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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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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SOTA 5B/CY-034: Alestos

The water-filled quarry; the activation site is up the hill to the left.

Nearly everything went wrong on this activation, but it was also one of my best SOTA experiences.

This peak is right above a defunct copper mine that was last operated commercially in the 1970s. The blue-green water that fills the pit is visible on aerial photographs.

The road leading by the site is about 45 minutes from Nicosia and I reasoned that at one time trucks had made it up to almost the top of the mountain, so it should be accessible by road. It turns out that is only partially correct.

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SOTA 5B/CY-034: Atomoutti

This summit is about 40 minutes from Nicosia by road. GoogleMaps will plot the directions to the base of the northern most trailhead, although a better trailhead is visible on OpenStreetMaps a little further along the same road (at 34.918473N, 33.315676E). That’s the one that I went up. The road itself is dirt, but in good shape. No need for four-wheel drive or high clearance to access this peak.

There is a sign at the base of the trailhead, which indicates that this site is maintained by the Department of Forestry. The trail that runs up from here is a little gravely to start, but otherwise easy to follow. Along the way, there are some signs marked “E4”.

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FT817 Mike Mod à la M0UKD

I replaced the stock dynamic microphone element in my MH-31 microphone with an electret element, as described originally by M0UKD. As far as I can tell, it works at least as well as the original microphone.

The stock mike never impressed me, so I had the W4RT voice booster installed. I did not notice any improvement, but the mike picked up RF on occasion. Signal reports deteriorated over time and finally the microphone seemed to stop working altogether.

Front side of modified microphone board.
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