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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SOTA 5B/CY-014: Sella

This six-point peak is near the town of Omodos, known for its wine production, right along the Limassol-Paphos border. It is about an hour and a half drive from Nicosia whether you choose to go through the mountains or along the coast. However, although my GPS was able to plot a route right next to the peak, it took me two visits to reach the peak. Why? It looks like you can just pull over and then cut across a field, right? No. The dark line running along the edge of that field is the shadow cast by sheer stone cliffs a couple hundred meters high.

Google wasn’t wrong… it just wasn’t helpful.
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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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SOTA 5B/CY-018, Moutti tous Fitillous

The summit.

This one was a bit more off the beaten track than I had expected. Looking at the site from aerial photos, it appears that a road wraps around the summit, however, a look at a topological map makes it clear that between the road and the summit the climb is almost vertical.

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