Powerful ham experience on VHF, UHF and SHF based on a huge dish antenna, located in Portugal
According to the information diffused by our colleague Adelino Francisco, CT1AL using as source and support the latest issue of the QSP – Portuguese Magazine of Radio and Communications (Nº 398), it’s presently in preparation an important (I might even say ‘powerful’) radio amateur experience, based on a two decaying huge dishes antennas, located in the “Serra da Nogueira” (Nogueira Mountain), Bragança, Portugal – locator IN61nr.
There has been always some secrecy regarding this communication site but, as far as it was possible to determine, it has been in telephone service until the 1980’s, used as a link to send and receive civilian and military radio microwave signals between Artezamandi Mountain, in the French Pyrenees and Nogueira Mountain in Portugal, through a “troposcatter” (tropospheric forward scattering) connection.
The Nogueira Mountain or Pena Mourisca Mountain also, is the 11th highest geographic peak in Portugal’s mainland, reaching 1.319 meters of altitude at the top of its ridge. It is located in the highlands of the Trás-os-Montes province, approximately at the northeast top “corner” of the Portuguese territory. The French mountain Artezamandi peak reaches 926 meters above sea level and it is located in the southwest of France, next to Franco-Spanish border in the Basque Country, around 490 kilometers in strait line from the Portuguese site.
A important Portuguese ham radio team is preparing all the technological systems in order to “reactivate” the remaining of the two huge reflectors and focal point, placing some directional antennas of VHF and UHF bands on the most favorable positions to accomplish it. Besides that antennae alignment, they will invest in some output power, using a linear fed 1kW amplifier to 144 MHz and 500 Watts at 432 MHz in addition, during the IARU Region 1 VHF and UHF competitions, on September the 5th and 6th (IARU Region 1 VHF Contest) and possibly at October the 3rd and 4th as well (IARU Region 1 UHF and SHF Contest).
There are persistent rumors that unfortunately the current owner of the site, the Portugal Telecom corporation, is determined to fully dismantle the relic remains of the gigantic dish. This radio emission has, among other purposes, the goal to provide some visibility to such historic site and generate some eventual dynamic push that could engage citizens on an emergent civic movement, committed to the preservation of the site, regarded as a major Portuguese technological monument.
This is in fact one of the few examples in the world, regarding similar structures and facilities, but also one of the rarest examples of the radio communication system used to tropospheric forward scattering connection system.
Best Regards from Portugal,
João Costa, CT1FBF