With the temperatures in the mid-90's, it was a great time to gather together some 20 members of the WVDXA for a FANTASTIC meeting. The venue this time was the QTH of Roger, KD8BZY, and Becky, KD8IZK, near Sissonville. Roger and Becky have a really nice place and although the parking was a little limited, we still managed to pack their house full of hams. So many that the cat was totally confused by all the people! Those attending were: KD8BZY, KD8IZK, W8TN, WA8WV, W8IW, KC8BFF, WW8RT, K8KT, N8RR, K8YYY, WA8ZDL, W8OM, KA8SYV, Paula Wildi, W8OI, KD8IPW, K4JWA, K8ZDL, WV8FV, and WV8RC.
Food was in abundance and very tasty! Roger and Becky supplied the hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, trimmings, corn on the cob and even the cold beer! Others brought a huge fruit salad, baked beans with little wieners, and the dessert table had cheese cake, Mary's (WA8WV's XYL) cake, Evelyn's (W8TN's XYL) brownies, cherry pie, apple pie and probably more things that I can't remember.
For a "program" W8TN gave a brief demonstration of the WVDXA Chat Page using his cell phone and the cell phones of others who were there. Tim, K8RRT, although stuck at work, responded during the demonstration from his cell phone (PSSSST, don't tell his boss!) There were about 5 people present who were not signed up on the Chat Page so they got a look at some of what it can do and I expect several will sign up soon.
The first order of business was by Charlie, N8RR. Charlie discussed the history of the WVDXA "Japan on 6-M" pin. Pete, K4OM, was (to the best of our knowledge) the first person in WV to work a station in Japan on 6-M. Club member Phil, W8UV, (then K8UNV) had previously worked Japan on the Magic Band but Phil was living in Ohio at the time. Pete, K4OM's QSO took place 10-years ago. At that time, Pete had a badge made that said, "I Worked JAPAN on 6-M!" He wore it proudly to emphasize his accomplishment. I believe Greg, W8GG, (also in Ohio) worked a JA in 2009 but I don't know if the badge was passed to him before he became a SK.
Then in 2010, Charlie, N8RR, managed to make a QSO with Japan on 50 MHz. and Pete passed the badge to him to be worn until someone else in the WVDXA worked Japan. Charlie worked a 2nd station in Japan on 6-M in 2011 but no one else in the group managed to make a contact.
Well, Charlie has had the "burden" of carrying that badge for 8 years until this summer, with the advent of WSJT-X and the FT8 mode making it a little easier to work the very difficult path to Japan. You can see Charlie at today's meeting wearing his badge in the photo on the left. (Click on any photo to see a larger image.)
Then on June 19th of this year, things opened up and Charlie with his big EME array, managed to decode several JA stations and to work JA7QVI. The next day he hit the "Mother Lode" and worked 13 JA's. The big antenna system was proving it's worth. Then, another couple of JA contacts came the following day.
But, things were looking up for the rest of us as Tim, K8RRT, decoded 3 JA's and called some plus his signal was decoded in JAPAN! This proved that those of us without the EME size array have a chance.
Finally, on June 29th, it happened! THREE WVDXA members, W8TN, W8OI, and W8HC each worked JA stations on 6-M! And on July 9th, TWO more WVDXA members, WB8CQV and KA8SYV both managed to score their first 6-M QSO's with Japan on 6-M.
So, in the space of 10 days, FIVE WVDXA members managed that most elusive of 6-M contacts - Japan! Well, this placed Charlie in a dilemma. To whom was he to pass the "Japan on 6-M" pin? As usual, Charlie (a born problem solver), came up with the most elegant solution. He had badges made for EVERYONE who worked Japan on 6-M! In the photo on the right you can see three of the five recipients of those badges. Charlie also planned ahead by having an additional 5 badges made for the next WVDXA members who make the contact!
To summarize, the WVDXA Summer Bash was a HUGE success! No one left hungry and all had an amazing time. Our THANKS to Roger and Becky for opening their home to the group and for all the work they did preparing the food and their home!