Peter Pellack (no2r)
March 1, 2005
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Looking for an exotic location to operate from? Where obtaining a valid license is as easy as licking a stamp? Endless pileups to keep you busy day or night and beaches to relax on within minutes when you need a break from the radio? Well Sihanoukville, Cambodia may be for you then. I had my doubts at first as you probably will, but after my first trip there in Feb. 2004, I was hooked. Yes, it's a very long flight from the East Coast here in the U.S.A.(5 hrs to Seattle, 12 hrs to Taipai, 3 hrs to Phnom Phen and 3 and 1/2 hrs bus ride to Sihanoukville) Yes, it's extremely hot most of the time and yes, the mosquitos can get the best of you, but you will be hard pressed to a find a location anywhere that has not yet been contaminated with the commercialism and assimilation you find so common in this ever shrinking world we live in today.
So you ask,how do I obtain a valid Amateur license? Nothing to it. Send a photo copy of your license and passport, along with $50.00 to the Telecommunications Bureau in Phnom Phen via registered mail. In about 2 months you should have your license and callsign valid for one year. Don't bother lugging your rig etc. Hiroo, XU7AAA, has a turn-key DX shack waiting for you. You rent the room and all the equipment for a very reasonable fee and due not have any of the headaches and inconviences of bringing your own equipment. Hiroo has a 22m-high tower up with a 4 ele. tribander and wire antennas for the lowbands ready to go. I, being a 160-meter fanatic, brought along my pre-made wire tx and rx antennas for that band but the exsisting antennas are quite adequate. Remember, now, this is Cambodia, hot water for showers and bathing are non-existent but in a manner of a few days you will become accustomed to how they live and do things and forget all about the luxuries you have back at home. This is the "Simple Life" (Don't expect Paris and Nicole to make Sihanoukville on their tour though).
Getting around is a snap. The moto taxis are everywhere, and for about 50 cents, can take you where you need to go locally. If you feel adventurous, you can do as I do and rent your own motorcycle for about $4.00 a day and have that additional freedom to get lost on your own! One stop you must make is the "Market" downtown. I will not even attempt to describe it here. An indoor "mall" Cambodian style. I spent many hours just wandering around in this fascinating venue,marveling in awe at the stores and merchants. I found some great deals their on ground radial wire, after an unfortunate occurrence one night. I woke up to find that all my copper radials I had laid out under my 160 meter inverted "L" had disappeared (apprx. 2000' of #22 gauge telephone wire). Components are not so easy to come by. I accidentally transmitted one nite into my rx antenna and blew up the load resistor and did not bring a spare. Well,I hooked up with Wim, ON6TZ, and we jumped on our motobikes and eventually found a TV repair shop that was willing to go thru a pile of discarded TV circuit boards until we found the correct value I needed. The shopkeeper must have spent 45 minutes searching, and for all his troubles gave me the resistor for no charge. This is typical of the native Cambodians, polite, friendly and willing to help you anyway they can. Language never was a barrier, you can always find someone to interpret for you, or get by with hand signs etc. I never once felt threatened or endangered and I was traveling alone.
So, if this sounds like it might be for you, check out Hiroo's web site at http://www.qth.com/dxshack/XU or go it alone and bring your own rig. There are lots of photos and details about the room and equipment on the web site, and invaluable information about Cambodia in general. You can contact Hiroo by email off his web site link or feel free to send me an email if you please. Yes, I will be returning again for a third year in a row in Jan.2006. I still have not been able to attain my goal of working North America East Coast on 160 meters. So, being compelled by this and the lure of this beautiful country, I will continue to return until I can finally make it!
by w7dra on May 16, 2005
Mail this to a friend!
emailed this to my son. told him "maybe next year?"
mike w7dra have an hw16, and willing to travel
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