Madeira Contest Team station in Porto Moniz
It was quite long time ago when a group of local operators, inspired by many visitors, started team contesting in the beautiful island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Madeira is attractive to regular tourists, but it is irresistible to serious shortwave contesters. In some large contests you can find several stations on the air from this floating garden.
The first Madeira Contest Team station was located on a plateau next to the golf course in Santo Antonio da Serra, near the village of Machico in the eastern part of the island. They used, I recall, the call sign CQ9K. There was the NCDXF CT3B/CS3B beacon located on this spot. The island is windy and the Santo da Serra site was often suffering in heavy storms. So a few years ago, the group found a new, and probably better, location on the north-western tip of Madeira in Porto Moniz. Here, they use the call sign CR3A in multi-operator events. When Jose, CT3NT, is single operator, he signs CR3E.
When I was visiting Madeira last time, I asked some members of the Madeira Contest Team for permission to visit the new site. However, the only answer I got from the Madeira Contest Team was that I was not welcome. I also asked the custodian of CR3L contest site if I could drop in during my visit. Walter, DJ6QT, sent me a detailed description and directions. Read my report elsewhere on this website.
Nevertheless, driving around the island, I simply spotted the CR3A site having visited Porto Moniz. The village is spread on a steep slope, but the CR3A station is quite high, I guess at 600 m a.s.l., on a small, fenced property housing, I suppose, an agricultural research station. The gate was locked so I could only take some photographs from the outside of the fence. Using advanced techniques, I could get some close shots of the antennas. I was not using a drone mounted camera, though.
When I travel, I try to contact local radio amateurs and visit their stations. The chances of being welcome are about fifty-fifty. Some clubs and individuals are tired of visitors, others are simply interested in the technical side of our hobby and do not care for people. It was evident in Sweden, where I travelled a lot by car and could easily reach many places, yet most of the clubs or contest groups simply refused to grant a permission. Once, in Finland, I was threatened with a shotgun when I approached a large amateur radio antenna farm I saw in the woods. Recently, while travelling through Hungary and Croatia, I contacted large contest clubs in Gyor and Zagreb in vain. They refused to let me see their antennas and stations. Some people and groups have secrets to hide. My list of refusals is long.
The location of CR3A in Porto Moniz. Only open Atlantic is in the background.
A closer look at the antennas of CR3A. They seem to be temporary.
There are two antennas for each band from 40 to 10 meters at CR3A.
A photographs through the locked gate. It is Friday before the CQ WW Contest, all antennas are ready.
The building seems to be deserted, but it is not.
The sky is overcast and grey, the weather is not always beautiful in Madeira.
Six towers are visible from this vantage point.
The sky is dull but the propagation in Madeira is excellent.
Most of the towers are frail and short, raised only for a weekend.
Almost a Field Day operation. Amazing, that Jose, CT3NT, was number 1 in the world in CQ WW using this set-up.
There is open path to the USA over the Atlantic Ocean in this direction. In February 2015, two visitors from the OM8A club (http://dxnews.com/wrtc-2014_slovak-contest-group_om8a/) made excellent SO AB scores using two stations from the very same location. Tibi, OM3RM, was running HP as CR3A, while Jozo, OM3GI, made a LP entry as CT3EE. Luis, CT3EE, is one of the members of the Madeira Contest Team.
Madeira is known for its flowers, but I notice the antennas first. I guess, I am not the only one with this idiosyncrasy.
All photographs by SM0JHF
Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF