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It’s All in the Cards! QSLs From Tajikistan, Scarborough Reef, and More!

Editor’s Note: Every month, DX Engineering features QSL cards from our team members’ personal collections. Usually we showcase ones from entities that are currently active or will soon be QRV. However, with so many DXers homebound these days and the number of DXpeditions reaching all-time lows, we’ve altered the rules. Until things change, you can expect a bit of everything from our stockpiles of QSL cards, including the rarest of the rare, personal favorites, and recent QSLs of historical significance.

Republic of Tajikistan

The Republic of Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia bordered by Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. A Soviet republic since 1929, it became an independent sovereign nation in 1991. Tajikistan (population 9.2 million) is ranked as the 185th most-wanted DXCC entity according to Club Log. The EY7AD QSL card from Khujand, Tajikistan, belongs to Tom, KB8UUZ, DX Engineering technical writer. Khujand is the capital of Tajikistan’s Sughd province and one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, dating back about 2,500 years.

“The interesting thing about this QSL card is that the operator would only reply if you sent him a certified letter,” Tom recalled. “Well, that cost $12 and I sent it. After a while, his card arrived—but it came from another Ham in Ohio (who I fortunately knew). Seems the station sending the QSL cards thought everyone in Ohio knew each other and he sent all Ohio cards to one person!”

Scarborough Reef

Scarborough Reef ranks as the 4th most-wanted DXCC entity according to Club Log. Read this blog for a taste of why this spot in the South China Sea is rarely activated (the photo of the Ham operating on a platform above the water may give you a hint as to the location’s logistical nightmares). Dave, N8NB, DX Engineering technical support specialist, was fortunate to capture this QSL Card from the May 2007 BS7H DXpedition. The intrepid BS7H crew logged more than 45,800 QSOs over a week’s time.

“That part of Asia is usually one that is difficult to contact under good conditions,” Dave said. “This resulted in the biggest pile-ups of countless Hams around the world transmitting at the same time. Luckily, they heard my call-out. Confirming this contact made it possible for me to get on the ARRL DXCC Honor Roll.”

Mount Athos

A couple of years ago, after more than a decade of unsuccessful attempts, Mark, W8BBQ, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, finally got the satisfaction of writing SV2ASP/A Mount Athos—a mountain peninsula in northern Greece— in his log book. For his persistence, he received this QSL card, helping the avid DXer inch closer to the DXCC Honor Roll.

 “I had been hoping to work Monk Apollo for over a decade, having caught him on the air only a few times…always just a little too light and with too huge a European wall of Hams,” Mark said. “I wondered if I would ever get to work Mount Athos, with Monk Apollo being the only Ham there. In 2018 he heard me calling him on CW. I was a little shocked when I heard him come back to me, but the contact was made and the dancing began.”

Sadly, Monk Apollo, 64, died on May 5, 2019, after complications from cancer. For details of his contributions to Amateur Radio, take a moment to read this article from the ARRL.

Read more about Mount Athos and the passing of the Ham Radio torch to Monk Iakovos, SV2RSG/A in this blog. And check out this story on how the monks of Mount Athos are playing a major role in restoring the iconography to the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in NYC, which was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks.

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