SOTA: G/SE-001 (Walbury Hill)

My plan for this relativey mild January morning was to head west from the offince in Crawley towards Bristol and to nab a few activations on the way. For Saturday, my route took me to G/SE-001 (Walbury Hil), G/SC-008 (Win Green), and G/SC-010 (Dundry Down). These sites were chosen because they looked like they had reasonable parking for my rental car and would be relatively quick. After three years of living in Cyprus, where almost all the hills are either bare or support only scrub, it was a relief to activate hills that have trees large enough to support an antenna. For these summits, I just brought along my coiled up end-fed antenna, a string, and a plastic coke bottle half full of water — no poles.

The first site was Walbury Hill, which has a good size parking lot at 51.356339N 1.469907W.

If that were full, I think you could park on the side of the dirt road that leads up the hill to the west.

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SOTA: FL/SO-008 (Île)

I activated this peak on the same day as FL/SO-006 (see that report); from there, this peak was about a half hour drive. I noted one item of interest on the map when planning this activation: the summit (red marker) it is just around the corner from a French military installation (most southern marker) that is bristling with large satellite dishes and surrounded by high, serious-looking fences with lots of warning signs. My suggestion is to steer clear of that facility while walking around with a backpack full of radio gear.

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SOTA: FL/SO-006 (Les Garennes du Monteil)

I set out to activate three summits in early November 2022: SO-005, SO-006, and SO-008, which are more or less clustered together. It is about a two and half hour drive from my house south of Bordeaux out to any one of these, but only about a half hour drive between them, going north to south. Alas, I did not manage to activate SO-005 on this trip. I drove partway up the access road and there was a wild boar ( les sangliers ! ) hunt going on: lots of guys in orange vests walking through the woods with rifles. I had a nice chat with a couple of them, but we all agreed it would be safer if I didn’t sit in the woods with a wire in a tree that afternoon. It was the last site of the day, so I was ready to head home anyhow. SO-005 will have to wait for another day.

SO-006, however, was a drive-up activation.

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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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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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