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.

The site is topped by a commercial antenna installation with power lines coming in from the north. The hilltop is flat, so I put some distance between my antenna and the installation. The soil up there is like churned rock shards, but a number of spiky plants have taken root, so wear long pants, boots, and so on and be careful where you sit.

A butterfly lands a spikey purple flower. The loose rock on the ground was fine for driving in guy line stakes for the BuddiPole.

It was the weekend of the WPX CW contest, so I decided to stick to WARC bands. There is nothing like a tree on the hilltop, nor even a little bush to support a counterpoise, so I set up the BuddiPole in dipole configuration on 17m. Since it was a bit of a pain to set up, once I had worked contacts on CW, I gave SSB a shot. I was surprised to get a reply in short order from another Cypriot station given the frequency — it was 5B4AMG, located about 30km to the west of me.

The base of the commercial installation just to the north on the hilltop.

Afterwards, I worked additional CW contacts on 30m. Between 17m and 30m, I worked two S2S stations: the very active IK2LEY/P and 9A6CW.

Just to the side of the summit to the southwest is a vineyard.

I had been seeing a lot of alerts regarding 6m openings over the last couple weeks, so I took a chance and set up the antenna in an L-configuration for 6-meters, i.e., one telescoping whip extended 6-units on top of the versatee and a single “ground plane” whip extended five units, with the mast at full height. As I tuned the band, I was surprised to hear strong signals on both CW and SSB. I replied immediately to SV1JDZ and we exchanged true 599 reports. I called for a while and worked four additional Italian stations and S51DV in Slovenia. FB, magic band! I did a quick check and this was the first time 6m has been activated for the 5B SOTA Association.

The route up is highlighted in red. Nothing too tricky about this one.

Cell phone service on Cyta was good on this peak. There was significant noise on 17m even with the CW filter in place, but it was largely mitigated with the rig’s noise blanker, which in most cases is not so effective. On 30m, a heterodyne cut across the band once, but all of the noise sounded atmospheric. Six meters was clear as a bell and stations sounded like they were next door.

Goats! I saw a large herd to one side of the road on the drive up. As for me, I still have a lot of points to go before I become one myself.

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