I wrote this in December 2012, and forgot to hit the “publish”  button…

I have suffered a lot of cold, moist days in Santana. It is very much like living steadily in the middle of a cloud. Santana lies on the North coast of Madeira, and it is a favorite dwelling for ham radio operators who love ham radio contesting. From the CR3L residence in Santana you are overlooking the Atlantic to North and Middle America, and also to Europe, and behind that Japan. The QTH lies 500 meters above sea level, on a down slope. Which is the ideal place for launching electromagnetic radiation towards NA, EU and also Asia. There are now 2 antenna towers with beams for 10 – 40 meters, and verticals for 80 and 160 .

Through the moderate temperatures and ultra moist climate, vegetation is abundant on Madeira

But it has a severe disadvantage. The prevailing North.East winds bring clouds in from the North Atlantic. When these hit the 2000 meters high mountain ridge on the north side of the island they stop their journey and, in panic, release the water they carry onto the people living there. Santana is in the middle of a   permanent cloud, and temperatures are normally 5 degrees Celcius lower than in Funchal on the south coast. This year, the cloud stayed for the whole week, and standing underneath the 40 meter beam it was impossible to see where it was pointing most of the time. Unfortunately both rotor control units had a failure, and I had a splendid run on the 15 meters band when I noticed that the antenna had  actually been pointing towards the mountain for most of the 6 hour shift…

The CR3L shack is housed in one of those characteristic Madeiran houses

Until this year, I had only visited Santana during the last week of November, during the the most important contest of the year, the CQ World Wide CW contest. This year everything would be different, average temperatures for the end of May are 17-23 degrees, and we decided to give it a try.  The more so because in 2010 the multi/multi category of the contest was won by the RRDXA team from Santana. And in years before I have had only second and third places operating in teams from CT9L, TS7N and 5A7A, always in the M/2 or M/M categories. A perfect opportunity for a nice, warm vacation. I was even able to motivate the XYL, who had been in Santana before, to join the team. Madeira offers lots of possibilities for wandering through the mountains and other forms of sportive entertainment. Funchal is a very interesting city with its harbour and market place, and there are plenty of interesting cafes on the waterfront.