Author: Alan, 5B4AHJ

This article traces the history of Liechtenstein callsigns from 1945 to date.

The data presented below is derived from a study of QSL cards, DX bulletins, CQ Magazine, DH5MM's article on K8CX's hamgallery site, and the Club Log QSO database, which, at the time of writing, contained 203 million QSOs. Subsequent to the first publishing of this article, Hugo Hilti, HB0LL wrote "Amateur Radio in the Principality of Liechtenstein"  which is reproduced at the end of this article. This resulted in a few minor revisions to this article.

1945-1950 HE1xx

According to DH5MM's article on hamgallery, there were no resident licensed amateur radio operators in Liechtenstein until 1951.

During the period 1945-50, all operations from Liechtenstein were by visiting Swiss amateurs, who exchanged their HB9 prefix for HE1, retaining their normal suffix. They acquired temporary short-term visitor's licences.

Stations known to have been QRV are:


This may not be a complete list.

Club Log maps these calls by the HE1 prefix.

1951 - 1963 Resident stations HE9Lxx

The articles by HB0LL and DH5MM give the callsign of the first resident licensee as Hugo Hilti, HE9LAA, who was licensed in March, 1951.

It appears that the prefix HE9L (L=Liechtenstein?) was used for resident stations. HE9 callsigns were otherwise Swiss callsigns.

Stations known to have been QRV are HE9LAA and HE9LAC (and, by implication, HE9LAB).

This may not be a complete list.

Club Log maps these calls by the HE9L prefix.

1949-56 HB1xx/HE

Starting in 1949 (first known example is in September, 1949), or possibly earlier, visiting Swiss amateurs exchanged their HB9 prefix for HB1, retained their normal suffix, and appended /HE. When operating away from his home QTH, HE9LAA used the callsign HB1MX/HE, so he presumably also held the Swiss callsign HB9MX.In 1954, HB9MX signed simply HB1MX

Stations known to have been QRV are:


This may not be a complete list.

Club Log maps these calls by callsign exceptions, since HE is a Swiss prefix.

1955 HE1OP

HE1OP was QRV from Gaflei, Liechtenstein, in 1955. Most Swiss stations operating from Liechtenstein at the time had a temporary short-term (a few days) licence - see above. Assuming his home call was HB9OP, he would have signed HB1OP/HE if he'd had a short-term licence. However, HE1OP was QRV for a relatively long period, which may be the reason he was issued with the callsign HE1OP. 

HE1OP is mapped by callsign exception.

1956 Contest call HE1L

Although the HE1 prefix was not used by visiting Swiss amateurs after 1950, the special contest call HE1L was used in January, 1956.

HE1L is mapped by a callsign exception.

1957-63 HB1xx/FL, HB1Axx/FL

Starting in 1957 (first known example is in June, 1957),  visiting Swiss amateurs exchanged their HB9 prefix for HB1, retained their normal suffix, and appended /FL. When operating away from his home QTH, HE9LAA used the callsign HB1MX/FL. From 1963, three-letter suffixes, commencing with 'A', were also used. These were presumably Swiss operators with callsigns HB9Axx.

FL means "Fürstentum Liechtenstein" or "Principality of Liechtenstein".

Stations known to have been QRV are: 



This may not be a complete list.

Club Log maps these calls by callsign exceptions, since FL was a Djibouti prefix at the time.

1964 and later HB0

DH5MM suggests that the HB0 prefix was used from 1970. 

However, a study of the Club Log QSO database indicates that the HB0 prefix was used from 1964.

Please advise any missing callsigns from the above lists, to Alan, 5B4AHJ, email address on QRZ.COM, or via the Help Desk. 

Related Articles

Amateur radio in the Principality of Liechtenstein - reproduced below by kind permission of Wolf Harranth of Dokufunk


CQ Magazine - various issues

DX News Sheet published by Geoff Watts - various issues

Hamgallery/DH5MM Liechtenstein callsign through the ages ....

Hamgallery Leichtenstein, Europe HB0

Les Nouvelles DX HE - Liechtenstein

Patrick Rigg - QSL card collector

Amateur Radio in the Principality of Liechtenstein

(translation of an email from Hugo Hilti, HB0LL to Wolf Harranth, OE1WHC, of Dokufunk, written in February, 2014)

A first cross-border communications contract between Switzerland and Liechtenstein was signed in 1923, consisting of an agreement for customs regulations and the postal, telegraph and telephone services. It was agreed that Switzerland would represent the interests of the Principality of Liechtenstein at  the ITU in Geneva. This is the reason that Liechtenstein is not listed with an ITU prefix of its own. Switzerland received the callsign series HBA-HBZ and HEA-HEZ. The Swiss PTT was, and still is, the official authority for all communications media (Radio, TV, amateur radio, commercial service, etc). As a result, Amateur Radio rules and regulations are the same for HB9 and HB0.

In the period 1931-39, Liechtenstein did not appear on the DXCC list, and there were no legal activities from HB0. Amateur Radio was forbidden in Switzerland from the outbreak of WW2 until September 1945. Between 1946 and 1950 a few short-term activities took place, operators (in 1949) were HE1CE, HB1EL/HE, HE1EU, and HE1HV.

Swiss SWLs received HE9A-HE9Z, about 630 calls were issued, altogether. It is not known whether any of these SWLs resided in Liechtenstein, except for Hugo Hilti, who had received his HE9REB call as soon as 1947.

In 1950 the President of USKA (the Union of Swiss Shortwave Amateurs) appealed to all HB9-stations not to transmit from Liechtenstein, “until the USKA Board  has reached an  agreement for new radio regulations and test transmissions from Liechtenstein.”

The first operator to get a permit (“L1”) for Liechtenstein was Hugo Hilti, SWL HE9REB, a resident of Schaan, in the Principality. On March 1st, 1951 Hugo Hilti received the call HE9LAA.

Quoting from “Old Man”, August 1951: “Das Eidgenössische Politische Departement hat mit der Fürstlich-Liechtensteinischen Gesandtschaft in Bern eine Vereinbarung getroffen“  (“An agreement has been signed between the Federal Political Department and the Principality of Liechtenstein legation in Berne“).  Applications for short-term  operations had to be submitted to the “Kreisdirektion St. Gallen (Radiodienst) two days in advance, and the digit 9 in the applicant’s call letters had to be substituted by the digit 1 (e.g: HB9A = HB1A).  USKA suggested “the addition of /HE, following an international standard”.

The post-war DXCC list included Liechtenstein as a separate country, thus HB1 was in great demand.

HE1JJ did not wait for the agreement to be officially announced. He operated on 1st  August 1951, QTH Gaffley, partly on un-allocated bands, and again in 1952, this time as HE1JJ/HE.

Short-term operations in 1952 came from HB1HK/HE and HB1JZ/HE.

HB1MX/HE of St. Gallen operated from a restaurant on Schellenberg, mostly during weekends, in summer 1954. He was active in CW and AM. HB1CM/HE, also in 1954, was the first station to be QRV on 160m.

Gaflei and Masescha were the two most prominent QTHs, with, in 1956, amongst others, HB1OP/HE, H1KU/HE, HB1DX/HE and HB1MX/HE.

The authorities in Berne announced that from 1957 /FL should replace /HE. The first ones were HB1RG/FL, HB1UE/FL, HB1MX/FL, and HB1EO/FL.

HE1-calls were replaced by HB0 from 1st January, 1964. Hugo Hilti, HE9LAA, the only permanent resident in the Principality, was now HB0LL. Swiss amateurs were allowed to replace the letter 9 by 0 for short-term operations (e.g: HB9AA = HB0AA).  From this point on, applications to operate (by Swiss amateurs) were no longer needed.

Foreigners soon found a way to operate from the Principality, even before the CEPT regulations. According to a “Gegenrechts-Abkommen” (“Reciprocary Agreement”) between the neighbouring countries Austria, Germany and France (not Italy!) hams from those countries could obtain a short-term Swiss call, and subsequently operate from Liechtenstein. E.g. DJ2YE = HB9AON = HB0AON. DJ9ZB = HB9BOE = HB0BOE.

In 1965, on the occasion of the “Reichenau/Konstanz  meeting” (the forerunner of the Friedrichshafen Hamvention) Swiss Authorities issued 2-day-licences with call letters HB9X, e.g. DL9HC = HB9XGA, DL8RA = HB9XRY etc.  Some of them immediately went to Lichtenstein, e.g. HB0XFY.

On 30th June 1971, the Toptour Ham Club, founded by Swissair-hams,  HB9AG=HB0AG amongst others, installed five permanent stations in various countries, one of them in a Motel called “Waldeck” in Gamprin, Liechtenstein. They even volunteered to obtain transmission permits. The first YL to use this opportunity was Darlee, WD5FXQ, operating as HB0XIC. The service was discontinued due to too much tampering with the equipment by its various users.