BILL STRAW wb0o at yahoo.com
Sun May 31 09:43:35 EDT 1998

A short story for your summer time reading:

"My Dx-pedition to the Great White North"

   It's that time of year when I need a contest fix.
Here in the darkest corner of the Black Hole, the
last contest of interest was the February Sprints!
It is said the WPX can actually be fun if you are DX, 
and the Canadians always sound busy, so that was the plan! Things
should be a lot better next year when
domestic QSO's count 1 point.
   I have operated /VE before but thought having my 
own VE4 call would be better, especially if I wanted  to attract
attention. Canada has two classes, basic
and advanced, so I sent away for the study guides. I
could take the exam just 50 miles from home, pay my $25, and even pick
out my own callsign! What a deal!
The basic class was, well, pretty basic. The basic
power output is limited to 150 W, but there are no
frequency restrictions. The advanced class allows high
power, but the theory is way over my head! It's been
20 years since I took my last US exam, and I don't
work with electronics for a job, so this was looking
grim. I guess I had planned to operate with my trusty
Alpha. The decision was made as I scanned the Radio
Amateurs of Canada Web site. It specifically said that
signing VE#/home call was OK! That would attract plenty
of attention and I would have my US high power privilages. VE4WBO had
a nice ring to it though. :-(
   The most interesting part of this stage was when my
13 year old son picked up the licensing study guides. 
I have always hoped he would get interested, but after
he thumbed through the theory, and asked about the code
requirements, he declared that he could talk with his 
friends all he wanted on the Internet. So much for the
   Ten miles north of my house is a nice park called
the Peace Gardens. It is just 2 X 2 miles but half is
in Manitoba (VE4) and half is in North Dakota, AND you
don't have to go through customs to get in. There are
campsites there and no inconvenient questions would be
asked about bringing in a KW station and generator.
( The problem for Americans at the US/Canadian border
port is ALWAYS getting back into the US. The US customs
officers consider anything of value to smuggled unless
proven otherwise) Well, it turns out the generator I
had lined up made as much noise as a bus, and I doubted
the tourists at the park would be pleased, so this plan
also fell through.
   Just north of the Gardens is a Provincial park with
electrical serviced campsites. It would mean operating
from 1 mile north of the border instead of just 50 feet, so this was
getting serious.
   It took all of 15 minutes to set up. A 12AVQ vertical on a pushup
mast and four groundplane radials.
The radio on the picnic table and paper logging. I
don't think I put a scare into XN4YU or VX4VV, but I
had my own little pileup at times. I tried to call a
few louder EU's but was generally unsuccessful.
214 X 119 = 48076. 
    This Dx-pedition stuff is certainly interesting.
Makes me want to buy one of those crank-ups on a trailer, and put a
camper in the pickup truck. After
all, my next goal is VE5 land which is 40 miles away!

73 BILL WB0O in way Northern North Dakota

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