Ian Cattermole

While at Ohakea in 1960 I purchased a Colombus Tablegram which incorporated the shortwave bands and bandspread tuning. At the time I knew nothing about DX, QSLs etc. As a pastime I used to tune through the SW bands and write down the names of the stations I was able to identify. I came across an English news programme around 0500 at very week level. Over the next couple of weeks I used to rush in from work and listen to this station hoping to identify it. Eventually I did as Radio Brazzaville. I actually wrote to them telling them  my story and a few weeks later did receive a nice letter and card from them so I guess this was my very first QSL even though I did not know what it was. Around this time a friend of mine, knowing my interest suggested that I join the DX League which of course I had never heard of. He obtained the address from somewhere and I duly joined up and began DXing in earnest.

A year or so later I was posted to Fiji and aircraft weight restrictions meant that my radio stayed behind to be forwarded later. I was soon to meet my wife to be and DX was terminated for “other” interests? Sadly during postings over the years all my QSLs, logs etc were disposed of although I always thought that one day I would get seriously into DXing when time again permitted.

This I did in 1976 here in Blenheim and this is when my QSL total commenced as I do not include any of my earlier QSLs in my total. I purchased a TRIO 59D from a friend, rejoined the League and got into it. Many a night I was at the dial untill around 4am. My very first QSL came from New Caledonia, 7170khz with 20kw. Feb.2nd 1976. In those days this station, also on 3355 and 11710 was regular and easily heard. My main interest has always been Latin America and still is. I have well over 200 QSLs from that region and used to enjoy about a
40% reply rate but alas on recent years these domestic stations are becoming much more difficult to get a response from. They are also very much easier to hear now with many booming in like a local despite their sometimes very low power.

Along came the FRG7 so I ordered one of these and sold the Trio which I lived to regret as it was a good mediumwave receiver. In those days one could not just walk into a shop and buy a receiver but had to order and wait some considerable time. I kept the FRG7 for a few years and then one night in the local paper I saw an advertisement for a JRC 515 which I immediately bought. Oh the pure luxury of the digital frequency readout. No more guesswork. I kept this receiver for a number of years and then decided to purchase a JRC NRD535V which I still use. I imported this direct from USA myself by mail-order and even paying $US300
airfreight and local GST I was still able to save several hundred dollars. Of course I was able to purchase it from a wholesaler in America and it was here in only 22 days from posting my order. I use a T2FD antenna these days having experimented with many over the years.

Recently I received QSL 4000, this from RCI. My countries list total only 199 and is sure hard to increase. I often rue the day that I threw out all my early QSLs, logs etc. as there were at least two countries I could claim. My Brazzaville QSL and a very colourful one I recall from Mozambique.

These days I am retired and am able to spend a considerable time at the hobby and am using electronic mail more and more for reports after having some reservations earlier. I look forward to many more years DX in the future but sadly it is no longer the same as more and more broadcasters cease sending out QSLs.

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