What a wonderful day !

And the sunniest Winter Bonus points I’ll ever get :wink:

Predictions for Wednesday Feb 24th were excellent, sunshine all day and temperatures up to 18 °C, so I had to grab this opportunity.

Leaving my home QTH at the unholy hour of 05:25, I arrived almost three hours later on the first summit, ON/ON-001. I took my breakfast on a parking spot along the road.

Setting up on the parking lot (position 50.501208, 6.093355) was not easy, no way you can get any pin in the ground there, it’s all rocks.So I used part of a fallen tree to support my fishing pole, and installed my “long endfed”, 23m of wire with a 9:1 UNUN.
Last time I was on this summit (in Dec 2020), that UNUN showed a bad contact, making me call CQ on a piece of coax only 3.5m long … still Lars, @SA4BLM picked up my signal at 339, amazing.

I had checked the UNUN at home and couldn’t find anything wrong with it. But again, it behaved badly, it seems the BNC connector got loose and started turning a little, but by fiddling a little I could get it working, and had no more problem on the other summits.

To please the ON stations, I started on 80m CW. But who was the first caller? SA4BLM, him again, hi. I think Lars sleeps at his transceiver (or maybe his transceiver is next to his bed ?).

After logging 9 stations in CW and 10 in SSB, I moved to 40m, resulting in a small pile up, 32 more QSO’s in the log, including 2 S2S. A nice result, 51 QSO’s in 50 minutes, I can live with that.

Since it is now forbidden to leave Belgium, I had a walking track from the Belgian side to the summit ON/ON-009 (Iverst) from Peter, ON4UP. He had done this walk on the Monday before, but I decided that I would lose too much time and skipped this one.

Instead I went to ON/ON-011.

From my parking spot at position 50.319998, 5.972385, I walked 5 minutes to the East, to my operating spot at 50.320594, 5.976140, which is just in the AZ.

Again using the long endfed, I started on 80m and got 9 callers. In between, I catched a few S2S on 40m. That is the main reason I use this non-resonant endfed, change band, press autotune and GO.

After that I went to 60m SSB (8 Q’s), 40m SSB (7 Q’s) and ended with 30m CW (2 Q’s). I had to stop then, because I was already one hour behind on my schedule.

BUT, I gained some time by trying out a new parking spot for my next summit, ON/ON-013.

I had seen on the maps that in the village of Arbrefontaine, one can drive the road called “Le Calvaire” to a much higher altitude than I used to do. Now take care, because almost all roads are called “Le Calvaire” over there, hi … see map below (source: Google Maps).

If you see this view to your right , you know you have the “right” one, although technically it is the “left” road on the map, hi.

It says it is a dead end street, but you can drive this road to this parking spot 50.316070, 5.841752, turn your car and park at the downward side.

From there it is only a mere 500m walk to this operating position 50.314296, 5.848018.

It is a much easier walk, with only 25m ascent, and the operating spot is at 560m, so well into the AZ.
From there, you also have a nice view over the area below since it is an open field.

hodinfosse walk

On this summit, I wanted to try my new QCX Mini, a 17m model. See the many posts about this little marvel in the QCX Mini threads

Power was from the 3-cell battery box (see an earlier post in the QCX Mini thread), the antenna a half-wave “Fuchs” antenna (length 8.9m), sloping from abt. 6m above ground to 0.5m (tied to the arm of my chair … ensuring “armchair” copy, hi). A 4m counterpoise completed the setup.

The Fuchs tuner plugs directly on the QCX Mini, so no feedline losses. I didn’t have any RF feedback problems like others report, but I did notice a “raspy” sidetone that I don’t have using the rig at home on an external antenna.

First I called on 18.092 , but despite being spotted on SOTAwatch, I got only one reply, from UR5IRM, who gave me a 559. More calling … NIL replies. The band was probably not at its best, so it was time for plan B.

Adding 2.2m of wire to the antenna, and retuning my Fuchs tuner, I started CQ’ing on 14.062, with reduced power of 4W, and reduced RX sensitivity of about 1 S-point.

I almost fell off my chair when the first reply was from no one else than … ZL1TM ! @ZL1TM
He was a good 539 with me, and he gave me a 509. That was the first ever ZL in my SOTA log. WOW.

Further QSO’s with OH5RP, EA5K, EA7GV, OH6JUM, EA7TG, SV2OXS and YL2TQ proved that “abusing” a QCX on the “one lower” band is certainly feasible. See more comments on that on my blog

To please the non-CW chasers, I switched to the KX3 + my short endfed (9.15m) to calll a bit more on 40m SSB, and ended the activation with 21 QSO’s in the log, including 2 S2S.

Last summit of the day was another “parking lot” operation at ON/ON-010, parking position is 50.253133, 5.731574 .
Had there been snow, that lot would have been full, but now it was as empty as can be, and parking was free :wink:

The temperature was a nice 18.5 °C.

I set up my short endfed again, and filled my log with another 26 QSO’s on 20/30/40/60m, mixing SSB and CW. And then it was time to take the long drive home.

Some statistics:

I drove my car for a total of 6 hours and 50 minutes, and I was out in the open for 7 hours and 5 minutes, of which I played radio for 3 hours and 50 minutes.
Total driving distance 588 km, using up almost a full tank of gas, costing about 55€.

Activator points +42 (now at 1299), S2S points +64 (now at 3333), and Chaser points +52 (now at 15269)

And that concludes my report of a most enjoyable SOTA day trip




I’m envious Luc!

What are the white structures lining the road in photo 4?

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Great report Luc on your FB long day. As a UK operator amongst others, who have completed the list of ON summits, I can recommend a trip over the English Channel. Easy to access summits, good Belgian beer and Fritteria and friendly welcoming Belgian hams and locals! Not far to get into Luxembourg either for a few more easy summits.

73 Phil G4OBK


Shooting butts were my first thought Andy…


Hi Luc
Thanks for the great report and it was really good to see you soaking up the sunshine during the WB season - hi hi! I like Phil have happy memories of SOTA expeditions to Belgium and look forward to going back there again, maybe next year! This year I am settling for G & GM but hoping to cross the 60 degree latitude line later in the year! Keep up the good work.

Nick G4OOE

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They are the stations of “Le Calvaire” (Calvary), and a bit further is also a Chapel.
here I found some info in French

it contains some old pictures, the text can be Google-translated if you wish.

Thanks for the nice reply Phil.
I did this summit 4 times before, using “your” parking spot, but the steep 30 minute walk made me avoid it in later years, I have activated the other summits 7 times.
With this new and easier access, it’s back on my list ! HI


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I have some changes to the Luxembourg summits to do this weekend.

Merci beaucoup Luc

The 14 stations of the cross (or Calvary)

Maybe next year!

I was on the Schwarzkogel and Braunhuberkogel on Wednesday. After a chilly start it quickly turned into shirt-sleeve weather :smiley:. I tried to pick you up on 17m Luc, but nothing heard my end. February has been unusually kind to us winter activators, perhaps to make up for last March.
73 de OE6FEG

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Pity about the last weeks HF Condx Matt - 17m/20m propagation to EU from UK has been very poor. I don’t know if others have found the same. Prop on the lower bands 30/40/60m has been it’s usual plain self, not so bad. Not much variation from day to day, fair to middling as we say round here…

73 and thanks for recent QSOs one and all!


Hi Matt,
I was spotted on EA8 on 17m (but only 4 dB S/N).
OE was probably too close for 17m, even for 20m.
We’ll make it work another time.

The weather has been really wonderful for the last 3 days.

I spontaneously took a holiday and activated 9 summits.

That’s what I needed. :blush:

73 Armin

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Thanks for the S2S on Wednesday !
73, Fritz HB9CYX

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I remember we saw stations of the cross on the slopes of a summit in Poland.

A beautiful day and a happy Luc – thanks for your report!

And it seems that Lars @SA4BLM sleeps nearby this transceiver even throughout the day, since he is frequently my first chaser around noon, especially on 20 m, hi.

Enjoy the weekend and best 73,
Markus, HB9DIZ

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I have updated my list of parking positions and walking times for the Benelux summits with the new info for ON/ON-013 , described above.
Find that list here:

Of course info for the new summit LX/LX-005 is still missing, I’ll try to activate it as soon as we are allowed to leave Belgium … hi.


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Well done Luc.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

One summit on my list had no page on my blog, PA/PA-006, Signaal Imbosch.
That has now been fixed, all summits have a description with parking spot, walking info where needed, pictures, etc.

That LX/LX-005 looks like an easy drive-up.
Access roads from the South show forbidden signs in StreetView, but at 49.726173, 6.167444, I don’t see any objection to take the road South to the radio tower at 49.711343, 6.166438
OT Maps even shows a parking symbol there, and it’s in the AZ. Easy!

I haven’t looked at it yet, Simon and Christophe know the full SP on this new LX summit. It’s great planning SOTApedetions but it will be some time before I can visit mainland Europe so there is no point getting too excited! I can’t see it being viable to visit Friedrichshafen this year but maybe see my sister near Nimes in France later this year for more wonderful F/PE & F/CR summits in October / November when it’s still warm as Scotland in Summer :slight_smile: But only if the vaccination program on the mainland pulls its finger out and gets a move on… I had to view the expanded stats on statista.com to find where France/Belgium/Luxembourg where on the table. :frowning:

I really enjoyed my day in LX a few years back so bagging the remainder of LX and a chunk of ON/F summits is on the list. Just need to work for a few more years to earn enough money so I can retire early and enjoy the results of my toils!

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