|My Kent twin paddle Morse keyer|
which I make most of my CW contacts with
Does the world really need another blog on amateur radio? The answer probably is "No, it doesn't"!
Why this blog then? Well, sometimes I just feel the need to share my amateur radio related thoughts, memories, adventures, and experiences, the need simply to write about this beautiful and exciting hobby. Probably not many people will read it, but I'd also like to see this blog as a place for myself, to collect my memories and thoughts on various amateur radio related topics, to document certain events, and to store in that same place any related information found elsewhere, in the form of URL's linking to web pages, photos, sound clips, YouTube videos, etc. A modern version of the old scrapbook, you could say.
For the purpose of sharing in the first place, but also as a collection of memories and information for myself, I used to regularly post amateur radio related pieces on Facebook. I soon realised this wasn't the ideal place to do so; finding a specific post after some time for instance could be quite a hassle. So, I decided to start this blog, also because some of the interested readers on Facebook suggested I should do so (probably because they were fed up with reading about my passion for amateur radio on Facebook, hi). And who knows, maybe someone will find some of my posts interesting, useful, or fascinating, and might find it worthwhile reading after all.
More than is the case with most other amateur radio operators I know, my fascination with amateur radio is closely linked to a keen interest in geography, and, as an "armchair traveller", to exploring the world geographically and culturally, and every now and then maybe even geopolitically. To me, the geographical location (or "QTH") of an amateur radio station is a major contributor to the amount of pleasure I get out of a radio contact. I'm one of those radio amateurs, who after a radio contact will immediately look up the station's location in an atlas, and who is eager to learn more about the location by Googling related articles, videos or photos, or by picking that long forgotten book from the bookshelf that he might have about the place (the average armchair traveller usually has a big collection of books about the places he's interested in).
It doesn't always have to be a very distant station, it can also be a station relatively close by in Europe, on a remote Scottish island for instance, that geographically or otherwise I've always been fascinated by (I'm thinking of my contact with MM8C on the island of St. Kilda right now). Places I'm fascinated and intrigued by (the list is long), getting my signals there, and making contact with amateur radio stations in those places, is what makes my blood flow faster! It's my way of travelling the world, to places I'd normally never be able to visit.
I have a keen interest in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and to me "working" (i.e. making contact with) an amateur radio station in those remote regions is the ultimate in DX'ing (I'm still smiling from ear to ear when I think of the Morse contact I made with RI1FJ on Franz Josef Land recently, and this will probably be the topic of one of my first posts). Also islands and mountain tops are very interesting locations I like to hunt for, so I'm very active in the IOTA and SOTA programmes as well. I can tell you, it's an indescribable thrill to make contact with a radio amateur expedition at 4807m a.s.l. on top of the Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest mountain!
I'm using modest antennas (for HF mostly simple wire antennas) and equipment and low power (100 Watts or less), so working those special locations isn't always possible, but sometimes magic happens, and I work that DX I thought would be impossible to work, like very recently XR0YS on Easter Island! I must be honest and tell you that it can be frustrating at times, but the challenge also is part of the fun, it's all in the game, you can't have it all, and it makes every succesful contact the more special!
So that's what you can expect from me here, posts on amateur radio stations I've worked and their geographical location. Lots of Arctica, Antarctica, remote islands, and other places I'm fascinated by. But also other topics, other things that intrigue or fascinate me as a radio amateur: vintage amateur radio, weak signal experiments, QRP Moonbounce, exotic propagation modes, and the natural phenomena related to it, like the Aurora borealis, again the list is long. And maybe some stuff from the past, from my days as a shortwave listener in the 80s and 90s before I got my amateur radio licence. I'm also an avid QSL collector, so I'll regularly post my favourite cards here, probably with a write-up on either the station or its QTH, or both. I might repost some of my earlier Facebook pieces on here, if I think it's worthwhile and if it's still current. No matter what, this blog is not only the blog of a passionate radio amateur, but also that of a passionate armchair traveller.
For my blog's header image I've chosen for a photo of the Moai statues on Easter Island. To me, the Moai statue stands symbol for all mythical, intriguing, and remote places in this world. Places one often can't visit in person, but one often can by amateur radio.
For now, 73 de Michael PA7MDJ