Lastly, thank you Paul for taking time away from your schedule to answer a few questions.
Share with us the mission of the Intrepid DX Group?
The mission of the Intrepid-DX Group is two fold: We wish to promote amateur radio through good-will and cross cultural meetings and understanding, by visiting foreign lands. We try to introduce amateur radio to the community and leave a legacy of an operating station after we depart. This started in Iraq with YI9PSE, where we donated a complete station, antenna, coax, transceiver and laptop to YI1UNH so that he could remain active from Iraq. We also donated a complete station in Rotuma this past October and the 3D2RI Rotuma High School club station was born. We have also done Youth Development activities such as the testing and licensing of over fifty college students in Ethiopia this past December.
Why activate extremely rare locations such as Southern Sudan, and, now, Somaliland?
We try to fill a need that the DX Community has. For example, many EU members had contacts with Iraq, however many North American amateurs did not. That was our reason to go to Iraqi-Kurdistan in April, 2010 to provide YI contacts to those that needed them. Same situation applies to Somalia, particularly on the West - Coast, where I am from. Somalia contacts are quite rare. We aim to fill the need as best as we can. As you know, South Sudan was a new country, so everyone needed it. We were very glad to go there and provide a new one to all who wanted a contact. That was a very enjoyable experience.
What is it like in the operating chair when thousands are calling from around the globe?
Operating a massive pile up is quite challenging but also a lot of fun. That is another reason why we do these DXpeditions. It is very fun, not only the radio activity, but the time spent with team members and the interesting travels along the way make for a very fun and interesting adventure. Most of us had never experienced anything quite like the pile ups at ST0R. Imagine for a solid week the pile ups were 40-50KC wide. It just sounded like a roar and it was very difficult to pull stations out of that. After about a week, we could hear individual callers much better. I remember at one point, I could not pull out any single call from the pile up. I said, who is the station ending in whiskey. Then about twenty stations came back to me and I was able to narrow it down eventually to one caller. You have to get creative when the conditions are that extreme as they were at ST0R.
Can you tell us about at least one technically challenging aspect of taking a team to an extreme location?
Why is ham radio fun for you?