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Veterans Day Weekend Amateur Radio

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Brunswick – On Friday I was in Brunswick and not able to go the Veteran’s Day Parade in Savannah like I do when I’m in town, so I decided to observe Veteran’s Day before going to bed (I work midnight shifts) by turning on the mobile HF station and trying to work some Veteran’s Day Special Event stations. Unfortunately, the bands didn’t seem to cooperate. I only heard one: KF5CRF, The Tiger Radio Club operating from Mangum High School in Mangum, OK. It was good to hear a school group observing Veteran’s Day, I hope they enjoyed the experience and learned something in the process. The QSO was a short one because there was a lot of QSB and the band just seemed “wobbly.”

I have to admit to being ashamed of some of what I heard on amateur radio, particularly on 40 Meters, on Friday morning. As in other aspects of life here in the United States, Trump’s victory seems to have emboldened racists, bigots, and xenophobes. Amateur Radio is a hobby that can build unity and understanding across borders; some of what I heard on Friday was despicable and would only foster hate and misunderstanding. I hope that the poor radio conditions kept hams in other countries from hearing some of the worst of what our country has to offer.

Still in Brunswick on Saturday, I also fired up the mobile station and again played radio before going to bed. Conditions were considerably better and I logged some more special event stations and my first DX since August. My prize contact for the weekend was ON4PTC /P, a special event station operating from the Tyne Cot Cemetery near Passendale, Belgium remembering the Battle of Passchendaele. Passchendaele was one of the most controversial and terrible battles of World War I; estimates vary, but combined casualties were over 450,000 during the six months of the battle. Tyne Cot Cemetery holds 11,956 Commonwealth and French dead, 8.369 of which are unknown soldiers. I love working special event stations for historic events and it was an honor to work a special event station that was remembering all those who perished during such an awful battle.

Reflecting on what I heard on Friday I realized that, unlike those operators, the operators at ON4PTC /P were exhibiting some of the best of the Amateur Radio hobby; I hope more operators look at them as an example by operating in friendship and in respect rather in ill will and hate.


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