SOTA: 5B/CY-029 (Tophoulia)

I followed 5B/M0BLF/P ‘s excellent account of his earlier visit to this peak and found it as described. As I approached the town, my first option was to head up a relatively steep hill. However, when I drove beyond this, I came to the town itself and just followed road signs to the Agia Marina church. The main roads through town were wide enough even for my Landcruiser, although some of the side alleys would be tight. Although I went up on a Sunday, my car was the only one in the church’s car park.

Flat, brambly, with a few bushes, one of which held up my antenna.

A trail leads west away from the car park but peters out quickly. At that point, the direct approach upward would be too steep and there are a few stone walls in the way, so I went up a more gentle slope, but back in the direction of the church. That took me to a small vineyard that had recently been turned. The vineyard slopes slightly and there is an easy to climb slope up some rocks at the back, left corner. From there, it is just a walk across a more or less flat plain to the activation site.

There are probably a number of good ways up to the activation site, here’s mine. Once on the plain, it is easy to go in any direction.

The plain is covered in grass and bramble, but there is enough room between the more prickly plants to walk easily. Nonetheless, I suggest wearing some thick socks and long pants. After this activation, I spent a while picking various sharp hitchhikers out of my clothes.

I experienced one oddity on this visit: despite searching high and low, I could not find the trig point. From the earlier expedition report, I know that there was one, so either I could not find it because it was covered in bushes or it was for some inexplicable reason gone. I am sure that I was at the right site: both my GPS units put me at the summit coordinates in the SOTA database and indeed that seemed to be the highest point. I did a spiral search from that point, but finally decided to just get on with activating. If anybody finds the trig point or knows what happened to it, I’d be very interested in hearing about it. In any event, I’m not too worried about being in exactly the right place, as the plain is so flat that almost all of it should lie in activation zone.

As I mentioned, it’s really flat up there.

There are areas where no soil covers stone, so I set up on one of those points to find comfortable seating. I picked a location near a sizeable bush to which I lashed my fiberglass telescoping mast using bungee cords. That worked much better than I expected and I did not need to guy it in the moderate breeze. There are no trees to speak of, so having some kind of self-supporting mast is obligatory.

I gave 10m and 40m a go, but all the stations I worked were on 20m. I did hear some background on 10m, which again I attribute to mountain top radar stations in line of sight. Cell phone data at the peak was intermittent.

A panorama from the operating position.

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