After visiting Peru in November and December of last year (1983), I found the country so fascinating that I decided to return for a more extensive visit. I am a photographer by profession and planned a self-designed cultural exchange in Lima, the capital of Peru, to continue my photography work, study Spanish and operate my amateur radio station portable OA4.
In preparation for the trip, decided to up-grade my general class license, so in April I took and passed the advanced test. I also took a Spanish course in New York, my home QTH, from January to April 1984. Using a Yaesu FT-102 and a ground plane verticle antenna from the roof of my six-story Manhattan loft building, I contacted Natan OA40S on the Inter-American Traffic Net to get the necessary info to apply for my Reciprocal License (Permiso Temperal). I sent a xerox of my passport and FCC license to both the director of Transportation and Communications and the Radio Club of Peru along with a letter explaining what bands I would be active on and that I would be operating mainly CW.
I did not receive my up-graded license before I left New York on May 22 for South America. After brief
stops in Miami and Panama, I arrived in Lima late in the evening; friends met me at the airport. I brought along a Yaesu FT-102 in a carry-on case and carried in my hands a Hustler mobile whip with loading coils for 20, 15 and 10 meters. Dipoles for 80 and 40 meters, an SWR bridge, and 2 lengths of 50 ohm coax, one 100 foot and another 80 foot length of antenna wire were checked with my luggage. Getting the equipment through customs was not a problem since I had letters from the Radio Club of Peru.
After picking up my operating permit at the Radio Club of Peru and having the privileges of the Superior Class License explained to me by John OA47F, I met some of the other members of the club. Ram, OA4AXK offered me a ride home to my hotel. I had worked numerous OA stations from New York City before going to Peru and had been given contact phone numbers by several stations. Once in Peru, I called them by land line to make arrangements for eyeball QSO’s. I met Jaime OA4TW in time to operate as WB2MOQ portable OA4 from his station in the WPXCW test on 7 and 14 MHZ — I had not yet set up my own equipment. Conditions were very good into Europe. In an hour we managed to work about 120 QSO’s on 40 and 20 meters. The following day I met with Ram OA4AXK to continue in the contest, from his QTH,totalling about 395 QSO’s. We used Ram’s 3-EL tribander antenna and my FT-102 rig.
Over the next couple of weeks I was busy securing an apartment, enrolling in a Spanish class and doing various other activities. I didn’t have much time to get on the air during these weeks, but managed to work a few stations with my Hustler extended out my window. Unfortunately, my hotel room was on a low floor and surrounded by taller buildings so I didn’t hear much.
My first QTH after moving from the hotel was in Barranco, a section of Lima located on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. I attached the Hustler to a water barrel on the roof of the building. I received 599 reports throughout Europe on 20 and 15 meters CW. I then tried some SSB on 14 MHZ, getting 59 reports from UZ6, UA1, UT4, UBS, SM7 with just the Hustler and the FT-102 barefoot.
About a week later, in late June, I found another apartment a little further south but again located several blocks away from a cliff overlooking the Pacific. I stayed at this location, in Miraflores, for the rest of my visit. With some help from a friend, I set up and adjusted the antennas. The 40 meter dipole needed some trimming to get it resonate on the CW portion of the band. Since I didn’t have room for the 80 meter dipole, it was set up as a horizontal vee. The Hustler was used for 20, 15 and 10 meters. After some experimentation, I found that it worked best mounted on the top of a wooden flag pole that happened to be outside my second floor window. I cut radials and found that they worked most effectively when they were changed along with the loading coils. The antennas were about 30 feet above the ground. The Hustler was very resonate. After regularly attending the weekly meetings of the Radio Club of Peru, I met several other members including Natan OA40S, Mariella OA4AWN, Meir OA4AVE, Fernando OA4BLD and many others. I joined the club and received membership.In addition to our radio activities, I learned a lot about Peru and its culture from the radio club members. For example, a group of members organized a luncheon where we had a barbeque and played music on guitars and sang. I continued to meet other Peruvian operators on the air as well as at the Radio Club. I had dinner with Roberto PT 2SX/OA4 who also had invited Marcial OA4DM. Dwayne OA4BHA and his wife had me over several times. One weekend. Ram OA4AXK and I entered the German Amateur Radio Club test and worked several hundred European stations.
The summer passed very quickly and my log books began to fill. I worked mostly CW as QSL requests began to pile up. In July, Richard KA2VBF forwarded my new license and call letters from New York. From July through the end of my visit in October, I was KA2HE portable OA4. I am now QSLing, so those who had requested cards should receive them soon. I totalled about 5,000 QSO’s during my five month visit.
In August, I began to prepare for an exhibition of my photographs, which was to run from September 21 through October 11 at the Peruvian-North American Institute Gallery. During this time I found time to get on the air nearly every day, usually in the morning. I also managed to keep regular skeds with Augustine LU4PAA in San Juan, Argentina weekly on 20 meter SSB to practice my Spanish.
I returned to New York October 20, about a week after the close of my photography exhibition. My experiences in Peru were very interesting and after a five month stay, I was speaking Spanish well enough to check into the Peruvian Trafic Net on 40 meter SSB (7,110).
I wish to thank all those who helped me. For those who worked me and would like a QSL, requests should
be sent directly to 547 Broadway, New York, New York 10012 with a SASE included with the card.
My plans for the end of 1984 include operating at K2KTT/PJ7 in the CQWW CW test later in November. I also am trying to figure out a way to get the antennas at my New York City QTH to be as responsive as the makeshift Hustler on the roof of the two story apartment where I stayed in Lima.
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