Helwangspitz – Liechtenstein

HB0/LI-011 Helwangspitz – 2000 metres ASL, 8 points Locator: JN47sd

Friday, 10 June 2016

Yesterday, with the assistance and generosity of Herbert OE9HRV, I activated Gerenberg DM/BW-348. Today Herbert has generously offered to take Arno OE9AMJ and I to the summit of Helwangspitz HB0/IL-011 in Liechtenstein. Assuming the weather stays fine, I may be the first VK and VK1 to activate a SOTA peak in Liechtenstein, what an honour this will be.

Herbert picked me up at 9:30 am from our apartment in Bregenz, then drove to Arno’s QTH. From Armo’s home, Herbert navigated his way along roads which lead to border crossings with Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Before departing Bregenz, Herbert reminded me to have my Aussie Passport on hand. After about 60 minutes of driving through small villages in Switzerland and Liechtenstein we arrived at the designated car park. Going by the number of cars in the car park, it would appear other groups of like-minded people are making their way to the summit.  We are aiming for a 1030 UTC start, let’s see how we go?

From the car park the ascent is 525 vertical metres over 3.2 km taking 1 hour and 40 minutes. Half of the track is a gravel road while the remaining 1.5 km is a well maintained narrow goat track, wide enough for one person.

There are some sections and features of the track where walker safety is a primary concern, these areas are well designated by sign posts warning of cliff edges.  Nevertheless in the event that you have no interest in amateur radio, the walk to the summit is a ‘must do’, put this one on your bucket list. The panoramic views of the Austrian, Lichtenstein and Swiss Alps are spectacular.

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew VK1AD

Expedition team – Andrew VK1AD, Hebert OE9HRV and Arno OE9AMJ

View of the car park and the Swiss Alps

View of the car park and the Swiss Alps

Helwangspitz summit

Helwangspitz summit in the distance (right centre of the picture). Don’t be fooled by the pine trees the highest point at 2000 metres ASL is exposed to the elements.

On the right of the photo is a section of the cliff face of Helwangspitz

On the right of the photo is a section of the cliff face of Helwangspitz

No access to the summit between December and April. The back side of the summit is a cliff edge

No access to the summit between 15 December and 15 April. The back side of the summit is a cliff edge, a dangerous place to be when snow and ice forms.

View of the Swiss Alps

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View of the Swiss Alps

 

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Swiss Alps close up

At the summit of Helwangspitz

Helwangspitz

Helwangspitz, Liechtenstein. In the foreground a wooden container housing a hard bound register, the size of a telephone book, to record your details and message to future climbers. The register is protected from the extremes of weather by stainless steel box lining within the historic wooden container.  Just two metres beyond the  wooden box the summit sits above a knife-edge cliff.

Helwangspitz Trig Plate at 2000 metres ASL

Helwangspitz Trig Plate at 2000 metres ASL

On the summit at 1010 UTC (12:10 local), I’m proud to be the first VK1 SOTA activator to visit Helwangspitz HB0/LI-011.  Our arrival was celebrated in true Austrian style, yes that’s right with an Austrian beer.  Arno cracked open the first can of cold beer, remember the priority is to first congratulate each other on the achievement then play radio.  I wonder if the practice of carrying beer to the summit will take off in Australia (VK), perhaps during the winter months? I can’t imagine drinking a warm beer in Australia’s summer.

To the activation.  I helped Herbert assemble his tall antenna support structure consisting of a 10 metre squid pole, plus a 3 metre fibreglass extension pole fitted to the base of the main.  The purpose of the extension is to raise the 20m J-Pole feed point just above ground level. With the J-Pole elevated, an impressive sight, Herbert assembled his high power SOTA station consisting of a KX3, 150 watt HF amplifier and three high-capacity LiFePO4 batteries powering the station for 3 hours.

The activation started on 20m 14.310 MHz working 27 chasers across Europe and North America.  For my first ever transmission in the 17m band , I worked 13 chasers on 18.140 MHz.

On 40m 7.124 MHz the chaser tally maxed out at 32.  I welcomed Herbert’s offer to take the microphone for his opportunity to work four chasers.  Yes Herbert was happy to sit back and be entertained by me working three pile ups on 20, 17 and 40m.  😉

Having exhausted a combined list of 72 chasers on HF bands, I looked forward to a slower pace on 2m 145.500 FM using A 2m HT on loan from Heinz OE5EEP. To my surprise two chasers called in from Germany, fabulous! 🙂

Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts.  Thanks to Paulo CT2IWW/P in Portugal on CT/TM-031 and Jan OK2PDT/P in the Czech Repblic operating from OK/VY-024 for two new unique S2S contacts from Helwangspitz.

VK1AD

VK1AD activating HB0/LI-012. Photo supplied by Herbert OE9HRV

VK1AD

Did you note I’m not wearing gaiters. No Aussie snakes in these parts.  Photo supplied by Herbert OE9HRV

OE9HRV

OE9HRV working chasers on 40m

OE9HRV SOTA station

OE9HRV SOTA station, KX3 feeding a 150 watt HF amplifier, powered by three LiFePO4 batteries, each in their own container.

10 metre squid pole with a 3 metre extension to accommodate a 20m J-Pole wire antenna

10 metre squid pole with a 3 metre extension to accommodate a 20m J-Pole wire antenna.  No wonder Herbert is frequently heard in VK, combining the 20m 1/2 wave vertical with a 150 watt amplifier.

BTW a note for VK chasers or S2S chasers like me.  When Herbert makes arrangements to work VK from HBO or OE in a DX window of one hour, Herbert leaves home at 3 am, drives for 1.5 hours, climbs a real mountain in the dark, wearing a headlamp taking two or three hours to be ready to go by 0700 UTC.  Meanwhile in VK, it’s late afternoon approaching 0700 UTC. Spare a thought for Herbert. ☺

Below are pictures of the Liechtenstein Alps.  I will follow up with summit IDs.

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Special thanks to Herbert OE9HRV for his time and generosity in the provission of a complete high power SOTA station.  Thanks Herbert and Arno for your company throughout the day, one which I will have fond memories for the rest of my life.  I look forward to a reunion sometime soon 😉

Photos: © Copyright 2016 Andrew Moseley

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6 thoughts on “Helwangspitz – Liechtenstein

    • In that case best get your butt and cool beard to the summit for an activation. 🙂 How about a VK ‘Andrew’ expedition to Liechtenstein👍

  1. Hi Andrew
    What a fantastic experience. We travelled through Liechtenstein once and did the usual tourist things but to climb a summit and activate! And the photos are great as well.
    Cheers
    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    • Nice city and very clean not a single piece of rubbish anywhere. One thing I noticed no graffiti anywhere in Liechtenstein. I believe the unemployment rate is very low around 1 %? Awesome mountains John I recommend a return trip next time with a radio in your hand. I hope to return in 2 years time for a reunion with Herbert, what a great guy? Cheers Andrew

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