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Let's Meet SP4Z

from SM0JHF on November 16, 2008
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Contester profile - SP4Z

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Wieslaw, SP4Z checks his Beverage antenna supports, the HF towers are visible in the backgroung.

Somehow I can't recall any serious urban contester; most of them Big Guns live quite far from these high rise congested anthills called cities. Wieslaw, SP4Z is a textbook case - he lives in a small up-country community in northeastern Poland and got interested in radio in his early childhood. He belongs to the second wave of Amateur Radio boom in the post-WWII Europe. The first wave started in late 50's in Western Europe and in early 60's in Eastern Europe. The economy was stabilized, the Cold War demanded modern military communications and heaps of WWII-era equipment was available for the civilians. In spite of much suspicion and dubiousness regarding our hobby, many countries permitted Ham Radio. Wieslaw was born during this period, exactly in 1965.

The second wave peaked in the late 70's and is associated with a broad range of Japanese, affordable equipment manufactured for Amateur Radio use. Wieslaw was 12 years old when he conducted his first QSO using bulky, surplus gear. The local Scouts had a radio club in the elementary school that he was attending. His SWL number was SP-0027-BK. To get his own call sign, SP4EEZ, he had to wait until 1980 to be 15 years old.

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Year 1978 - club station SP4PBI, Wieslaw, SP-0027-BK and his sister Dorota, SP-0026-BK

The club call sign SP4PBI is still in use but presently in the local technical high school that Wieslaw is a teacher at. His mentor, so called Elmer, was the physics teacher SP4CZD way back 30 years ago. Now he helps his students to become hams, if they only want to.

He became contest-minded as a listener, participating in SP contests in SWL-category. Yes, some contests have this class, even today. From the very start of being a licenced operator he took part in HF contests. Until 1988 he had only wire antennas and the first rotary array was a 3-element yagi for 10 and 15 meters, hand rotated through the window. Then in the early 90's when the Polish army was getting rid of old communications equipment, quite many hams could acquire impressive towers and amplifiers. However, the antennas had to be, in most cases, home build. Wieslaw has constructed his antennas all on his own, without any help, but with a lot of research and advice from the more experienced pals.

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SP4Z at his operating position.

Contesting is shared with DX-chase. He is always interested in the background of the DX entity, as they call them now. Not only is he a member of the national DX Club,, but also its secretary.

A few years ago his HF-muscles were considered big enough to justify an invitation to join the SN0HQ group in the IARU HF Championship. This is a very popular and prestigious competition in Europe, somehow neglected in other parts of the world. Since 2004 Wieslaw's station has been a part of the network of several locations, and close to a hundred people, involved in this 24-hour challenge. I visited his outfit on Sunday July 13th, 2008 at the very end of this competition. The QTH is easy to find, the antennas are visible from the main road. They had rigged 2 high-power stations running 15 meter CW and 40 meter, both modes, bands. This 15 meter station was the main 15 meter station of the SN0HQ network, while the 40 meter setup was used as support in case the main station elsewhere was disabled by thunderbolts or failures. There were friends and family members around, doing the operating and fixing the busted amplifiers, and after 12 Z emptying the beer cans and barbecuing.

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The contest is over, the SN0HQ team members hosted by Wieslaw, SP4Z (right)

Wieslaw's sister is still a registered Short Wave Listener while his children Peter and Renata hold call signs SQ4LP and SQ4LH respectively. Even his wife is ham-radio friendly, a feature that is not common. His elder brother Wojtek, though never had a call sign, talked Wieslaw into getting interested in ham radio back in 1976. Now he lives in Ireland and hosted Wieslaw twice for the CQ WW Contests in 2004 and 2005. (

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The 40 meter backup operating position of SN0HQ in IARU HF Championship 2008, Wieslaw, SP4Z at the microphone,

Thirty years of Amateur Radio experience and being in his prime age of 40+ is a combination that is bound to yield some great resuslts in the near future. Good luck and see you on the air.

�Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF

November 2008

Member Comments: Add A Comment
Let's Meet SP4Z Reply
by la5he on April 11, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
I enjoyed reading about this sympathetic young dx-er and contester. NIce to see som well qualified younger people coming up the ranks
73 Rag Grandfather !! hi
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