Bouvet lies at 54 degrees, 25 minutes South and 3 degrees, 22 minutes East. It’s the product of a volcanic eruption that last occurred in 4,000 B.C. Bouvet is 97% ice-covered, and with surrounding rocks and small islands, has an area of 19 square miles, with 18.4 miles of coastline. Its location, ice, rock cliffs, high seas, harsh climate and surrounding pack ice and icebergs isolate it from human presence. Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier first saw the island in 1739. The island was not seen again until 1808. There was a disputed landing by Benjamin Morrell. But, the first documented landing was by the Norvegia expedition in 1927, which named the island Bouvetoya, and claimed it for Norway. More on the Bouvet Island DXpedition…
If you live in Honolulu you have seen the homeless on the beaches, in the parks, beside the road, in the woods, you name it, they are around. A lot of media attention has been given to the homeless problem in Hawaii, mainly on Oahu. If you are visiting Hawaii then it has probably stood out as you drive from the Airport to the hotels.
You may hear him on a QRP radio or if you are on Oahu you may hear him on the 2m nets or talking late into the evening. Alex, KH7CX, in some ways, may be unconventional. You see, Alex is homeless, sleeps on a bench, gets his mail and showers at a church, and uses a storage facility for his personal items. In his spare time his main passion is QRP-SSB DXing.
I’ve know Alex for maybe 7 or 8 years. I heard he was homeless before but he does not strike me as a homeless person. I know that is a stereotype for homeless people but looking at him you would not know he was homeless and we had never talked about it before and he is always happy, smiling, and ready to help. We recently had time to talk at a event that he helped out with.
So why is Alex homeless in Hawaii and still working his radio to make contacts? Living in Hawaii is expensive and the biggest expense is housing. Hawaii has an estimated 7,900 homeless, which is up 4%. That’s according to data from a released federal report, which says Hawaii ranked third in states with the highest rate of unsheltered homeless people. California, Oregon, Nevada, and Mississippi round out the top five. These are the latest statistics I could find and they represent the 2015/2016 count.
Of the 7,900 homeless living in Hawaii, more than half are living in places like the streets, vehicles, and parks. (Did you know it is illegal to live in a vehicle in Hawaii? There is a state law banning anyone from sleeping or living in their cars overnight. Habitating in a vehicle between six p-m and six a-m is a violation of the law on city and county streets,”)
Alex does handyman jobs, mainly on boats, and some of the boat owners trade his work for a bed on the boat and money or either money or a bed.
Does he feel safe? Surprisingly he does. He knows the others around him and stays out of trouble. He is concerned about the drug use that goes on around him and in the open but tries to stay clear of those areas.
He doesn’t have a cell phone and uses the public library computers to update his QRZ log and to look at the solar weather data. Alex recently educated me on the sun spot reports on QRZ. He looks at the K index and the Signal Noise Level Readings. He wants the K index as low as possible and the noise level low. He doesn’t care about the A index. It seems to work for him, he has worked all the continents. He even finds time to keep his QRZ’d logbook up to date.
As Alex says on his QRZ Page, “I operate exclusively open-air portable-QRP from a local Beach-Park using a Yaesu FT-817ND – Powered by an external 9 A/h 12.8 V Lithium Battery Running 5 watts into my self made resonant monobander “New Carolina Windom” antennas for 20m , 40m or 10m – ( performing just great without any tuner ! ): “.
The antenna is set-up in a flat -” Inverted V ” configuration with the apex at about 7m to 15m (22 to 49 feet) above the ground/sea level. Mainly beaming South and North, hung up between 3 coconut palm-trees.
He has managed to work all 7 continents with his setup ( in SSB ) ….with zero, or just a few, sunspots most of the time.
Alex says that he wants real QSL’s only and he doesn’t use a bureau. He says we are losing that feel of a card in our hand and have something to hold, feel, and look back on to remember the contact. He is homeless but still takes the time to send a QSL card, maybe a lesson for us all.
I was just ‘Puttering around’ in the Ham Shack this afternoon The transceiver was sitting on 30 meters on 10.113 mHz and I had the earphones off my head on the desk. The I heard a CQ on frequency from VK3CWB. No! Can’t Be! Must be some pirate. After all Australia is half way around the Globe from New England and such DX does not come in at 5 PM in the Afternoon! I decided to answer the CQ. And he came right back to me! Still disbelieving, he have me 5-5-9 and handle of ‘Moz’. He was reading 5-6-9! It was real! My 100 watts and phased verticals are working! Who says the bands are dead? For a double-check, I went to his QRZ page: https://www.qrz.com/db/VK3CWB
Besides explaining his Handle, Moz has a very interesting take on Morse Code QSOs which I reproduce here:
The changing nature of CW by ‘Moz’, VK3CWB
It seems that these days, nobody converses anymore. Why is that? Have all CW ops become machine operators who can only send 599? Is the quick contact – signal exchange the only form of the modern QSO? Or is it, that the new generation simply cannot use CW effectively, and do not have the capacity or the skills to go beyond a callsign exchange?
There is a time and place when a signal report is the only exchange. There are also other times, where a conversation can actually take place. Unfortunately, very few elect to actually converse in CW these days. I always endeavor to exchange the basics, RST, name, QTH, rig, ant etc. The only time I will give a signal report only, is when there are many calling, and I want to give as many as I can, the opportunity for a quick contact while the band is open.
Many operators pride themselves as being High Speed senders. It used to be common etiquette to try and match the sending speed of the person sending CQ. This also seems to be a thing of the past! Under marginal atmospheric conditions, fast CW can be quite difficult to copy! Hence bands like 160m, 80m and 40m demand that ops, listen, think, and then send at an appropriate speed.
We VK ops become very frustrated with some operators, during our summers [North American Winters] when static -QRN is extremely high. EU ops become critical and complain of our inability to hear their signals amongst S-9 summer QRN! So be patient and understanding as we try our best to accommodate those who want to make a contact. Please remember that it is not the quiet conditions of winter on the opposite side of the world!
There is a new generation of “ruthless”‘ CW ops who will do anything to be worked. They don’t listen, and who do not care who they interfere with, and they constantly call over the top of the station your are listening to. These operators have me wondering as to what has happened to the operating practices of amateur radio? The days of good etiquette, good manners, and friendliness seem to have become a thing of the past! There are many times, where bad “ON air” manners have made me decide to go QRT.. If the hobby is no longer enjoyable at times, why do it?
The Pirate – QRM dilemma : 2016 QRM on all bands received in VK
In recent years the amateur bands have become the band of AM , FM and SSB pirates. Most of these stations eliminate from Asia, and are found all over the bands on 28.000 – 29.000 MHz, 24.9 MHz, 10.1 MHZ and 7MHZ. These same stations are now also heard on SSB down on 40mx, particularly in the CW section. So please be understanding of our situation, if we VK’s ask for a repeat because of the QRM !
P.S. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Moz has a full size Moxon on 30 meters up 75 feet! — Layne AE1N