A visit with Ranko, 4O3A
The place is called Obosnik, a hilltop at the entrance to
the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Montenegro means Black Mountain and this tiny
republic is mountainous, however the mountains are black only when silhouetted
by the setting sun. At daytime this country is extremely attractive, The Bay of
Kotor itself is regarded as World Heritage by the UNESCO and every day
thousands of tourists pass the landmark of Montenegro, viz. the station of Ranko
Boca, 403A on Obosnik. This place had been used solely as a military
observation post and a radar site before Ranko moved in next door sometime at
the end of the 1990s. At that time he was still signing YT6A as Montenegro was
united with Serbia.
Obosnik hilltop with the 4O3A installation on the right.
Picture taken from Tivat across the bay at sunset.
Ranko was born in 1960 and became member of the local radio
club in 1975. Pretty soon he discovered the fun of contesting. Received his
first license in 1980 but still, most often, took part in competitions from club
stations. The art of radiosport was very popular in Yugoslavia. In early 1990s
the Balkan war broke out and the result of it was a division of the federation.
A few new independent countries - and new DXCC entities, or contest multipliers
- were born. However, it was first in 2006 that Montenegro dissolved its union
with Serbia and received the 4O prefix from the ITU. Ranko became overnight a
wanted man. He already had an advanced station and excellent skills as
operator, so 4O quickly disappeared from the Most Wanted List. Since the
independence more than 550 thousand contacts have been logged at 4O3A, and they
all are uploaded to the Log of The World. The station is active almost every
day and on weekends the activity is obviously increased. The station is open to
visitors and plenty of excellent operators, and plain visitors like me, have
The five towers of 4O3A on the left.
Expanding the antenna farm is an ongoing process. I did not
count the antennas, they are too many and too high. More details are surely to
be found on Ranko's web at www.4o3a.com When
I dropped in, or rather managed to slowly climb to 2000 ft, a few guys were
working on a new 7 MHz rotary antenna. It was a weekend in September 2013, a
month before the CQ WW SSB. Ranko plans to do a Single Operator battle in this
contest. I'll try to give him a shout then.
Ranko, 4O3A, inspecting the progress on a new 7 MHz antenna.
Bore, 4O6Z, puts the final touch on the array.
Rotary 120 ft towers on the left and the self-supporting 150
ft tower close to the building.
A view of the bay behind one element of the 80-meter Yagi
before it is lifted.
The top of the 150-ft freestanding tower.
The three 120-ft rotary towers.
Two 4-SQ arrays on the eastern slope of the hill.
Inside the radio room, the equipment is under protective
covers because of drilling in the walls. From left:- tired Bore, 4O6Z, technician Bojan,
Ranko,403A, Snezana, 4O4W, and Dragan, 4O4A.
Ranko flies back home in a small helicopter together with
Marko, 4O9TT, saving a lot of time, as the road up to top is still difficult
Henrk Kotowski, SM0JHF
2013 10 06