My First CL Contact in Cuba

I’m working a bunch of local stations with the little Vibroplex Code Mite Key. It’s taking some patience to keep my speed down, and keep correct spacing at this speed, but also quite satisfying to hear slow code again and carry on actual conversations with hams.

I’ve been hanging around the 7.055 MHz SKCC frequency.

I was surprised to work a new station in Cuba last night. I’ve made at least twenty contacts on this island previously, but this was my first “CL” contact. I was happy to work CL8CF in Baracoa, Guantanamo Cuba.  The previous contacts have always been on 20-17- or 30 meters. I worked this station on 40 meters!

Apparently, this is a new band which is open to a new generation of hams in Cuba and they’re limited to 10 watts of power.

I listen to Arnie Coro (CO2KK) on the Short Wave bands and his “DX’ers” program in the winter months. A few years ago, I came close to working him and wrote him about the contact. He mentioned it on his SWL program and I have a recording of it on a cassette tape, but it’s a very poor quality. Although I could hear him, he couldn’t copy my entire call sign.

I like the percussion rhythms of Cuban music and consider all music to be a “universal language”. I chose the above video because of the music.

I can’t find much information on the web about Ham Radio in Cuba; but found the above video and wanted to share it with my readers. I no longer find the call signs of the previous Cubans stations I’ve worked on the normal data bases. I assume those stations are tightly controlled and difficult to retain. The most common call I now hear from there is CO8LY.

The new small “key” is working well. I’ll be hanging around the slower portions of the bands and enjoying QSO’s until the DX bug returns. I’m glad I found this key. I’ll use it in the field because it’s so small and lightweight. Despite it’s small size, it’s functional.

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

4 Responses to “My First CL Contact in Cuba”

  • Peter KG5WY:

    Cool key, but a little small for me.
    I am really all thumbs so my right thumb may cover it completely.
    I use a Begali Blade. It’s big & heavy. Definetly not for the field.

  • John N8ZYA:

    Definitely not for those with large hands. Hihi

  • Paul, W3FIS:

    The Cuban stations are quite active on digital modes on 20 and 40 meters. I have worked them regularly.

    73 /paul W3FIS

  • Richard KWØU:

    Nice catch, John. As you noted, as a DX contact Cuba is pretty easy. I’ve worked all the CO districts but it took a long time to get #4 (Isle of Youth). CO0, the offshore islands, come in now and then, and T4#s are fairly common in contests. Got a couple of CMs on 15, but then I stick to phone. CO6LC is pretty frequently on the air, so I guess you’ve met him too. It will be interesting to see how things shake out over the next few years. Perhaps someday KG4 will go the way of KZ5 (Canal Zone). Meanwhile I enjoy the good jazz with an Afrocarib beat on Radio Havana. Sometime would like to visit….

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