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One of the most surprising and fun things that I have ever done related to ham radio involved a trip to visit the homeland my grandparents left in the early 1900s when they emigrated to America and settled in Schenectady, NY. We took a trip of a lifetime (but, hopefully, the first of many) to Italy during the summer of 2010.
On Echolink, I met an incredibly talented and generous young Italian ham now living in Toronto. Edmondo (VA3ITA), originally from Sora -- the city right next to the village where my grandparents had lived, Broccostella, in the province of Frosinone -- was the catalyst in setting our intinerary and convincing us to meet him and his wife, Laura (VA3LIA), in Sora. Here we are in a photo taken from the mountain overlooking Broccostella.
Edmondo talked us into joining the Italia Zero DX Groupfor a DX-pedition to Ponza Island.Check out the IB0Y story on this web site. Also, my wife Ruth (KB0USC) has an article on the Ponza trip in the June 2011 issue of QST. One of the most impressive young hams in the group -- also the photographer who took my picture at the station shown in the header -- is Giovanni (IZ0PSA).
Edmondo also introduced me to Vincenzo (I0SXV)who lives in Broccostella. He helped us by searching (and eventually showing us) the official records of my grandfather's birth and marriage to my grandmother. In addition, he took the time to research my family history and introduced me to a cousin I never knew that I had in Broccostella. We verified the family name was originally spelled, VANI. This is a picture of Vincenzo and me in the home of Edmondo's father, Michele,in Sora. What an extraordinary gentleman.
Oh! Did I mention the hospitality and warmth of Michele who invited us into his home and treated us like we were family he had not seen in a long, long time? He is another gentleman who epitomizes the Italian spirit of generosity and life. He runs a grocery store in Sora. If you get by there, stop in and say, "Buon giorno, Michele!" for me. Grazie.
We met some very lovely people and saw amazing sites about which we had only read previously, and some of which we were never aware. We will not soon forget the friendship of Antonio (IZ0QYH) and so many others I can not list them all. If you ever get the chance to go to Italy, no matter what time of year, take it! If you can't go, call me. I'll be happy to take your place. Here we are in one of the many beautiful piazzas in Rome.
Did I say the DX operation was fun? What an exciting group of young hams. The trip to Ponza was a highlight of an outstanding trip made so much better because of ham radio. Hams are family around the world. And, you will find no better family than the hams of Italia Zero DX Group!
Ciao e arrivederci italia.
73 es good DX.
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SEE: K0ANT - The Kansas Antenna Club in Johnson County
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Try my Echolink node: KB0MZF-L #563072
We have four hams in the house, including KB0USC, KC0ZYN, KD0EWF, and me. What a treat!
CUL de Jim
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