The above image is an award certificate for working South Shetland Islands and RI1ANO at least twice during the months of July through September. Whew! I just made it! I worked the station on 15m and 40m FT8 mode, as indicated from their award lookup page shown below. One of the neatest things about amateur radio and shortwave radio is learning about new lands and some of their history, influence, etc.
You may have noticed the award and the log-check page are in Russian. I do not read Russian. Do I care? Nah!!
Getting the award is still cool, and I will always know what the award represents.
In reality the award is a celebration of “80th Anniversary of the Arkhangelsk Region” AWARD as stated on the QRZ.com RI1ANO page. This is a fascinating region of Russia known as an “oblast” which includes the Arctic archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea. Including some additional surrounding regions, the population is ~1.2 million people. Some of the industries include timber, fishing, and water transportation. If you are interested in reading more about this area, here is a link to a Wikipedia article on the region: Arkhangelsk Oblast
I call this lighthearted fun because it is just that to me, a little light fun with the radio hobby. While I certainly enjoyed working a scientific exploration station in Antarctica on several bands (not without some difficulty, I might add!), the award gave me extra incentive to work the station during the award period. I hope to work RI1ANO more while he is active into 2018, but I definitely wanted to get the “paper” before the September 30th deadline. Why? Just because . . . .
I always find it hard to believe my little station can work around the world, and this is no exception. I picture Alexandr in Antarctica at his station (there’s a picture of it on his QRZ.com page) sending out his radio signals and they somehow make it up to my station, and I reply and somehow he hears me. MAGIC!!
And while I hope to actually work him on SSB someday, I will be happy just knowing we had these brief contacts seemingly a half a world away. For a few moments our lives intersected, and maybe, just maybe, our contact brought Alexandr a brief moment of enjoyment. I will certainly treasure the contacts and any future ones we have.
That is, in a nutshell, what makes radio so special to me. Whether it is making amateur radio contacts, shortwave listening, military or civilian aircraft, Free-to-Air satellite signals, or any other of a number of life-intersecting contacts, radio was, is, and always will be a special kind of magic to me!
Enjoy some radio, any kind of radio, today! 73, Robert