CT/ES-003, Serra da Arrábida – The hardest 1 pointer!

July 16th, 2016

Because of the warm weather (40 + forecasted) we decide to climb early than planned this SOTA summit which is hardest to reach one pointer…

As Phil, G4OBK, stated (SOTA mapping track) “..You would need to travel a long way to find a more demanding one point summit”

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The track that the Park authority allowed to use is a narrow path within the bush (literally) which scratched every part of our bodies!

But when we have had a glimpse of the landscape between the bushes…Wow, that’s a view! J
It took more than one hour to get to the top, sometimes using some dry waterfalls vertically…

But what kind a fun would we would have in a walk without difficulties ?

When we reach the trig point we become amazed with the views!

It took me sometime to assemble the VHF yagi that I’ve built but soon after, using the portable radio of João, CT7ABE, I made 5 FM QSOs. 4 of this QSOs were S2S with CT/ES-007, Serra do Socorro, where a group of amateur radio operators was to activate that SOTA reference.

Then, I turn on the KX-3+VHF transverter and CT1DRB answered my CW call.

I made a few calls on 2m/CW but no answer. So I decided to eat something and took some time in a deeper look at the landscape.

I must to emphasize the Yagi (version 3.0 !!!!) which worked flawless. I’ve made just one small mechanical adjustment using a screwdriver from João’s toolbox.

Then I disassembled the Yagi and started looking for a place where I would erect the HF antenna (endfed). João come up to offer me the use of his set, because he already had done a few QSOs and he had finished the activation.

So, we disconnected the morse key and plugged in the iambic key. I tried a call but the morse signals are entangled…Scratching my head, I disassembled the Pico Palm…And all seems to be working properly.

At one point we realize that the radio is in Mode A, while I’m trying to send in Mode b…
We change to Mode B and there we go…Not chasing pokemons but listening to station’s signals…

The first answer was from a  EA station, followed by another 10, including KA1R.

Propagation wasn’t that bad or…CW rules!

The temperature was rising and the heat was knocking us. We decided to leave.

While packing up his equipment, Miguel, CT1ETL, brought his portable V/UHF radio to me asking to explain in a few words what is the SOTA Program to another CT station.

After this task we started the descent, suffering from the heat (14 h local). The descent was a painful journey because lower altitude means high temperatures.

We are losing the beautiful landscapes while we descend.  😦

We arrived to the cars and the thermometer is showing 39 C!….

The outcome was a very nice morning in good company with lots of friendship and camaraderie.

Thank you all chasers and CT1ETL, CT7ABE e CS7AHW!


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João, CT7ABE, Miguel, CT1ETL and Joaquim, CS7AHW

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CS7AHW, CT1ETL and CT7ABE in the first part of the track

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Climbing a dry waterfall…

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CT1ETL hiding from the sun


Joaquim, CS7AHW op position


CT7ABE near the trig


The track is most of the time in the bushes… It’s not a David Attenborough footage!


Descending another dry waterfall!


View of Troia and Praia da Figueirinha. What a view!

CT/AL-004, Serra de Monchique. A very warm place!

July 2, 2016 – 11:33z to 12:33z

After passing by Monchique, we went to Picota, which is the local name for the SOTA summit.

There are no signs on the narrow road and several options available at each cross road but we managed to arrive to the bottom of Picota (dead end) where exist an explanation of the Natural Park Monchique, member of Natura 2000 network.

Climbing the small and steep hill was a proof how I was after last month surgery. I’m almost “new”!… J

Around 1120z we arrive to the trig point. After saying hello to the forest fire vigilant which stands on the watching tower and explain him what we are doing, I erect the endfed and the Slimjim (2m)

The endfed was a little difficult to extend because there are no trees and is steep. So, I descended 20 or so meters of meters and tied the end of the wire to a bush, with the help of the walking pole.

João, CT7ABE, my friend and neighbor answered my first call (144.05/CW). Now I know that is possible to contact my QTH from this SOTA summit on the 2m/cw (170.5 km away)!

After exchanging RST and SOTA reference, I called a few times more but no answers. So, I tried SSB.

Ricardo, CT1EUW, answered my call. His signal was strong from his QTH at Monte da Caparica. Other stations tried to have a QSO, using CT1EUW as a relay (CT5JLD, etc), but no one was heard. I have another QSO with CT7ABE and changed to 6m.

Manuel EA7AH answered my calls and that’s it. The propagation was closed on this band. Then QSY to 20m…

Then a group of young foreigners came to me asking “what the hell I’m doing”?!

I explained to the group what is amateur radio and SOTA. Because they were curious about the signals they heard I explained also about morse code.

They went downhill and I backed to 20m/CW where I had the chance of doing 14 QSOs.

One of those QSOs was an S2S QSO with EA2WX/p on EA2/BI-055.

I ended with a QSO with CT7ABE. His signal was low but clear (ground wave).


Look at the thermometer…

The sun was very strong then – see the thermometer on the photo – so I packed up my gear and saying goodbye to the forest fire vigilant we descend to the car park.

Lesson learned.

Be aware of the strong sun and always carry a tarp to have some shade!



The forest fires watch tower (climbing)

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Monchique village and CT/AL-001


Doing radio under extreme heat


The landscape to southwest


Mrs DBS on the descent: She is a brave woman!

CT/AL-001, Serra da Foia – VHF useless!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Trying to avoid the forest fire which devastated some of the area throughout the morning I arrived at the summit with Mrs DBS. If possible I would like avoid the fire…

Around 0835z we stopped at the military gate of FAP’s Radar Station nº1 while trying to reach the trig point.

Well… Backpack on the back and XYL by side! Walking through the small bushes i took a deeper look and I realize the trig point is inside the military facility!

Suddenly I understood what CT2JLS and CT1DRB wrote on SOTA mapping: their descriptions become clear about the track they took and the places where they had done their activation!

Move on…and I went to the place where Phil, CT7/G4OBK made the activation, i e, parking the car and using a small unoccupied area are near the summit entrance (triangle).

Because I had made the promise to do some calls in the 2 m SSB I had a cheap microfone with me. So, before calling in the 2 m band I made some calls around 7181KHz which were answered by 3 EA stations.

At 0905z I made the first QSO with Manuel, EA2DT, with whom I contacted many times using CW, while activating SOTA summits.

After 3 QSOs in the 40 m band, while the firefighting helicopters made the scooping down the valley, I decided to move for the 14 MHz band, where 14 QSos were made.

Two of those QSOs should be emphasized. One with KA1R, Matthew (5245 km) and the other with João, CT1BQH, at Entroncamento (ground wave).

Because I intend to activate CT/AL-004 later on, I decide to save the battery, just in case…It’s fair to say the 10 W/SSB and the 4 W/CW did a good job…But cw is cw… J

At 0941z, the pileup dried. After the last QSO in the 20 m band, I made a few calls at 144.05 (cw) and 144.3 (SSB) but the background noise was very strong (S9+30) and no station was heard.
So, CT/AL-004 is useless for VHF QSOs.

I packed up the gear and take the road to CT/AL-004, Serra de Monchique!


SOTA “mast” and schack into the landscape


The trig point inisde the military radar facility


The VHF Slimjim defying the “big boys”. We loose!


Using HF/CW


North view from the summit – A firefighter helicopter preparing to scoop


Back in (SOTA) business ?

After sometime without SOTA activities due a surgery, I intend to activate CT/AL-001, Serra de Foia, next saturday, July 2.
If I’m able to do it, I will activate also CT/AL-004, Serra de Monchique as well.

Some medical reasons should stop me  – I’m still on medication – but I must try it! 😉

The hills call me…SOTA call me…

I’m I a SOTA addicted ?
Sure! Let’s try it…