SOTA on Lanzarote – 3 Summits in 1 Day

Cacti characterised the first two activations, you need to watch where you sit!

Cacti characterised the first two activations, you need to watch where you sit!

During my visit to the Canary Islands back in January I spent some time on the volcanic island of Lanzarote. While here I activated all the possible SOTA summits.

On one of these days I tackled 3 summits and here’s the report.

Equipment for the day was my Elecraft KX3, SuperStick vertical antenna, iPad for logging and about 5 litres of water!

 

 

Hacha Grande (EA8/LA-006)

Points 1
Height 561m
Band 10
QSO’s 26
Parking On a dirt track just off the main road. I parked just before the lane starts to switchback up.
Highlight Friendly Lizards at Summit, making contact with M0TVU who was using only 1 watt and activating this summit for the first time on the 10m band.
Lowlight Not much – to gripe I would say it’s a long old trek for one point 😉

This was my first summit of the day and conveniently you can park on the same dirt track off the main road for this and  my next summit (Pico Redondo – EA8/LA-007). You walk up the switchback route until you get to a goat farm, then you can either go left for Pico Redondo or right to Hacha Grande. I chose to go to Hacha Grande as it was further away and I still had lots of energy!

The walk up is easy enough, there’s a faint trail you can pick up that goes up the ridge of this summit:

The view onto Hacha Grande

The view onto Hacha Grande

The way is marked by rock piles, just follow these and eventually you get to the summit which is marked by a concrete post trigpoint.

While setting up a trail runner arrived as well, impressively he’d run up! He was the only visitor I had on any summit this day.

View from Hacha Grande

View from Hacha Grande

Trigpoint on Hacha Grande

Trigpoint on Hacha Grande

As I was sat there setting the Elecraft KX3 up, two lizards came right up to me, they were black with flashes of turquoise on their side, quite beautiful and very friendly:

Spot the Friendly Lizard?

Spot the Friendly Lizard? Tip: Look near the mic cable

After spotting myself on 10m the pile up quickly arrived with Bob G3VXJ being the first in the log. It soon became apparent that EA8 to G was in good shape and 10m was very much open. G6TUH, M0IML, M0IBC, G0RQL, M0MDA, G4BLH, M6KVJ, M0NTC, M3FEH, M0TVU and GI4ONLY were all worked as well a number of other European chasers.

Highlights being CU3AA from the Azores and RA3PCI located in Central Russia. 26 QSOs were made within 32 minutes of operating, not time to hang around though, still another two summits to activate!

Time Call Band
11:58z G3VXJ 28MHz
11:59z G6TUH 28MHz
12:00z CU3AA 28MHz
12:01z M0IML 28MHz
12:02z M0IBC 28MHz
12:03z G0RQL 28MHz
12:04z DL8DXL 28MHz
12:05z M0MDA 28MHz
12:06z G4BLH 28MHz
12:07z M6KVJ 28MHz
12:07z DJ1SD 28MHz
12:08z M0NTC 28MHz
12:10z M3FEH 28MHz
12:13z ON5SWA 28MHz
12:14z OK1DPU 28MHz
12:16z M0TVU 28MHz
12:17z DF5WA 28MHz
12:19z I0KHY 28MHz
12:20z EC8AXS 28MHz
12:21z DO1CKP 28MHz
12:23z M0BSV 28MHz
12:24z RA3PCI 28MHz
12:25z F6GOE 28MHz
12:26z OK2TS 28MHz
12:27z GI4ONL 28MHz
12:30z ON4FI 28MHz

 

Pico Redondo (EA8/LA-007)

Points 1
Height 553m
Band 10m
QSOs 29
Parking Same as for Hacha Grande
Highlight First time the summit has been activated on the 10m band. Working EB9MKV (Ceuta and Melilla) for a new DXCC
Lowlight Quite a rocky summit, watch out for the large cacti!

After packing up on Hache Grande I descended back to the goat farm and took the path to left (instead of back down the dirt track to the car) which would lead me right up to Pico Redondo.

The view onto Pico Redondo

The view onto Pico Redondo

The ascent was a bit more tricky due to the loose rock and the midday heat which was baking me.

I quickly deployed the KX3 and vertical and put out a CQ call before spotting myself, Karl M3FEH must have been monitoring my previous frequency of 28.360MHz because he answered straight away. Once I’ve established a frequency is clear I’ll usually voicekey my KX3 and setup the spot on my phone. Karl beat me to it this time and spotted me.

Cacti Waiting to Prick me I setup the Vertical Antenna

Cacti Waiting to Prick me as I setup the Vertical Antenna

The Summit Cairn at Pico Redondo

The Summit Cairn on Pico Redondo

I chose 10m again on this summit and this time North America had woken up and were active.

I made contact with N2BTD, W1OW and N4EX from across the pond. A little nearer to home a whole bunch of G stations rolled in, including GI4ONL, G6TUH, M3OPG, M0MDA, M6KVJ, M0IML, G4WSB, G0TDM, G6ODU, M0IBC, G0RQL (Don must have taken nap as he’s usually one of the very first callers), G0HRT and G8ADD to finish up with.

During my QSO with Brian G8ADD a US station popped up telling us to QSY, Brian quickly set them straight saying I’d been on frequency for the last 30 minutes and that they should QSY. I can only imagine that conditions had improved on 10m and now they were starting to hear me and vice versa or maybe they were just rude? Either way shortly after I cleared the frequency anyway as I needed to pack up and I still had another summit to activate.

 

 

 

 

 

29 QSOs in 40 minutes:

Time Call Band Mode
13:50z M3FEH 28MHz SSB
13:51z GI4ONL 28MHz SSB
13:52z G6TUH 28MHz SSB
13:54z F4EPP 28MHz SSB
13:55z M3OPG 28MHz SSB
13:55z MOMDA 28MHz SSB
13:57z M6KVJ 28MHz SSB
13:58z N2BTD 28MHz SSB
13:59z M0IML 28MHz SSB
14:00z W1OW 28MHz SSB
14:01z G4WSB 28MHz SSB
14:02z N4EX 28MHz SSB
14:03z DL8PXL 28MHz SSB
14:04z GOTDM 28MHz SSB
14:04z OM1AX 28MHz SSB
14:05z ON4FI 28MHz SSB
14:06z ON5SWA 28MHz SSB
14:08z G6ODU 28MHz SSB
14:08z EB9MKV 28MHz SSB
14:10z OE6WIG 28MHz SSB
14:11z M0IBC 28MHz SSB
14:12z DF8K 28MHz SSB
14:14z G0RQL 28MHz SSB
14:15z S52ON 28MHz SSB
14:15z F8CZI 28MHz SSB
14:16z OK3KW 28MHz SSB
14:17z G0HRT 28MHz SSB
14:19z DL8DXL 28MHz SSB
14:20z G8ADD 28MHz SSB

Atalaya De Femmes (EA8/LA-002)

Points 2
Height 608m
Band 10, 15 & 17m in that order
QSOs 23
Parking Village of Femmes at the base of summit
Highlight Third and final summit of the day! Also the first time the summit has been activated on the 10m and 15m bands.
Lowlight The commercial antenna installation makes this one ugly summit to operate from!

This was the last summit of the day and to say I was tired was a bit of an understatement, to make things worse the summit itself is an eyesore. The commercial antenna installation covers a wide range of VHF and UHF antennas, I didn’t count them but there must be at least 50 here:

Approaching the Masts on Atalaya de Femes

Approaching the Masts on Atalaya de Femes

I setup a short distance away from the antennas and braced myself for QRM. I started on 10m to see what was happening so late in the day there, a good start no QRM and N4EX, DL1DVE, VE2JCW, N2BTD and NE4TN were worked in quick succession but it became obvious that 10m was closed back in the UK.

Next I retuned the vertical for 15m to see if I could hit the UK and after sending a spot I worked G6TUH who told me he couldn’t hear me on 10m earlier, only the US stations working me! I also managed to work 2E0YYY, G0RQL and GI4ONL amongst some other European chasers.

The SuperStick Antenna in the Late Afternoon Sun

The SuperStick Antenna in the Late Afternoon Sun

After this activity died down I re-tuned the vertical for 17m, which is quite a tricky band to reach a low SWR with the SuperStick. Still, after a spot I worked G6TUH (again), G0TRB, WA2FON, 2M0NCM (who said he’d called me earlier on 15m but I hadn’t heard him) and G6ODU. A few other European chasers were worked as well.

Leaving the Summit at Dusk

Leaving the Summit at Dusk

The sun was very low in the sky and I was done for one day. 23 QSOs were made in total. In hindsight 20m would have yielded a better QSO rate at this late time of day.

Time Call Band Mode
16:32z N4EX 28MHz SSB
16:33z DL1DVE 28MHz SSB
16:34z VE2JCW 28MHz SSB
16:36z N2BTD 28MHz SSB
16:41z NE4TN 28MHz SSB
16:51z G6TUH 21MHz SSB
16:53z EB2GKK 21MHz SSB
16:54z 2E0YYY 21MHz SSB
16:56z CU3BL 21MHz SSB
16:57z G0RQL 21MHz SSB
16:59z OK2PDT 21MHz SSB
17:01z F/DD6DE 21MHz SSB
17:02z GI4ONL 21MHz SSB
17:13z G6TUH 18MHz SSB
17:14z G0TRB 18MHz SSB
17:14z EA2DT 18MHz SSB
17:16z WA2FON 18MHz SSB
17:18z IK1GPG 18MHz SSB
17:19z 2M0NCM 18MHz SSB
17:21z EA2CKX 18MHz SSB
17:22z DL8DXL 18MHz SSB
17:25z F8CZI 18MHz SSB
17:27z G6ODU 18MHz SSB

Conclusion

Three summits worked in one day, lots of walking, not much food, but a lot of fun! All three of these summits demanded proper walks and I was truly shattered after finishing the third. I retreated quickly to my hotel and sunk a few cold beers in a vain attempt to rehydrate (not recommended).

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