antenna to a small tree, take the cable to the rig and then…Disaster!
The adaptor SMA-BNC dropped into a hole between the granite rocks. I tried to catch it without success!

Ahhhh. 😦 😦 😦

This weekend was the VHF /UHF contest. So, the chances of doing a CW/SSB QSO in the 2 m was huge. A missed opportunity!
But life it is what it is!

So, I started the descent in a more comfortable temperature especially on the sheltered parts of the mountain.
The temperature was 4 C when I got to the car.

I took off all climbing clothes out and drove to Aveiro to have lunch with family.

A very pleasant Sunday morning.

Thanks to all chasers!