Sunday 30th June 2019
So this was our debut on the radio in Belgium. The hill was actually situated within the city of Liege and within easy walking distance of our city centre accommodation. However, with the LX day-passes secured for the following day, I was mindful not to disrupt domestic bliss by staying out too long at teatime. So we used the car and drove up to the parking spot on a residential road at the top end of town.
From here it was a zigzag path up through the woods with the summit accessed by a choice of steep gravelly ramps. The area at the summit was rather small, and so I set the Bandhopper 4 linked dipole in a way that 80m would not be available. 40m was the strategy anyway.
Jimmy ON/M0HGY/P was delighted to make two QSOs on 2m FM - one DL station and one ON, both of whom had excellent command of English. He then fielded a sizeable pile-up on 40m SSB. By this stage, I’d qualified myself on 40m CW.
During the evening we all went out into Liege and enjoyed a super evening at
Chez Sam restaurant/bar. Sat outside beside the vibrant city streets, we
indulged in various tapas and lovely Jupiler beer. Now we were looking
forward to a multi summit extravaganza the following day.
I had to get up early in order to shift my car from a city centre car park before charging started for the day. Knowing that the rest of the clan would be having a lie-in, I grasped the opportunity to do a Cloud-style pointless repeat activation of an easy local summit! This summit was only 5 minutes drive from the accommodation, then 10 minutes walk, so this would not even be the last visit during this holiday!
I just about squeezed the 30m GP into the small summit area. The band was pretty dead but I managed six QSOs on FT8 and double figures on CW. In the end I finished with 35 QSOs on 30m CW to add to the six on FT8. It was a nice surprise to be called and worker by SOTA’s President and Founder John G3WGV.
Later that day, Liam and I both agreed it was high time to get ourselves into a Turkish barber and get rid of our beards!
Last day of holiday. Got up at 5am local in order to bag one last ON activation, albeit a “pointless” repeat. Set up 20m GP which is a better sized antenna for the small summit, but it was rather too early for the band when I started at 0400z! I finished with 25 QSOs on 20m CW. 9H and 7X were nice catches, albeit unspectacular. I know I was early, but even so, the band seemed quite late in opening. The final contact was a 2m FM handheld-to-handheld with a Jimmy ON/M0HGY who was down at the apartment in Liege.
Some wrap-up stats from our Benelux trip, totted up to kill some time as we sailed back on the Pride of Hull:
Total QSOs: 306
New activator uniques: 11 each
40m CW: 128
40m SSB: 92
30m CW: 50
30m FT8: 6
20m CW: 25
2m FM: 5