SOTA 5B/CY-024: Karramoudi

This a four-point peak about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Nicosia. There are a few other peaks “in the neighborhood”, so if one wanted to string together some activations, it looks like CY-030 is about 25 minutes away, then a 40 minute rite to CY-031, and then another 25 minutes to CY-029, all of which look like they have road or trail access near their peaks. However, it was a hot day, and I decided to put my time in at one peak and try a few bands rather than rush around.

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SOTA 5B/CY-021: Zalakas

I expected the sun to make the day difficult in terms of mid-Summer Cyprus heat, but I had not planned on having such poor propagation conditions, which I blame on a coronal hole stirring up the magnetosphere. In almost two hours on this summit I barely managed to get the bare minimum four contacts required for a valid activation (merci à F8DGF et F5LKW qui m’en ont sauvé la peau).

The final antenna configuration late in the day on 17 meters. The bush at left was the “operating position”.
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5B4APL

It occurs to me that I got ahead of myself with my last post about operating on six meters from Cyprus — I forgot to mention that about six weeks ago, I acquired a Cypriot callsign: 5B4APL. Up to this point, I had been operating as 5B/AI4SV, but in February I sat the licensing exam. The new callsign is not that much shorter, but it is much more appropriate since I will be based in Cyprus for at least the next two years. Many thanks to CARS (Cyprus Amateur Radio Society) for guidance on how to prepare for and take the exam. I think there were twelve of us who took the exam that day, and I’ve already met a couple of them on the air.

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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-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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Some antennas and a contest

This is a state-of-the-shack update. I’ve finally got a few temporary antennas up and am beginning to make contacts from the home station including a tiny bit of contesting.

The first antenna I tried from home was the Buddipole. Before taking it into the field for SOTA operations, I practiced with it one afternoon on the roof. It happened to be the weekend of the Ukranian DX contest, so I did a quick spin through 20m and worked about five stations one after the other with my FT817. I was happy to make any contacts, particularly on a crowded band. No doubt some of the credit goes to the Ukranian operators and their ability to pick out weak signals.

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SOTA 5B/CY-044: Xylias

This activation followed hot on the heels of 5B/CY-046 (Pipis). It is also a relatively low mountain, but near the capital city of Nicosia. Unfortunately, this site is not as picturesque as Pipis, since the top of the mountain is a commercial radio antenna site.

At least I could operate in the shade.
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SOTA 5B/CY-046: Pipis

This peak is worth only one point in the SOTA scheme, but it is half an hour drive from Nicosia and there is a road right to the summit. The summit and the area around it are perfect for a picnic outing as well. The dirt road up is a bit rough in places, but did not require four wheel drive. Cars with moderate clearance should do okay as long as the weather is good.

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AI4SV/3 QRV

So, I should explain why a crucifix appears to be hovering about thirty feet above my house.

My new HF antenna hovers above the house.

When I got back to the US, I had a hard time figuring out how to put up an antenna at the house that I’m renting in Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. The house is surrounded on three sides by power lines and there’s only one tall tree. After much consideration and with the help of a neighbor’s tree, I finally managed to put a dipole in place just before Christmas.

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