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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN.... HB0 /P QRP operation w/e 14-16th APRIL 2007

Another post about previous activity.

The operating location (a bench next to a ski trail) and close up of the station, FT817, Z11, Heil boom mic and car emergency battery (17AH). Antenna 12m fishing pole and 20m dipole with RG58 coax feeder. Really doesn't get much simpler. Note the water, hat and sun block. 2 days in the sun at altitude can be hell otherwise.

Not exactly roughing it. This is the resort of Malburn, high up in mountains in HB0, although most snow has melted until the sun hits you it is well below freezing.
The trip plan:
HB0 is not rare but might be of interest to some especially QRP and as I was only a few hours away in Zurich I operated under the CEPT rules as HB0/M1KTA/P from Liechtenstein.
I planned to be on a big hill over looking Vaduz (15th April) Sunday or (16th) Monday. Liechtenstein is about 1 1/2 hours away by train from Zurich where I am working. I emailed ARCI, GQRP and a few others lists just in case.
My location will be near Treisenberg.
SSB and CW (QRS) easiest modes for me, 160m to 10m including WARC
possible but down to propagation really I suspect I will be on 30m or 20m mostly.

I will pick Sunday or Monday as:
14 Sat and 15 Sun are Japan DX contest
14 Sat 1600-1959 is EU Spring Sprint
16 Monday 0100-0300 Run for the Bacon?

But Sunday PM and Monday look pretty clear of contests.

So that was the plan.
I went QRT at 10:59 GMT 16/04/2007 after the batteries gave out after total of c11 hours operation over two days.
Thanks to everyone that replied to the CQ's the ratio of qso from CQ calls to tail ending was 70:30. A nice mix of QRP and QRO stations.
(All times in GMT to avoid confusion)
Travel from Zurich to HB0 qth 2 hours total! Anyway up and running almost immediately after arriving in Malburn. Not expected to be a UK affair but the first call in the log on 15/4 was QRP station G1INK andthe last on 16/4 was MM0TFU running QRO, a respectable number of qso in between. I will QSL through RSGB buro.
I first spent a bit of time listening to the bands and then decided to go with 20m SSB as I expected and put up a light weight 20m dipole made for the w/e. Selecting 20m paid for itself as after only being onthe air for 20 minutes called CQ just 3 times and first response was Steve G1INK who was activating SOTA Kinder scout SP001 running QRP also just 4W My report was 53-57 QSB so was happy enough. The 20m band was very alive and the next series of contacts were all from mid UK. Nigel 2E0NHM sounds like you have a very good antenna. No surprise, respondingto UK CQ's was not successful but I had success the other way around. Almost everyone commented that QSB did make my signal unreadable at times.
The band skip lengthened just as the shadows shortened and it started to get very hot on the hill (most odd, as snow underfoot and 26 degrees, I was at 2,000m, well above Vaduz or Triesenberg on a hillabove the resort of Malburn in the end). Stations from the US started to appear in the log along with Russian and Eastern Europeans, mostly working each other with some opportunistic tail ending. The HB0 call helped? I am hoping for a couple of K1, KC4, and a bunch of RW and RA stations. I heard some W1's but no response. KK3OQ was in QSO with Brian MM3YIO both very strong, then KK3OQ worked MM3XXW, I am hoping my KK3OQ exchange was OK as he said I was barely readable however neither M3 station stayed on frequency or nearby.
CT1EHI, thanks Marco for preserving to get the whole of what must have been a very confusing call sign.
The rest of the afternoon was bit disappointing with only a handful of local QSO. I really must improve my German hihi...
Forced QRT at 17:00 GMT to recharge battery. Could not return as no lights in area so at sunset could not operate safely and operation not permitted at the guest house (TURNA).
16/4 started earlier today and this time lower down although wasn't prepared for the start to be as cold as it was and put on almost everything I had, Malburn is above the snow line this time of year and effect of the sun was not felt for another hour yet as the ridge line above me meant contact with the sun was not until nearly 09:30 GMT but it was well worth the early start at 07:00 GMT with an 80m dipole this time. I heard (but could not work any alas) plenty of UK stations on 80m and VK stations on 40m and it was good to listen to Tony F5VBY (ex-G3TZH) who was taking his pick of them from 40 miles NW of Toulouse. So if you want to work VK stations UK guys 40m early morning c07:00 has them loud and clear. Finally worked Tony F5VBY at 08:47 GMT as the VK stations went away, we had had a brief contact an hour earlier but as we realised I was at the back/to one side of his beam as he was working long path to VK/ZL only when he turned to HB0 was the contact possible. Note my dipole was E-W so 'directing' N-S. He has a 2el yagi and 450W and his comment was "you like making life difficult for yourself" as I was 5W to a 80m dipole at 9m (using z11 to bring in 40m). I suspect a better 40m setup would have brought good results and maybe 10W for 80m?
Most activity on 40m then seemed to be German nets so went QRT and had breakfast.
I then switched back to the 20m dipole again at 09:30 GMT and waited for the skip to improve. Stumbled into a group on 14.236 Idris GW3TLP, Nick from Moscow RW3DUG, Frank OA0NFJ and although they were ananalogue SSTV group were happy to say hello to a qrp /p station. Idris had a 6 el beam. Report given was 58, it must have been their ears.
Notables for the rest of the day:
A05AT Special Event station (EA5AT home call) Fernando from Valencia.CN8YE From CasablancaSV1JGX who said I really did have an S8 signal and the hight must have had an effect.
The last call was Ian MM0TFU who said there was QSB on my signal.
Then 1/2 way through the next exchange 90 seconds later (LY3W) the batties finally gave out at 10:59 GMT
I did try cw at the bottom of every hour but with 0% success. Maybe it is my cw is too slow or the cw call sign was too long? If anyone has any hints I would be glad to hear them.
All in all great fun and would recommend /P operating in the alps to anyone but bring something very warm for the early start and sun block and a good hat for the sun at midday.
Back at Zurich QTH and I looked and HB0/M1KTA/P appeared in DX cluster spots a couple of times.
I will QSL all contacts.