SOTA Activation of Pico Bejenado (EA8/LP-003) 10

This was to be my third and final activation on La Palma and with this being the third 10 pointer in the last three days my legs were a little sore!

Some key facts about the activation:

Date 15/01/15
Walking Time: 2.5 hours up
Band: 20m, 17m, 15m & 10m
QSOs: 105!
Points: 10+3
Height: 1,853m
Parking: At start of trail (N28.40.682, W17.51.245), you need to drive up a gravel road, but it’s pretty easy. I met a couple who bottled it at the start of the gravel path and had to walk a couple of KMs to where I was parked – they wish they had driven up!
Highlight: The trail, the view, the QSOs & activating summit on 20m for the first time.
Lowlight: Nothing!

The Hike

The trail up was clearly marked and well trodden and was a delight to walk, starting at around 8:45am and arriving on Bejenado by 11:45. The walk was the most scenic of the summits on La Palma, with magnificent views back down to sea level.

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The Summit

View from Operating position (note Cairn to far left)The view from the summit is undeniably stunning, with a view onto a ridge that runs right around hemming in a caldera that goes a couple of km’s across and probably about 1 km straight down!

I set-up the station about 15m away from the summit cairn, after adding an obligatory rock to it, this way I’d be away from the other hikers who wanted to admire the gorgeous views.

Arriving at the summit (with sign & cairn)

The view into the caldera made me watch my footing while setting up the vertical and radials. This summit saw me once again deciding it was much safer to hastily throw some of the radials out (& down!) the slope towards the caldera rather than stake them out carefully and risk a deadly 1km fall down into the caldera.

On Tenerife I got talking to a German walker and he told me that you can walk through the Caldera and that a couple of years ago two very experienced hikers drowned after heavy rain and the resulting torrent of water coming down into the caldera… I have no reason to disbelieve this!

The QSO’s

After setting up, I got started on 20m. Not a band I usually select (not sure why!), but I had noticed this band had never been used before on the summit, so decided to try something unique. The previous activator EA8/M1NNN/P had noted bad wideband QRM on 17m and he suspected traffic radar would make activation on 20m quite tricky. I was relieved to find no QRM during my extended time on the summit and can only imagine the problem has now been fixed.

Here’s a video showing the hike up and some of the QSO’s:

Guru (EA2LU) was the first in the log after an SMS spot was sent, followed shortly after by Karl (M3FEH), then came another 14 QSOs on this band, with William (W1OW) catching me by surprise on this band and then CT9/OH2BTB/P over on the island of Madeira.

Disaster struck about 10 minutes into the activation when my iPad overheated on the sunny summit and refused to turn on. Suddenly my primary method of logging had failed me for the first time on a summit. I popped the iPad into the rucksack to cool down and got the notepad and pen out for some traditional old-fashioned logging. This proved to create an admin overhead when I descended and had to manually type up 75 QSOs from the paper log!

Happy I had activated the new band of 20m I moved on to the trusty favourite of 10m and after an SMS spot Bill (G4WSB), Mike (G6TUH) and Don (G0RQL) quickly made it into the log. Peter (G4ISJ) made for an interesting QRP contact as he was running just 5w to my 10w. EA5YI almost blew my ears off with his 1kW and beam. Then I scored another North American hat trick with Martin (W6UB – Tennessee), Brian (N2BTD – NY) and Garry (KF5VDX – in Texas, in his car on his morning commute!) making their way into the log.

Later into the activation I tried 17m & 15m, the latter was by far the better band with a number of state side contacts and 42 QSO’s in a row.

Here’s the QSO map & full log:

LP003 QSO Map

Time Call Band
11:31z EA2LU 14MHz
11:33z M3FEH 14MHz
11:37z EA2ECA 14MHz
11:38z EA7PY 14MHz
11:38z G4OBK 14MHz
11:41z G6WRW 14MHz
11:42z EA7KC 14MHz
11:42z W1OW 14MHz
11:43z DJ5AV 14MHz
11:44z EA1IPN 14MHz
11:45z EB2CZF 14MHz
11:46z DL6MST 14MHz
11:47z G0HRT 14MHz
11:48z DL8MLD 14MHz
11:48z EA1HMT 14MHz
11:50z CT9/OH2BTB/P 14MHz
12:07z G6TUH 28MHz
12:09z EA2ECA 28MHz
12:10z YL2CB 28MHz
12:11z EA2CKX 28MHz
12:13z OH2LPQ 28MHz
12:14z EA1HMT 28MHz
12:15z EA1IPN 28MHz
12:16z UR4EZ 28MHz
12:17z UA3GJM 28MHz
12:18z GI4ONL 28MHz
12:19z HB9AGH 28MHz
12:20z G4OBK 28MHz
12:21z DF5WA 28MHz
12:23z DJ5AV 28MHz
12:24z G6ODU 28MHz
12:25z GB2IWM 28MHz
12:26z M0MDA 28MHz
12:27z OH3KJM 28MHz
12:28z HB9MKV 28MHz
12:29z G4BLH 28MHz
12:31z R1CC 28MHz
12:32z S54G 28MHz
12:34z RU3VQ 28MHz
12:49z CU3AA 21MHz
12:50z EA8/G4AKC/P 21MHz
13:05z ON5SWA 21MHz
13:06z CU3BL 21MHz
13:07z M0BSV 21MHz
13:09z N4EX 21MHz
13:10z ON4FI 21MHz
13:10z DJ5AV 21MHz
13:11z DL7JAN 21MHz
13:11z F8DRA 21MHz
13:13z F4FEP 21MHz
13:13z OK1KT 21MHz
13:14z OE7PHI 21MHz
13:15z W4MOX 21MHz
13:16z G6TUH 21MHz
13:18z EA4EQF 21MHz
13:19z DJ1SD 21MHz
13:20z OE7HPI 21MHz
13:22z GM7TUD 21MHz
13:23z F1RUK 21MHz
13:24z VE1WT 21MHz
13:25z OE7FMH 21MHz
13:26z LZ4GL 21MHz
13:28z EA1LQ 21MHz
13:30z EA5AT 21MHz
13:31z IT9CWA 21MHz
13:32z OK2TS 21MHz
13:34z OE6WIG 21MHz
13:35z EI9GLB 21MHz
13:37z EA5ICP 21MHz
13:37z SP8RHP 21MHz
13:40z OH9XX 21MHz
13:42z EA3ZK 21MHz
13:43z EA2BD 21MHz
13:45z G3RMD 21MHz
13:46z G0ELJ 21MHz
13:50z G0RQL 21MHz
13:53z EA8TL 21MHz
13:57z 2E0YYY 21MHz
14:00z EB5EZA 21MHz
14:02z M0MDA 21MHz
14:04z OK1SDE 21MHz
14:19z DJ5AV 18MHz
14:19z OM1AX 18MHz
14:21z G6TUH 18MHz
14:23z EA7JEG 18MHz
14:24z DL8MLD 18MHz
14:25z EA8TL 18MHz
14:25z G0POT 18MHz
14:28z G0RQL 18MHz
14:44z EA4EQF 18MHz
14:54z G4WSB 28MHz
14:55z G6TUH 28MHz
15:00z G0RQL 28MHz
15:01z G4ISJ 28MHz
15:04z F4GYM 28MHz
15:06z G3TJE 28MHz
15:07z EA5YI 28MHz
15:08z W6UB 28MHz
15:10z N2BTD 28MHz
15:12z KF5VDX 28MHz
15:13z EA5GFE 28MHz
15:13z G6WRW 28MHz
15:16z DJ7UD 28MHz
15:18z EA3CFV 28MHz
15:22z G0TRB 28MHz

Conclusion

I spent an extended session on this summit because the QSOs were flooding in, the view was spectacular and the wind none existent. I was also soaking up the sun, which was a concern as after applying some sun lotion before leaving the car in the morning I had subsequently forgotten to take it with me to the summit! In the end I scrounged some off an English couple who came to the summit, incidentally they were the only other English people I encountered on La Palma, it seems the island is famous in Germany for it’s walking but not in England, or is that because it lacks any prominent tourist infrastructure (in the shape of tacky hotels, all you can eat buffets, English bars etc…) or indeed because it’s beaches are almost non-existent. I’m not complaining as La Palma was the perfect antidote to Lanzarote and Tenerife where parts are truly ruined by mass tourism (except the summits – they were mostly stunning!).

Pico Bejenado was my favourite summit on La Palma and the operating conditions were perfect.

10 thoughts on “SOTA Activation of Pico Bejenado (EA8/LP-003)

  1. Reply Phil Catterall G4OBK Jan 27,2015 06:44

    Enjoyed watching the film James and reading the report….you did right to make EB2CZF wait…the QSO from his end was seriously dodgy though, he plainly wasn’t hearing you and your comments were being relayed by someone else. I’m aware of this operator’s “style”, not good – he can make things difficult. A film like this really shows up the poor operating standards exhibited by a few out of the hundreds of very good ones. EB2CZF should watch the film and learn from it!
    73 and TNX
    Phil G4OBK

    • Reply James Stevens Jan 27,2015 15:44

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the comments. You’re right about EB2CZF, this wasn’t the only activation where I went back to him & he didn’t respond, I would also conclude (with hindsight) that he could not hear me, hence the incessant calling out of turn. But like you say this was just op out of hundreds of chasers during the activation, that’s not a bad ratio 😉 One OM1 op came close, calling out of turn, but after some stern words he behaved and remained well behaved on my other activations 🙂

      Cheers,
      James M0JCQ

  2. Reply Phil Catterall G4OBK Jan 27,2015 17:32

    Hi Janes,

    I know the OM station you mean…as you found in EA8 you get to know the ones who make it hard work for all concerned.. they exist on CW also. I won’t name the OM on your blog as he isn’t as bad as “Echo Bravo Two James Echo Bravo Two Echo Bravo Two….”

    I’m totally against giving partial calls myself. In fact the writer of the logging software I use (Logger 32)is K4CY Bob Furzer. One condition of using the free software Bob provides is that you must not use partial callsigns when calling in pile ups!

    I’ll reply via e-mail about your queries later about the Tracer battery and the favourite five WB round. Busy this week getting ready for our SOTA Coach trip to Scotland next MOnday. Me, G3TQQ and 2E0NON. We’ll be doing HF and 2m FM.

    73 Phil

    • Reply James Stevens Jan 27,2015 18:35

      Hehe – I’m sure you do know the OM as well Phil! Prior to EA8 most of my activations had been on 40 & 60m where all chasers had been civilised & I’d only heard of this behaviour on the reflector.

      I agree on not just giving a partial call, it’s not helpful when others are giving their full call sign. As long as I can work out the other chasers full callsign, I will work these people first 😉

      Best of luck with the SOTA trip to Scotland, look forward to reading about it 🙂 Me & Michael (G0POT) have been using your reports of the favourite five circuit to plan our activation… 5 summits and 25 points is too much to turn down!

  3. Reply Brian N2BTD Jan 27,2015 22:24

    Thanks for the new SOTA James. It was great working you from 5 different ones on 10m phone during your vacation in the Canary Islands. Love your blog & write up of the different activations. Your doing an incredible job. Keep up the great work !

    • Reply James Stevens Jan 28,2015 12:39

      Thanks Brian, we did manage a few QSO’s didn’t we 😉 Always nice to work some stateside stations and 10m is pretty good for that right now. I’ll send you over a QSL card once I’ve designed one!

      Cheers, James M0JCQ

  4. Reply Dave Starkie G4AKC/EA8/P Feb 2,2015 20:29

    Hello James,

    Looks like you has a great time with the SOTA activations!

    We are now back in the UK after making a couple of hundred QRP QSO’s during our months stay in Los Gigantes the contacts were mainly into south and central America, it was unfortunate that I was on the side of a mountain that faced west and so made no EU contacts at all.

    It was good to have met you on 15m and look forward to speaking again very soon.

    73’s …

    Dave G4AKC

    • Reply James Stevens Feb 5,2015 15:48

      Hello Dave,

      Thanks for your comment and for our QSO, I did indeed have a great time in EA8 completing 13 activations in total. Sounds like you had a blast as well Dave, the mountain may have been a blessing in disguise, without EU QRM you could probably hear a lot more South/Central American stations 😉

      Hopefully the pictures here give you a taste of La Palma, I highly recommend you go, it’s totally different to the other islands in the chain 😉

      Cheers,
      James M0JCQ

  5. Reply Garry Apr 19,2015 03:32

    Great SOTA activity! Enjoyed the write up. I work portable from the beach at times myself. nothing like being out in nature playing radio. 73 from south Texas USA and hope to work you later from one of my beach days. Garry KF5VDX

    • Reply James Stevens Apr 19,2015 20:33

      Thanks Gary, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Totally agree with you, nature and radio is a great combination! 73 James M0JCQ

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