nternational CW Operators HAMfest – 2018

Continuing its thirty year old tradition CW club U-QRQ-C has the honor to invite all CW and Shortwave fans to the International CW Operators HAMfest.
     HAMfest will be held, as last year, in Radiograd, Moscow region, on August 24 – 27, 2018.

The HAMfest’s Lucky Charm is still a high speed QRQ HAMster, who had been running for dear life and reached his running destination.
This year the HAMfest will be held with participation and support of:

  • City Sports-Technical Radio Club of Moscow;
  • “Live Villages” project;
  • Museum of the Industrial Culture;
  • QRZ.ru Internet Portal;
  • Kingdom of Bir Tawil;
  • Independent international almanac “World of Short Waves”;
  • UARL.com.ua  Ukranian Radio Portal;
  • International Amateur Radio Contest DX Club of UNO;

And other organizations whose names will be published later.

There is no requirement to operate CW (Morse Code) at QRQ speeds in order to participation in the HAMfest (it is not HST World Championship with participants selection), nor to operate CW at all, though it is highly desirable. It’s enough if you are fascinated with short waves as a whole. And then – who knows – maybe coming to the HAMfest will push you to study Morse Code in the future. But do watch how QRQ masters do it.

Those who want to bring your entire family – you are welcome! Keep in mind, though, that living conditions will be closer to “field-style” than “city living”. So be ready. Regardless, both young participants and XYLs (wives) will have plenty to occupy themselves with. The organizers listened to one of the participant’s XYL and her wishes were considered:
Yuri, 3W8AA. reported that the following issues were tackled:

– The shower is already working.
– Negotiations with goldfishes were also conducted – they agreed to be caught with spinning rods.
– Mushrooms question is under study. Anyway, you may bring your owns and plant them under the pines.
– Registration of the participants is already open. So we could arrange everything in time, bring  your country’s flag, participant certificate, your callsign badge and other “attributes”
– Do inform us in advance about your anticipated arrival.

For registration information and other matters which may arise, please contact HAMfest crew organizers either via e-mail uqrqc@mail.ru, or via Skype or telephones:

  • Lilia EW7L: email: ew7l@bk.ru; Skype: lilvas1954, telephone in Belorussia & Viber: +375-29-108-30-75;
  • Valery R2SA: e-mail: ru3se@yandex.ru; telephone in Russia & WhatsApp: +7-906-646-47-14
  • Edward NT2X: e-mail: red@escape.com; telephone in USA +1-718-891-3535;
  • Yuri 3W8AA: telephone in Russia +7-903-795-98-91.

Participation in the HAMfest is free (no fee). Moreover, your money is no good in Radiograd: HAMfest area is free of commerce of any kind. So bring anything you might need, and if you will forget anything – your new friends will help you. Bring extras and spares to share with others and it will be enough for everyone around. See the details below.

– – –
How to get to Radiograd

As it is unlikely that anyone will decide to arrive to the HAMfest by military tank, submarine, helicopter or to parachute out from the airplane (though the idea sounds interesting, and in the future we could organize mass parachute jumps), the story will be about how to reach Radiograd from Moscow by car or by fixed-route taxi-van. Or for that it worth, by feet or by bicycle, but then you have to leave your home way in advance.

HAMfest will take place in Radiograd, on the territory of “Live Villages” complex, which is under construction yet, and which has the area of 78 hectares (garden plots “Miracle tree”).

At once we warn you: don’t go by train/suburban train – nearest railroad station is located too far from Radiograd.

Fig. 1

Let us conditionally divide all the way into two segments:

1) From Moscow to the point of exit from the route;
2) From the route to Radiograd.

Segment № 1: From Moscow to the point of exit from the route
For car drivers:

To ride along Simferopol highway (route M2 Moscow – Tula) up to kilometer mark “112 km” (it is 92 km from Moscow Ring Road) (Fig.1).

Waymark on the navigator – Azarovka village, Zaoksky district, Tula region, Russia.

For “horseless travellers”:

Those, who have no personal car can use fixed-route taxi van. Take any of them traveling towards Tula, it will be OK.

We recommend fixed-route taxis from “Novoyasenevskaya” bus station located near metro (underground, subway) station of the same name. They leave for Tula every 40 minutes. Time of travel to the “drop point” point” is 1 hour 10 minutes.

You should go as far as the turn to “Bobrovy island” by fixed-route taxi. It is same 92nd km from Moscow Ring Road, and drivers know the place.

Fig. 2
Segment № 2: From the route to Radiograd (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3)

Between the road posts “112” and “113” km you have to leave the road to the right and pass under the bridge to the opposite side of the road and exit to the left.

Then you have immediately turn into unpaved road in upper right direction and move along it up to the gate barrier (Fig. 4). It is port of entry to “Your home” settlement.

Coordinates of gate barrier: Azarovka, Tula region, 54.773460, 37.495655.

Fig 3

If the gate barrier is closed, contact Headquarters log hut on frequency 145,500 or call +7-906-646-47-14, +7-903-795-98-91.

You will then see four roads – to the left, straight, one bending slightly to the right and another one with a bigger bend to the right. The latter ends against the fence with the gates.

Take the one with the slight bend to the right and it goes up. You will pass metal box van to your right side.

Fig. 4. Gate bar near port of entry. Picture of 05.08.2017

Ride along for about 700 meters (the road quality there is a poor one).

Before turning to the right, notice a very beautiful lonely pine tree to your right – you just can’t miss it.

The right turn is paved with fresh gravel, the pine stays to your left side, go down another hundred meters  and arrive at the entrance to Radiograd territory.

Coordinates of the destination point: 54.765057, 37.507984

Base VHF station under control of Aleksey RA3AKF, will be on standby at 145.500 МГц and 145.580 MHz. If your car is equipped with VHF radio and you need directions to Radiograd – he will lead you in. Anyway, contact the HAMfest station as any other DX station – QSL cards will be sent out also for VHF QSOs, see the details below.

Yet the main purpose of the HAMfest is not hi-speed Morse code (QRQ) competition, prizes, goldfishes, turkeys and even fireworks.  We come to see each other, to join the circle of friends, to greet one another and to talk one-to-one. Who knows when another chance to do that will occur…

HAMfest 1991. From archive of Vladimir UA9BA

Let us get together, fellows. In spite of troubles, years and borders.

– – –
Arrangement and accommodation

One has to plan his trip depending on the duration of stay.

Those who come just for a day, without overnight stay – plan to spend Saturday with us, where main events will take place, though enough action will take place throughout the entire festival duration.

Tent camp in Radiograd

Those who come for one day only have no reasons for staying overnight, but be prepared in case you change your mind. Those who will surely stay overnight must bring sleeping bags or warm blankets. Bring tents too, it is highly desirable. Few tents will be at the site, but it may not be enough to accommodate everyone, so your own tent can save the day.

There are two log huts on Radiograd territory. By this winter they will add dozen of cottages, but they are not built yet. River, lake, pine forest and meadows with cornflowers and dragonflies are also very much in place.

One log hut is slanted for headquarters. Radio station, HAMfest headquarters containing all that office appliances and refrigerator for Perm vodka supplies will be stored  there. Not much will be left to sleepovers. Another log hut, located near the lake will be converted into the hayloft or better to say, into “branchloft”: sleeping bags may be laid onto pine boughs.

If you happen to be a mermaid, they you have the opportunity settle down in the lake, with the goldfishes.

Those who attended last year – please spread the information on how things were organized and offer your advice to new attendees.

There is a hotel few kilometers away from Radiograd. So if you must stay in a more civilized environment, then can walk to the HAMfest. Or travel in a palanquin.

So, plan your trip to the HAMfest:

  • for full time, from 24th to 27th of August 2018;
  • for a few days within that period;
  • for one day without overnight stay;
  • those desiring prolonged R+R – you may arrive a week earlier, in the middle of August – to help Yuri 3W8AA, Vladimir UA9FAR and Aleksey RA3AKF with preparatory work at Radiograd.

Get in touch with us.
Regardless of how long you plan to spend with us –

  • Everyone will be accommodated.
  • Everyone will receive assistance with all matters,
  • Everyone will received a participant certificate,
  • Everyone will get a badge with your own callsign and
  • Everyone will be fed. No one goes hungry

Remember to bring the extras and the spares to share with others (especially if you are bringing friends), like meals, alcohols, soldering flux, tools and other stuff, that might be very desirable and useful at the HAMfest site.

– – –
Dress code

Though the HAMfest is also somewhat a kind of mini-championship, our environment is less formal, dress code is free. Suits, ties and stiletto pumps are not necessary, but the breeches are obligatory.

Swim briefs/swimsuits can also be of use – to sunbathe. Skniga River and goldfish lake can be very seductive for swimming (especially to those who have not read “HAMfest goldfishing championship” article).

– – –
What to take with you
Traveling kit of HAMfest participant:
backpack, mug, spoon, fork, bowl, caned stewed meat,
condensed milk. HAMfest-2017

The items below have been found to make your stay more comfortable, regardless of time you are spending with us. Bring them with you:

Required stuff:

  • A small stack of your QSL blanks (for those having callsigns) – for eye-ball exchanges and for displaying at the stand;
  • Prizes to give away, the details are described below;
  • Any food you can bring – everything will go into the general pool;
  • A mug and a bowl (better metal than plastic or glass), spoon, knife. If you are better with pliers than with silverware at the dinner table, then bring the pliers.

Besides obligatory items, bring what you can from the list below:

  • Tent (especially if you come as a group);
  • Ground pad (polyurethane mat) or inflatable mattress or something similar to sleep on;
  • Sleeping bag, otherwise you have to wander around all night long or sleep in the car;
  • Toiletries (for washing, shaving, toothbrush, toothpaste etc.);
  • Clothes – depending on weather, spare clothes to wear in case of rain and cool nights;
  • Comfortable boots;
  • Your telegraph key – for “keys parade”;
  • Spare warm socks;
  • Cap or sunhat; dark glasses
  • There are not many mosquitoes at the pine forest there, but get mosquito repellent just in case;
  • Guitar if you know how to play it. Are there any sax players in the audience?
  • “Kick-ass” – a piece of polyurethane mat or blanket for sitting near the campfire;
  • If you have VHF walkie-talkie for 144 MHz – bring it for sure, with spare charged battery;
  • Mobile telephone (we’ll have a charging station);
  • Various gadgets for photo and video: there will be WiFi 4G available, so you can upload the photos to the Internet instantly;
  • First aid kit (standard items – iodine, band-aid, etc; also anything you may need for your health issues);
  • Tea, coffee, brine, or whatever you do drink in the mornings;
  • Plastic folder or plastic bag for storage of participant certificate, prizes won and QSLs received;
  • Any identification documents in case of midnight curfew or anything else;
  • Those having fishing rods –bring them for sure – there will be goldfish fishing competition, see the details below;
  • Spears, bows, arrows

Those who arrive by cars – everything in sight what could appear useful – throw it into the trunks for the HAMfest – who knows what might come useful – soldering iron with rosin, piece of wire, angle grinder, box of vodka or gravitsappa. If anyone will need anything – here it is – magically you have it in your trunk, everyone will be awed! Especially it relates to items in perennially short supply.

– – –
Fried spiders or the menu

This year in Phnom Penh fried spiders were sold at approximately for $0.08 (USD) (in conversion to the official exchanging rate) per good size portion. This means that they have no problems with spider  shortage  there.

So, perhaps you are thinking: where is that Phnom Penh with its spiders, and where is Radiograd? One should have no reasons to be afraid of such menu items. And maybe you shrug your shoulders – how can they bring those spiders here – and most important –  can you eat them?

This is how Vladimir Malygin RL2D (then – 4K2BDU) had initially sneered when he was in Moscow, while en route from from Franz Josef Land to Dikson island in beginning of 1990. He went to “Kyylong” restaurant in Yasenevo and they served him a snake for the snack with explanation that he had no alternative but to eat it.

Why did we tell you this story? HAMfest menu card this year, as in previous year, will be coordinated by Yuri, 3W8AA, who in those times owned  Soviet-Vietnamese joint venture “Kyylong”. You may expect whole nine yards when it comes to food. That includes snakes, spiders and frogs which once upon the time were heartily eaten by 4K2OT, RA3AUU and UA9MA in Saigon, Vietnam. Having a lake nearby with all its inhabitants is great help…

In conclusion: whether there will there be a field kitchen or not – is not clear yet, so make arrangements to bring with you not only bush pot but also an assortment foods in assortment and lots of them. The more of the unexpected assortment, more picturesque and colorful the nearby meadow will be.

Photo by: Foxnews
So anyway – with turkeys or without them we shall manage everything.
– – –
The plan is following

It is necessary to mark that those elements and details being planned may be modified, changed and elaborated in the course of preparation and carrying on of the HAMfest on the go, what will be reported, indeed.

That is: what we have done is a kind of rough sketch of HAMfest events architecture, and on the basis of parameters and conditions available at a moment we shall collectively determine key elements. And let us watch with interest in the course of a play, with what details exactly each action will please us, and what common picture of the HAMfest shall we obtain.

So, same as last year no rock-solid structure of the HAMfest exists, and all we have is some common direction of the movement.

So everyone who will participate this holiday of a life – please offer and discuss without hesitations everything what in your opinion could complete, improve and correct the event. How will it all look exactly – we shall see. Your proposals and various external factors which will arise on the go will at last form final program of the HAMfest.

Artist Michael Cannoly. Photo by: Free HD wallpapers

For example, it could appear that the HAMfest has canoe at hand. What shall we do with it and to where shall we sail? Any ideas? Well, we shall operate /mm, it’s clear, but what else?

Or another case: it turned so that near Radiograd, also in “Live Villages” interesting neighbors have settled: IT village with a modest name of Silicon Valley, and the fellows there would also like to participate. But in which way exactly?

Maybe as their name suggests, they can take care of computer elements at the HAMfest? Computers, Internet, color laser printer for making prints on the awards being issued, printouts of competition results tables, etc. Overall, they can take all computer needs under their wings. Anyway, they could participate in any non-CW actions.

Life is full of enigmas and that makes it interesting!

But we need a spear, a  real one. Does anybody has one? If not, can someone who can make one, just come forward. Vlad UA9FAR, Aleksey RA3AKF! Will you craft a spear after you are done with crayfishes? It will be needed for the shooting-range competitions.

If anyone has ideas for interesting and unusual competitions – contact Lilia EW7L and/or bring up the ideas at the forum. There is more to the festival than QRQ-discussions: the HAMfest is for everyone fascinated with CW and Short Waves in whole. Besides QRQ masters, everyone should be enjoying it to the fullest.

So most  events are being organized to insure they are enjoyed by all: CW operators, short wave fans, their wives, kids and for those simply mesmerized with the idea.

HAMfest-2017. Songs near campfire. Photo by Lilia EW7L

There will be:

  • CW (Morse Code) competitions,
  • radio operation,
  • awarding of winners,
  • Telebridge with World HST Championship participants,
  • automobile 100-meters race,
  • husky dogs,
  • DX targets shooting,
  • Funny radio contest and – indeed –
  • HAMfest goldfishing championship,
  • prize distribution,
  • collective painting,
  • movies,
  • campfires,
  • Singing songs,
  • Hearty Talks and
  • our radio, sun, air and water.
     And – freedom, radio, brotherhood!!!
– – –

What? Need more details? For those who still can’t break away from the endless daily rat race to come to Radiograd and award themselves with a free spirit’s holiday?  They can envy the rest, staring at the monitors, for all we care

But we’ll get you all the details.

Your own participation is described below:

– – –

Participation in any activities described below is simply voluntary – there is nothing compulsory that one cannot skip. Chose anything you like:

The main idea of the HAMfest, as it was before, – to meet one another. That is face-to-face communication which so many of us are lacking in the days of Internet  “likes”, etc.

Any other events taking place at the HAMfest are secondary and are very much voluntary. Let everyone get busy with what their hearts desire. The task of Club’s headquarters and HAMfest organizers is to provide us with a selection if activities for us to chose from. But the choice is always yours.

Someone may come to simply sing with guitar, sitting by the campfire for three days. It would be great to see UA4CIF, UA3AGW, UA9FAR, RW4C, and also RZ3CC. Gena, how is your guitar? – It must be tired just handing on the wall by now.

It would be great to give someone a chance to simply forget about business and life’s chores, to enjoy a good sound sleep, only crawling out of the tent for some food, beer and talk.  And you will have a choice what to get busy with:

– – –
CW – forever
Valery, UA3AO, at HAMfest in 2017. Photo by Oleg RD1A

Telegraphy part of the program is very vast and covers every Morse Code (CW) expectation:

  • Demonstrational performance of Valery, UA3AO – operation “classic” keys: Morse key, two-way “jig-saw” key, Vibroplex, electronic key;
  • “Classic” operation competitions;
  • QRQ-test (Hi-speed test) using electronic keys;
  • Mini-test on “walkie-talkies” 144 MHz;
  • Callsigns copying with RufzXP software;
  • Conducting contest QSOs (contacts) in CQ mode, using Morse Runner software;
  • Fighting DX-pedition pile-ups with Pile-Up Runner software;
  • Copying radiograms by hand;
  • Radiograms sending with a straight key;
  • Radiograms sending with an electronic key.
“Well, let’ go some QRQ?” Artist: Platon Andreev.
Key from collection of Valery, UA3AO

As some will take their keys with them it might be fun to organize “key paddle parade” placing all the keys in a row with QSL cards of their owners. We should save all this beauty for posterity. Oleg, [B]RD1A[/B], will you take on the task of becoming a photo historiographer of the HAMfest? Let everybody enjoy looking at these very private treasures.

– – –
Radio operation, awards and QSLs
Tom Perkinson “Full Moon, Summer”
Callsign of the HAMfest and radio operation

New rules require that special event callsign application must be submitted three months before the event

Alas, decision about doing the HAMfest this year was made about 1,5 months prior. There is some hope that SRR will show us the way out of the tight spot and we would be lucky to obtain the familiar call of R73QRQ.  It would mean making an exception from the rules, for which all QRQ fans will be very grateful.

HAMfest-2017. Radio station R73QRQ is on air.
Operator is UA3AO. Photo by Oleg, RD1А

But – everything is happening for the best, and any whatever callsign we get will be good.

So, if everything works out, HAMfest station will use R73QRQ callsign as last year, if not – callsign RO3A will be used.

One way or another the callsign will be disclosed closer to the beginning of the HAMfest.

– – –
HAMfest awards
HAMfest-2017. Dima, UA3AGW,
with participant award

This year HAMster awards will be handed over to all participants of the HAMfest – “participant award and also awards for achievements in competitions, contests and other events, together with prizes – but below about them.

– – –
Award program “Shared drinks with …”

There is no other award program in short waves which one can start to work for only after reaching definite age, not earlier. 🙂

“Shared drinks
with 10 USSR Call Areas”
fulfilled by chief referee
of the HAMfest
Valery R2SA
on August 25, 2017

For not to draw manually “table of achievements” as it was last year, there is a proposal for office keeper: before handing over the awards to participants run them through laser printer for printing table grid on reverse side.

At estimation there will be enough place not only for “Shared drinks with 10 USSR Call Areas”, but also for “Shared drinks with 15 USSR Republics” and for beginning of “Shared drinks with 100 USSR Oblasts” awards.

But – dibs – one has to take snack after every record. Thanks God we will have some.

– – –
To be continued