Japan– DX # 87

I was hearing Japan stations all weekend, and tried to work several without success, until, on Sunday evening around sunset, I found JA7NVF on the 15 meter band. It might not have been a difficult catch using normal power and a normal outside antenna; but with 3 watts of power and an “indoor” 50 ft piece of “random wire” for an antenna, it was a challenge. At least the first time…..

The “first” contact was difficult but about an hour later, the “second” contact was a “piece of cake”. I was not hearing any response to his calls, from anyone, and did it “just because I could”. This time it was a 599 contact. I happily added my QRP @ 3 W, this time, to the ending of the exchange

I’m extremely happy with this new DX station in the log book. (#87)

Although Japan is only 6,331 miles from me,  (I’ve worked 7,500 miles twice) I never expected to work this part of Asia. I rarely hear them on the air. I’m assuming he was pointed towards California, and I was lucky enough to catch the “second bounce” towards the East coast. He (JA7NVF) isn’t operating with a normal “beam”, he uses something ” Special “, and it works very  well.

Naomi lives in the city of Towada Aomori near Lake Towada . He’s an electrical engineer who has been with the Army Corp of Engineers at the Misasa Air Force Base for 22 years.

Naomi’s antenna farm is several miles north of his home and near the air field where the first “non-stop” flight across the Pacific Ocean was achieved on Oct. 3rd, 1931. The pilots Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon flew a “modified” aircraft from Japan to the coast of Washington. The airplane was called Miss Veedol .

I’ve always found those early flights in small planes to be especially interesting. This flight is a milestone since it barely made it off the ground due to extra fuel, and also, out of necessity, the “landing gear” was “jettisoned” soon after takeoff.  Yes, you read that correctly; it was intentionally “dropped” off the aircraft to reduce drag and increase mileage. However, it wasn’t intentional when the landing struts didn’t “fall off”. There was only “one way” to correct this issue. Herndon climbed “outside” the aircraft (in mid-flight) and manually “dropped it”. At the very beginning of the flight planning, they had intentionally decided to “crash land” the aircraft in the State of Washington.

They did; and managed to walk away from the wreckage. Most of the damage was done to the propeller and as any good pilot will tell you—” any landing you walk away from is a good landing”.

How’s that for guts?

I also worked another couple of good stations yesterday: CO2IR  in Cuba (mailbox below) and ZW7REF in Brazil.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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