... Ham Radio County Hunting History/Archive

History Happens: VK4AAR Bio

de Alan, VK4AAR (Aug 2012)

As is obvious, I have never had the privilege of giving anyone a new county ... a bit difficult from this range! But I've had a load of fun getting new ones and becoming active, in varying degrees, on the nets over time. Back in the mid-'noughties' I was able to help N/C as a back up because I was hearing most of the USA as he was limited when mobiles (and callers) were too close to him.

But how did this all start? I was first licenced (English spelling) in 1978 when living in VK5-land. I went mad and got the major DX awards in my first year ... DXCC, WAZ, WAS, WAC, et al ... staying up all night till 3:00 or 4:00 am and going to work at 6:30 am. It nearly killed me, but I was having fun. My body got accustomed to these hours eventually and I'm still here to tell the tale. Nuff sed!

I got into County Hunting by accident after noting all the counties listed on the many QSL's I had received so I started making rudimentary charts and using whatever 'official' lists I could lay my hands on to help. In the late 80's, I stumbled upon the net on 14.336 and got started calling when I got a chance and Mac, KJ5? ... I forget, but seem to think it was KJ5W ... offered to manage my confirmations (I didn't know what an MRC was even!). He had a 2x1 call and he was under pressure of other matters to continue ... so I don't know if he had that call or not. Someone might remember him ... he lived in Denton county, TX at least around 1988 to 1992. QRZ.COM puts that call in Louisiana now.

In 1993, Mee Wah (my XYL) and I moved to S.E. Queensland and I got interested again, without a manager, and, along with a bunch of VK's and ZL's, we formed an ad hoc net of our own in the Stateside evenings. We did OK and had fun but needed to speed things up so we gradually gravitated to the established net on 14.336 ... most of us anyway. Jay, K6RLS, volunteered to act as manager for all the VK/ZL boys (and gals) but eventually went SK due to ill health. So, Bob, KC6AWX assumed the responsibility of looking after most (if not, all) the VK's and ZL's. What a mighty job he has done and continues to do for Bernie, VK4EJ. Thank you, Bob ... and Jay ... and Mac. Your blood is worth bottling!

All of us got the WBOW (Bernie, VK4EJ is almost there) and everyone disappeared into the sunset as far as I can tell ... but I still soldier on. I got my first star in January 2001 in a dramatic fashion (read CQ Magazine of June and July 2001 for my bio and that of the incredible CH'er, Eldon, N8STF who FLEW to NE to get my last 4 ... all in the one state). How it worked out, and the resulting skull-duggery involved by other parties to spice it up, are worth reading about. I was honoured by a visit from Eldon (part of the skull-duggery) in January of that year. I had worked the WBOW in the previous November but was kept waiting by those rascals K1BV and N8STF for two whole months on the pretext that Xmas mail was holding up the processing and delivery of the certificate (more of that skull-duggery).

Oh, Bob, KC6AWX, also made the trip Down Under in 2001 for a visit ... great to have high profile County Hunters (and County Putter-Outers) as house guests in our humble hacienda. I must warn them I want to return the compliment but expect they will move overseas to forestall our invasion. My lack of funds will probably save them from having to emigrate, though.

I later got my second Star and also Bingo. But I did, without realising it, work my last for 'All-20m' and 'All-SSB' (separately) in the same week. I don't think there is an award for those so I didn't submit a claim. I am currently chasing All-CW ... but under severe duress these days. And have increased my 'armoury' of County Hunting tools by adding MARAC Logger to the operating desk. What a fantastic piece of software ably supported by WQ7A, KD5CXO, W0NAC and KD9ZP. Thanks to Terry and Tim in particular for their unwavering patience with this dumb Limey ex-pat in Oz.

That's enough from me ... if I don't stop here, I never will!

73, Alan, VK4AAR

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