Youth@HamRadio.Fun: DXpeditioning Isn’t Just for Old-Timers!
By Duncan MacLachlan, KU0DM
ARRL Youth Editor
June 8, 2010
For five days in July, a group of young amateurs will learn what it’s like to BE the DX with the aid of contesting greats and a world renowned station.
It’s every ham’s dream: sitting in a tropical oasis, running Europe for hours on end -- with determining what band you should be on being the hardest part of the entire trip. While most will just dream, a group of contesters from Ohio are making it happen for a group of young amateurs, including myself! Don DuBon, N6JRL, Dave Kalter, KB8OCP, and Keko Diez, TI5KD, are the men behind a trip to the TI5N superstation in Costa Rica. From July 15-19, they will lead a team of 10 other individuals (made up of young hams and guardians) on the DXpedition, but the main goal of the trip won’t be to shatter records.
Dave remembers the idea for the trip coming up over the 2009 CQ WW SSB weekend: “Don, Keko and I were taking a break from operating and sitting around talking about our early adventures in ham radio. All of our stories were contest- and DX-related, and we talked about the dreams of operating from a superstation we had as teenagers. It was then that the light bulbs went on and we all looked at each other knowing that a DXpedition had just been born.”
Don stated their mission very nicely: “We want to present young ham operators with the experience that we never had -- the experience of operating from a world-class station. We want to teach them the art of DXing and contesting under conditions that cannot be replicated anywhere else. We want them to remember the experience forever.”
Don, Dave and Keko dream of this becoming an annual trip, but say they hope to never go on a youth DX adventure again. “We want clubs across the nation to pick it up,” Don explained. “We want young amateurs all over the country to be presented with the opportunity.” The three also hope that in the future, they can take a team of young hams on a DXpedition to an exotic and far-away island. “My dream would be taking a group of kids to an uninhabited island and building our own little city from scratch,” Don said, “but TI5N is the second-best place to go.”
Don was first licensed as WN6LQM in 1963. He has been to J6 (St Lucia), VP2EM (Anguilla), TI5N and most notably 3Y0X (Peter I Island) in 2006. A DXer and contester, Don is retired from the US Marine Corps and enjoys aeronautical mobile when he is flying as a private pilot. Dave is a retired machinist and builds custom motorcycles. An avid contester and DXer, he enjoys RTTY and digital modes. He was on the 2009 TI5N CQWW team.
Check out the Web site for information and updates on the expedition
Spring is in the air! While the weather in the rest of the country may differ, it’s starting to feel like spring in Kansas. I know I should be outside enjoying the weather; however, after a long winter, cleaning out a cluttered shack is my number one priority. Being a bit of a neat freak, I tend to keep my desk rather tidy. So to get the bug out of my system, I went up to the KU club station to do a little tidying up. While digging through the operating desk up there, I stumbled upon millions of little artifacts. Old QSL cards, log books, sticky notes -- you name it and it’s in there. I realized that I wasn’t looking at trash that would find its way into a big hole in the ground, I was looking at pieces of a timeline. While very cool, they had little meaning to me. But to someone else they were gentle reminders of days gone by.
I know I’m not the only one stumbling upon little odds and ends during spring cleaning, and I’m sure many of the odds and ends you turn up have some sort of sentimental value. If you happen upon a token that transports you back in time, that reminds you of days when you were a young ham, tell me about it! Whatever it may be, send me a picture of it and the story that goes with it. Part of preserving our hobby is reminiscing on the way things were, way back when.
Search through your desk, find something that brings back memories and write about it! Then send me a picture and story -- I’d love to hear about it.
2010 ARRL June VHF QSO Party: From 1800 UTC June 12 to 0300 UTC June 14, experience the world above 50 MHz! This all mode contest is a great opportunity for Technicians to experience the excitement of competing in a contest using your own call. Get on the air and help encourage activity on VHF and UHF weak signal.
2010 Kids Day: From 1800 UTC to 2400 UTC on June 19, experience an operating event like none other. The best operating activity for young hams and unlicensed youngsters, this is a contest where kids are the DX! You’re allowed on 10-80 meters SSB, as well as 2 meter repeaters to ensure that the young operator can experience all the fun of Amateur Radio. The exchange is simple: name, age, QTH and favorite color. Make a special effort to get on the air for this event and try and get a guest operator or two!
2010 ARRL Field Day: 1800 UTC June 26 to 2100 UTC June 27, take your equipment to the field for the ARRL’s annual Field Day. Field Day is perhaps the most anticipated operating event of the year, and this event is a good time to spend time with fellow enthusiasts while enjoying some fun on the air. Make an effort to attend a club effort, or get some friends and organize your own operation! There is an extra incentive to introduce youth to the hobby, as you can earn bonus points for doing so. No excuses -- get on the air!
Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great month
Duncan MacLachlan, KU0DM