Sunday, June 9, 2019

ON/ON-029 Terril Ste-Barde et Tonne

This summit is a small hill on the outskirts of Liege. The shortest trail to the top appears to be from the east side at the intersection of Rue Sergent Merx and Rue Naniot. I parked a block down Rue Sergent Merx at the park, then walked back up the road to the trail. ON7DQ has a great description of the route on his blog.
Heading up to the summit.
The hill is covered in lush, dense vegetation, and I quickly forgot I was in the middle of a city. There is not a lot of elevation to gain, and the trail takes its time, so it is not steep. The high point is different, however. I passed some use trails up to it, but they looked very steep, so I continued around. On the other side of the summit cone there is a trail that is less steep. I took this up to the top.
Watch your footing at the top.
The area at the top is fairly small, but there was no one else there when I was on top. I strung out my antenna and got on the air. I had a bit of time pressure since I didn't want to be late returning the car, but I got enough contacts without any trouble. I retraced my steps back to the car, and got on the freeway back to Brussels.
A few water bars would help prevent erosion.
Trailhead: Intersection of Rue Sergent Merx and Rue Naniot
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: AA6XA/P SOTA Map 
Route: Enter the woods on the trail and turn right. Follow the trail up to the summit. The backside is less steep to get to the high point.
Red Tape: None that I'm aware of.

PA/PA-003 Observant (Sint Pietersberg)

This peak is the higher of the two SOTA summits in the Netherlands. Like all the other Benelux summits, ON7DQ made a useful chart with the best parking locations for each summit. I tried following my GPS to the place for this one, but there were some signs that seemed to me to indicate I wasn't allowed to drive up that way. Luc says its ok to drive up that way, but as a visitor I decided to not take the chance. So instead I turned around and parked at the edge of the village and walked.
Walking up the road.
There is a cul-de-sac at the end of Guldendael road, and this is a good place to park. An overgrown, single-track trail leads from the left side to one of the dirt paths on the mountain. I got pretty wet on this trail since it had rained on the way over. On the wide, dirt path I turned right and headed up the hill.
Middle path to the summit.
I didn't have a good map, so I made some wrong turns, but eventually I found my way to the top. There is a star shaped stone structure on the summit, with a number of benches. It was mid-week on a rainy day, so there was no one else on top. I didn't feel bad setting up using the structure to hold up my antenna.
About to head down.
On the air I made contacts on the three bands I had. The clouds were dark, but it didn't rain while I was out. The walk back to the car was a lot easier since I knew where I was going. At the car I realized I had enough time for one more summit before I had to return the car in Brussels, so I drove to a suburb of Liege for my last one.

Trailhead: Cul-de-sac at the end of Guldendael
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: AA6XA/P SOTA Map 
Route: Take the single track to the wide dirt roads. Follow the roads up to the summit.
Red Tape: None that I'm aware of. Watch out for bikers.

ON/ON-026 Le Mont d'Henri-Chapelle

This peak was the final drive-up peak I did on this vacation. After getting Signal de Botrange, the Belgian high point, I drove over to the coordinates provided by ON7DQ. The location he recommends is at the end of a small road, with a picnic table and viewpoint. The sun was peeking through the clouds, so I thought it might not rain like it was forecasted to.
Not a lot of space to set up, but enough.
I used the trash can stand to hold up my pole, and got on the air. As I wash finishing up the third contact it started to rain. I quickly covered everything and put on my raincoat. Lucky for me, there was a fourth chaser waiting when I got back on. I made the contact, then called CQ once more to see if there was anyone else. Not getting any replies, I packed up.
The view over the valley is probably even nicer on a clear day.
This was probably the shortest activation I've ever done, but it was enough and I didn't get too wet. In the car I drove over to the Belgium-Germany-Netherlands triple point to tag the Netherlands high point before heading over to get a summit in the country.

Trailhead: 50.677059, 5.920479
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: AA6XA/P SOTA Map 
Route: Just set up there.
Red Tape: None that I'm aware of.

ON/ON-001 Signal de Botrange

Signal de Botrange is the highest point in Belgium. It is also an easy drive up summit. Any gps should be able to get there. It was the second summit of the day for me. I drove up and parked. There weren't many other cars or people there. The gift shop and restaurant were closed, as was the tower.
Here I am, the highest person in Belgium.
There is a mound behind the building with a staircase leading up it. I walked up and read the plaque on top. It turns out the peak is naturally only 694m, so they built the mound and platform to get up to 700m. People seem to like round numbers.
Mound and tower.
I walked around a little, then found a small clearing in the woods behind the parking lot to set up in. On the air I quickly got my contacts. I didn't linger, since the weather seemed like it might turn at any moment. This was the second country high point I've been to, after Kneiff in Luxembourg the previous day.

Trailhead: Signal de Botrange
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: AA6XA/P SOTA Map 
Route: Set up somewhere out of the way.
Red Tape: None that I'm aware of.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

ON/ON-025 Burteaumont

This is another easy peak near Stavelot, Belgium. After spending the night in town, I got up and drove over to the coordinates provided by ON7DQ. Turning off the main road where the GPS indicated, I saw a sign that seemed to indicate I wasn't allowed to drive up. My French is pretty terrible, so I decided not to take a chance, and just walked up.
The main road and where I parked are just on the other side of the house.
It was a quick walk. On the crest of the ridge I turned to go up to the high point, but noticed a red sign on the tree. Even with my poor French and Dutch I could see that it indicated no trespassing. So I turned around and set up on the side of the road I had just walked up.
Finally a peak with a view.
I used a fence post to hold my pole and strung out the antenna. I put out a spot and quickly got my contacts. The forecast was for rain in the afternoon, so I didn't linger since I had 4 more summits I wanted to get before returning the car.

Trailhead: 50.400523, 5.979388
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: AA6XA/P SOTA Map 
Route: Walk up the road to the intersection with the no trespassing sign. Set up there.
Red Tape: None that I'm aware of.
The high point is down that way.