Wednesday 4th February 2015. CT3/MI-006
Waiting in hotel reception for the guy from Avis to turn up to take me for the hire car at 9am, hobbling around with very blistered feet from so much walking the previous day (not a great start!)… he never turned up… until 10am.. Marvellous.
So, eventually, by 10:30am, I should be on my way, Final word from Filipe at Avis, was “if anything goes wrong, even a puncture, just call the ‘helpline’ you are covered for everything” (more on that later!)
So, equipped with a paper map, and a copy of ‘locus free’ and an offline map of Madeira, I was off to CT3/MI-006, only nearly 2 hours late.. still it wouldn’t take too long to get there… would it?
The Locus Free ‘map’ showed that, more than likely, the road from Encumeda to MI-006 wasn’t open, although nobody could tell me for definite that it was.. So, I decided to drive along VR1 to Ribeira Brava, then take VE3/ER101 along to Ponto Del Sol, then the ER222/ER209 up to ER110 just along from MI-006 – easy!
Well it would have been if I hadn’t taken a wrong turn right at the start, and found myself in the middle of Funchal.. Never mind, soon on VR1 along to Ribeira Brava, where… ummm, I took a wrong turning, into the middle of town! After getting stuck behind 2 taxi drivers sitting in their cars next to each other, having a little chat, I managed to get back on the right road again!
Then, a little further along the road, missed the turn off onto ER222, and ended up in Arco Da Calheta, where I managed to pick up a road signed ‘Pico da Urze’ – That would do, not too far along ER110 from where I needed to be.
(This would have been a lot easier with a navigator! Then again, it’s fun driving around narrow roads with hairpin bends on holiday, on the wrong side of the road! )
I was held up some more by a tourist bus, obviously on a day trip, winding up the same, narrow road!
Eventually making it onto ER110, past the hotel at Pico da Urze, and to the cross roads, where it was made clear that, as suspected, the road through to Encumenda was indeed, still closed. Only a little further along the road, and I found the side road, along to the car park.
Finding the hill to be shrouded in cloud, I pulled on my boots, and started the relatively short walk.. Turning back after a couple of hundred yards as I’d left the camera in the car!
Take a right turn through the woods!
Still, it took less than half an hour in all, along the track, right, through the woods, and left to climb up the hill, much as described in previous reports, and I was up the top..
There were probably another 10 or so people there, and the cloud was swirling around. The sweeping vistas from the couple of viewing platforms consisted of… grey clouds…. ah well.
I had a quick look around, and decided to bungee the 4m pole to the end of one of the fences, one end of the link dipole wrapped around the top of the fence, the other end chucked unceremoniously onto the top of a gorse bush. (Only unravelled as far as mid way between the 20M and 40M links as I didn’t think 40M would be very useful)
No need for a guying kit!
Looking at RRT, I saw that Carolyn, GW6WRW/p had just been spotted on 21Mhz, and set the antenna up for that, 5W from the 817nd saw her as the first contact, s2s, not a bad start!
I then spotted myself on 20M and attempted with the 5w, rapidly finding that attaching the amp would be a better option! So on it went. Quickly followed by 22 or so QSOs
Once they had dried up, 10M seemed to be very lively, so the antenna was dropped and the links changed to 10M. 34 QSOs later, and Mike, 2E0YYY came on, asking if I could drop down between 28.3 and 28.5 to enable US Tech chasers a go, one in particular, N2BTD, who was very patient as I struggled to get him in the log, but got there in the end, Thanks, Brian!
The extensive ‘shack’
A quick change to 12M saw another 8 QSOs, and a final change back to 10, saw a further 2, by which time, since all calls seem to have dried up, it was time for a couple of photos, and get packed up.
One last wander across to one of the viewing platforms allowed me to snap a peak above the clouds, just!
At last! A view, of sorts…
Walking back down, it appeared that I could possibly be able to take a pic of a Brocken Spectre..
Was I going closer to the edge to take a photo? Absolutely not!
However, I thought it best not to get too close to the edge of the hill, just in case!
About 20 minutes later, I was back at the car, the only one left in either of the 2 car parks.
Just about ready to descend, clouds started clearing!
71 QSOs in close to 2 hours, many thanks to everyone who called in, and apologies to anyone who I missed.Getting back to the hotel, was a lot easier, drive along ER110 to the cross roads, turn left, and follow the road downhill until I reached VE3, then onto VR1 and turn right at some point before getting to the middle of Funchal!