06/05/2017

ON7DQ Mallorca SOTA tour - May 2017

This is a report on my recent SOTA tour on Mallorca (EA6/MA) from 7 – 21 May 2017.

EA6/ON7DQ on EA6/MA-063 Jaumell

In summary, I spent 15 days on Mallorca, and in 13 of those days, I activated 17 summits. I had planned to do 20, but had to cancel four summits for various reasons : not accessible, too much delay on a first summit, or just too hot … and the beach being more attractive at that point, hi. 
I added one summit “on the fly” which was not planned.

In chronological order, these were the summits I activated on this tour :

07/May/2017    EA6/MA-060 (Santa Magdalena)             
08/May/2017    EA6/MA-052 (Puig de Maria)
09/May/2017    EA6/MA-017 (Puig d'Alaró)
09/May/2017    EA6/MA-021 (Talaia de Cals Reis)            
10/May/2017    EA6/MA-048 (Fumat)
10/May/2017    EA6/MA-077 (Talaia d'Albercutx)            
11/May/2017    EA6/MA-066 (Puig se San Marti)             
12/May/2017    EA6/MA-034 (Puig de Ferrutx) 
13/May/2017    EA6/MA-076 (Puig des Recó)
15/May/2017    EA6/MA-063 (Jaumell)
16/May/2017    EA6/MA-056 (Puig de Bonany) 
17/May/2017    EA6/MA-053 (Puig de son Seguí)             
18/May/2017    EA6/MA-080 (Puig de sa Font)  
20/May/2017    EA6/MA-042 (Puig de Caldent) 


In total, I made 528 QSO's, an average of 31 per summit. I had a peak of 59 QSO’s on EA6/MA-056 (Puig de Bonany) on May 16.
Propagation was not always at its best, signals were often weak, heavy QSB made it even very hard at some times, but it was never a problem to get the minimum of 4 QSO’s.
Also glad to have logged several ON stations, with Karel, ON4FI my top ON chaser (what did you expect ?).

Also nice … 35 Summit-to-Summit (S2S) contacts, an average of 2 per summit. This brought me to the number 1 place in the S2S  ranking for Belgium with 920 points. Not bad, since I will probably never make it to number 1 as activator nor chaser … hi.

Stunning view of Cap Formentor lighthouse from EA6/MA-048 Fumat

This trip netted me “only” 42 activator points. In retrospect this is not so much, considering the effort needed, and compared to around double the points for much less effort on my winter tour (see the March 2017 entry on this blog). But of course, I had a great holiday, discovering a whole other landscape and meeting some interesting people.

Now, as a help to other activators, I rearranged my summit list according to difficulty.
Of course , this is a subjective matter … depends on your personal abilities and such.

The ones marked with “*FIRST”, were first activations and/or new summits since May 2017.
If you need some info on those, feel free to send me a mail and I will help as much as I can.
Tracks for the new ones have been uploaded to the Sota Mapping page :

Those with “*TOURIST” are also tourist attractions, and have parking space, toilets, a cafetaria or restaurant, … but also many visitors, so the place may get crowded, even noisy … (read on for an example ;-).

Very easy : minimal walking involved, do these if you don’t have much time :
EA6/MA-032 (Santuari de Cura)          *TOURIST
EA6/MA-035 (Puig de Sant Salvador) *TOURIST
EA6/MA-077 (Talaia d'Albercutx)        *FIRST (well, actually this is an old summit with a new number, and there is really no need for a track) + *TOURIST
EA6/MA-065 (Puig de sa Cova Negra)

Easy, a bit of 'level' walking to the operating  point is needed :
EA6/MA-060 (Santa Magdalena)        *TOURIST
EA6/MA-056 (Puig de Bonany)           *TOURIST

Fairly difficult , walk around 30 mins, including some steep stuff (as always at the end of the walk, near the summit) :
EA6/MA-052 (Puig de Maria)              *TOURIST
EA6/MA-021 (Talaia de Cals Reis)
EA6/MA-048 (Fumat)
EA6/MA-053 (Puig de son Seguí)        (large radio tower, but no noise from it)
EA6/MA-076 (Puig des Recó) FIRST    (cabin with guard on summit)
EA6/MA-080 (Puig de sa Font) FIRST  (radio towers with solar panels, lot of RF noise)
EA6/MA-042 (Puig de Caldent) FIRST (nothing on top, RF quiet)

Very difficult, long walk (more than 30 minutes), and/or quite steep
EA6/MA-063 (Jaumell)                         *TOURIST
EA6/MA-017 (Puig d'Alaró)                 *TOURIST
EA6/MA-066 (Puig se San Marti) (last part is pure scrambling over rocks, I found it a bit dangerous, would avoid this summit next time)
EA6/MA-034 (Puig de Ferrutx) (very long and boring walk : 2 hours one way)

Although I have seen some (pretty) young ladies in flip-flops along these rocky paths (e.g. at MA-063 Jaumell), I would advise for good walking shoes, and as always take enough water, sunscreen, small umbrella, etc …

Navigating the small Mallorcan roads that lead to the start of a track was not always easy.
One solution I found, was putting my navigation app in BICYCLE mode. In CAR mode it would send me via a whole detour, and still not reaching the point where I wanted to be.
I used the free Android app Maps With Me Pro on my phone, for navigating in the car as well AS for walking, and had very few problems with it.
For recording the tracks, I used the app OSM Tracker, and spotting was done with Rucksack Radio Tool, or by relying on RBNHole spotting in CW.

Links :

How neat ... a summit with an operating desk ! (on EA6/MA-035 Puig de Sant Salvador)

My SOTA equipment included :

Rigs :
KX3 with a 5€ PC-headset and homemade PTT box for phone, 
Palm Pico paddle + EA2BD type wooden “clothespeg” paddle for CW. I used both paddles about the same amount.
FT1D for VHF and APRS, Slim Jim antenna with own 5m of RG-58 coax.
Linx 7" tablet with interface for digimodes.

Batteries : 
Home made Li-Ion battery 4S2P, 16.8V when fully charged. I used this one with an automatic voltage reducer so that the KX3 could always be used at 15W.
As a backup, I had a commercial 5800 mAh Li-Po battery 3S2P (Hacker), but I never used it, because I only get 10W maximum with it, and with maximum of 2 activations in a day, I never needed it.

Antennas : 
Link dipole 40m - 6m, only used on 2 summits.
Endfed wire, length 9.15m + counterpoise 4m, and 9:1 UNUN, proved to be very handy in setting up, and allowed for instant band change. Maybe it is a little less efficient radiator than the link dipole.
Coax : 3.5m RG-58 (in car : backup 10m RG-174, never needed it)
Fishing pole 6m, ground spike, bungee cords, large plastic bag + towel (to sit on and keep me or my stuff stuff dry), and of course logbook, pens and other small accessories …

Total weight of backpack : 7 kg, not including any water or food.

Clothing : long trousers, shirt with long sleeves, hat … all from the Decathlon trekking department. Made me sweat a bit more … but gave protection from the sun and all those little beasties …
I didn’t use any tick spray or such, and luckily didn’t get any tick bites (in Spanish :  garrapatas !).

Una cerveza después la activación ... hace tan bien ! A tu salud ! (at Bar Willies after EA6/MA-063 Jaumell) 
So far for now ...
Summit per summit stories will appear as I find the time to complete them … keep reading !

73 … Charito Charito !


Luc EA6/ON7DQ

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