UX2LX visiting Liechtenstein (HB0)
I remember the days in the 1980's when different hams came to visit my father (UR7HN, ex RB5HN). They just passed along the street and saw a large antenna on the roof of a five-story building and went to the yard and asked the inhabitants of the house about the ham living there. I remember hams from Belarus and other cities of Ukraine. Ham who travels to another city or country is always looking for opportunities to meet local hams, visit an amateur radio club or work on the air, adding a local prefix to his call sign, in addition to his/her main purpose of the visit (work or tourism).
I had the same plans when I was going to Liechtenstein in September 2018 (HB0). The country is small, the population is about 36000 persons, so there are not too many radio amateurs over there. The visit to Liechtenstein was not long, so I chose two addresses in Schaan, whom I was planning to visit.
One day I went to my first destination, where according to QRZ.com Michael Groeter, HB0TW lived. Upon approaching the house, I did not see any antenna, and as it turned out, Michael no longer lived in that house, so I started the route to item number 2 in my list - Hugo Hilti, HB0LL. In 15 minutes, I approached the house, where I saw two antennas.
I felt like I just had made QSO with HB0. While walking around the house, I managed to draw attention of its dweller who came to the window and opened it. Unfortunately, his age and state of health did not allow him to talk to me, and it seemed he did not immediately understood who I was and why I was calling him from the street, but a smile appeared on his face when I showed him my QSL card. I talked to his wife, signed up my QSL-card and passed it to him. Later, having returned to Ukraine, I learned that Hugo Hilti, HB0LL, is the first licensed radio amateur in Liechtenstein, who received the license (HE9LAA) in 1951.
I had prepared my second visit to HB0 a little bit better: I had found the website of the Radio Amateur League of Liechtenstein, added them to my friends list in Facebook and sent a message with a proposal of meeting in December. I got answers from two guys (Stefan Franz, HB0TR and Michael Greuter, HB0TW / HB9GPS). They provided me with all the information about the nearest repeaters in Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland, and told me a bit about their small organization of radio amateurs in Liechtenstein. Michael agreed to meet me when I'm in Liechtenstein and gave his WhatsApp number.
In the evening of December 11, Michael met me in Schaan. We identified each other by the photos we saw in QRZ.com. We had a dinner at a local restaurant, where we talked for about two hours. Of course, the main topic was radio: I told about how I came to the radio, my father, family, work, my radio club and our everyday life. Michael spoke about himself and his radio club, about the club and private shacks, the specifics of obtaining a radio license in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, his visits to radio amateur fair in Friedrichshafen and much more. We found a lot of commonality between us: we both served in the army (Michael in Switzerland, me in Ukraine), both admire AC / DC rock group (Michael visited their concert for 16 times), and we both noted with sadness that the average age of members of our clubs is constantly rising, and young people are mostly interested in Internet communication, rather than on the HF and VHF/UHF.
I also told Michael that one of our club members, Dmitry (UT8LN), had already visited Liechtenstein as a member of the first Ukrainian-Swiss expedition to HB0 in 2003. Together with Felix (HB9XV), they worked from the town of Malbun. The radio station was based in the restaurant. But, unfortunately, the owner of the station has passed (Pierre, HB9QQ - SK), and the new owners restored the restaurant and did not agree to place the radio station there.
Two hours passed very fast and we had to say goodbye to each other. But we did say goodbye with the idea of new meeting, because often after such meetings people become good friends for a lifetime. I gave Michael a small gift from our radio club and he invited me to work together on the air the next time I get back to Liechtenstein.
Michael, thank you and your teammates Stefan (HB0TR), Andi (HB9DVZ) and Fredy (HB0BB) !!! I hope to meet you on the air, in Liechtenstein, in Friedrichshafen and in Ukraine! 73!