Visits to DX Lands

USA 2003 & 2004

Operating from USA as KA5MAL my own callsign

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Article Summary

During my second visit to U S A in July 2004, I was able to operate under my own call KA5MAL. A main highlight was the visit to the K5NA super station.

Subsequently, till 2010 I was able to Visit USA many many times but didn’t get much time for Radio

Article Highlights

Kamal Edirisinghe

Author Aug 2005

Having More than 35 years of experience in the Field of Amateur Radio, I have published many articles in prestigious international publications like, QST, CQ-DL, NCJ, Six-News etc.. Here in this web site, these write-ups are intended to give you knowledge about my designs and projects related to the hobby. The articles about foreign HAM activities are intended to share my experience.

I did my very first 80m CW QSO to USA on the 11th February 2004 with K5NA Richard, but never thought that I will be able to visit the face behind the key, few months later. Soon after the QSO, Richard invited me to his station for a ‘spend the weekend’ during my ‘planned’ business visit to Texas.

When I came to Dallas, Texas, my good old friend K5EM Justin agreed to drive me to K5NA who lived about 3 1/2 hours drive from my location. We made plans and arrived at Richard’s QTH after passing through the beautiful sub urban countryside of Austin Texas. This countryside reminded me about the old cowboy films and Richard’s antenna farm was seen from miles away. But Richard was not a cowboy as I expected HI!.

Richard is a well known and experienced Dxer and contester from Texas. Specially he liked the low bands and therefore he has a very unique arrangement of antennas for low band work. Beverages, dipoles and verticals to name a few.

His 20m and the rest of the higher band stacked monobanders are also not second to any.

After speaking with this well built OM with a clear and understandable Texas accent, I was able to learn a lot about low band Dxing and the tools and techniques for sucess.

Richard’s station is equipped with all the modern hardware and software gear for Dxing and contesting.  I had the opportunity to operate the station and get some feeling about the gain and the directivity of the antennas. The visit ended with a nice BBQ organized by Richard and his XYL (Susan K5DU) for me, Justin K5EM and his YL Katie.

When I asked from Richard about how he managed to construct this big station, his response was to always ‘think bigger’.

Richard also gifted me a book called ‘Low Band Dxing’ written by ON4UN.

During this visit, I was able to operate the local repeaters around Texas under my own callsign KA5MAL. It was fun. But it was not easy to understand and communicate with the VHF operators since their accent was a bit faster for me. The HF operators ‘know’ that they should slow down for a foreign ham.

I was able to meet KR1ZAN Frank my good old friend, Pat KB5WRO and his OM Allen who was also a ham

Activities from USA – February 2003…..(First trip to USA)

That was my first visit to ‘W’ land. It was a businuss trip. As usual I strted searching the clubs based in Richardson, Texas and started emailing few of those indicating my willingness to visit their club station etc.. Within few days, the word has gone around so quickly and I started getting responses from many clubs and individuals asking me to visit them. But I realised that, with my busy businuss schedule, I won’t be able to make it all.

I was invited for a evening meeting of ‘Richardson Wireless Club’ by the president Hal Wolf. I also got the opportunity to speak about the Ham radio activities in Sri Lanka. The main item of the meeting was the presentation about RACES activities in shuttle Columbia disaster. Radio hams in Texas have played a major role in recovery activities everyone contributing in their capacities.

Then I visited K5UTD, University of Dalls Amateur Radio Station for one evening meeting. Justin K5AEA took me there and he is very active as the president. Even though I didn’t make any contacts as such, the meeting and the discussions were interesting. K5UTD is a very well equipped station. There I also met Maria the Secretary of the club and few other new members. Another visitor was Frank KR1ZAN who is also a VE

I had plans of doing the US exam and getting a US call. (No receprocal agreement between US – Sri Lanka). But due to many reasons I couldn’t do the exam even after 3 weeks being in US. Frank KR1ZAN encouraged me to take the exam and generously offered to tak me to Garland where the exam was held. That was the day before I left USA. Finally I was able to go throguh CW test, E1 & E2 which ended up getting me a US Callsign (General class). Luckily the call KA5MAL was available as a Vanity call and I got it. So I am now ‘KA5MAL’ too. Thanks Frank !.

Apart from businuss, I didn’t have much time for any other work. That’s why you don’t see many pictures in this page.

The people in Texas are friendly. When they meet a stranger, they do not hesitate to break the ice saying ‘How are you doing today ?’ Even at a restaurent, you get a friendly, personalized service.. How are you doing today Sir…. I am fine Thanks. And you ? I am good thanks. The same question and same answer every time but it means a lot. It was a new thing for me in this large country.

Once I started to ask around about trying some typical American food. After a while I found that is a waste of time. Everyone is referring me to a Burger cafe. It’s a world of Burgers and fries. Luckily there is a wide selection of Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Japanese restaurents everywhere which helped me a lot.

Hopefully next time when I visit ‘W’ land, I am hoping to do some radio activity with my own call.