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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

KC8UHE Shoots and SCORES!

Back in April a DX'pedition to Western Sahara, SØ4R, hit the airwaves. Standing at No. 86 on the Most Needed Countries List, there was a good deal of interest in working this one. Tim, KC8UHE, displayed a LOT of interest as this would be another all-time New One for him. However, as it sometimes happens, Tim's work schedule got in the way of his working this DX'pedition. On April 14th he posted to the WVDXA Reflector:

Congrats to everyone who has had success with SØ4R...I have yet to be in
front of the radio. Only 3 days left. I do not have them logged on any band.
As Post after Post to the reflector showed various WVDXA members knocking off SØ4R on many bands and modes, the frustration began to build in Tim. As you may recall, at that time Tim was using a Kenwood TS-480S as his radio. This is essentially just a mobile radio. His did not even have a CW filter in it! Then early on the 15th of April Tim posted this:
Workable copy here tonight from SØ4R but no contact. I tried for over
1.5 hrs but could not make the Q. Greg I heard the DX come back to your call.
It should be in his log...
I have stayed up way too late. It is now 12:07 am eastern. My work
alarm will be going off @ 3:30 eastern for a 12hr day-shift Wednesday.
Call me crazy. Congrats to all that worked the SØ4R today. I have 3 days
left to make a contact with SØ4R. Work may get in the way on making the contact.
Everyone have a good night sleep.
But, he did NOT go to bed. At 12:42 a.m. he Posted a message with the following subject:
I couldn't go to bed yet - I was able to work the SØ4R on 80 SSB 3780 up 3802.
So, he finally made a QSO with a New One! Outstanding! But, still not wanting to let it go with just one QSO, Tim kept chasing the DX when the 12-hour work days allowed him to be at the radio. He desperately wanted a 160-M QSO and now put all his effort into that. Just before midnight on the 15th Tim Posted:
Did anyone Copy my qso with SØ4R?
He had managed a WA8VPN "possum" contact with SØ4R on 160-M. But, because of the massive QRM to his "mobile" radio, he was not certain the DX copied his full call. He felt the call might not have been correct and he sent his call again with his report only to get a "TU" from the DX. Then, when the online log was updated, his 80-M QSO was there but NOT the 160-M one.

Still not willing to give up Tim asked me for some help. I lent him 500 feet of No. 14 for a Beverage On Ground (BOG) and I lent him my brand-new Elecraft K-3. Tim was ecstatic! He just knew he would get that 160-M QSO now. So, under cover of darkness he ran the BOG out through a neighbor's pasture. I went home and at 12:38 a.m. on the 16th, I copied both sides of Tim's QSO with SØ4R. WONDERFUL! We both were on Cloud 9.

However, the next log update STILL did not have a QSO for KC8UHE on Top Band. RATS! Now the DX'pedition was over. So after a couple of weeks I emailed the QSL manager and told him that I had copied Tim's QSO (both sides) and I had discovered that there was a 160-M QSO in the online log for K8UHE which was not a valid FCC call! I politely suggested that the SØ4R operator may have failed to properly record Tim's call. The manager promptly replied that at the time I reported the QSO, they were NOT on 160-M and the QSO time for K8UHE also did not agree with the same time. He suggested that Tim had worked a Pirate!

Tim was obviously deflated as we both had been certain he had a good QSO. But, following my philosophy of "Never Give Up, Never Surrender" I recently helped Tim send a QSL with all three times he felt he had worked SØ4R on 160-M (along with his 80-M QSO) and we included a brief letter in English and Spanish explaining that K8UHE was not a valid call with the FCC.

Today I received a telephone call from someone who was screaming incoherently into the phone. I first thought it was a prank call but eventually I made out the fact that it was Tim. He had just come in from his mailbox and he had received the QSL you see here. (Click on the photo to see a larger image.)

It took a few minutes for me to fully understand what he was screaming into the phone and when I did I asked him to run the QSL by my house on his way to another 12-hour night shift. I am pretty certain that tonight Tim will be wearing a silly grin throughout his entire shift.

BTW, he refers to this as a "Trophy" QSL because of all the effort he went through to get the contact including getting nipped in the rear by a mother horse as he rolled up the BOG at 2 a.m.! So even when it looks the darkest, you need to persevere as sometimes, dreams DO come true!

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