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A Visit With S57DX

from SM0JHF on October 31, 2013
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The Slovenian Solution

A visit with Slavko, S57DX


My first visit to Slovenia took place in September 2013. This is a very neat country in Central Europe, south of Austria, quite hilly and highly picturesque. Twenty years ago it was a part of Yugoslavia and local radioamateurs used the YU3 prefix. Now it is S5. In recent years, I have been often amazed by the large number of call signs, strong signals and skillful operators heard from Slovenia. Passing through the country, I stopped near Ljubljana, the capital city. Slavko, S57DX, was willing to reveal some secrets behind this phenomenon. He lives in a small community close to Ljubljana. I found his home QTH, but did not see any antennas there. Well - said Slavko, - I don't have any antennas here and no equipment, neither. We have to drive a couple of miles to a hill in the forest. The unpaved road was in good shape, though, and soon I saw a small house surrounded by three high towers. This is a club station that we share - explained my host.


There are several explanations why this formula prevails in Slovenia. Most people live in valleys, surrounded by hills. Setting up antennas on hills is more efficient. The tradition of practising amateur radio in groups is well rooted here. The spirit of cooperation is evidently stronger than in other countries. It seems that there are many such club stations which are shared by individuals, who use their own call signs, but also organize multi-operator events in groups.

Good training of operators was encouraged in the clubs and competition between clubs was important in the years of Amateur Radio boom. In Europe, the period of largest growth of Amateur Radio population was during the 70s, 80s and 90s. The first WRTC competition in Europe took place in Slovenia in 2000, which shows the potential and ability of local hams.

There is one thing that puzzles me about Slovenian hams: the strange vogue of changing call signs and having multiple call signs. The club has two call signs - S59EIJ and S59T. However, it is not often nowadays that a few operators get together for a contest. Slavko, S57DX, is here almost daily since he retired from his work. Some other members of the club are Dane, S53T, previously S57CQ, S57KNC, S56KNC, Janez, S51DX, Pavla, S56DX, Rado, S59ZZ. Pavla is Slavko's XYL, Janez is his younger brother.


According to the figures published by the national organization ZSR, there are approximately 8000 amateur radio operators in Slovenia. About 2000 of them are active, and members of this society. The total population in Slovenia is aproximately 2 million. The number of actual stations is not known to me, but the timeshare scheme so common here creates an impression of unusual high density of active stations. The number of hills suitable for setting up stations is limited, so the Slovenian solution seems to me an excellent and bright idea.


Slvako, S57DX, at the club station. There is actually only one operating position at the station.


Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF

2013 10 22

Member Comments: Add A Comment
A Visit With S57DX Reply
by n5tf on May 11, 2015 Mail this to a friend!
I have worked S57DX many times. Good to see the QTH. He is a great operator.
RE: A Visit With S57DX Reply
by G4ADJ on January 31, 2016 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a look into your station. We have contacted many times and it good to see what things are like at the other end! 73 to all club members from Peter, G4ADJ
A Visit With S57DX Reply
by S53T on February 16, 2024 Mail this to a friend!
Slavko Celarc - S57DX left us on 4th Feb 2024. SK

RiP my friend

Dane S53T
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