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-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-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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SOTA: 5B/CY-032 (Mosfileri)

This is one of the least scenic peaks, right up there with Xylias, since this peak is effectively in someone’s backyard and you are likely to find yourself activating on a small corner of land between power lines and a commercial antenna site. There are some nice views downward from that site if you peek between tall bushes, but this peak does not feel at all like a nature walk. On the other hand, it is very much a drive-on peak that does not require an off-road vehicle. It is not far from Limassol, so anyone visiting Cyprus for a weekend could easily rent a car and put this peak on their list.

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SOTA: 5B/CY-010 (Mavrogenis)

Mavrogenis is an eight-point SOTA peak not far from the Kikkos Monastery. There is a parking area to the south side of route E912 (34.9708N,32.7622E).

This is the view looking northwards on the way up to Kykkos Monastery. There is a large grassy field to the left of this side where you can park.
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Return to Kreatos

I had last Friday off and since the weather was ideal, I thought it would be fun to spend the day casually traipsing from band to band at a single site. I chose Kreatos (5B/CY-043), the closest peak to my home near Nicosia. I usually prefer to activate new peaks rather than revisit old ones, but I was really in the mood to operate rather than drive all over the island. Still, I feel like I need to do something new with each activation, so the new element for this one was try operating FT8 in addition to CW. As it turns out, I also added a new band: 15 meters.

The late afternoon view towards the southwest.
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SOTA: 5B/CY-045 (Kokkinovouppos)

This one point peak is just above the town of Steni and overlooks Chrysochous Bay. For me, it was a trek across the island, but it would be a short drive for someone starting out from Paphos. On the way, I passed a number of familiar roads from previous activations, so there is probably some reasonably efficient way to visit a few of the peaks in the area on a single day or weekend, but I have been doing them one at a time.

Getting there is easy: tell your GPS to head to the The Monastery of Virgin Mary Chrysolakournas in Steni. The road to the church winds a bit, but it is in excellent shape, and there is a gravel parking lot next to the church.

The parking lot is to the right. Due to pandemic restrictions, the church itself was closed.

From there, the road continues up, transitioning from asphalt to cement, to dirt. The road is passable with a 4-WD vehicle, although it is deeply rutted some places and in other places is a rough ride over rock face. The road winds around the back of the hill and keeps going beyond the summit. The top of this hill is relatively flat and anywhere along the back road is in the activation zone.

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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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