Monthly Archives: May 2015
So You want To Go On A DXpedition?
Wise words from Paul N6PSE
The 2012 3D2C-Conway Reef DXpedition Team had a number of first time DXpeditioners.
I am often asked: What’s it take to get invited to join a Dxpedition? Or I am told “please keep me in mind for future trips”.
Participating in DXpeditions is one of the most enjoyable and interesting things I have ever done. The places that you see and the people that you meet are truly fascinating. You may discover as I have, that our world is truly different than our mass media and biased news reporting would have you believe.
Prior to my first Dxpedition to IRAQ, I always wondered why it was always the same guys on each team that activated these strange and interesting places. Soon, I learned that each team often builds a core part of the team. These team members are often retired or semi-retired and are able to travel with little notice. They also bring other skills to the team such as solid and reliable work ethic, a “can do” attitude, they are likely to be very strong operators and able to operate for long periods of time often under harsh conditions. They are often willing to operate in any mode, any time.
They bring a sense of excitement and adventure that adds to the excitement and passion of the team. Some guys are just hard workers. They know what needs to be done and they just get it done. These guys are the back bone of the team and their skills and knowledge are invaluable.
It is my opinion that each team should have some new talent or new people to introduce to Dxpeditioning. Dxpeditioning should not be an elitist function and the hobby benefits from finding and developing new players who can later go on and do more activations and eventually form and lead their own teams. This kind of activity can propel Dxpeditioning activity for decades to come.
When I am approached by a new comer who wants to join a Dxpedition, I gauge their interest and ability to fit in with a team. I find that sometimes future Dxpeditioners have a unrealistic expectation of what a Dxpedition is like. Those that expect comfort and convenience will bring unrealistic expectations to the table. Cost is a consideration for all of us. Today’s Dxpeditioner can expect to spend $250-$500 a day or more plus their cost to get to and from the Dxpedition meeting point.
When building the Dxpedition team, the leaders want to build a team that will be engaged and effective. They will tend to go to their core people first as these people are known for their skills and qualities. The leader knows that he must seek and maintain balance in the skills sets available.
I believe that multi-national teams are the most effective teams at meeting the huge global demand for contacts. For that reason, I prefer to build and assemble a team of US, EU, JA and South American members whenever possible.
I try to tap into the team members feeling of personal obligation to ensure that his own continent is well covered with contacts made. Never do you want to leave a continent feeling that they did not get access to the Dxpedition team.
Strong operating skills are very important to the Dxpedition team. An operator should be strong at CW and/or SSB. Willingness and ability to do multiple modes is a plus. RTTY should not be an afterthought and operators that bring skills such as rapid rate and expertise with multiple decoders are desirable.
Some operators bring extra skills to the team, such as the ability to effectively troubleshoot PC & network issues. Expertise in logging programs such as N1MM, Wintest and Writelog are quite desirable. Skills in gathering log data and performing satellite uploads are very beneficial.
We are often impressed by those that have the right attitude and the aptitude to succeed. Skills can be developed, honed and improved but they must be coupled with the right attitude along with the aptitude to succeed.
There have been countless times when I have been asked “Please keep me in mind for a future trip”. Quite often when I contact those people I find that they are dreamers and not really engaged in becoming a Dxpeditioner. They are not prepared to take the time away from their work and family or prepared for the cost of the Dxpedition. The men that say “yes” time and time again are able to live the dream and enjoy the fun.
So when you look at the various Dxpedition websites and see the makeup of the team, know that could be you going on the adventure, but only after you have aligned your expectations with those of the team and you have made your skills and abilities attractive to the team leader as he builds and assembles his team.
The future of Dxpeditioning needs new blood. If you wish to join the ranks of DXpeditioners start getting ready now so that you are prepared to say yes when that call comes.
What do you think?
From the N6PSE Website
Ohms Law – Very Funny!
Ham Radio Celebrities
Ham radio celebrities, a long list
On the 16th of August, Italian amateur radio operators commemorate the life of Francesco Cossiga, I0FCG, who passed away about a year ago. The deceased former President of the Republic of Italy was one of many people from institutions or from the world of culture and the arts, passionate about the world of ham radio, others who hold a license and the license itself. Some died, unfortunately, before FCG and therefore aren’t able to make their presence felt on the bands. Others, on the other hand, remain active and offer, from time to time, the opportunity for a QSO, never to be forgotten. In the paragraphs to follow, we will try to recall some of those who have passed on and offer a broad look at those still active,knowing full well that we will not succeed in being completely thorough. Know, in any case, that this topic has been addressed by various websites, while being constantly revised (i.e., The Original Famous Hams and Ex-hams List, edited by N2GJ and W2SG along with a group from Facebook).
Among those silent keys, beyond question, King Hussein of Jordan was the most celebrated of ham operators, with the callsign JY1. His activity was frequent and documented, not only by those who have memories of being contacted by him, but by his QSL card, complete with a royal seal, safely kept and proudly displayed by many OMs. Similar to the case of the Jordanian ruler is that of Rajiv Ghandi, Indian Prime Minister who fell victim to the act of an assassin on 21 March 1991. His call was VU2RG (in use today by a radio club in his memory) and this page offers an autobiography and allows one to see, among other things, his QSL card and his license. It should also be pointed out that his wife, Italian Sonia Ghandi, was also his companion: VU2SON.
The list of statesmen who have warmed the airwaves would then necessarily include JI1KIT, Keizo Obuchi, the 84th Japanese Prime Minister, having died 14 May, 2000, at the age of 72. “It’s said that I am a person of ordinary means – he explains in an interview. I just want people to know that I am a man that does that which must be done.” A reflection that goes well beyond any political appraisal, but well with the spirit which should inspire a radio amateur.
Now, turning to American politics, it’s impossible not to mention Barry Goldwater, who during the sixties ran for the White House. Licensed during the twenties, he had multiple callsigns, 6BPI, K3UIG and K7UGA. The last one is now in use by a radio club in Arizona in honor of his memory. His commitment and support of amateur radio was significant: during the years of the war in Vietnam, he came up with the first organizational plan for MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System), giving numerous soldiers the opportunity to speak with their families at home. Additionally, from 1969 right up to his death (in 1998 at 89), he appeared in numerous widely distributed videos through the ARRL. The first was “The World of Amateur Radio,” produced by Dave Bell (W6AQ) in which Goldwater gave a demonstration of a contact with Antarctica.
Moving on now to individuals in entertainment, is the emblematic figure of Marlon Brando. Not so well known outside of the amateur community is the fact is that the celebrated American actor is a two-time Oscar winner. Known by the pseudonym Martin Brandeaux (you’ll find all this on the pages of QRZ.com), having had two callsigns: one American, KE6PZH, and the other ticket for his private island in French Polynesia, FO5GJ. In 1994 in the celebrity interview conducted on Larry King Live, an icon of CNN with the unmistakeable red suspenders, the actor confirmed, among other things, his passion for radio.
The list, especially among Americans would be long. We want, in any event, to mention: W1AW, Hiram Percy Maxim (SK 1936, amateur radio pioneer and among the founders of the American Radio Relay League); Walter “Pee Wee” Hunt (died in 1979), respected jazz trombonist and vocalist; W1UHI, Earnest Wheatley (1993, honored with the title of “longest living American ham”, conferred at the age of 106); W1ZE, Irving Vermilya (1964, first OM licensed in the USA as documented in this article); W2ALS, Frank Gunther (1999, gave impetus to the unparalleled development of VHF, installing the first mobile radio network used by the police); K2GL, Hazard E. Reeves (1986 inventor of the stereophonic system in use by movie theatres); Walter Kronkite, KB2SGD, 2009 celebrity television correspondent from CBS Television; Winthrop M. Leeds (1998, inventor which patented some 100 inventions); Katashi Nose, KH6IJ (a name which still lights up the eyes of American DXers from the “old guard,” popular among contesters for his mastery of CW. His call is now assigned to his daughter Frances); and we certainly can’t forget Ambrogio Fogar, I2NSF, sole navigator /MM on board the “Surprise” (went missing in 2005); and VE2AHZ/VK2AHZ, Robert W. Lane, credited for being “the father of country music in Texas,” having died in 1983 at the age of 66, having composed and copyrighted some 300 songs.
Above all, however, we can’t help but remember Polish Franciscan Maximilian Maria Kolbe. Beatified in 1971, he was proclaimed a saint by John Paul II in 1982 and is the patron saint of all radio amateurs throughout the world. He acquired a license in 1938 and was active for a few years with the call SP3RN. In 1941 he offered to take the place of the father of a family who had been ordered to the “starvation bunker” in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he perished.
With the list of “celebrity hams” still active, it’s impossible not to mention EA0JC, King Juan Carlos of Spain (here’s his QSL, now managed by URE (Union of Radio Amateurs of Spain) for QSOs made by specially operated stations in towns visited by the King, as the sovereign himself has been silent since the death of JY1), and then move right on to HS1A, the King of Thailand, Bhumipol Adulayadej and his natural heir to the throne, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HS1D. Carlos Saul Menem, President of the Republic of Argentina during the ten year period 1989-1999 has been known by the call LU1SM. Of course, you can’t miss checking out aconfirmed QSO with this distinguished colleague.
There are also many sovereigns in the Middle East with a passion for ham radio.Here’s the biography of 9K2CS, Prince Yousuf al Sabah of Kuwait. From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you may occasionally hear HZ1TA, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud; and HZ1TC, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, nephew of King Abdullah. And moving on to representatives of the entertainment world, perhaps many do not know that Goran Bregovic was an amateur operator with the call YU4ZU, which, however, is now expired. Still active, on the other hand, is GO0AN, Feargal Sharkey, who found fame as the lead vocalist from the pop punk band “The Undertones.” And let us not forget to mention Eagle band member Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, who is not only known for his legacy with the Eagles, but is well known to many hams through his association with Bob Heil, K9EID of Heil Sound. In Italy there’s a ham radio threesome known as “La Scala.” They are Carlo Camerini, I2CUK, Director of the Palcoscenico of the celebrated milanese theatre, baritone Domenico Giglietti, I2DMH and I2LHZ, celloist.
We conclude with two stories which bring to light, once again, how much ham radio can be helpful in certain situations and have earned the nickname from their admirers, “radio celebrities.” In chronological order, the first, described in detail in this article from the BBC, showing Scottish publicist Les Hamilton, GM3ITN, as he advised England of the invasion of the Falklands by Argentina. In the second, on the other hand, 9K2DZ, Abdul Jabbar Marafie, in August 1990, maintained contact with the rest of the world from Kuwait, having been invaded by the Iraqis, heroic work for which he received the “Humanitarian Award” from the ARRL in 1992.
With numbers being increasingly supportive of the bands, along with their full agendas, it’s not easy to connect with one of these OMs. And however peculiar the callsign, you never know who may respond when calling CQ…
Acknowledgement: This list appeared in DX Coffee about 4 years ago and was
Translated by Mark Kelley, W0BG.
Chuck Brady N4BQW
I worked Chuck Brady N4BQW many times over the years and after I worked him on 3Y0 Bouvet, I was delighted to receive his signed photo of him and the STS-78 Shuttle team of which he was a crew member. Sadly, Chuck became an SK a few years later. Very sad for such a young fit man! Click on photo to resize larger. Photos below
73, Lee ZL2AL