Ham radio is a fantastic hobby, with something for everyone. For me, it was DXing and Morse code. DX stands for "long distance" and those of us who participate in this aspect of the hobby, there is no greater thrill than making two way radio contacts with rare and exotic lands. DXers (and most Ham radio operators) exchange QSL cards, which are used to confirm their radio contacts.
Click here to see the QSL cards I have received from some of the more rare DXCC countries. I have about 10,000 QSL cards in total, but the 10 countries shown on this link were probably the most difficult to contact, as there are often years (or even decades) when there is no amateur radio activity in these locations.
It is hard to explain the thrill of a wireless exchange with another amateur in an age when one can simply pick up a cellular phone and call almost anywhere in the world. Yet for those of us who are hooked on the hobby, we still marvel at the magic of radio waves traveling to the other side of the world. There is no greater satisfaction than communicating with another amateur thousands of miles away with no medium other than waves generated in a wire antenna, and sent with just the power equivalent to turning on a 50-100 watt light bulb.
From 1998 until 2000 I was not as active as I had been in previous years. Family and work priorities had, for the most part, put my DXing activities on the back burner. But the pilot light was still there! Absolutely. I could not hear the sound of Morse code (CW) or the din of a single side-band (SSB) pileup without the yearn to jump in, to stay up all night and chase DX and to participate in the various contests and awards programs. In the fall of 2000, I bought a new radio and antenna system and was back at it. The interest and enthusiasm is still there . . . and as time permits, you will hear code ring out "R R 5NN DE VE1DX TU" when the rare ones appear on the bands. For while DXers may stray from the hobby for short periods, the lure of catching yet another new one never disappears!
During 2002, I started working a bit of DX on 6-meters (50-MHz.) I also have had a number of voice and Packet radio contacts with the astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station, which uses the call signs RS0ISS and NA1ISS.
Commander Valery Korzun on board the International Space Station operating the Amateur Radio Station RS0ISS
Last updated on Thursday, 12 April 2007