DXpedition to Belarus Republic (EV)
Issue 47 Six News, November 1995
by Hans DL5BAC

L-to-R: EV5M (DL5BAC), Sergij-EV5DX, Klaus-EV5N (DJ9YE)L-to-R: EV5M (DL5BAC), Sergij-EV5DX, Klaus-EV5N (DJ9YE)

The story of this exciting event, started back in November 1991, when I met Sergei, UC2AKP, for the fist time on 20m. My XYL was preparing for a visit to Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia, which was still part of the USSR at the time. I told him about the plans of my XYL and he invited her to visit him and his family. From this time we have had weekly contacts on 20m, we have arranged some German relief for needy people in his neighbourhood and a partnership between a school in Minsk and one in my area.

One year later, in November 1992, Sergei visited me and my family in Germany. During this time we had a party and Klaus, DJ9YE joined us. Klaus and myself have operated mostly on 2m, these last 13 years. Since we have had a 6m allocation in Germany, we have, of course been using this fantastic band. Maybe it was the vodka, which Sergei brought from Russia, or only the idea of two VHF "freaks", to think about an Expedition to Belarus Republic? However when Sergei offered to take care of all the organisation, we finally found the vodka bottle empty! In our high spirit the idea was born.

EV5D calling CQ!EV5D calling CQ!

On March 17, 1993, we received our licenses for HF, 2m and 6m. It was a fantastic feeling and immediately we started to make the preparations. On June 19th, very early in the morning, we started our journey east. Alter 36 hours we arrived safe and sound in Minsk-City. Sergej was waiting at the arranged meeting point, and we drove to his parents place in the east of the city. The first evening we spent with his family at a fantastic welcoming party. We went to sleep very quickly that night! The DXpedition really began the next morning. We drove to the club station UC1AWZ, where we borrowed equipment such as masts, cables, HF equipment, and all the things we needed besides what had been brought from Germany. Together with Sergej, his parents, Vladimir and Inessa and Sergej, another member of the radio club, we started the 4 hour trip, 250km southeast of Minsk to Grandma Katerina QTH! She lives on a collective-farm in a small village called Parchimkovici. It was love at first sight, when we saw our new QTH. It was a lovely little wooden house, just for us and the radio gear. Immediately we started to build up the 6m antenna. It was a 4 element beam donated by Wolf DL2NO. A very big stone dropped from my heart when I switched on the TS680s and solid-sate linear. Everything worked OK and nothing went QRT during the entire trip. It was a milestone in my amateur radio life when I worked the first station as EV5M from KO42RX. It was Nils, DK8OK, followed by several stations from DL, ON, PA, OK, OZ, SM, OE, I and one station from GM.

When conditions were poor, or when Sergej's mother called us for another delicious meal, I started our beacon on 50.077MHz with power limited to 5w 0/p. I finished the 6m operating on the first day at about 2200z and left the "battlefield" to the HF operators, Sergej, EV5DX and Serge EV5WZ, and the prefix hunters from around the world. By the way, local time in Belarus is UTC + 3 hours in the summer and UTC + 2 hours in the winter.

The following day, I got up at 0400z, the Russians were still asleep and Klaus DJ9YE was working 2m MS. I worked LA9ZV at 0420z. Today was June 22nd. I worked about 70 stations from I, DL, ON, PA, G, GD, GW. The band closed very quickly around 1 200z. Only 2 Italians were worked in the evening around 1 900z. On Wednesday, the 23rd, Serge EV5WZ stepped into history by working his first stations on 6m. Around 1 130z he worked, PA3EGO, ON4PS, PAOJMH and PA2HJS.

During our breaks from the radio, we visited the local area. People were very friendly and cheerful. However the economic situation is making life difficult for the people. For example $10 is equal to 20,000 Rubels, which is the average monthly income in Belarus. The 6m band opened up in a big way on June 26th. We started working many stations from all over Europe and this time Sergej, EV5DX made his first 6m QSOs. Stations from Italy, Croatia, Malta and Greece saw EV5 DX in their logs.

The following day was Sunday, I had to bring Sergej's mother and Serge, EV5WZ back to Minsk, because they had to return to work. We took this opportunity to change QTH for one day, because many stations had been asking for activity from K043 on 2m. We drove Northwest of the collective-farm area to a place where we could operate. Klaus wanted to concentrate on 2m MS from K043. On 2m he used his call EV5N and on 6m my call EV5M. After we had built up the station, we left on the drive back to Minsk-City. I had to say goodbye to Serge, EV5WZ, as QRL was waiting. Thank you so much for your company old boy! It was really a great time, be sure we will do it again. That evening I meet Aljona, Sergej's girlfriend, the three of us spent the evening together at their home, tasting the fine homemade wine of Aljona's father and thinking about Klaus! Who was working hard on 2m MS.

The next morning, Aljona, Sergej and myself drove back to the collective-farm. I got stopped for speeding and had to pay 1500 Rubels. On the Russian highways the limit is 90 km/h. I was driving at 100km/h. 1500 Rubels is 10% of an average monthly income in Belarus.

When we arrived at Parchimkovici, we found Klaus asleep. But a look at the logs showed he had been busy, with nearly 200 QSOs on 6m and 29 on 2m MS random. I found EH9IB in the log, a first UC to EA9. After a while Klaus climbed out of bed, still very tired, but happy. Back in K042 I managed another big pile-up. 150 QSOs in the 6m log, the last one was with SM7AED at 0440z on June 29th. We then closed down the station from this QTH. Many thanks again to all those people on the collective-farm for a wonderful time.

The next QTH was also a small village near a collective-farm, called Kharkovka, it is about 30km east of Mogilew. The area is one which still has lots of problems after the Chernobyl disaster in 1988.

Ajona's parents and her grandmother welcomed us when we arrived in the late afternoon of June 29th. We were very tired, but decided to build up the 6m station at once. At 1825z I worked the first station as EV5D from K053, it was LA8WF. During the next three hours, more than 120 stations worked a new square - K053.

The next day was a poor one on 6m. Only 3 stations were worked. I took the chance to take some pictures with my video camera. Our shack was a small room, similar to a typical Russian sauna. We tried this kind of sauna one day in Parchimkovivi and had lots of fun, when Sergej did his job as bath-keeper.

A map of BelarusA map of Belarus

The last day of our operation was July 1st. We were lucky and the band was open in a big way, with booming signals from Europe. EV5D and EV5DX worked around 250 stations, most of them from G, PA, OZ and I was very happy to work OY9JD at 1 849z as a first UC-OY. We finished operation in this last square at 2206z with GW3LDH.
After a few hours sleep, it was time to pack our things, we had to say goodbye to our hosts Vasily, Maria and grandma Maria. Many thanks for your hospitality and we promise to stay longer next time. Back in Minsk we visited once again Sergej's parents to say our final good-bye's and then we spent the last evening with Aljona and Sergej at their apartment.

We started our trip home very early the next morning. After 26 hours of driving, including 4 hours at the Polish-Russian border, we arrived home.

Our sincere thanks to Sergej, UC2AKP, who arranged many things for us. We are sure that, without the help of good friends, this operation would not have been possible. Many thanks also to Aljona, to Inessa and Vladimir for supporting us. To the youngsters Sasha and Colja for their helping hand and excellent translations, to grandma Katerina for her Hospitality at Parchimkovici, to Aljona's parents, Vasily and Maria and also grandma Maria for their hospitality at Karkovka and also to all the friendly people we met at the collective-farms and in Minsk.

The QSL-cards are printed now and will all be mailed by the end of September.

73 es gd DX on the magic band!

Hans, DL5BAC ex EV5D/EV5M - UK6MG #1110.

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