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1) How did you get involved in Ham-radio and how many years are being a ham now?

I am a Short Wave Listener since 1965 when I got my call sign I1-12387 from the ARI.

I have been involved by a friend of my father, a true OM and a great HAM who got the world record in both

144 and 432 MHz.

He gave me my first receiver, a Marelli-RR1A.

His name is Aldo and you can hear him, as I1WAL, when a new IOTA is on the air.

 

2) What attracted you the most in being a Ham-radio operator?

In the 60's, without Internet or cellulars, SWL-ing was a very attractive hobby for young people.

I remember some of my friends were very excited to hear stations calling from Indonesia, Australia and so on.

Today itís a bit different.

Anyway the adrenalin always goes up when I listen to a rare IOTA or to a new Antarctic Base.

This didnít change during the years.

 

3) What is your favorite mode and/or band?

Today my favorite mode is RTTY and I participate in RTTY Contests (SWL category).

The favorite band depends on solar activity.

Normally this is 20 meter, but with the actual low solar activity I heard some nice IOTA's also on 80 and 40m.

 

4) What equipment do you use?

I use a Palstar-R30, which is also very nice for /m activity.

As antennas I use two groups of dipoles.

 

5) Do you hold DXCC and what is the score?

I donít hold DXCC because ARRL does not accept applications from SWL's, but I have all the current entities

confirmed in phone together with 19 countries deleted.

I have also 909 IOTA's and 65 Antarctic bases confirmed.

 

6) What has been your most memorable story related to Ham-radio so far?

I am an IOTA hunter and I regularly check the IOTA Forum.

Two years ago, I found a message in this Forum by an SWL complaining that the SWL category of the IOTA

Contest was deleted from the RSGB.

This hit me because I participated in the first editions of this contest.

I enjoyed this Contest and I thought that a contest based on a program created by an SWL (Geoff Watts) could

not just delete the SWL category!

So, I joined other SWL's and sent my complaines to the IOTA Forum .

After some time I had an idea, I contacted my Club, the Mediterraneo DX Club, and I wrote directly to Don G3XTT,

the Contest Manager, offering to manage the SWL category.

Waiting for an answer, I contacted other people, including G3KMA, the IOTA manager, and Marek/SP7DQR for a

software able to crosscheck the SWL logs against the HAM logs.

And finally Don agreed to our proposal, promised to send the HAM logs for the crosschecking and cited our Club

in the IOTA Contest rules.

And so, we, at the MDXC/SWL started (in 2006) to organize the IOTA SWL Contest in parallel with the IOTA

Contest and the SWL participation, gone down in the last years, increases every year.

 

7) Do you think CW had it's best time since you don't need it anymore to get a license?

Unfortunately I donít know CW and I use a software program to decode this mode.

Anyway, by listening to the last IOTA DX-peditions were CW was the preferred or the only mode used to operate,

I donít think that the best time of CW has passed.

 

8) How would you explain our hobby to someone not familiar with Ham-radio?

I agree with Ullmar/SM5-1252 that the more attractive aspect of the SWL activity is to listen to the unknown.

To unexpected signals from rare places.

The following fact can give an idea;

Some years ago I explored the 15m band, it was around 2355z.

Too late, a deserted band and no signals at all...No signals, but one!...and strong too!

It was VR6TC/Tom Christian, a descendant from the Bounty mutineers, from Pitcairn Island...

 

9) Do you have other hobby's besides Ham-radio?

Yes, I love trekking.

Some years ago I also climbed the Monte Bianco.

I also love gardening and particularly I love heathers (I am member of the Heather Society in UK)

and plants for ponds.

In my little pond I have also two little ducks, their names are Gastone and Gaia.

 

10) Any final words to the people reading the interviews?

In connection with my story about the IOTA SWL Contest (now Iím busy as Contest Manager and I am not

sure if that story has been memorable, hi), my final words are related to SWL Contests.

I would like to encourage all the SWL's to participate in Contests.

Itís amusing and it is useful to increase the SWL-ing skills.

And, please guys, send an electronic log.

Some Contests now do not accept handwritten paper logs anymore, and in the next future all the Contests will

only accept electronic logs.

The PC's today can be found everywhere and at every price and there are user friendly programs to compile an

electronic log.

I could suggest for phone/CW the program SWL_DQR_Log by SP7DQR and for digital modes MixW by UT2UZ.

And I kindly ask all the Contest Managers to not delete the SWL category from their Contests but to manage to

quickly check the logs via software.

I am sure that my friend Marek/SP7DQR could provide the software, as he already made for the IOTA SWL Contest.