A few weeks ago Thomas K4SWL emailed me a book recommendation and I’m so glad that I followed through with an order from Amazon.
The book arrived and I couldn’t put the darn thing down. It was far better than I’d hoped and was compelling on many different levels.
The gist of the story is this:
“Five days before Christmas 1943, a helpless, shot-all-to-hell American bomber pilot locked eyes with a German fighter pilot in an Me-109 over the frozen skies of Europe. The German pilot spared the life of the American, and both men would reunite and become friends 50 years later. Franz Stigler and Charles Brown started the war as enemies, but during a tense wartime encounter, both men discovered a higher call.”
The phrase “higher call” might seem to have a religious connotation but that is not the case here. It simply refers to the component of chivalry shown by the German pilot and the values with which he was raised.
By the first two chapters it was clear that the book is far more than what its brief description would indicate. Continue reading '“A Higher Call” – a (non radio) book review'»
Regardless of what one’s politics may be, it’s interesting to get a perspective on western values from the “other camp” – in this case from behind the Iron Curtain.
Radio is most definitely involved so we’re on topic…
As I and many other western hams were listening to Radio Moscow in the 1980′s (and earlier), Oleg Atbashian was listening to western radio via his shortwave receiver in the Ukraine.
Here is his story of a period that helped shape his values – and a heartfelt tribute to one person responsible.
Oleg now lives in New York and I thank him for permission to post this and for the interesting email aside from this article.
by Oleg Atbashian:
A story of how Margaret Thatcher brought down the Iron Curtain inside of me and how I paid her back.
It wasn’t just Margaret Thatcher’s steadfast economic and foreign policies that helped to defeat the Evil Empire and to bring down the Iron Curtain. She also changed hearts and minds — and this author, who grew up on the other side of the Iron Curtain, has a personal story to tell.
As many Soviet kids did in the 1970s and 1980s, I occasionally tuned my shortwave radio to Voice of America or the BBC Russian Service, hoping to hear their alternative take on world events and, if I was lucky, get the latest rock-music updates. One of the functions of the Iron Curtain was to keep us, the “builders of communism,” blissfully unaware of the outside world. All our news had to be processed by the state-run media filter and approved by the formidable censorship apparatus. Continue reading 'How Thatcher changed a Soviet man’s heart and mind'»
Not only did they take my advice and change their name from Wouxun to ImportCommunications, they have migrated down to HF.
Although I have no desire to own one it is interesting to see new rigs being developed in China. So far most of the HF rigs from various Chinese manufacturers have been kits.
Wouxun – oops, I mean ImportCommunications – now has a $300 non-kit HF transceiver on the market and a US distributor to make it easy for us W hams to buy one.
Here are the particulars from their website: Continue reading 'New CW/SSB all-band QRP rig (not a kit)'»
The team at VK9CZ spent the first few days on phone and then migrated to CW, becoming DXCC #302 (#299 with the dipole) for me soon thereafter.
Despite their posting about the lack of a reliable internet connection, I and many others had our LoTW confirmations only hours later.
That’s good because their signal was so strong that the thought crossed my mind that I’d worked a pirate although there was that tell-tale flutter.
It is currently 7:30 pm US East Coast local time and they are being received on the East Coast – on 80 meters! Normally those W4′s would be hearing Europe and Africa on 80m at that time…but VK9?! Strange propagation. Not a peep here on 80m…
If you’ve just started (or are thinking about) Continue reading 'A miscellaneous post'»
There are numerous ways contesters and DXers have of displaying a log geographically. Such a display may or not be useful but they are definitely an interesting way to see where your signal was heard over a given period of time.
Converting log to map usually requires that you either download (and pay for) a dedicated program or perform a series of steps that eventually yields a Google Map presentation of your contest results or perhaps a view of your 40m contacts over the course of a winter DX season. Continue reading 'Online log plotting tool'»
Thanks to democratic reforms, a new entity in the far-flung steppes of Central Asia is expected to soon be added to the list of available countries for DXCC credit.
Kyrzakhstan is believed to be the world’s first triangularly-shaped country and is bordered by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Translated into English, the word kyrzakhstan means “vowels ain’t all that”.
Little-known outside the region, Kyrzakhstani’s have a strong work ethic and an aggressively maniacal love of trigonometry due, it is thought, to the country’s geometric shape. Most Kyrzakhstani children can recite and explain Pythagorean’s Theorem by the time they are first able to speak.
Unfortunately, these trigonometric abilities also manifest themselves in other aspects of life - during conversation, Kyrzakhstani’s tend to “go off on tangents” (as I would soon find out). Continue reading 'A new DXCC country!'»