RDA – Hunting Russian Districts

Since I started as a shortwave listener back in the 1960s and from 1972 on as a licensed HAM, I have been interested hunting for the difficult to work Amateur Radio Awards. This includes, at least in the higher classes, the Russian District Award “RDA”.

The “RDA” (Russian District Award) is an International Award Program with the goal of attracting interest in Amateur Radio through the communication with various Districts in the Russian Federation. The “RDA” program is established to encourage confirmed contacts with the greatest variety of areas in Russia. The Awards includes entities designated by the Russian Federation. These include a total of 2.642 different districts inside 85 different Oblasts. There are currently 6 different certificate awards varying in difficulty and complexity, and two plaque awards available for “Honor Roll” and “#1 Honor Roll”. With it’s own modern Online confirmation system, similar to the american LotW, it is “state of the art” and made hunting a real smile.


The hunt for RDA districts has a very special charm, because 90% of it (estimated) takes place in CW! Today the RDA 2000 was finally in the mailbox and it will have a special place on the wall in my shack.

60 Years manned Space Flight

2021 will mark the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space, one of the most important milestones in the history of all mankind. The first manned flight took place on April 12, 1961. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made one complete turn in Earth orbit and returned safely to Earth.

For this anniversary the special call signs R1994YU, R1996VK, R2014NC, RG21DS, RU21DS, RA60YG – RZ60YG, R60MCC, R60CTC, R60YAG and several others are in the air and the Miller-DX-Club “M-DX-C” has developed an interesting Award program. The period is from April 12th to 25th, 2021.

Detailed information on the projects can be found on the “M-DX-C” website.

ARRL DXCC Challenge Award – Sticker 2500 arrived

Nice surprise: The ARRL DXCC Challenge Medallion 2500 was in the mailbox today. Just a small round sticker, but so much time and work went into it. Challenge 2500 means an average of 250 DXCC Entities on each of the 10 Bands from 160m to 6m. The next and final level is 3000, but I’m out of business now. Unfortunately it is more difficult nowadays to get the confirmation for a QSO than to make the contact itself. Not to mention the cost of requesting QSL cards or LotW confirmations. Now it has a dignified place on the wall and will remind me of so many nice contacts.

Baltic Way 30 – Short Term Award

This Memorial Award is announced by Eesti Raadioamatööride Ühing (ERAÜ), Latvijas Radio Amatieru Līga (LRAL) and Lietuvos Radijo Mėgėjų Draugija (LRMD) to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Baltic Way – a peaceful protest against the Molotov – Ribbentrop pact signed on 23rd of August 1939, dividing the independent countries of Eastern Europe in spheres of influence between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. On the same date in 1989 more than 2 million people across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands to form a 675 km long human chain – the Baltic Way, showing their fight for independence.

Although this Award is not difficult to get, it has a special meaning for me. A few weeks ago, I visited all three Baltic States and drove part of the way from Vilnius to Tallin via Riga.
This memorial stone is located in front of Cathedral Square in Vilnius and contains the word “stebuklas”. This was the starting point of the huge human chain between Vilnius and Tallinn on August 23, 1989. Nearly two million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians protested hand in hand, 650 kilometers in length, for the independence of their own states.

10-Band-DXCC .. My Nightmare

Having been licensed for over 45 years now, I thought it would be time to apply for the 5-Band DXCC with several Stickers, alltogether 160m to 6m. Well, most of the required DXCC’s were already confirmed via the Logbook of the World. The last missing cards were requested by letter and received in most cases sooner or later. These were then, together with the Application, sent to a German ARRL Field Checker in April 2018. He checked fast, the cards came back quickly and he forwarded the paperwork to the ARRL in Newington USA. There everything was then processed in May 2018 and the 5-Band DXCC and Stickers for 160/30/17/12 and 6m were marked as issued. So far – so good.

Time goes by .. Beginning of September 2018 I asked ARRL about my application. Yes, it was there but ARRL planning a new Design for the 5B-DXCC and nobody could say how long that would take. And it took until February 09, 2019 when the parcel arrived – 10 long month after I sent my Application to the Field Checker. If you think the story is over now, unfortunately not.

The new 5B-DXCC consists of a modern designed acrylic plate, to which a golden stripe with callsign and name is affixed, as well as the round band Stickers, which are also affixed to it. No date, no number anymore – incredible! Unfortunately, all the stickers were loveless oblique and crooked glued, such as price tags on goods. I did not want to accept this, sent some photos to the ARRL and they assured me a new plaque. This came in early May – and – oh no – the sticker for 6m was missing again. So another email and last but not least, this arrived in early June.

Now, 14 month after the application, the 10-band DXCC with all the stickers hangs on the wall and waits for the last, the 144 MHz sticker to finally finish it.

(Picture to follow soon)

SX60RAAG – 60th Birthday of RAAG

The special event station SX60RAAG will be on air from December 1 to 31, 2018 on all HF bands & modes, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Radio Amateur Association of Greece – RAAG. A dedicated award program will support this operation. As usual nowadays the colorful Awards with pictures of Greece will be issued for free and electronically in PDF format.

YL100x – Latvia’s 100th Birthday

On November 18, 2018 Latvia celebrated its 100th Birthday. For this reason Radio Amateurs in Latvia activated five special callsigns with the prefix YL100 – one from each of 4 Latvia’s historical regions and one from the capital city Riga – to commemorate this event between November 1st to 18th, 2018. Special awards for working YL100 stations on different bands and modes are issued. More informations are here.

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

Amateur Radio On the International Space Station (ARISS) has organized another Slow Scan TV event scheduled to start October 27 about 10:00 UTC and end October 29 around 19:30 UTC with a series of 12 pictures.

The following images were decoded on October 29, 2018 with the MMSSTV software on 145.800 MHz, Mode PD120. More information about amateur radio on the ISS can be found on the ARISS website.

The ARISS team in Poland has made available a special reception certificate for radio enthusiasts that participant in this ARISS SSTV Event. Directions on how to receive the certificate can be found here.