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It’s All in the Cards! QSL Cards from Nicaragua

Editor’s Note: Every month, DX Engineering features QSL cards from our team members’ personal collections. To highlight upcoming DXpeditions, we’ll be displaying a few of our favorite cards along with details about what it took to make these contacts. We’re excited to share some of the special cards pulled from the thousands we’ve received over the years. We look forward to seeing your cards as well!

Nicaragua QRV in August

You still have a few days left to put the Republic of Nicaragua in your log book. Operated by NN3RP, the YN2R DXpedition is scheduled to run until August 15. YN2R can be reached on 40, 20, and 10M in SSB, CW, and FT8. As of July, Nicaragua was ranked as the 189th Most Wanted DXCC Entity per Clublog.am

Ham Radio in Nicaragua

The non-profit Club de Radioexperimentadores de Nicaragua (CREN, Nicaraguan Radio Experimenters Club) represents the interests of amateur operators in the country of 6.5 million, the largest in Central America in terms of area. CREN members benefit from a QSL bureau, advocacy before the International Amateur Radio Union, and a network for emergency communications. Check out more about the CREN, including news about a recent earthquake affecting Costa Rica and Panama, on its Facebook page.

It was nearly 49 years ago when a devastating 6.6 magnitude earthquake near the nation’s capital, Managua, rocked large portions of the city and demonstrated the vital role amateur radio can play when emergencies arise. Two days before Christmas 1972, the earthquake struck Managua, a city with a long history of seismic activity. By some estimates, the earthquake and two aftershocks killed 11,000, injured 20,000, and left 300,000 homeless. Sports fans may recall that the airplane transporting Pittsburgh Pirates great Roberto Clemente on a relief mission to Nicaragua crashed on December 31, killing Clemente and the flight crew.

As reported in the New York Times the day of the quake, ham operators from Chicago to Venezuela were kept abreast of events in Managua by a lone amateur operator who tirelessly sent transmissions to alert the outside world of the devastation. From the New York Times archives:

The man, known only as “Enrique,” broadcast in Spanish from a radio unit in a truck and for nearly 12 hours relayed descriptions of death and destruction and appeals for help.

Andy Clark, a Miami operator and José Diaz, a Spanish speaking friend, said Enrique’s broadcasts were relayed to a United States State Department shortwave station in Washington.

Mr. Clark said Enrique reported that the city was without electricity and water and was in urgent need of blood plasma, drugs and other medical supplies because Red Cross stores had been destroyed by the earthquake.

In an article about the U.S. response to the earthquake, a reporter for the Washington Post detailed how then-U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Turner B. Shelton, sent a Morse code message from his Managua residence, requesting immediate medical assistance and two portable hospitals. The plea for help arrived around 1 a.m. at the State Department relay station in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In Washington, officials of the Disaster Relief Office had swung into action. By 3 a.m. they were trying to assess the situation with the help of information coming through the State Department Operations Center…

Word eventually reached Colonel Maurice S. Berbary, surgeon of the U.S. Command in the Panama Canal Zone. As quoted in the Post article, Berbary said:

By 11:30 a.m., I had a 46-man medical company airborne in a C130 heading for Managua. They were on the ground by 1:30 p.m., and they began setting up in the old general hospital of Managua.

QSL Cards

Here are a few of the QSL cards from Nicaragua collected by the active operators at DX Engineering over the years.

Mark, W8BBQ, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, reached HT2N (YN2NW DXpedition) during the CQWW DX Phone Contest in October 2009 on 20M SSB.

Tom, KB8UUZ, DX Engineering technical writer, contacted  YN2PR—operating from Granada, Nicaragua—on 6M SSB in June 2011.

In December 1998, KB8UUZ reached YN2EJG, also from Granada, on 10M SSB, and YN5Z, from San Juan, on 40, 20, and 10M SSB in March 2013.

David, K8DV, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, contacted YN2N in 2006 on 20M SSB.

Want to upgrade your DXing capabilities? The Elmers at DX Engineering are here to lend an ear. Reach out to them at Elmer@DXEngineering.com. Find everything you need at DX Engineering.com to up your game, including transceivers, antennas, amplifiers, headsets, and more.

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