Pineapple plantation
Lat/Lon:37.78 N, 25.32 W   Loc:HM78IS   IOTA:EU-003   ITU:36   WAZ:14

. . .     T A K E    U R    R I G     . . .

Inspired by the editorial in the July 99 issue of QST 'You Can Take It With You' and always envying the dx-ops I worked on the bands, I decided to take my TS-570 with me on holiday to CU2, São Miguel.

... why cu2 ? ...
I had suffered at the other end of some cw pile-ups before, usually special event stations, and knew that the going can get pretty tough if you are too dx-rare. As I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew, and be blasted off the frequency after my first CQ call, the Azores seemed a good choice. Hopefully CU2 would provide a temperate training ground for me to improve my pile-up management skills - you often have to keep a tight hold of the reins, otherwise the resulting chaos on the frequency can scare away the punters.

São Miguel isn't at all rare on the bands since there is quite a large ham community there, however few are dedicated cw men. I felt that using this mode would draw enough interest from hams working towards their cw awards... judging from the pile-ups and the number of stations worked, I wasn't wrong.

Logistically it also seemed a good choice:
1.     By chance, I was able to get inexpensive accommodation.
2.    A travelling time of only two hours, not too long to be cooped up in an aluminium tube at 30000 feet.
3.    No licensing problems - just sign CU2/CT1EFL.
4.    Relatively cheap flights from Lisbon.
5.    No airport-customs problems with ham equipment, since we've not left the European Community.
6.    No language, currency, health problems  ...basically just like home!

Also, since this was primarily to be a holiday with the yl and not a dxpedition, CU2 provides lots to see and do. Everything from the spectacular volcanic scenery and manifestations to pineapple and tea plantations, not to mention its impressive monuments and gardens. By carefully planning my week's stay, I was able to combine an island holiday with 'playing radio' quite nicely.

... running knwd ts570 into homemade vertical ant wid pwr abt 50 wtts ...
The 570 is small, easy to operate and also has smooth tx/rx, nice for full-qsk and split frequency operating. Only 50 watts was ever used, more than sufficient to work all continents. Indeed when a QRPp G-station, running only 50mW, broke through the pile-up one evening, my output seemed to be megawatts by comparison!

Not knowing anything about the site conditions at the CU2 QTH (except it had a small garden) I went prepared for the worst by taking a 6m telescopic fibre-glass fishing rod and a 'tuner'. Unfortunately on arrival it was obvious to see that there were no high supports available for stringing dipole-type antennas. I had to build a vertical - 20m of speaker wire were coiled around the rod and drooped to a nearby fence. The fishing rod was taped to the rear veranda's railing, the highest point I had access to. Another 20 metres formed an RF ground. This set-up was fed by my 'tuner', actually an SGC-230 automatic antenna coupler. This baby can tune almost anything, probably even the proverbial 'piece of wet string'. All of the equipment performed flawlessly in the changeable island's microclimate.
... info ...
CU2 QTH: Furnas, about 40km east of Ponta Delgada.
Lat/Lon:    37.78 N, 25.32 W
Loc:          HM78IS
IOTA:      EU-003  
ITU:         36  
WAZ:       14

... wrkg condx ...
rig:     Kenwood TS-570D
pwr:    50 Watts
ant:     fishing-rod vertical + SGC-230 coupler

... hpe cuagn ...
Although each operating session started with a couple of short ragchews, as the number of stations calling quickly increased, I generally switched to split operation and fast rst-exchanges. Even then, it was nice to log so many familiar calls ...sorry I couldn't stop to chat.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to work me.

. . .     A B T    A Z O R E S    . . .

Far out in the Atlantic, 1300 km (800 miles) west of Portugal's mainland, the nine islands of the Azores are known for their spectacular volcanic scenery, abundant flora and peaceful way of life. Once wild and remote, they are now a popular destination for travellers who enjoy walking, sailing and getting away from it all.

Santa Maria was the first island to be discovered by the Portuguese in 1427. The islands were settled during the 15th and 16th century by colonists from Portugal and Flanders who introduced cattle, maize and vines. During the 20th century they have benefited from their use as stations for transatlantic cable companies, meteorological observatories and military air bases. Once a brave new world of pioneer communities, the Azores are now an autonomous region of Portugal and an exotic region of the European Union, where life remains refreshingly civil and unhurried.

The islands of the Azores are spread 650 km (400 miles) apart and fall into three distinct groups. In the east lie Santa Maria (CU1) and São Miguel (CU2), the largest island and home to the regional capital, Ponta Delgada. The main towns in the central group are Horta (CU7) and Faial, a popular stopping point for boats crossing the Atlantic, and Angra do Heroismo on Terceira (CU3), a busy cosmopolitan city. From here visitors can travel to the other islands of São Jorge (CU5), Graciosa (CU4) and Pico (CU6), the last dominated by a towering volcanic peak 2350 m (7700 ft) high. Further west lie the remote weather-beaten islands of Flores (CU8) and Corvo (CU9).

... sao miguel island = iota nr eu003 ...
With its historic maritime capital, rich green fields and dramatic volcanic scenery, this 'ilha verde' (green island) provides a rewarding introduction to the Azores. The largest and most populated of the'Lagoa do Fogo' archipelago's nine main islands, São Miguel is 65 km (40 miles) long and originally two separate islands. The capital, Ponta Delgada, is a good base from which to make day tours of the rugged coast or visit the volcanic crater lakes and steaming thermal springs in the interior of the island.

... hr qth is furnas...
To the east of the island, the spa resort of Furnas is the perfect place to admire the geothermal activity taking place below the surface of the Azores. Scattered around the town are the 'Caldeira das Furnas' where visitors will see the steaming geysers and hot bubbling springs that provide the therapeutic mud and mineral water used for the spa's treatments.

Autonomous Region of the Azores

Back to Fun Stuff