SOTA: FL/NO-120

I have a few days of meetings in Paris before returning to Madagascar and before arriving, I mapped out a couple SOTA peaks near Paris. I was not sure when I would work them in since my only free time will probably be in the evenings, but I have already operated from one: FL/NO-120.

I had some confusion about the name and designation. There area references on the sotawatch website that list F/NO-120 as “Buttes de Parisis”, and Google points to older versions of the sota.uk website that also referenced that peak.  The French SOTA website indicates that as of February 1, 2017, there was a reorganization of France into the FL and F associations, so these websites just need to catch up. I had planned the trip back in January 2017, hence my use of the older term. For logging purposes, since the Nord-Ouest summits now fall under FL rather than F, I used the FL/NO-120 designation. Oddly, the name seems to have changed to “Fort de Cormeilles”, which is a historical building in the area. In any event, the GPS coordinates are the same.

I had a night flight to France and when I arrived to the hotel in Paris at 10:00 in the morning, the room was not yet ready, so I did the natural thing — I grabbed my radio kit and headed for this hills, leaving my suitcase with the front desk. Getting out there is not difficult: metro to St. Lazare station and then the “J” SNCF train out three stops to Cormeilles en Parisis.

The Chemin de la Vallée aux Vaches.

I followed the Google Maps to the summit location, up some town streets and finally following the “cow valley path” (Chemin de la Vallée aux Vaches)”, a dirt path which provides a short cut up the hill. The summit is really a long ridge, and I didn’t see any difference in elevation between the map pin and the adjacent Park Schulumberger, a local park with some tall trees and a great view.

Entrance to Park Schulumberger.

I set up on a fallen log and operated with the FT817 on my leg. The antenna was the endfed 40/20/10 into a tree. I had thirty-nine contacts, split between 20 and 40 meters; the first ten on 20m were at 2.5W including K4MF.

Propagation must have been pretty good; contacts before 1215Z were at 2.5W, and reasonable signal strength was reported by stations in Europe, USA, and Tunisia.

Other stations worked were from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Among the UK contacts, I was pleased to work my Madagascar QSL Manager, Phil, G3SWH, who was a surprise.

The fallen log that served as operating position.

I gave 10m and 2m a shot, but heard zero activity and decided to save battery in case I have another opportunity to get on the air while I am here.

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