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Born in Budapest, Hungary and survived WW II and the holocaust, I became interested in electronics in high school.  Built my first  broadcast radio from German WWII surplus parts at the age of 14, but at 16 I met a schoolmate who  introduced me the mysterious world  of shortwave / ham radio.  He took me to the national radio club ( MRRE ) where we learned  Morse code, operating techniques and ethics (!) used by hams worldwide.  Using the practice station of the club (HA5KBX  -a  10W Crystal controlled 80 m. transmitters and a Hallicrafters S20R receiver ) I made my first QSO – and was hooked for life. One of my Elmers was Dr. Les Radnay, ( HA4SA, HA7PD, and many years later W1PL, now SK )

Soon thereafter, the communist regime took over the country and abolished MRRE, accused its leaders of espionage – Dr. Radnay went to jail for while as well.   In 1950, I sat for and passed the test administered by the Ministry of Post and  Communications, but was not granted a station license as not being a  Communist party member and thus considered politically unreliable. However, we were allowed to operate the closed guarded club stations set up by quasi-military puppet organization set up by the government.

At the Central Radio Club of Budapest, under close supervision, my young friends and I built a decent  HF station, 700 W on  CW and 200 W AM, and a surplus BC-348 receiver. The first contest we entered as HA5KBA was the VK/ZL contest of 1953 – made 7 QSOs in 24 hours.  We also operated the HA QSL Bureau  and managed to steal some IRCs and even a few dollar bills  when the supervisors were not around.

After Stalin’s death in 1953 the  situation was improving, many of the harshest restrictions were lifted, and many political prisoners were freed.  I finally got my individual  station license as HA5BM and became the chief operator of the HA5KBA  HQ station.  Dr. Radnay was readmitted to the club and we learned a lot from the rehabilitated old timers . The crowning achievement came in 1955, when  we  ( 5 young friends) won the CQWW CW contest  worldwide – and became instant celebrities.

Less than a year later, on Oct.23, 1956 there was a popular uprising against the Soviet style communist government which escalated into an armed rebellion. In a matter of days a new independent government was formed and Hungary announced it is leaving the Warsaw pact. That was too much for the Soviets -   on Nov . 4th they sent in multiple armed divisions to quash the uprising.  As all communications  to the west were cut I was asked to activate the big club station and ask for help from the UN. I managed to reach some of the American armed forces stationed in Germany, and my message got through, but no help was forthcoming.  The Russian tanks overwhelmed the armed resistance quickly and the communist regime returned.  We hung around for a while, but as it became evident  that  the situation is irreversible, I escaped on foot to Austria. In less than 3 month, I was greeted by the statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. My fiancée was able to follow shortly and got married.

The harsh disappointment came when I found out that only US citizens can bet any sort of FCC license – so no ham radio for 5 years. ( My XYL states those were the good years of our life).

On May 1st, 1962 we became US citizens – on May 2nd I took the general license exam at the FCC office in NYC, and the extra class exam shortly thereafter. With limited financial resources I built a HEATHKIT Marauder CW/SSB exciter and got on the air as WB2CKS from our Westbury, Long Island home and joined ARRL. In 1975 qualified for a vanity call K2LE.

In 1963 I got the DXCC award ( now standing at 375, missing North Korea only). That year, I became a member of the Boiled Owls of New York.  In 1983 I was honored to be elected to the First Class operators Club  ( FOC) . Many years of contesting and DXing followed, then a new activity was born – Contest  Dxpeditions.

Went to  Cayman Islands  ZF1AN in 1969 and 1970, Madeira CT3WA in 1973, Trinidad/Tobago 9Y4W  in 1976 with the Owls,  the Philippines K2LE/DU2 in 1980 for CQWW CW, Liberia EL2AE and Haiti HH2VP in 1983, Nepal  9N1MM in 1985, K2LE/C6A in 1982, K2LE/V4 in 1986, K2LE/VP2M in 1987, VP5Q and K2LE/VP5 in 1989, K2LE/HA in 1989 / 1990, PJ2LE in 2004, PJ7W in 2012, and K2LE/P4 since 1995. Currently holding  license in Aruba as P40LE, where I operate every year in February.

Bought a vacation home in Southern VT  back  in 1971 and gradually built a competitive contest station there over the years. My best friend and business partner W2AX had a house on the other side of the hill and we hosted many multi-op contests for nearly 20 years – some 50 newbie and experienced operators took part  in various CW and SSB contests  resulting in top-ten finishes just about every time.

We also proudly hosted NU1AW in the IARU HF World Championship in 2000, 2004, and 2007 in VT, and represented W1AW/1 Vermont in the 2014 ARRL Centennial .

In 1984 we purchased a large waterfront property in Sands Point, NY on the north shore of Long Island. There were no restrictions against radio towers, so I began to erect an 86 ft. crankup tower there. In no time one neighbor began a campaign against me.  The village dragged me through a set of hearings at the zoning board of the village, lasting over a year. Eventually, I had to sue the village to give me a building permit for the antenna .  We chose to do so in the Federal rather than state courts.  The case never went to trial and the result was a summary judgment in my favor forcing the village to issue the permit and even to refund my legal expenses. This case ( Bodony vs. Village of Sands Point 1987 ) became a landmark decision and precedent in enforcing  PRB-1 at the federal  level . Subsequently I was asked to testify in many ham radio tower cases.

 

In retrospect, 65 + years in ham radio was and still is a blast.  Over those years contesting I have 6 world championships under my belt, and it is a pleasure now to be able operate my VT contest station remotely, while sitting at my home on Long Island.

 

I was lucky to visit 121 DXCC countries, and operated in 26 of these countries and 13 different  CQ Zones. But nothing gave as much pleasure as the hundreds, if not thousand friendships I was able to establish through this hobby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7553212 Last modified: 2016-09-06 03:54:23, 6801 bytes

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