Meeting old friends on the radio

Recently I heard a signal on the radio that brought back many memories of past contacts and and QSL cards and photos exchanged.  It was Shin JA1NUT, who I have worked a number of times over the past 40 or more years.  He is a fine CW operator and is often heard on the 40m band.

I called him and he turned his directional antenna southwards from the USA direction and beamed his signal my way.  A directional antenna (aka Beam) on that band can be a very large antenna, with elements from 12 to 20m long on a boom of perhaps 10m.  I do not know what his current beam is for that band, but his equipment and antennas are working very well.  His signal was very strong here.  Our contact was made at about 22wpm on CW.

We exchanged signal reports, I told him we had last contacted under my VK1DA callsign and prior to that, under my V85DA callsign.  He immediately mentioned that he had my QSL cards, one of which had a photo of me when I first got my licence, at age 16.  He said he had a birthday approaching in May, for a somewhat higher number, and I told him I would be the same age in June.  This was very heartening – I have always known his signal and operating methods and it is rather nice to know we are so close in age as well as sharing an interest in amateur radio and in operating on CW (morse code).  He also mentioned his blog, nuttycellist, which I have added to my blogroll here.  Some insightful and reflective posts on his blog – far more than my own, I think.  Also his command of English is superb.  Many complex subjects are discussed there and explained in great detail.  My Japanese capability by comparison is very weak, I doubt if I can count up to 10!

It is a great pleasure and very reassuring to make contact with a distant friend after so long, and find that you both recall your past contacts.

This social aspect of ham radio is something that is very special.

Extract our contact
Extract from our contact, written on the left side of my log book