The Brotherhood, activating with Paul HB9DST in Selibüel, Switzerland

SOTA summit: Selibüel, Switzerland HB/BE-151

Activation Date: Jan 25th, 2019

Unique: Yes

Call sign used: HB9/W6PNG/P

Portable operation: Yes

Radio: KX2

Antenna: LNR EndFed

Band/Modes used: 40m and 20m SSB

Hike:  ~2.1 miles and ~350ft ascent.  (<–click left for GaiaPro track etc)

Hike and AZ profile: Well defined trail to peak and AZ is flat, exposed with zero trees

Solo operation: No with Paul HB9DST/P

Recommend: Yes

Cell Coverage: Excellent

Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2019


Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 6.40.05 AM
Just in case you’ve forgotten where Switzerland is…..
Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 6.39.11 AM.png
and we are on the north side of the Swiss alps just south of Bern
Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 6.35.16 AM.png
and its a modest journey from the bus stop to the peak

Having slightly recovered from what seemed like a harrowing journey from Edinburgh to Zurich, it’s time to start my four day Swiss SOTA adventure. I like variety and the main purpose for being in Switzerland in January was to try my hand at snow shoeing. I tried it once decades ago in So Cal with a group of friends ascending to the peak of San Jacinto. It was fun, tiring and bone chilling.

Paul, HB9DST has made this all very easy for me. Beyond being my guide he’s lending me stuff right, left and centre. Should I bring snow shoes and poles? No he emails back, I have a set you can use. Can I borrow your KX2 charger? He makes it even easier and offers to lend me a portable radio station made up of a KX2, 7m mast, antenna etc. This is great and removes another level of hassle especially as I’m hoping to go with carry on luggage as I have a short connection in Frankfort.

Cold and ice has messed up the flights but what made the journey “exciting” was passing through passport control and security in Frankfurt. I thought we were all in the EU and travel was somewhat like flying from California to the East Coast. Apparently not as my bag is rescanned, my boots are removed and rescanned.

Flying on connecting flights with the same carrier typically has the upside that the arriving and departing flights are in the same terminal. Not so in Frankfort and I find myself scurrying under the tarmac, huffing and puffing, avoiding what seem like flash crowds and find myself boarding the plane to Zurich moments before the door closes.

Phew, dodged a bullet on that one.

Public transport from Zurich to the trail head….try that in California

I first heard of Paul through a mutual friend Guy, N7UN and then virtually met him 18 months ago after I reached out to get advice on an easy peak to activate while visiting Switzerland with my wife. He came through with a lot of detail and suggestions to make my activation easy and successful.

72 Associations and counting

Paul is an über Mountain Goat and his specialty it nabbing associations. Think of it as visiting a US State or a European country as each simplistically equates to a SOTA association. Paul has racked up 72 associations and is the leader, bar none. It doesn’t sound like a larger number but it pretty much equates to visiting a peak in almost every US State and half or the European countries. Lots of travel, lots of dedication and lots of stamina and it is with this that I finally met Paul in person in April 2018 when he and his partner Marge were clocking up more associations. This time I was their guide in Joshua Tree NP showing them the delights of Ryan Mountain and Inspiration Benchmark. Over a late lunch at the only worthwhile place to eat in Twentynine Palms, Marge shared that Paul loves having visitors in Zurich, he has a spare room and I should go. I will and I’m here.

Paul HB9DST, my host, my guide, my friend….
Follow the trail to the peak located top of photo
Snow shoes on and way too much clothing…15 minutes later I’m shedding jacket etc

While this is a reasonably straight forward and easy activation its biggest benefit is getting me reacquainted with snow shoes before we undertake anything more significant.

Easy trail to follow…snow everywhere!
Summer SOTA peaks…Paul has activated both
The Swiss excel at signposting
My borrowed station…Paul provided KX2, mast, antenna….I added the operator, headphones and a microphone
Descent is always harder for me
As I will discover being outdoors doesn’t mean being far from food or drink
Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 7.38.40 AM
Nabbed a S2S and also had Gerald G4OIG chase me


USA calling, thank you very much Rich

I managed to round up 15 contacts on HF. Having operated so long in the US, its a thrill to be somewhere where all the chasers pretty much come from across Europe. That written I do get quite excited when I get chased by a US station. Rich, N4EX came booming through for me and my paltry 10 watts voice made it out and over 4,000 miles. Nice.



  1. Paul, it was an absolute pleasure having you visit. I hope the trip didn’t aggravate your flu (lurgy) too much and that you have since recovered from all the rigours/rigor that I put you through!


  2. Great report and a view from outside on HB9 – thanks. Should go there, too, soon – to Selibüel, of course.
    Can provide instructions regarding the use of Swiss umlauts like äöüöëèìïòùà, used for writing “Selibüel”, hi.
    Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ


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