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Pizza, Macaroni and a Cheeseburger


One of the great things about Amateur Radio is that it is a key that can open many doors to opportunity. It can help you meet people, make friends and sometimes take you to another country for a contact. This is what happened to me thanks to the common link of Amateur Radio.

In the November 2008 issue of QST there was an article called “Pizza, Macaroni, Contest.” The article talked about contesting and friendship and mentioned an amateur operator Pietro, IV3EHH, living in Pordenone, Italy.

Suddenly, I realized that I had in my hand the key that might answer some questions I had about an upcoming trip to the area around Pordenone and Aviano, Italy.

I was going to the Aviano Air Base to train some firefighters and I wanted to take along a dual-band handheld transceiver. One of the problems was I did not know what repeater frequencies, if any, were in the area.

Repeaters and Reciprocal Operating

I looked up Pietro on where I found his address and e-mail. Hoping that I wasn’t intruding, I sent him an e-mail explaining that I would be working for 10 days near his home and asked about repeaters and reciprocal license agreements.

WOW, what a fraternity we are part of — our hobby is great.

In a few days I received an e-mail from Pietro and he gave me repeater frequencies for both VHF and UHF. He also told me I would be using the reciprocal call sign of IV3/W6OLA. I was set to go. Pietro is the president of the local Amateur Radio club and a member of the Pordenone DX Gang and the DX Hunters Group. Pietro invited me to visit the club if time and schedule permitted.

I set up my handheld transceiver with a new bank of frequencies, gathered log books, batteries and chargers, and loaded them all in my carry-on for the trip.

When the big day finally arrived, I was able to hit one repeater from the Aviano Air Base and enjoyed meeting a few local hams on 2 meters. When I was finished training the firefighters at the Air Base, I got a ride from Aviano into Pordenone. I decided to ride the train from there into Venice and be a tourist for a day before catching my plane home.

Ragchewing with Cappuccino

I was able to wander around the town and take pictures as well as enjoy a meal, dessert and cappuccino at a sidewalk café in the town square.

I hit several local repeaters from the town square and the train station in Pordenone. I enjoyed several great “ragchews” with local hams, but I was never able to meet Pietro. His work schedule and my travel schedule were not compatible.

I was very sorry to board the train without having met the ham who had been so helpful and made my trip much more exciting from a ham radio point of view. So, Pietro, I want to thank you for your long distance help and friendship and wish you 73 and DX my friend.

Amateur Radio makes the world both a bigger place and a closer place at the same time. In 1960, my Elmer told me to never miss a chance to call CQ, because you never know who will answer and possibly become a part of your life.

So, while Pietro and his fellow hams are the Pizza and Macaroni in this story, I am the Cheeseburger.

Ciao and 73.

All photos by the author unless otherwise noted.

Ed McLaughlin, W6OLA, was first licensed as a Novice in 1960 with the call KN3NJT. He upgraded in 1962 and was given the call K3NJT. Ed spent 6 years as a radioman in the Navy and was transferred to Southern California in 1972 where he was issued the call W6OLA. Ed enjoys HF DXing, ragchewing on HF, VHF and UHF and mobile operation throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. He currently works for a safety equipment manufacturer training firefighters worldwide in the use of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

Ed has been a member of the ARRL since 1975 and is a current member of ARES® and the Tri-Cities Amateur Radio Club. He can be reached at 3815 South Green St, Kennewick, WA 99337.

Ed McLaughlin, W6OLA, IV3/W6OLA



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