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The EARS WA4IWLetter


NOVEMBER 1999

-- PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE --

While Yuli and I now have four computers in the house, neither of us seem to witness anything but dif-ficulties when we use the infernal monsters. While less than one-half of American households have a computer, we do recognize that the personal computer can be a handy tool for certain applications--such as typing this newsletter.

When IBM selected the Disk Operating System (DOS) for their personal computers, the die was cast. The DOS was the innovation of two young fellows named Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who then went on to found their own company, Microsoft. The use of MS-DOS spread around the world, making PCs available to virtually anyone who wanted one.

Many computer owners network their machines to communicate with other machines. However, what if their respective machines didn't speak the same language? As in trying to speak English with a non-English speaker, there would be no communication. Many years ago, the use of dissimilar track gauges drastically slowed the movement of rail shipments as the trucks had to be changed under the cars when the trains transited from one railroad to another. Stan-dardization was essential to overcome such bottlenecks, and the same applies to networked computers.

Big Brother on the Potomac didn't like the fact that Microsoft came to dominate the PC operating systems and accused Microsoft of being a monopoly. Never mind that the same Big Brother has come to monopolize public education or has a monopoly to confiscate a goodly portion of everyone's paycheck in the name of "Social Security". While federal law bans companies from maintaining monopoly power through illegal business practices, there are no laws (yet) against achieving success selling popular products or making shrewd business decisions. In spite of that, on 05 November federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared Microsoft a monopoly--not on the basis of any crimes committed but on the assumption that Microsoft "might" or "could" do something criminal in the future.

If upheld, doesn't judge Jackson's attitude put all of us at risk for what we might or could do in the future?

73 de Jack, W4JS

-- EARS AT BOCA BOP --

Early Sunday morning, 07 November, EARS members W4JQT, K9HUY, WL7CKY, K2JWE, W1AMU and W4JS were to be found scattered about Gasparilla Island, providing communications support to the First Englewood Optimist Club Boca Bop Triathlon. The enthusiasm shown by both the volunteers and the competitors did not go unnoticed. One of the great things about so many Americans is that they willingly give up some of their free time to help worthy causes.

-- FAREWELL TO 60/40 SOLDER --

Within 10 years, the 60/40 tin/lead solder that hams have used for decades will be gone. Some Japanese manufacturers have already switched to a tin/silver/ bismuth "solder". One problem, however, is the higher melting point. "Environmental concerns" have forced the change.

(From 15 November 1999 W5YI Report)

-- NOVEMBER MEETING --

The next EARS meeting will be held 19 November at the Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 East Dearborn St. Officers' meeting will be held in the church's library at 6 pm. The business meeting will start at 7:30 pm in Room 400. The program will be a discussion and demonstration of the "Auto Packet Reporting System" (APRS) by Keith Herve, WL7CKY. Come on out and learn something about this mode that you've never seen before. And, how about dessert at Denny's afterwards!

-- EARS NET ACTIVITIES --

The EARS weekly net meets on the WB0GUX repeater (146.700) at 7:30 pm every Friday except the third Friday, which is our meeting night. VOLUNTEERS ARE SORELY NEEDED FOR NET CONTROL! Please get in touch with Don Spencer, WA4IWL, our Net Manager and give him a hand. Recent net activity follows:

Date NCS Check-Ins

08 Oct KD9SJ Don 8

22 Oct W1PZE George 15

29 Oct WA4IWL Don 10

05 Nov KD9SJ Don 16


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ENGLEWOOD AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY

Minutes of the Meeting

October 15, 1999

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, opened the meeting at 7:30 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. There were no visitors or new members to introduce, and no upgrades to report.

A motion was made by Free Crosby, W1NPR, to forego reading of the minutes of last month's meeting, since they were published in the newsletter. Seconded by Al Parmentier, KF4JIL, and carried.

The Treasurer's Report was given by Howard White, KD4MMY, and he made a motion for approval. Seconded by Don Spencer, WA4IWL, and carried. Howard advised he is now accepting dues for year 2000.

While Howard had the floor, he was asked to open the bids on the 40-foot EZ Way tower the club has for sale. There were no additional bids from the floor. The winning bid was from Jerry Meckenberg, K2JWE, with an offer of $101.00.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

CORRESPONDENCE - The Tampa Hamfest will be 20-21 November at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Frank Butler, W4RH, ARRL SE Division Director, is expected to announce on Monday October 18 that the ARRL Board has approved creation of the West Central Florida Section. The new section will become effective on January 15, 2000.

LIGHTHOUSE - The QSL card proof from the printer has been received and was circulated at the meeting. The cards will be ordered per this proof.

CLUB BADGES - The club is now accepting orders for the badges. An order blank is in the October newsletter. The badges are being made by a local company in Sarasota. Please place orders on or before the November meeting.

BOCA GRANDE - "Boca Bop Triathlon" - Communications support has been requested for this specialty race on Sunday, November 7th. Five members volunteered to support this activity.

SUNSHINE - Rex and Mary Thomas will not be down this winter due to health reasons. They live in Lafayette, Indiana and usually spend their winters in Englewood.

FCC EXAMS - There will be a VE session tomorrow at the Englewood Chamber of Commerce. At least one candidate is expected.

RACES - Ken Anderson, W4JQT, reported on the Emergency Management meeting held at noon on October 14, 1999 in Murdock. Wayne Sallade held a briefing on Hurricane Irene which, at the time, was 120 miles SW of Havana, Cuba, and was expected to affect our area on October 15th or 16th. Bruce Robideau, K2OY, and Ken Anderson, W4JQT, attended the meeting.

DX - Jack Sproat, W4JS, gave the DX and propagation report.

FROM THE FLOOR

President Jack Sproat, W4JS, discussed the idea of liaison with other clubs in the area.

Frank Maren, W4VV, asked that anyone going to a hamfest take along some of our hamfest flyers to distribute. Publicity is very important to the success of our hamfest.

At 7:59 pm, Dennis Babcock, NT9K, made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Frank Maren, W4VV, and carried There were 18 members present at the meeting.

PROGRAM - The program was a video - Journey to Peter I Island.

Ken Anderson, W4JQT

Secretary

-- AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE EXAMS --

The EARS VE Team offers ARRL VEC license exams at 9:30 am the 3rd Saturday of each month at the Chamber of Commerce building, 601 South Indiana Avenue, Englewood. Minimum two-day advance reservation is required.

Candidates must bring:

(1) Original license and a copy of that license.

(2) Original CSCE's and a copy of each CSCE.

(3) Two forms of identification.

(4) FCC Licensee ID No. or Social Security card.

(5) A check in the amount of $6.45 payable to "ARRL VEC", or cash in the above amount.

For further information and reservation, contact Jack Sproat, W4JS, at 475-1929

-- OCTOBER EXAM SESSION --

Don DiBello, KF4WJW, passed the Morse exam and gained his General Class ticket. (Don had passed the written exam in September.) Congrats, Don, on a job well done!

-- CLUB ASSETS FOR SALE --

PUT OUT A GOOD SIGNAL AND BE A PART OF HAM RADIO HISTORY!

THE TELREX ANTENNAS WERE KNOWN AS THE BEST THERE WAS IN HAM ANTENNAS: RUGGED, WELL-DESIGNED AND GREAT PERFORMERS, YOU WILL STILL HEAR THEM BEING USED TODAY. TELREX DROPPED OUT OF THE HAM MARKET SOME YEARS BACK, BUT EARS HAS A TELREX TB4EM TRI-BAND BEAM AVAILABLE THAT CAN BE YOURS! NO REASONABLE OFFER WILL BE REFUSED. CONTACT KEN ANDERSON, W4JQT, AT 475-3172


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BACKSCATTER

-- DX PACKET CLUSTER ACCESS --

While DX info is available from the Internet, an active DX PacketCluster node in eastern Alabama can be locally accessed via 2-meter packet radio. Connect to Ken's "Gateway to the Internet" via "flgate" or "WD4NKZ-4" on 145.09. (First-time users must register with callsign and name.) At completion of the menu, type "t 205.241.25.11" which is the Telnet route to "dx.ka4pkb.ampr.org", KA4PKB-11, sponsored by EAARC and Friends.

(At this stage you will have to register with your callsign and name. At the "Set/location" command, first-time users will also have to enter their latitude and longitude either now or immediately after the next step. Enter those in the following format: "27 01 N 82 23 W"--but for your exact coordinates.)

Type "dx" to access the KA4PKB DX node, one of 54 nodes in the cluster. While a maximum of 563 stations can connect, there are usually 5-10 stations on this node and over 200 stations may be joined to the cluster at any one time.

Upon completion of access, type "sh/dx" and the five most recent DX spots will be shown. As DX is reported by connected stations, it will scroll onto the screen. In addition to HF DX being posted, 6-meter DX also shows up when the "Magic Band" is open. If you want to post DX on the cluster, type "dx" (frequency) (callsign) (comment) and "enter".

Other useful "SHow qualifiers" (of a total of 30) include "sh/wwv", which gives the latest five 3-hour up-dates of solar flux, A- and k- indices; "sh/muf (prefix)", gives the radiation angle, number of hops, and the MUF for 90, 50 and 10% propagation probabilities to that QTH; "sh/sun" gives the sunrise and sunset times for your QTH; "sh/heading (prefix)" gives the beam heading to that QTH; and "sh/users" shows who else is connected to the KA4PKB node.

On weekends, updated spots will keep the connection active, however, if there is no action on the connection for about 4 minutes, "flgate" will do a hard disconnect. To avoid that happening, hit "enter" within that time-frame to maintain the connection.

Hit "b", in succession, to exit from KA4PKB, KA4PKB-11 and FLGATE.

(TNX to Bob, N1RA, for guiding us to this useful operating tool.)

-- QUOTABLE QUOTES --

"Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them." (Lily Tomlin, quoted in The Fountainhead, 25 August 1999)

-- 20th CENTURY INNOVATORS --

Back in 1862, Christian Schussele painted a four-by-six-foot masterpiece, Men of Progress, depicting nineteen American innovators of that age. Samuel Morse (1791-1872) is among those men. More recently the Cooper Union commissioned Edward Sorel to paint a sequel showing 20th Century Americans who changed the world. Those of us interested in communications and electronics will find several familiar names amongst Sorel's group:

o Edwin H. Armstrong (1890-1954) Fascinated by radio, when 20 years old he built a 125' tall tower in his front yard; invented the continuous-wave transmitter in 1912, the superheterodyne circuit in 1918 and FM radio in 1933--all of which remain underpinnings of broadcasting today.

o Philo T. Farnsworth (1906-1971) Visualized the principles of electronic TV as a 13-year-old farm boy; sent his first image, a single line, when he was 21--after he had applied for a patent. The patent expired, however, before he could profit from commercialization of his technology.

o Charles H. Townes (1915- ) In 1951, while a professor at Columbia, he was struck with the idea of using feedback to stimulate the emission of microwave radiation from excited molecules. This led directly to the maser; its outgrowth, the laser, was built in a race among several scientists that was ultimately won by Theodore Maiman of Hughes Aircraft.

o Robert Noyce (1927-1990) Co-inventor of the integrated circuit. In 1958 Jack Kilby, of Texas Instruments, hand-crafted the first true integrated circuit; the next year, Noyce, working independently at Fairchild Semiconductor, came up with a version that could be miniaturized and reliably manufactured. In 1968 he co-founded Intel Corporation.

o William H. Gates III (1955- ) Learned to program at 14, started his first business at 16, and dropped out of Harvard to design a Basic compiler and found Microsoft. His company's programs Excel, Word and Windows have dominated personal computing and given it broad conformity since the 1980s.

(From "People of Progress" by The Editors, November 1999 American Heritage)

-- QUOTABLE QUOTES --

"There are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there." (Indira Gandhi, quoted in The Fountainhead, 25 August 1999)


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MORE BACKSCATTER

-- GET A TICKET, NED! --

Ned Searight sued the state of New Jersey, claiming that while in a state eye, ear and speech clinic, he was injected in the left eye with a radium electric beam and, because of this, someone now talks to him from inside his brain. He asked for $12 million in damages. The judge dismissed the case but in passing noted that if the facts were true the voices would be "unlicensed radio communication", which would be under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission. The court helpfully suggested the "Mr. Searight could have blocked the broadcast to the antenna in his brain by grounding it, for example by pinning a chain of paper clips to the pack of his pants leg that made contact with the ground". (From "Oh, Those Wacky Plaintiffs!" by Gayle M. B. Hanson, 08 November 1999 Insight)

-- SNOWBIRD NET --

The Snowbird Net meets daily at 10 am, 11:45 am and 5:45 pm on 14.278, and at 7:00 pm on 7.230. Keep the Birds still up in the cold climes advised of the good life here in "Paradise".

-- OFFICIAL EARS BADGE --

Orders are being taken for the official EARS membership badge. The badge will measure approximately 2" X 3", with curved corners, and will include the EARS logo,, your callsign on the top line, your name on the second line, and "ENGLEWOOD ARS" on the bottom line. The standard badge has a pin attachment, however, magnetic and pocket attachments are available at extra cost.

The initial order will be sent in after the 19 November meeting. If you want one of these badges please place your order by that date. provide the club with a 10 percent discount. Please send your check, payable to the "Englewood Amateur Radio Society", to the EARS mailing address.

-- UPCOMING FLORIDA HAMFESTS --

13 Nov Port St. Lucie Hamfest at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 295 NW Prima Vista Blvd., 2 miles east of I-95 Exit 63C TI: 146.955 Info: Bill, WA2TSM (561)343-0557

20-21 Nov Suncoast Amateur Radio & Computer Convention, Florida State Fairgrounds, Expo Hall, US 301 between I-4 and MLK Blvd, Tampa TI: 147.165, 147.105 Info: Jean (727)525-5178

(From Vol. 6 No. 5 Amateur Radio Trader, November 1999 QST, and November 1999 CQ)

-- LOCAL REPEATERS --

145.130 (-) WB4NJV SERC/Venice

146.700 (-) WB0GUX Englewood (T)

146.730 (-) WB4NJV Sarasota ERC (A)

146.745 (-) K4IB Charlotte Co. CD

146.775 (-) K0DGF Englewood (T)

146.910 (-) W4IE Sarasota ARA (A)

146.925 (-) WA9NLA Pt. Charlotte

147.015 (+) WB9JTK Pt. Charlotte

147.255 (+) WA3DUX Peace River

444.625 (+5 mc) K0DGF Englewood (T)

444.700 (+5 mc) WA4ISB Venice

(T) = 77 Hz PL tone (A) = Autopatch

-- AMATEUR RADIO CENSUS UPDATE --

The American ham radio population peaked at 678,733 in July 1997, then dropped to a low of 672,678 in September 1998. By 30 September 1999 there were 675,739 licensed amateurs--not including those whose licenses had expired but were still in the two-year grace period. (From 15 October 1999 W5YI Report)

-- QUOTABLE QUOTES --

"Pro is to con as progress is to congress." (Unknown, The Fountainhead, 25 August 1999)-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Englewood Amateur Radio Society Badge Order

Call Sign First Name Last Name

Badge ................................................ $4.00

Magnet Attachment ($2.00).............

Pocket Attachment ($1.00)...............

Total Cost ..........................................


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UPCOMING CONTESTS AND ACTIVITIES
Contest/Special Event Times/Dates Bands/Modes QSO With Exchange
Japan International DX Contest 2300 GMT 12 Nov

2300 GMT 14 Nov

80 - 10 Meters

SSB

Japanese Stations Only R/S + Serial No.
WAE RTTY Contest 0000 GMT 13 Nov

2400 GMT 14 Nov

80 - 10 Meters

RTTY

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + Serial No.
OK/OM DX Contest 1200 GMT 13 Nov

1200 GMT 14 Nov

160 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

OK, OL and OM Stations Only R/S/(T) + Serial No.
Ukrainian DX Contest 1200 GMT 13 Nov

1200 GMT 14 Nov

80 - 10 Meters

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + Serial No.
Six-Meter Annual Winter DX Contest 2300 GMT 19 Nov

0300 GMT 22 Nov

Six Meters Only

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere Grid Square
Bulgarian DX Contest 1200 GMT 20 Nov

2100 GMT 21 Nov

80 - 10 Meters

CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + ITU Zone
RSGB 160-Meter Contest 1400 GMT 20 Nov

0800 GMT 21 Nov

160 Meters Only

CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + QTH
ARRL November Sweepstakes 2100 GMT 20 Nov

0300 GMT 22 Nov

80 - 10 Meters

SSB

Stations in ARRL Sections Serial No., last 2 digits of year 1st licensed, Power Class, ARRL Section
CQ Wide World DX Contest 0000 GMT 27 Nov

2400 GMT 28 Nov

160 - 10 Meters

CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + CQ Zone
ARRL 160-Meter Contest 2200 GMT 03 Dec

1800 GMT 05 Dec

160 Meters Only

CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/T + ARRL Section
ARRL 10-Meter Contest 0000 GMT 11 Dec

2400 GMT 12 Dec

10 Meters Only

SSB/CW

Anyone, Anywhere R/S/(T) + QTH

From November 1999 Worldradio, November 1999 CQ and November 1999 QST.

-- 1999 CQ CONTEST SURVEY --

Some points of interest to any operator can be garnered from the 1999 CQ Contest Survey ("1999 CQ Contest Survey Results--Technology in Contesting", John Dorr, K1AR, November 1999 CQ). While the 404 respondents are a very small segment of the ham population, contesters are probably in the forefront for trend-setting in contemporary ham radio. Note the following results (with comments):

Almost 95% have a dedicated computer in the ham shack. (Locally, the percentage may be closer to 100.) Interestingly, on average, contesters have been using computers for 9 years, but a Slovenian operator installed his first computer back in 1970! Of those having computers, the Internet is used by 70% of the respondents and some 70% have access to a DX PacketCluster. Their computers are used for contest and daily logging, antenna modeling, etc. (Locally, the Internet may have surpassed packet for DX spotting and antenna modeling is not practiced.)

Some 68% claimed they had the technical expertise to maintain their own equipment. (Either those guys are using a lot of vintage tube-type equipment or they have Doctorates in state-of-the-art electronics!)

Of the present-day technologies, automatic amplifier tuning on band changes rated the highest, with automatic band/antenna switching not far behind. (Solid-state amps by ICOM and Yaesu can be slaved to the respective transceivers for automatic band switching, however, a full-bore 1.5 KW solid state amp is not yet available on the amateur market. Top-of-the-line Alpha 87A amps auto-tune to the input frequency and the antenna, but you're talking big bucks for those babies!)

Technological advances foreseen by the contesters include:

o Improved DSP/filtering technology

o Greater use of robot operation/remote control

o Adaptive antenna technology that can adjust to signal angles

o Tighter integration of the Internet and ham radio products; integration between station transceivers and computers

o Speech recognition/Morse decoding

o More real-time products, i.e., propagation tools


Page - 6


CURRENT/PENDING DX ACTIVITY AND PROPAGATION FORECASTS
CURRENT and/or SCHEDULED DX ACTIVITY

(Band/GMT for best chance of S5 or better signal)

COUNTRY - CALLSIGN ACTIVITY

PERIOD

BEARING 80 40 20 17 15 12 10
Guinea - 3XY2D

Burundi - 9U5D

E. Malaysia - 9M6PWT

Spratly Is - 9M6OO

Thailand - HS0ZCY (CW/RTTY)

Brunei - V8??

E. Malaysia - 9M6AAC

Now to 22 Dec

Now to 10 Dec

Now to 15 Nov

12 - 18 Nov

20 Nov - 07 Dec

21 - 25 Nov

24 - 29 Nov

90

83

329

337

355

330

329

00>07

01>03

1130

1130

--

1130

1130

22>07

23>04

10>12

10>12

11>12

10>12

10>12

12>00

17>00

13>20

13>20

13>01

13>19

13>01

13>23

13>23

14>19

14>20

14>19

14>19

14>19

13>21

13>19

14>18

14>18

14>19

14>18

14>18

14>20

14>18

15>17

15>17

15>18

15>18

15>18

15>19

14>17

15>16

15>16

15>16

15>17

15>17

Updated 06 November 1999, based on 08 November QRZ DX and 05 November The 59(9) DX Report.

Notes: NO = No opening forecast. ??? = Callsign not yet known. Long path bearings and opening times (if any) are underlined.

Solar Flux assumed at 170 and F-Index at 2 for all forecasts. Higher SF and lower F will improve propagation above 20 meters.

-- NOVEMBER PROPAGATION --

No question but that October was a stellar month for DX propagation in spite of the major geomagnetic storm that drove the A-index to 54 on 22 October. The Solar Flux averaged 164.7, and the A-index was < 10 for 12 days during October, causing 10 meters to be open world-wide at times. TNX to the Manasota Key Sunsetters!!

The November propagation forecasts ("Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, November 1999 CQ) follow:

Look for excellent DX conditions on 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meters during most of the daylight hours from shortly after sunrise until sunset.

From sundown to midnight, 20 meters will be open towards the south and west and 40 meters will be open towards the east, north and south. Good DX openings to the same areas of the world as 40 meters should also be possible on 75/80 and 160 during this period.

Between midnight and sunrise, the best DX band will be 40 meters, with 75/80 meters not far behind, with conditions peaking towards the south and west. Low band DX signals tend to peak when it is local sunrise at the easterly end of the path.

Probable best DX days for remainder of month: 25-26, 30 November should be "Above Normal"; 14, 17, 23-24, 27 November should be "High Normal".

-- VHF IONOSPHERIC OPENINGS --

Solar activity is high enough to permit 6-meter DX openings during November. Conditions should peak towards Europe and the east before noon. Openings should improve towards Africa shortly after noon and continue to swing in a clockwise direction during the early afternoon hours. Expect openings towards the Caribbean and South America from late morning until shortly after noon. By late afternoon start looking for openings towards the south and southwest. The best time for TE openings is from 8 to 11 pm local time. (From "Propagation" by George Jacobs, W3ASK, November 1999 CQ)

-- POSSIBLE TWO-METER DX RECORD --

On 21 August 1999, W1LP/MM in DL51CE south of Baja Mexico and KH6HME at 8000' on Mauna Loa in BK29GO exchanged 5x2 SSB signal reports on 2 meters, a distance of 4745 Km or 2945 statute miles. KH6HME was running 60 watts to two 7-el yagis, W1LP was running 200 watts to a 9-el yagi 80' above sea level. (That equals a distance of from Englewood to about 90 miles beyond Yellowknife, NWT, Canada.)

(From "Weak-Signal News" by Dave Bostedor, Jr., N8NQS, November 1999 CQ VHF)

-- DXTRAS AND DXPLOITS --

After falling victim to the ersatz EZ7ST last May, both Frank, W4VV, and Jack, W4JS, were lucky to work EZ8AQ in Turkmenistan 20 October on 10 meters. This one's in the Callbook, so it should be a Good One.

-- DXCC AND THE REAL WORLD --

There is a relationship between the DX Century Club and the real world. DXCC is a dynamic reflection of our ever-changing world. National borders keep changing, such that the former Yugoslavia is now five DXCC entities. Czechoslovakia divided into two countries, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and DXCC chronicled the change. As the Indonesian Parliament has granted East Timor independence, DXers will follow ASAP.

The DXCC "score" will never be complete. What one has today may very well be gone tomorrow; missing a QSO with the next DXpedition could suddenly drop you down one more on the list. That's part of the excitement of the DX hunt--you have to remain alert and ready for events as they unfold.

DX is as dynamic as life, and that is why the journey is an eternal joy for those with long years in DXing who belong to the brotherhood of those who hunt.

(From "How's DX" by Bernie McClenny, W3UR, November 1999 QST)


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