ON/K7ATN on 15-July

Greetings -

On 15 July I will be in Belgium and will be activating a summit or two - plans are for ON-001 and ON-010. See sotawatch alerts for the latest.

I will be operating QRP using a KD1JV MTR on 20m and 40m with likely frequencies around 14.064 and 7.032 MHz and 145.500 MHz FM. I’ll attempt to post alerts but will depend on RBNGate and Chasers to spot me. Please ask for the summit ref if you are not certain where I am!

I can copy up to about 15 wpm only if the content is simple - if you want to convey more information or ask a question please QRS.

I’d be glad to meet up with folks on my activations - please drop me a note at climb2ski at gmail dot com.

Portland, Oregon

In reply to K7ATN:

Take insect repellant with you to ON-001. Both times I have activated it, the midges made a nuisance of themselves even though I was covered in Autan spray which is normally effective.

I have sent you an e-mail Etienne.

73, Peter - ON4UP

In reply to G1INK:

You’re absolutely right Steve: short pants are never a good idea on ON/ON-001 … even not in the summer :wink:

In reply to K7ATN:

Friday, july 12th. I go through my daily routine of cleaning up my e-mail inbox. I open the SOTA-reflector daily digest mail, and since I’ve been out of the radioamateur-“game” for over 8 months now, the cursor automatically moves towards the “discard” button … until my eye catches the title of the first topic : “ON/K7ATN on 15-july”. ON, that’s here in Belgium ! Hmmm, let’s check what’s going on. And so I discover by chance that Etienne is planning a SOTA activation in Belgium. Wow, what a great opportunity to meet a foreign SOTA-guy. And since monday is our weekly day off at our shop, maybe I can drive up to one of the hills he’ll be activating ? I check the entire topic on the SOTA reflector, and I notice that Peter ON4UP (our SOTA Area Manager and member of the same radio-club as I) also has contacted K7ATN by mail. Hmmm, who knows, maybe Peter had the same idea and if so, maybe we can team up ?

So I contact Peter by e-mail, and a few hours later, we agree that I’ll be picking up Peter at his place on monday morning at 9:00 (all time-indications are in local time, that’s GMT+2) and we’ll ride towards Signal de Botrange ON/ON-001 (SdB) together.

Monday, july 15th, 8:45. I haven’t found the time to get all my radio-stuff together (see above, I’ve been non-active for a while and everything is packed and tucked away) but for some reason, I grab the SOTA flag that has been laying around at home before heading towards Peter’s place. Maybe I can wave the SOTA-flag around while the others are activating :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

10:20 : we have planned to meet up with Etienne around 11:00, but it looks like we’ll be there about half an hour early, even with the GPS sending us through some very small villages : “I’ve been to ON/ON-001 several times, but never via this scenic route” says Peter :slight_smile:

And then, while overtaking a slower car on one of the uphills in the Hautes Fagnes National Park, all of a sudden my car breaks down : the engine is dead, and there’s a big yellow warning light on the dashbord saying there’s an engine failure :frowning: … It takes me a while to find the carpapers an contact the road assistance office, and when I finally get hold of them, it appears that I’ve muted my cellphone without knowing it : the lady can’t hear me, so she hangs up. 5 minutes of listening to some stupid waiting-tune for nothing :frowning: ! So before calling them again and loose another 5 minutes (at least), I try to restart the car. And whaddayaknow : it starts ! The yellow warning light is still there, and the engine doesn’t seem to run on full power, but I don’t care : I don’t hear any funny noises, I’m happy we’re driving again, and it looks like we’ll get to SdB after all !

11:00 : we’ve arrived at the SdB carpark. Biiiiiiig sigh of relief :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Etienne is on the road, somewhere between the German border and Belgium’s highest point SdB (694m) so Peter and I head towards the tavern next to the carpark and install ourselves on the terras with a dark Leffe and a coke light. We get hold of Etienne on the SdB repeater, and he tells us he’ll be arriving soon, just another 15 km … Just when we plan to order a second drink, Etienne arrives and meets us on the terras : we explain that in this hot and sunny weather, you can’t really over-hydrate :slight_smile: so he joins us for another Belgian beer before heading out to the trigpoint - which is about 25 (horizontal) meters away from where we’re sitting :-). Peter and Etienne even take the time to get up the 6m high concrete tower that has been built and thus reach 700m above sea level - and I’ve got the pictures to prove it. Etienne surprises us by handing us two selfmade “commemorative” caps, so when we find out that he doens’t have a SOTA flag yet, I don’t have to think twice and hand him the SOTA-flag that I took with me.

12:30 : OK, enough of this playing around, it’s time to get to work. But not before we get out the horsefly-repellant (no grassfleas or musquito’s today, only big stingy horseflies). Peter ON4UP/P sets up his vertical antenna and starts of at 20m SSB : conditions are pretty good apparently, because he gets 21 QSO’s in just over 20 minutes. Etienne ON/K7ATN/P starts on 40m CW, and pretty soon he tells me “there’s hundreds of them” :-). In the meantime, I take care of installing Etienne’s SOTA flag and taking pictures. No QSO’s for me today : during the last 8 months, the mike-fever has gotten hold of me again :frowning:

After about 20 minutes, Peter and Etienne decide to switch bands : 40m SSB for Peter (with another 8 QSO’s) and a handfull of 20m CW QSO’s for Etienne. And just before breaking up, Peter tries out his 6m antenna a manages to make the first 6m SSB QSO @ ON/ON-001. This calls for a celebration, and pretty soon, were at the terras again, drinking :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

15:00 : Etienne planned on activating another summit, Baraque Fraiture ON/ON-010, and we decide to join him. That is : if the car holds … Luckily, it does, and about one hour and several “scenic” kilometers later, we arrive at Baraque Fraiture. Note to myself : check GPS routing settings :slight_smile:

16:00 : last time I was here at ON/ON-010, we activated this “summit” from the trigpoint, which is situated in a (at that time) damp pine forest, with lots of ants and little musquito’s. But since then, Eric ON5CMB has found a very nice patch of open moor-like land and that’s where we set up. Peter decides to try 2M SSB, a first for this summit. It takes a while before the first QSO is made, but then things improve and half an hour later, 7 QSO’s have been made.

In the meantime, Etienne gets his radio and 20m antenne installed. He also struggles to get the first 2-3 QSO’s, but eventually manages to get enough QSO’s in his little logbook to have a succesfull activation. Or does he ? There’s a certain chaser named Roy that’s missing in Etiennes logbook, so it doesn’t really qualify as a succesfull activation, now, does it ? :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Oh, and what did I do at ON/ON-010 ? Well, I got promoted to antenna-monkey (yeay :-)), took pictures again, and made sure the most important part of Etiennes SOTA-gear - the SOTA flag !!! - was installed. It’s still a bit new for Etienne, he needs to get used to it so we’ll forgive him :wink:

17:00 : time to get back to the car, and euhm, hydrate a little more. There’s a tavern near the carpark which serves La Chouffe : hmmmm, nice :slight_smile:

Before leaving for home, Etienne, Peter and I make a last stop at the friterie for some really good “belgian” fries, and it’s well after 19:00 when we get in the car and drive home. And guess what : the yellow warning light is gone ! Still, I guess making a phonecall to my car dealer might be a smart thing to do … Etienne is going to Brussels and we’re going the same way, so we agree that Etienne will follow us untill Leuven, from were he’ll get to Brussels in no time - I hope …

All in all, I had a really great day, It was really nice to meet up with Etienne K7ATN and Peter ON4UP, and I hope both of them have had fun as well. Now if only I can find the time to unpack all my SOTA-stuff and get over that mike-fever again …

Thanks for reading,

Thierry, ON3TH

In reply to ON3TH:

Thank you for sharing, Thierry!



In reply to ON3TH:

Thierry -
Your description of our activations is fantastic and wonderfully detailed - I’m glad you remembered the beers that we had! (My friend asked.)
Thank you again for the SOTA flag - I plan on flying it on my next activation and will share a photo.
Warm regards,

What can I add beside the links to some more information regarding … the beers :wink:


73, Peter - ON4UP