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-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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SOTA: 5B/CY-039 (Mersinia)

Three sites north of Limmasol would make a good day trip: each is about 20 to 30 minutes from the other: CY-039, CY-029, and CY-031. I got a late start and dallied on the second site, so I only manage to get two in, but an efficient activator could easily manage all three in one outing.

I always guy the BuddiPole when is extended, but on this day with a light breeze I just hung a backpack on it for a little extra stability. In the vertical configuration (base, coil, one arm, whip), it is very stable. Beyond those bushes is a cliff. The sea is in the background.
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SOTA: 5B/CY-037 (Stavrovouni)

A photo of the mountain-top monastery as seen from the parking lot.

I thought it would be helpful to document that this summit can probably not be activated, which is a shame since it is a short drive from the capital, Nicosia. A Greek Orthodox monastery sits atop the mountain and all access to the activation zone is fenced off and controlled. The visitor parking lot is about 35 meters below the peak, so about ten short of the activation zone. Beyond that is a sign that prohibits the entrance of women and also forbids bringing almost any sort of technology beyond that point. Does this mean that it is impossible to activate? Perhaps not… some thoughts on that below, but let’s say it would be at least very challenging.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-040 (Koumana)

The trig point (and my operating position).

This two-point peak does make you work for those two points. It is located a bit north of Limasol or about an hour’s drive from Nicosia. GPS will get you pretty close along route F130 to a dirt road turn off. That dirt road runs around the mountain and climbs gradually along the way. When you have gone about halfway around the mountain, there are a couple of cut outs where you can pull over to the left but still leave enough room on the road for other vehicles to pass you on the outside of the curve.

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Return to Pipis

This past weekend, I returned to Pipis, 5B/CY-046 to try some new things. It was not entirely a disaster, but mostly. Pipis is about a half-hour drive from Nicosia if there is no traffic, but since Nicosia always has some traffic, figure 45 minutes to an hour. The road up the to the peak is pretty good except for the last hill which is a bit steep, and you can always walk up that one. This is my second time activating this one-point peak, but something like my fourth or fifth time up Pipis, since it’s a nice nature spot and I’ve brought the dogs up here to run around outdoors.

Here’s a picture from a more pleasant day, with the dogs exploring the hillside.
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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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