ConFI 2023: Premières Réflexions

Je suis déjà en retard pour commencer mes critiques du Concours 2023 ! Avec 25 titres, je n’ai d’autre choix que de tricher un peu : j’écris mon premier commentaire sans même jouer à un seul jeu. Sans doute sera-t-elle superficielle, mais cette pratique a l’avantage d’apparaître immédiatement, assouplissant la faim des auteurs qui se meurt du manque de retours des joueurs.

Pour cette revue, je ne prends en compte que les titres, illustrations, et descriptions des jeux sur le site du concours.

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SOTA: FL/SO-011 (Le Petit Peyre)

The buddipole in vertical configuration with a retractable dog-leash supported counterpoise.

I recently moved to France, not far from Bordeaux, so there are a whole new set of peaks to activate, particularly to the south towards the Pyrenee mountains. However, it makes sense to get my feet wet with some closer summits to the east of me, towards Bergerac. One in particular, Le Petit Peyre, was a little closer (90 km) than the others, so I started with that one.

To apply for a French callsign, you need to show residency in the country for more than three months, and I’m not quite there yet, so I activated as F/AI4SV/P.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-002 (Madari) Encore

Sunset seen from the parking lot.

For my last SOTA activation while living in Cyprus, I decided to go back to the first peak I activated, but approach it differently. The first time, I took the foot trail to the west of the peak, this time I took the road to the east of the peak. Both got the job done, and it’s really a matter of taste as to which one is best.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-019 Kalogyria

I tried and failed to activate Kalogyria earlier this year and did not have time for another attempt before leaving Cyprus, so hopefully this information will benefit the next person making the attempt.

Here is the culprit – one of the tire nuts, which proved impossible to remove when my Landcruiser’s tire blew out as I wound the trail on the way up the mountain. My tire iron had a hard time maintaining a grip on the nut and after a few attempts I stopped because I didn’t want to strip it. When I came back up the mountain with a better tire iron, the nut was finally removed forcefully by applying enough force to break the bolt off within the nut (right image).
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French IF Competition: 2022

There are only two weeks left to play and vote on games in the annual French interactive fiction competition. Games are hosted on and voting is via an online form. There are ten games this year, but you can vote without having to play all of them. Each year has an optional theme, which authors may use for inspiration. This year had two: reflection and masks. As usual, rules for the competition are available online.

This competition has a history of strong innovation, and this year was not disappointing with games written in a variety of systems, some of which have not been widely adopted outside the French community.

I’ve written some short review below. Although I played the games in random order, I am listing the first three in the order of preference, which I am sure breaks every rule of blog clickbait. If you have limited time, these are the ones not to miss.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-001 (Chionistra)

I had been saving this one for while, the tallest peak on Cyprus, also known as Mount Olympus. In the winter, this summit is a ski slope, which seems hard to believe now that it is the summer and temperatures are routinely peaking over 40C. I headed up the mountain to get out of the heat.

The ski slope is just behind, the base is to the left. The view is northward.
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SOTA: 5B/CY-012 (Moutti tou Afami)

I made life unnecessarily hard for myself on this one. When I looked at the map, I saw the summit was not too far from a named geographical feature, the Church of Prophet Ilias (warning: one many of churches of Prophet Ilias on the island) so I figured that it would make sense to navigate there first and then follow back roads to the summit (the pink route on the map below). That ended up working, but is not the most efficient way to the summit.

Prophet Ilias Church
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SOTA: 5B/CY-020 (Moutti tou Tragouna)

The drive out to this six-point peak looked very similar after last week’s activation of 5B/CY-026, which is just a bit to the east of this one. Summer days are long enough to attempt both on a single day, but you would need to start early, particularly coming from the eastern side of the island as I am. Both of these summits are not near main roads, so they require more navigation than most 5B summits.

Here’s the buddipole. I did not find any comfortable rocks to perch on, so I just sat on my jacket (which got pretty dusty).
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SOTA: 5B-CY/026 (Moutti tou Chareri)

The operating position — in the shade.

It took me a couple years to get around to activating this four point peak because I was not sure of how to reach it. It is most of the way west on the island, but but closer to Nicosia than many of the sites further south because it can be reached via the A9/B9 highway that runs just south of the green zone rather than by driving around the entire of the island on the coastal highway.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-030 (Monastron)

This four-point peak is about equidistant to Paphos and Limmasol and the drive out is not bad at all. It would be easy to drive past the access road that leads up to the peak from route F617 because the road is not very visible until you are right on top of it, so go slowly down the hill that leads to it. The road to the summit is packed dirt, but in good condition and not too steep. I have highlighted the route up in red, below.

The operating position to the south of the commercial antenna. In the background, other antenna installations on neighboring hills. Note the antenna is in an L configuration for six meters.
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