No. 16 February 18, 1997


(Low Impact, Vegetarian, Environmentally Safe DX)

As I write this Iíve got half an ear on the ARRL World-Wide CW DX Contest. Itís another example of the "tree in the woods" effect I mentioned some ĎLIVESí ago. The bands are alive because everyone knows everyone else will be there. Itís a great time to fill in those countries you need on a certain band or mode. Many of the contest super stations automatically send cards via the bureau. Usíta be, you could get DXCC credit just by submitting a contest log, but I guess the shenanigans of a few have made the ARRL suspicious of us all.

The expedition to Heard Island was the most publicized and glamorized of all. Their 80,000 QSOís are indeed a new record and they deserve much credit for overcoming the hardships of Heard. Iím thrilled that I worked them on 30 meters because they were extremely difficult to hear in Southern California. They seemed to miss every possible opening in our direction. The openings were few and tricky. They had a network of advisors in constant contact to steer the group toward "holes" that needed filling. Our Southern California Advisor apparently lacked "clout."

Letís do a little math. Of a total of 80,673 contacts made by VK0IR, 4,167 were with the Western United States! 5%. Remember that the propagation to Southern California is much different than Northern. We could probably say that Southern California accounted for 2% and be reasonably accurate.

The #1 most ham populated city in the United States isÖ (The envelope, please)Ö San Diego! The number 3 is Los Angeles. (Number 2 is Houston)1. Southern California has the greatest number of Amateur Radio Operators in the United States, and the least able to work the illustrious Heard Island Dx-pedition.2

We also had Peter & Paul Rocks, ZY0, show up, and this is a pretty decent path from anywhere in the US. The "Rocks" have been a subject of some controversy because of the difficulty of reaching them combined with the problem of getting QSLís from Brazil. Again, some careful attention to propagation would yield new contacts on the less popular bands. Then, again, itís fun to find them unexpectedly somewhere Ė it doesnít happen often. I did fill in 30, 17 and 15 meters. Iíll QSL via PT7AA and keep my fingers crossed.

The LU0Z expedition to the South Orkneys gave me one of two countries I still need on CW, but getting a card from Argentina has been most difficult. I sent the last via registered mail.

How sweet the mornings are. I visited W6OK, George, on the occasion of his 90th birthday. George told me he spent quiet times in his cozy "hamshack" behind the garage, doing his paperwork and idly tuning the bands. "Thatís why youíre 90, George," I replied.

I also enjoy these moments, just as the sun rises, cool air from the window, listening to the morning sounds with an earphone askew. Try it, youíll run across some great DX and youíll probably live to be very, very ripe.

Scratch and Sniff

When we installed the mass spectrograph and the electron microscope here at LIVE, I was apprehensive that our studies would not live up to our costs.

The public service we are providing will make it all pay off. For as long as I can recall, Iíve studied pictures of ham stations and equipment going back to the dawn of radio communication. Iíve been fortunate to have visited the radio shacks of illustrious old timers, and I realized that these serendipitous museums will soon be just pictures. Whatís missing? The smell. Scratch the strip with your nail, sniff while scanning photograph:

1: Cambric insulation, roasted black wrinkle paint, hot dust, book and magazine mildew, cod liver oil.
2: Cheap cigars, Brylcreem , sweat, flatulence, WD-40 , Lucky Strikes, Lysol , Air-Wick , wet cardboard.
3: Garlic, old Old Spice , new Old Spice , old shoes, salami breath, transformer tar, patchouli, caster grease.
4: Fish paper, Cosmoline, Right Guard , Linoleum, coil dope, Little Liver Pills, nail polish, lacquer.
5: Old Grandad , stale Schlitz , sautťed wire-wound resistor, old leather chair, ozone, solder, acetone.

Final thoughtsÖ

As a public service, LIVE will be offering a synonym seminar to help everyone understand, among many other examples, that "Astrology" is not the same as "Astronomy". "Filmed" is not the same as "Taped". "Sight" is not the same as "Site". "Venue" doesnít exactly mean "Theater". "Franchise" does not mean "TV show that copies another TV show." "Arena" does not mean "Same subject matter." Watch for a slick mailer with your personal registration form. Venues in every arena, Astrologers welcome.

Last night, I made a cup of tea and sat in my old leather chair. H44, Solomon Islands was crackling in on 160 meters. I put a new one in the log. Ahhh, DX, one never knows, do one?


1 1997 Amateur Radio Almanac CQ Communications, Inc.

2 Heard Island Data from the Heard Island Web Page.


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