[CQ-Contest] KH0 and KH2 HF Ops

Jim Kehler kh2d at kuentos.guam.net
Sat Jun 20 20:08:04 EDT 1998

I am new on this reflector, but I figured this is where I would find hams
that are interested in the same things regarding amateur radio as I am,
DXing and contesting.

I would like to tell you a short story, and then ask you to do me a favor.
Ham radio in KH2 and KH0 land is at an all time low. At least my kind of
ham radio is.  We have a few hams here, but unfortunately most of
them carry their shack on their belt. 

Military downsizing a few years ago cost us most of the ham population 
in Guam. We lost 90% of our Dxers and contesters, including KG6DX, 
and with few new military people being sent here, we aren't getting 
any replacements. The population of Dxers and contesters in Saipan 
never was very big. 

In the fall of last year, the remaining few of us decided to form a club 
here that would unite the hams in Guam and Saipan, and would attempt 
to promote HF operating to the 'new' hams here. So we formed the 
Mariana Islands DX Association. Since the club was formed, the Asian 
economic problem has caused even more hams to leave. We have lost 
five HF operators in the past six months, including K9AW, Gary, who 
was probably the most active HF op Guam ever had.  

We now have in Guam two active HF ops, N2NL/KH2 and myself, 
and in Saipan, one active HF op, WH0AAV.  I define active as someone
who operates CW and works more than five stations a week....
N2NL will be in Guam for two years, and I am not sure how much 
longer I will be here myself.  Personally, I feel a desperate need to
get more people going out here on HF because I feel that if I don't,
the time will come when the only active stations here on HF are the
Japanese hams who visit occasionally, and we don't have near as
many visiting JA's as we have had in the past either.   

One of our primary goals in starting MIDXA was to get some shacks
off people's belts and get more aluminum up in the air, and we 
intended to do that by setting an example, participating in everything
we could and being a club that local hams would want to belong to.
So far, it has worked. We had two hams in Saipan who went from 
Tech to Extra class in three months, on their own, to join the club.
We have one MIDXA member giving nightly code practice to local 
hams in Tinian on VHF.

One of the tools we are trying to use to get people interested in HF
is the packet cluster.  We would like to expand the Guam cluster to 
include Tinian and Saipan. In order to do that we need hardware, 
which costs money.  We would also like to install a linked VHF 
system that covers all the islands and could be used, if needed 
during our annual typhoon season.   I invented the 'supporting 
member' concept for MIDXA, hoping that hams who had been in 
Guam in the past and realized the problems we face with small 
numbers would help support the new club here. I was pleasantly 
surprised when a few hams I didn't know and who had never 
been here joined the club.

Shortly after I started our web page, we received a membership 
application from Sid, NH7C, and his wife Andrea NH7CC.  I had the
pleasure of meeting them in Hawaii a few months ago and they are
both very nice people and very interested in ham radio.  When I 
met Sid, and in the next few months via email, we discussed the 
possibility of doing some fund raising at Dayton because he attends
every year.  We talked about T-shirts with the club logo, and lapel 
pins. I have never been to Dayton, as a matter of fact I have not
been to a ham fest in 15 or 20 years, so I'm not up on what goes
on, but Sid said he had noticed a lot of clubs selling lapel pins and
we decided that was what we would try to do because unlike T-shirts,
one size fits all.

Sid an Andrea were nice enough to finance the project out of their
own pocket, donate their ham fest time to selling the pins, and even
had T-shirts made with our MIDXA logo on to wear at Dayton.

When the ham fest was over, and I had a chance to discuss the 
results with Sid, I was amazed. Or maybe appalled would be a 
better word.  Personally, if I approached a ham and ask him if 
he wanted to buy a lapel pin to support a DX club, I think I'd expect
one of two responses - 'Sure' or 'No thanks'.  Especially if what 
I was selling cost less than lunch at McDonalds. 

They didn't get much of either one. But they did get accused of 
inventing a phony DX club, of trying to scam people out of money,
of trying to raise money for themselves, etc., ad nausium.   They did
sell a few pins to people they knew, but the overwhelming  
response was enough to make me feel really sorry that I had gotten
them involved with the project, and I felt personally responsible for
the abuse they were subjected to.  

That's the story. I guess it's not as short as I intended it to be.  Next 
year, I'd like to go to Dayton with Sid and Andrea myself.  I wish I 
had gone this year, with a baseball bat.  I'm not sure if I will make 
to Dayton next year or not. Amazingly enough after what happened 
this year, Sid and Andrea are both willing to try again next year, I
guess because they are like me and they care about ham radio 
staying alive out here on a few little islands. 

Now I'd like to ask you for a favor. If you are at Dayton next year, 
and you happen to run into a nice couple  with Mariana Islands 
DX Association T-shirts on and you see somebody giving them a hard 
time, please take a minute to explain to the knucklehead who is 
hassling them that MIDXA is a very REAL, very small club on a very 
small island and we are trying to keep ham radio alive out here so 
that people back there can get a 'new one' and a multiplier now 
and then.  Thanks.

73, Jim KH2D
MIDXA - http://www.guam.net/pub/midxa

P.S. If you are a pin collector, check our web page, we just happen
to have a whole bunch in stock......

CQ-Contest on WWW:        http://www.contesting.com/_cq-contest/
Administrative requests:  cq-contest-REQUEST at contesting.com

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list