Getting Back Active on Amateur Radio, Mixing in History and Formula 1

It’s been awhile since I wrote an amateur radio post. It’s also been awhile since I was active on amateur radio. The summer heat and I don’t agree with each other and the HF antenna at home has had problems so I just haven’t been on the air. With the coming of autumn (even though it hasn’t felt like it with 90 degree temperatures in the afternoons), I’ve felt like being more active and I put the desire into action this past weekend. On Saturday afternoon, I revived a tradition I used to have while in Brunswick and went to the Cracker Barrel for their Saturday Chicken and Rice followed by some mobile HF operating. On Sunday, I also operated mobile for a bit after attending the 8:00 AM Eucharist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

I chose to operate on 10, 15, and 20 Meters over the weekend and while for the most part I avoided the QSO Parties that were taking up most of the spectrum during my operating times I still managed to make a few interesting contacts. The Scandinavian Activity Contest was this past weekend so I took advantage of it to put some 20 Meter DX contacts in the log from Denmark and Sweden on Saturday afternoon. I also worked one station in the Arizona QSO Party on 10 Meters. Sunday was the more interesting day of the two, however. The first station I worked was 2SZ from London on 15 Meters. That’s right – 2SZ. The callsign initially confused because it didn’t a have a prefix, but before long I heard the operator explain that it was an historic callsign specially issued for their station (more about that later). Another interesting contact was UE16HQ, a special event station from Russia. I may have only worked seven stations over the weekend, but it was fun and 2SZ and UE16HQ were particularly interesting ones.

  1. N7AT, Arizona – 10 Meters
  2. OZ7X, Denmark – 20 Meters
  3. 5Q2J, Denmark – 20 Meters
  4. SK6AW, Sweden – 20 Meters
  5. 2SZ, England – 15 Meters
  6. ON4IA, Belgium – 15 Meters
  7. UE16HQ, Russia – 10 Meters

I love working historic special event stations and 2SZ definitely fits that bill. What made it special is not just that it was honoring an historic event but an historic radio event. 2SZ is part of an operation honoring the 90th Anniversary of the first radio contact made between the United Kingdom and New Zealand on 18 October 1924. GB2NZ is being used as the main callsign for that operation, but 2SZ is a more specific one recognizing the station used in England to make that contact. Cecil Goyder, an 18 year old student, was operating a station at the Mill Hill School in London using the callsign 2SZ we he made contact with 4AA, Frank Bell in New Zealand. Not only was this the first radio communication between the UK and New Zealand, it was the first “transworld message,”setting a distance record of 12,450 miles! In honor of this, Ofcom allowed 2SZ to be used from Mill Hill School this past weekend and I’m proud to be one of the amateurs who were able to help celebrate this historic event by making contact with station!

UE16HQ was one station among twelve taking part in a special event celebrating the return of Formula 1 racing to Russia. The Grand Prix of Russia took place this past weekend in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. It just so happens that it has been 100 years since a Grand Prix race took place in Russia. In 1913 and 1914 there were Grand Prixs in St. Petersburg, but World War I put a stop to them and there were no Grand Prixs in the Soviet Union after the war. UE16HQ was the callsign for the special event’s Headquarters Station, but there were also eleven other team stations – one for each one of the race teams racing in Formula 1. As a motor sport fan and amateur radio operator, it was fun to be able to help celebrate the return of Grand Prix racing to Russia after a 100 year absence through radio!

All in all, it was great fun getting back on the air and as the cooler temperatures come, I look forward to being back on the air more often from the mobile station!

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