Six meters is hopping

I just experienced three days of six meter activity like I have never seen before. I have no idea if it is related, but the weather in Cyprus went from seasonal daytime temperatures in the 20s to three days in a row that peaked over 40C — that’s hot, and not really expected at this time of year. During those days the six meter band was open all afternoon and into the evening with signals from both the Middle East and Europe pouring into my modest station.

I don’t have a dedicated six meter antenna up: just a screwdriver antenna with a mobile whip on my roof, but that has not been as limiting as I would have thought. The antenna base plus the whip are a quarter wave on six meters, so it is probably not that inefficient on that band, and I have strung various ground wires at the base, so there is some reasonable counterpoise. Nonetheless, I did not expect to work the 32 DXCC entities that I did work during those days with this set up.

6-meter CW contacts during a 15 minute window a couple days ago showing contact from 5B4APL to stations in England and Kuwait.
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SOTA 5B/CY-018, Moutti tous Fitillous

The summit.

This one was a bit more off the beaten track than I had expected. Looking at the site from aerial photos, it appears that a road wraps around the summit, however, a look at a topological map makes it clear that between the road and the summit the climb is almost vertical.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-009, Moutti tis Zacharou

Since I will not be heading out to any mountains for a bit thanks for pandemic-related movement restrictions, it’s a good time to catch up on posting my last couple expeditions: 5B/CY-009 and 5B/CY-018, which I managed to activate earlier this month. Both are near the northwest corner of the island, so a significant drive from where I am based in Nicosia.

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SOTA: G/SE Part 3

This past weekend, I made the rounds of three more peaks in southeastern England: Ditchling Beacon (G/SE-006), Chanctonbury Ring (G/SE-009), and Black Down (G/SE-003). Butser Hill should have been part of this itinerary, but the advice on Sotawatch is to request advanced permission to operate radio at that site, and this was a somewhat last minute outing, so I hadn’t done so. Nonetheless, the three peaks made for a good day of portable operating.

Today’s itinerary. At left is unvisited Butser Hill and above is Leith Hill, which I am saving for a day trip some afternoon when it warms up a bit. Greyed out markers to the right are previously visited peaks in G/SE.
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Le Concours 2020 de Fictions Interactives

I am emerging briefly from my IF cave to post some quick reviews of games from this year’s Francophone IF competition. The competition is open for judging through 1 March for anyone who is willing to rate at least three games using a web-based form.

This year broke a record: eight games were submitted, all of them web-based, with play times from about fifteen minutes to a couple hours. Once again, I’m reviewing them in English so I can get the reviews out quickly and because I think it will reach a wider audience and perhaps lure some folks to try out the games, even if it is with dictionary in hand.

I intentionally played the games out of order, and am now reviewing them in that same order.

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SOTA: G/SE Part 2

I flew out of the UK back to Cyprus on Saturday evening, which gave me the day to see how many G/SE peaks I could activate between sunrise and sunset on that Saturday. On my last trip to the UK, I swung out to the East and worked a series of summits, so this time I aimed more to the south with the intent of stringing together as many activations as I could to include, working east to west G/SE-010, G/SE-011, G/SE-014, G/SE-006, and G/SE-009. However, due to weather, propagation and equipment issues, I only managed to activate the first three, leaving the remainder for the next trip.

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SOTA 5B/CY-048: Korfi

The summit, with Limassol to the south in the background.

This is as high as you can go with SOTA peaks in Cyprus, not due to altitude, but just because there are forty-eight peaks here and this is number forty-eight. It is only 382 meters in height and worth a single point, but it is a short ride from Limassol, and once you know how to approach it, getting there is not very complicated.

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SOTA 5B/CY-017

Not sure if this is a fire lookout station, an engineering site for the radio towers, a vacation home?

On this trip, I activated two sites near Limassol, 5B/CY-017 and 5B/CY-048. The latter is only about 15 minutes from Limassol, and the former about a half hour in terms of driving. However, since I was coming from Nicosia, 5B/CY-017 was closer, about 70 minute away, the last half hour on paved by narrow and curvy mountain roads.

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SOTA 5B/CY-036: Pachia Moutti

The summit, looking northward towards Chrysochou Bay.

This was my second activation on a quick trip out towards the east coast of Cyprus above the city of Paphos. The first activation (5B/CY-042) was intentionally quick to allow for some time to explore this peak, which is more isolated.

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SOTA 5B/CY-042

Poor 5B/CY-042, it has no name, just its SOTA designation. However, that’s kind of fitting since it really isn’t much of a “mountain” — it is more somebody’s backyard, adjacent to a water tower. It is the very definition of a drive-up site, though, so if you’re out towards the eastern side of Cyprus, perhaps enjoying the beaches along the coast near Paphos, and want to shoehorn in a quick activation, it might be just the place.

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