Mark Wickens

Activation of Montaña Colorada on Lanzarote

With Rob recently adding Lanzarote to the HEMA programme I took the opportunity to be the first activator of a HEMA summit on this wonderful island!

Having done my research I found that Montaña Colorada is on the Easterly edge of the Parque Natural Los Volcanes which means it also qualifies in the Parks on the Air and World Wide Flora Fauna programmes.

Mike 2E0YYY had arranged to be portable around the same time from HEMA summit Strawberry Hill G/HNP-026 and it was hoped that we would both be able to make contact with Australian stations Ernie VK3DET and Ian VK3YFD as well as Ed DD5LP in Germany.

About Los Volcanes Natural Park

There are many articles online about the park, but suffice to say it should be on your list of places to visit if you are holidaying on Lanzarote. Here is one description that sums it up well:

This is terrain of volcanic origin with strange, curious formations which emerged from the solidification of the lava. The presence of vegetation is very scarce, except in the areas with the oldest materials, prior to the last eruptions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Lichens proliferate here, there being almost a hundred different species. In the fresher areas the wild geranium, St. John’s wort and the Canary Island aeonium are common. As for the fauna, the reptiles and birds, who have adapted well to the exceptional conditions of the park, dominate. ref

Montaña Colorada

Montaña Colorada was the last of the volcanic explosions that created Volcanes National Park from in Lanzarote 1730-1736.

Parking can be found by searching Google Maps for Aparcamiento Montana Colorada, Tinajo. There is a flat walk with information signs that skirts round the base of the Volcano which is easy underfoot. About 1km in is the obvious path for ascending to the summit and marked on most terrain maps.

Car Parking

The Ascent

When I arrived it was still dark. It was windy which is very common on Lanzarote! I had bought my head-torch just in case of an early morning or evening activation and that was put to good use on the ascent. The flat path is very easy underfoot. The ascent is on loose, small gravel from volcanic rock. It is fairly easy going with shoes/boots with a decent grip on them. The last 25 metres is steeper and requires some extra care to avoid slipping. Obviously the descent is if anything worse, I wouldn’t be attempting this is standard trainers. I wear trail shoes normally (although I get through them very quickly as the tread pattern is very soft) and they were ideal for this terrain. Also note that volcanic rock is very sharp, and even just lifting myself off from a seated position I managed to cut my wrist!

The summit is marked with a small cairn stone pile. Views are 360 degrees with the National Park to the West.

The Radio

The SFI was above 100 with the K index around 1 so I was expecting good things for the radio. I was using my FT-817ND with Super Antenna MP1. With the 817 I use LifePo4 2200 mAH cells from HobbyKing, terminated in powerpoles and these run the rig at around the same voltage as the internal battery, starting just over 10 volts and running out around 9 volts.

I set the antenna up just on the leeward side of the summit, about 0.5m below to shelter from the worst of the wind.

Initially I spotted on the HEMA Facebook Group, then subsequently both the Parks on the Air and WWFF spot systems. I don’t think POTA brought in any contacts (it was a bad time of day for the USA where most POTA contacts originate) but I think the WWFF spot definitely brought in some chasers. When the frequency I was working 14.287 SSB dried up I found that Mike was in QSO with Ed DD5LP, Ian VK3YFD and Ernie VK3DET. Ian was always weak with me, generally not moving the meter but Ernie came up to around 58 on the peak of the opening. I had a confirmed QSO with Mike 2E0YYY, making this the first HEMA S2S with a Lanzarote summit and also with Ernie VK3DET which is quite incredible on 5 watts!

I had also posted on the FISTS CW mailing list that I would be operating CW and tried therefore to use the FISTS recommended frequency of 14.058 when I did my 20m CW activation. I’m not sure where the chasers originated, but the Reverse Beacon Network did hear me once:

I also spotted for 20m CW on the WWFF spotter.

I moved to 15m to catch Simon G4JPX who was activating Lanzarote SOTA summit EA8/LA-002 Atalaya de Femes. He must have been using the same frequency as a couple of days ago as he was booming in 59+ as soon as I changed band on the FT-817ND. I only had one contact after a spot on WWFF on 15m.


Amazing to watch the sunrise over this magnificent landscape.

All photos, including some stunning panoramas, are in a OneDrive Photos album.

The Log Book

07:04 G4IAR 14.287 20m SSB 51 33 Dave BROOKS      
07:09 2E0ESY/M 14.287 20m SSB 51 51 MIKE Clitheroe      
07:10 UT5PI 14.287 20m SSB 55 55 Valery V. Ageenko      
07:11 S52RA 14.287 20m SSB 55 57        
07:12 S58AL 14.287 20m SSB 57 57 ALBERT JAVERNIK      
07:12 MW0ISC 14.287 20m SSB 55 55 Stephen Charles      
07:13 OH1MM 14.287 20m SSB 55 59 Pasi Alanko      
07:18 G0OUF 14.287 20m SSB 59 55 John     OP: John, RIG: IC-7300, ANT:
07:25 DD5LP 14.280 20m SSB 58 53 Edward A Durrant      
07:27 2E0YYY/P 14.280 20m SSB 57 57 Mike Hunter HEMA G/HNP-026 HEMA: G/HNP-026
07:44 VK3DET 14.294 20m SSB 58 54 ERNIE TURNER      
08:08 M0BMX 14.289 20m SSB 55 55 Mel Fitchett      
08:09 ON4ON 14.289 20m SSB 58 57 DANNY COMMEYNE      
08:09 DL8NDG 14.289 20m SSB 59 57 Axel Bienefeld      
08:09 OM5DP 14.289 20m SSB 59 55 MARTIN SUBA      
08:10 DL1EBR 14.289 20m SSB 59 59 Axel J. Feldner      
08:10 2E0FEH 14.289 20m SSB 55 33 Karl Kruger      
08:10 DM3CND 14.289 20m SSB 58 59       Not on QRZ
08:19 DL2ND 14.058 20m CW 599 559 Uwe Czaika      
08:20 IW2NXI 14.058 20m CW 599 599 Graziano (Grace)      
08:23 OH5TQ 14.058 20m CW 599 579 Pertti Paalanen      
08:25 EA2DT 14.058 20m CW 599 559 Manuel      
08:25 OH1MM 14.058 20m CW 599 559 Pasi Alanko      
08:30 9A2KI 14.058 20m CW 599 599 Istok Kapov - Ico      
08:32 ON2CJ 14.058 20m CW 599 599 Johan Carton      
08:35 IK3HMB 14.058 20m CW 599 559 GIORGIO PAVAN      
08:37 DL5EBG 14.058 20m CW 599 559 Walter Birkholz      
08:41 GI0WLW 14.204 20m SSB 59 55 Stu     OP: Stu, QTH: 30 miles west
08:49 EA8/G4JXP/P 21.264 15m SSB 59 59 SCH Green SOTA EA8/LA-002  
08:52 I4RHP 21.280 15m SSB 59 55 RODOLFO CAPPELLETTI      
09:08 MM5DWW 10.120 30m CW 599 559 DAVID WISHART      

Google Earth QSO Visualizations

Using the ADIF Processor:

S2S with EA8/G4JXP/P on EA8/LA-002