My brother Igor was born in 1951. All of our relatives called him "Harik". When he began working on air, people grew to know him by the name "Harry".
In the 1960's, our dad Anton (UA6JD back then) met Valentin Posykin (UA6JW back then). Both were deeply involved in amateur radio, and they passed along their hobby to us brothers. I recall those days in the late 1960's, when my brother and I spent days and nights in front of the big KBM army receiver, listening to mysterious sounds. In 1967, Harry received the call sign UA6JWW, and one of his first OSOs on the band was VS9A . . ? on 10 meters AM. Regretfully, back then we didn't understand the true value of this particular OSO, and our log books were in a disarray. So, Aden/VS9A appeared to be irrevocably lost for Harry. Later, Luigi I1RBJ visited Aden, and operated from there as 7O0A. Harry made QSO with him then, but I was not at home, and therefore missed Luigi.
We stepped into the scene after Don Miller W9WNV's operations. However, Harry was lucky enough to make contacts with Gus Browning W4BPD's African Expedition in the summer of 1970. Unfortunately, I was not yet licensed at that time (later on I received the call UA6JAD), and so I was only able to eavesdrop on the wonderful signals of VQ9/A/A, AC0A/GR and so on.
In the early 1970's, Harry and I had a meeting with two HAM radio operators - Peter Rushakov UM8FM (alas, he is silent key now) & Vlad Kaploun UA1CK (now DJ9BK). This meeting changed our overall attitude towards DX'ing. Thereafter, we frequently met at each other's homes, and always spoke to one another on air as well as on the phone. Peter UM8FM & Vlad UA1CK ignited the spark in us which developed into the inextinguishable fire of DX'ing.
Later on, Harry acquired the callsign previously belonging to Valentin Posykin UA6JW, and I acquired the callsign that had belonged to our dad, Anton UA6JD.
We began to understand that it was very difficult to work with rare DX-peditions if you only possessed simple equipment & antennas. So, after we missed the first DX-pedition to Okino Torishima, we began to build a new antenna array: 6 elements of YAGI, on a tower. After a month of daily adjustments, we achieved optimum F/B & F/S ratio for antenna parameters. At this time, we started hunting for new countries to acquire awards. It's worthwhile to mention that back in the 1970's, propagation on the bands was much different than what it is today: There had been round-the-clock activity on 80 meters, and huge, non-stop pile-ups of U.S. stations on 20 meters band. Making 500-800 contacts with North American stations (within 2-3 hours before leaving for work in the morning) was the norm.
Fate regularly provided us with remarkable acquaintances who had been full of the HAM radio spirit. Many of them have since passed away. Here are some who were closest to us, and who have greatly influenced our relationship with not only HAM radio - but also with life in general: Ed W2MIG, Ray W8CNL, Jim K1MEM, Franz DJ9ZB, Gary K4MQG, Joe W3HNK, Jim W8ZET, and many others. They were our elders, and we - their diligent pupils. We were honored to be the disciples of such famous people at the time. They shared their knowledge and experience with us, for which we had always been thankful.
It had been during the Cold War Era, and during this time it was forbidden to receive QSL directly to our home addresses in the U.S.S.R. However, we were able to send our own cards out, (which was inexpensive to do), and we wrote and sent out many of them. Though we never included US Dollars or IRCs with our cards (due to the lack of such things in the U.S.S.R. - for to be caught with even single U.S. dollar bill would surely result in a lengthy jail sentence, under famous statute 88 of U.S.S.R. criminal codex), we nevertheless always received replies and cards from all DX-peditions. Ben W2BXA taught us how simply mentioning that the card may enable us to receive some award, and showing gratitude in our letter, would carry greater value than any IRC or green stamp. I don't recall a single case in which we ran into difficulties with receiving a QSL. Back then, everyone in HAM radio had a strong spirit of brotherhood, and they were especially giving to us in need (behind the Iron Curtain). Unfortunately, nowadays, commercial interests have overtaken that spirit of HAM radio, and it has become as rare as North Korea.
Gradually, after achieving contacts with more and more necessary countries, the long-awaited moment arrived in which we could send out applications for DXCC Honor Roll, 5 Band DXCC to the Central Radio Club in Moscow. The Central Radio Club charged us approximately the equivalent of 2.5 dollars (in Russian Rubles) per application. Back then, the only way to receive international awards would be through the Central Radio Club, which had a certain procedure to follow. In the U.S.S.R., applications for such awards were rare. Harry's application for a 5 Band WAZ plaque languished for 4 years while the we completed payment transactions to the U.S. on Harry's behalf.
Years later we received our HR plaques, and thought of what our next goal would be. By then, the IARU had made the decision of removing the rule for prerequisite knowledge of CW for HF licensees. Perestroika and the subsequent crash of the U.S.S.R. was then taking place. The airwaves became captivated by immense crowds of people who had enough money to purchase expensive equipment - but who lacked concepts of the norms, morals, and rules of behavior on air. 20 meters became similar to the Chicago Trading Pit with street market scent, with infinite conversations on personal themes, and no normative words. Harry and I could not accept this, so we retreated, and remained mostly in CW, with no more than 50 SSB QSOs per year.
Harry became a member of many clubs and organizations, such as: Clipperton DX Club, Western Washington DX Club, French DX Foundation, EUDXF, NCDXF, HH, FH, MF, FISTS, x10 and many others. He had been waiting for 3 new countries in the Netherlands Antilles, in order to reach his "370 countries" DXCC. Alas, he passed away on August 20, 2009 due to a brain hemorrhage, before reaching that milestone. So, his DX saga stopped on 367 countries.
He will always remain in my heart, and in my memories.
Vlad UA6JD September '09
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