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Where in the World is . . . Sri Lanka

March 22nd, 2020 Comments off

Where in the World is . . .

Sri Lanka (4S)

CQ Zone 22 IT Zone 41

IOTA AS-003

Sri Lanka, the name connotes a tropical isle with warm breezes and a life of ease.   

Officially, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The island nation is located off the Southeastern tip of India in between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. During WW II it was part of the British Empire but achieved independence in 1946. Formerly, known as Ceylon it changed the name in 1972 to reflect the dominance of the ethnic Sinhalese population.

Its strategic location between East and West made Ceylon (Sri Lanka) a busy trading place along the Maritime Silk Road that flourished between Europe, India and Asia during the 2nd Century BCE and the 15th Century CE. After the death of Mao Zedong, the Chinese government made itself an important partner in East-West trade. It obtained long term leases over port facilities along the route including in Sri Lanka. But – I digress.

Figure 1Colombo

The country’s largest city and its commercial capital is Colombo; a name I can at least pronounce, while the legislative seat of government is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, which I cannot.

The country’s trade in luxury goods and spices attracted traders of many nations to the island, creating the diverse population in Sri Lanka there is now. The Portuguese, whose arrival in Sri Lanka was largely accidental, would intrude into the country’s internal affairs by seeking to establish control over the maritime regions of the island in order to control its lucrative external trade.

The Portuguese possessions would later be taken over by the Dutch, and the Dutch by the British who would later extend their control over the whole island, colonizing it from 1815 to 1948. Resistance to the British was immediate. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century for political independence, which was granted in 1948; the country became a republic and adopted its current name in 1972. Sri Lanka’s recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which ended decisively when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009.

Figure 2 Ceylon Tea

In addition to the trade benefits between east and west, Sri Lanka is the world’s number two exporter of tea. Ceylon tea has been recognized as the cleanest tea in the world regarding pesticide residue.

Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated “high” on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations. The Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the “foremost place”, although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution.

Sri Lanka is the 57th most populated nation in the world with roughly 21,670,000 people. The densest areas are in and around the capital. Sinhalese constitute the largest ethnic group in the country, with 75% of the total population. Sri Lankan Tamils are the second major ethnic group in the island, with a percentage of 11%.

According to QRZ, there are 320 licensed hams in the country. Sri Lanka stands at. number 183 on Club Log’s Most wanted DXCC most Wanted List,

There are several radio clubs sponsored by universities, along with The Amateur Radio Society of Sri Lanka (RSSL). which is the official representative to the IARU.

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is Uganda (5X) – CQ Zone 36 IT Zone 48

February 23rd, 2020 Comments off

Uganda, Officially the Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is geographically a beautiful nation with snow-capped mountains and immense Lake Victoria. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 141-foot-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos.

Uganda is a Sub-Saharan African country with one of the highest rates of poverty, the country remains among the poorest in the world. The number of Ugandans living below the poverty line is currently about one in five.

Figure 1 Idi Amin

The most remembered character in Ugandan history is probably Idi Amin. He enlisted in the Kings African Rifles as a cook in the British Colonial Army. He rose to the rank of Major and was appointed Commander of the Army after Uganda’s independence. He became aware that the nation’s president was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, so he promptly launched a military coup and declared himself President.

Figure 2 Kampala, the capitol of Uganda

A min was president from 1971 to 1979. His eight-year regime was one of the most brutal in recent history. Amin ruled directly, shunning the delegation of power. He was noted for his abrupt changes of mood, from buffoonery to shrewdness, from gentleness to tyranny. He was often extreme in his nationalism. He expelled all Asians from Uganda in 1972, an action that led to the breakdown of Uganda’s economy, and he publicly insulted Great Britain and the United States as well as numerous world leaders. A Muslim, he reversed Uganda’s amicable relations with Israel and befriended Libya and the Palestinians; in July 1976 he was personally involved in the hijacking of a French airliner to Entebbe. Amin came to be known as the “Butcher of Uganda” for his brutality, and it is believed that some 300,000 people were killed, and countless others tortured during his presidency. Naming himself President for Life, his full title was “His ExcellencyPresident for LifeField Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”. He never received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) or the Military Cross (MC). He conferred a doctorate of law on himself from Makerere University as well as the Victorious Cross (VC), a medal made to emulate the British Victoria Cross.

The Ugandan Shilling is the national currency. A US dollar is worth about 2,700 Ugandan Shillings. Transparency International has rated Uganda’s public sector as one of the most corrupt in the world. In 2016, Uganda ranked 151st worst out of 176 and had a score of 25 on a scale from 0 (perceived as most corrupt) to 100 (perceived as clean). According to the United States Department of State’s 2012 Human Rights Report on Uganda, “The World Bank’s most recent Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected corruption was a severe problem” and that “the country annually loses 768.9 billion shillings ($286 million) to corruption.”

According to QRZ, there are 78 callsigns licensed; with about 10% being licensed to foreign licensed holders. Acording to DX News, M0KRI is due to activate 5X1RI will be active in Uganda for two weekends in July – Mid August 2020.

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

2 Nights Before Christmas – Ron Litt, K5HM

December 18th, 2019 Comments off

Two nights before Christmas and up at the shop,

Santa was checking his sleigh for the big hop.

His APRS was already on line,

So, the gang down at NORAD could track him 5 – 9.

The new HF rig was tuned up on 20.

He knew that 100 watts would be plenty.

“I’ll be on VOX for this flight”, he said in his head.

I have to be able to look straight ahead.”

So, sideband it is for the big night tomorrow.

I hope the CW guys won’t be too full of sorrow.

The two-meter rig was already encoded,

With every repeater that could be uploaded.

They’ll know when Santa’s near; they won’t be surprised,

And make sure the kids have all closed their eyes.

He stopped for a moment then gave a big start,

When he suddenly realized he was missing a part.

“Of course!”, he shouted. “its my laptop PC!

I won’t get far without it on my knee.”

“Its got my log and my list and my flight plan too,

Though I always have Rudolph to guide me through.”

He pulled out his wallet once more to check,

That his FCC license was there for the trek.

“Well, it looks like I’m ready”, they heard him declare,

“I’ll be single op unassisted for the entire affair.”

“I better get some rest now before the big night,

So, I can be ready for the long flight.”

And they heard him exclaim as he walked off to bed,

“CQ, CQ, CQ . . . QRZed?”

Merry Christmas Y’all

73,  Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Awards to Win – Ron Litt, K5HM

December 18th, 2019 Comments off

WAZ, DXCC, WAS, IOTA; certificates of achievement that are clear testimony to your operating prowess. Chasing awards is a niche segment of amateur radio; some might call it a cult, to aspire to capturing every possible certificate.

After reading up on various awards available, I learned of several unique awards that fill in some blank spots. For Example:

WOTA – Wal-Marts On The Air. Requires proof of QSO’s with amateur radio stations operating from at least 400 Wal-Mart locations. Individuals or clubs may activate an individual Wal-Mart location at any time and notify WOTA authorities by registering the activation in the WOTA worldwide data base. The WOTA committee will issue a unique WOTA number for the location. Each QSO submitted for credit must be a current activation at the time of contact. There are over 6,600 Wal-Mart locations worldwide. Good Luck.

Contact with Sam’s Club locations do not count for WOTA credit. The WOTA committee is contemplating offering a separate award for Sam’s Clubs on The Air (SCOTA) later this year.

FFOTA (Fast Food On The AIR) announced in 2013. There are special endorsements for MDOTA (McDonalds On The Air), JIBOTA (Jack In the Box On The Air) and KFCOTA (you can probably figure this one out for yourself).

Academy Award Award – Given for contact with hams in cities where a movie filmed in that location won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The same city cannot be used multiple times. Only one city per film. Sorry, extraterrestrial locations such as Remulak, Vulcan and other mythical locations cannot be used for this award. In addition to the certificate, each award includes a package of microwave popcorn.

Special 78th anniversary Commemorative Casablanca Award – Commemorates the 78th anniversary of the Humphrey Bogart film. The award is earned for contacts with hams in the area of the former French Morocco whose first names are: Rick, Ilsa, Victor, Louis, Heinrich, Sascha, Carl or . . . Sam (as in “Play it again Sam”)

Ring of Fire Award – This award is given to hams who have contacted portable operations located on the rim of at least five active volcanoes. Considering the element of danger for the expedition operators, this is the only award in the world that is reciprocal. A person may earn this for themselves by going to five different volcanoes and contacting at least one other amateur before running for their life. Note – There is no power limit for this award although Ring of Fire expeditions favor lightweight QRP gear in order not to hinder their need for a rapid departure!

And, my personal favorite:

The Next Year Award – This is the most prestigious of all amateur radio awards because the standard of achievement is quite high. Off hand, I can’t recall a single person, who has won this award. It is given to amateurs who have delayed, put off or deferred making or completing any changes in their equipment, operating skill, club participation or license class. The amateur eligible for the award must apply themselves. Of course, by doing so, one is automatically disqualified for the award, having accomplished something in the process.

Good Luck Award Hunter!

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . . Côte d’Ivoire (TU) ITU Zone 45 CQ Zone 35

October 8th, 2019 Comments off

Where in the World is . . . Côte d’Ivoire (TU) ITU Zone 45 CQ Zone 35

Ivory Coast or officially The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire is a West African country with beach resorts, rainforests and a French-colonial legacy. Surrounded on the east by Ghana, on the west by Guinea and Liberia and on the North by Burkina Faso and Mali.

For more than three decades after its independence from France, Ivory Coast was known for its religious and ethnic harmony, as well as its well-developed economy.

The Western African country was hailed as a model of stability. But an armed rebellion in 2002 split the nation in two; a Muslim North and a Christian South. Since then, peace deals alternated with renewed violence as the country slowly edged its way towards a political resolution of the conflict. Despite the instability, Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, and its citizens enjoy a relatively high level of income compared to other countries in the region.

Abidjan, on the Atlantic coast, is the country’s major urban center. Its modern landmarks include, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro It surpasses even St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, with an exterior area of 340,000 square feet Finished in 1990, its design is said to have been inspired by its Vatican City sibling, with a hefty dose of Renaissance and Baroque style. It can hold about 18,000 worshipers, though is very rarely full. North of the central business district, Banco National Park is a rainforest preserve with hiking trails.

The first Europeans to explore the West African coast were the Portuguese. Other European sea powers soon followed, and trade was established with many of the coastal peoples of West Africa. The absence of sheltered harbors along its coastline prevented Europeans from establishing permanent trading posts. The slave trade had little effect on the peoples of Ivory Coast, though s profitable trade in ivory was carried out during the seventeenth century, but it brought about such a decline in elephants that the trade itself virtually had died out by the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Only in the mid-nineteenth century did the French establish themselves firmly in Ivory Coast. Activity along the coast stimulated European interest in the interior. France wanted to maintain a presence in the region to stem the increasing influence of the British along the Gulf of Guinea coast.

In 1885 France and Germany brought all the European powers with interests in Africa to rationalize what became known as the European scramble for colonies in Africa. That conference set off a scramble for territory, primarily by France, Britain, Portugal, and Belgium. Eventually, Ivory Coast b ecame an independent nation in 1960.

The literacy rate in Ivory Coast is low. Only 48% can read and many children between the age of 6 and 10 are not enrolled in school. Likewise, the healthcare system is not well built out in the country. HIV Aids are prevalent in much of the population. Also, postnatal heath issues are a problem as well. Medical care is supplemented by Africa Mercy (www.mercyships.org), a fully equipped hospital ship that makes regular visits to Ivory Coast.

According to Club Log’s Most wanted DXCC list, Ivory Coast is listed at the 141st Most Wanted DXCC entity. QRZ lists a total of 93 Amateur Radio Operators. About 30% of these from various DXpeditions or temporary visitors. In 2011, I had a QSO with TU2T, the Italian DXpedition team and in 2017, I worked TU7C, a DXpedition sponsored by the Radio Club de Provins (F6KOP).

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . .Duhacsek Park KK5W 10A STX GOTA-K5DX FD 2019

July 26th, 2019 Comments off

In the beginning, the site was without form and void, but we could see it had potential. It wasn’t much really. Just a little 50-acre greenspace donated to the City of Sugar Land, Texas by Walter and Virginia Duhacsek. The property included the Duhacsek homestead; a midcentury single-story residence though empty of furniture, could be used for group activities. 

After three years of negotiations with the city, we got permission to use the park for our field day activities in 2018. Last year was a trial run for 2019.

At 0000 UTC Friday the transformation began. Four Houston area clubs came together for Field Day 2019. Dubbed the Quad Club Mega-Field Day it included amateurs from the Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club (BVARC), Texas DX Society (TDXS), Katy Amateur Radio Society KARS) and Houston Echo Society.

To read the complete article follow this link

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is. . . Easter Island (CE0) CQ Zone 12, ITU Zone 63 IOTA SA-001

June 26th, 2019 Comments off

Mysterious Easter Island. Think giant statues built by native peoples. They were immigrants from Polynesia, who first arrived by canoe somewhere around 1200. That’s 1200 AD, not time for lunch.

The natives named their island Rapa Nui (Great Rapa) or alternatively “Navel of the World”, which can also be translated as “the end of the land.” It was named Easter Island by the first European who landed on the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. The island was claimed by Chile in 1888 and the inhabitants were subsequently given Chilean citizenship.

The statues, called MOAI were sculpted from hardened volcanic ash, which is not very durable. Some MOAI are over 80 feet tall. So far, nearly 900 statues have been discovered. Some MOAI face the ocean and islanders differ as to how they got there.  One island tradition says they “walked” there. Others, suggesting the people may have used a series of ropes and log rollers. Some widely publicized “experts” at one time suggested extraterrestrial beings were somehow involved.

Figure 1 Moto Nui

For unknown reasons, a coup by native military leaders called matatoa had brought a new cult based around a previously unexceptional God Make-make. In the cult of the birdman, a competition was established in which every year a representative of each clan, chosen by the leaders, would swim across shark-infested waters to Motu Nui, a nearby islet, to search for the season’s first egg laid by a manutara. The first swimmer to return with an egg and successfully climb back up the cliff to Orongo ( a village on the tip of the island), would be named “Birdman of the year” and secure control over distribution of the island’s resources for his clan for the year. The tradition was still in existence at the time of first contact by Europeans but was suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 1860s.

Easter Island is one of the world’s most isolated inhabited islands. It is Easter Island is located more than 2200 miles west of the Chilean coast. It is closer to Antarctica. Its closest inhabited neighbor is the Juan Fernandez Islands, 1,150 miles to the east.

The climate is subtropical. The warmest months are January through March, when the average temperature is 73 °F, and the coolest months are June through August, when the average temperature is 64 °F. Average annual precipitation is about 49 inches.

Easter Island boasts no natural harbor, but ships can anchor off Hanga Roa on the west coast; it is the island’s largest village, with a population of roughly 3,300. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage site. It is now home to a mixed population, mostly of Polynesian ancestry and made up of the descendants of the Long-Ears and Short-Ears. Spanish is generally spoken, and the island has developed an economy largely based on tourism.

Numerous DXpeditions, large and small have made their way to Easter Island to activate CE0. Almost forty are listed in QRZ. According to the Clublog DXCC Most Wanted list, Easter stands at No. 103 slot out of 340.

Reporting from the Dark Side,

Ron Litt, K5HM

Standby for Next Month’s Monster Article!

Where in the World is. . Duhacsek Park?

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Categories: Articles

Where in the World is . . . Brunei (V8) CQ Zone 28 IOTA OC-088

June 19th, 2019 Comments off

Brunei, officially known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. OR Negara Brunei Darussalam in Malay. It’s located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo. On three sides bordered by Malaysia and facing the South China Sea.

It’s a good place to live, with its principal product being oil. Considered a “fully developed” country by the IMF. According to Forbes Magazine it ranks as the fifth richest nation on the planet. The country has zero debt.

Brunei’s government is a constitutional monarchy. Under Brunei’s constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority. Since 1962, this authority has included emergency powers, which are renewed every two years. The country has been under hypothetical martial law since 1962. The Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah also serves as the state’s Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Defense Minister. As Mel Brooks observed, it is good to be king.

Petroleum was discovered in 1926. Oil and natural gas have been the basis of Brunei’s development and wealth since the late 20th century.

This is a devoutly Muslim nation; land of gold-plated mosques and wooden water villages, a nation so rich from its oil and gas resources that no one pays tax. It is a seven-hour flight from Melbourne but Brunei is little known and very much underrated for travelers. Brunei is clean and virtually free of crime with pristine rainforests, palm-fringed beaches and palatial resorts.

In this land of over 400,000, there are approximately 400 licensed amateurs. According to Club Log, it is 109th on the Most Wanted DX entity, List

Reporting from the Dark Side,  Ron, K5HM

Categories: Articles

Where in the World is Saint Paul Island (CY9) CQ Zone 5 ITU Zone 9 IOTA NA-094

March 30th, 2019 Comments off

Where in the World is Saint Paul Island (CY9) CQ Zone 5 ITU Zone 9 IOTA NA-094

S t. Paul Island is a small uninhabited island located approximately 15 mi northeast of Cape Breton Island, Newfoundland in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It is at the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains; the highest point is 485 feet atop “Croggan Mountain.”  St. Paul Island is approximately three miles long by one mile wide at its widest point. It is extremely rugged with its shores being completely encircled by rockface cliffs.  To find out more…Where in the World is St Paul Island

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The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2 By Ron Litt, K5HM

February 18th, 2019 Comments off

The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2

By Ron Litt, K5HM

I stared at her for a long time. A pristine beauty with big black eyes and creamy white face. She looked back at me from the magazine. A salty trail of perspiration formed on my upper lip. Six months earlier, I discovered her buried in the back pages of QST. Each month as a new issue arrived, I grabbed it, turned quickly to the ad to be sure she was still there; the Harvey Wells Band Master Z-Match Antenna Coupler. I had to have it.

For the last two years I had one single band antenna for 20 meters. It was great, but I was getting close to my WAS and I needed practically all the New England states. Connecticut and New Jersey were almost impossible from New York City without a 40 or 80 meter antenna. I was desperate.  To finish the story download and read The Great Harvey Wells Caper Part 2

Categories: Articles