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It is always a pleasure to visit the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein. My Paragliding Nomadness took me to Switzerland and I now am heading east, so why not pass through HB0 for an overnight stop? On the way into the country, I passed through Balzers, where I found this perfect tiny castle surrounded by grape vines.
In search of a quiet place to spend the night, I climbed the steep roads to the ski resort at Malbun at an altitude of 1600 meters.
With my head in the clouds paragliding, I haven't been paying much attention to ham radio. Unicorn style, I mag-mounted the Pro-Am whip on the hood(bonnet) of the camper - the only metal surface available - and tuned around the 20 meter band. On Friday evening I worked a handful of stations on CW. Either the HB0 call is not as popular as C31, or this is not as good a location as my usual mountain-top in Andorra. Signals from the UK were very strong, but there wasn't much from anywhere else.
Saturday morning I tuned around and was surprised to hear a contest in full swing. I didn't even know that this was the WPX CW weekend. That just shows how out of touch I was with ham radio on this trip.
Needless to say, the contacts came much faster with the contest on and I filled a few pages of computer log before heading down the mountain to pick up fresh bread for lunch. After a pleasant picnic at Triesen, overlooking the Rhine River which divides Liechtenstein from Switzerland, I told my GPS to take me to the only paragliding launch marked on my map, somewhere above Triesenberg.
As I rounded the bend by the take-off at Silum, I was surprised to see the glint of a ham antenna in the field. Fiberglass masts were scattered about a group of cars, all sprouting various antennas. I had stumbled upon a small Field Day style DXpedition of Austrian, German and Swiss hams, hosted by Walter, HB0PC and operating as HB0FL, the local club call.
Not unlike Field Day in other countries, the entire team was taking a leisurely lunch with the obligatory keg of beer and plates full of meat and sausage. Not wanting to waste the antennas, I borrowed some coax from Holger, OE9GHV and connected the Icom IC-7000 in my camper to the 20 meter quad loop erected by Norbert, OE9NAI. It all seemed very familiar. The exact same antenna I used successfully in CQWW 2007.
I was happy to give out a few more HB0 multipliers, and even managed to work VE3EJ and VE3JM, back in Ontario. Good ears, guys.
Saturday evening I returned to Malbun, and despite a Foehn wind shaking the van, did some more operating. Conditions were much better and quite a few North and South American stations made it into the log.
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