Thursday, January 5, 2017

DX Reunion of Asian DX Review HQ Staff

The first few days of January 2017 saw an impromptu reunion of erstwhile Asian DX Review HQ Staff . These were the enthusiastic lot who would get together every week and bring out the DX bulletin of IDXCI called the Asian DX Review (ADXR) in the 1980s . Dr Swapon Chowdhury was passing through Kolkata on a brief stopover and he was the catalyst for this meet. We met at a South Kolkata Guest House in the evening of 4th January 2017. Present were Sudipto Ghose (SG) ,Babul Gupta (BG) ,Tripti Ranjan Basu (TRB) and yours truly. Also present was someone who came in much later into Dxing but is our young blood today – Debanjan Chakraborty. In the early 1980 when digital frequency readout radios were just appearing, Dr Chowdhury had a Panasonic portable and he was the soul behind one of the first DXpeditions to Digha in those days. One of my earliest experiences in Dxing with the digital frequency readout receiver was at Dr Chowdhury's Hostel room at SSKM Hospital.

Then there was long void as Dr Chowdhury migrated to Australia and ADXR stopped rolling out by the late eighties. However, in this DX reunion it was refreshing to find that this DX veteran Dr Swapon Chowdhury was still very much in touch with the bands. As Dr Chowdhury talked about his Cuba visit of 2015 he sounded most enthusiastic about having heard AFRTS Guantamo Bay. Soon the conversation went into DX history – how AFRTS Diego Garcia stopped its SW operations in 2015 to how thrilled we were to receive AFRTS Diego Garcia in MW in one of the Chandipore Dxpeditions of the mid 1980s. Then on to the hardware – how is Dr Chowdhury finding signals from his Sydney apartment with his AOR to how is Debanjan fishing rare long wave signals in his electrically noisy neighborhood  with the help of the Russian PARDT whip antenna. Babul Gupta who has been an extremely active Dxerin recent times stirred up our DX envy as he talked about his Latin American QSLs of 2014-16 including the QSL of resurrected Ecos Del Torbes via WRMI Radio Miami International !!! Then the discussion went on to the colourful Bengal pirates in the MW operating in the Sagar Island area south of Kolkata especially in this time of the year when pilgrims flock to Ganga Sagar Mela. The pcbs of PARDT whip for homebrew also changed hands in this meet and the source was our technical genie Sudipto Ghosh . Tripti Ranjan Basu who was the moving spirit and soul behind ADXR all throughout the eighties acknowledged that Dr Chowdhury had impressed every one by his familiarity with the bands while he had been less active in recent times.

Dr Chowdhury had come armed with three publications – the venerable WRTH and the two volumes of Utility DX frequencies of Klingenfluss. This was symbolic of the present state of Dxing as the hobbyists have to toy with Utility Dxing to keep up their interest. We all lamented the planned closure of Australian Regional’s on the shortwave. Now that most of us had also acquired an amateur radio license even though retaining strong loyalty to Broadcast Band DX , the talks definitely went over to amateur radio homebrew gears and BITX and Babul Gupta active forays into Hamsphere 4 !!

What was the message of this DX reunion ? In 2017 even in the face of closing down of shortwave radio stations . the die hard broadcast band Dxers are alive and kicking and the spirit moves on.

Dr Supratik Sanatani (VU2IFB)
4th January, 2017