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.

I was able to navigate by GPS to the end of the paved road shown below, where blue transitions to red. From there, the road is initially gravel and then dirt.

The antenna installation is at bottom, left.
View northwest towards the summit.

The highest point is near that pine tree, but the ground is not level and is covered in thorn bushes. Worse, there are electrical lines running overhead and a big transformer up on a pole — just the sort of thing I go up mountains to avoid.

Just behind that tree, there is a concrete base that looks like a trig point. It occurs to me now that I am writing up the activation that the hole in that base might serve as a nice anchor for an antenna support.

Looking eastward at the summit, there is a house. No one seemed to be there and I didn’t see any vehicles, so I suspect it may either be for staff tending the tower or it may serve as a fire outlook. The only people I saw all day up there were a couple folks on ATVs riding up and down the mountain trail.

I set up on the northern side of that hill, which gave the antenna a clear view north and west, towards Europe.

Conditions seemed poor. I had an initial run of stations on 30m, one on 20m, and no takers on 17m. I did find a way to get the antenna to give me a workable vSWR on 40m: I tied alligator clip leads on the end and duct taped them in place to prevent them sliding around in the wind. With that set up, I got down to 1.4:1 on 7.040 Mhz. Unfortunately, I had no takers.

I’m not sure why I had so few responders today: no geomagnetic or solar issues to speak of. The signals I did work seemed loud, so I don’t think it was any sort of de-sensing from the nearby antennas. My best guess is that the bands were long today, as evidenced by the reverse beacon network.

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