Amateurfunk von ex-DXCC: Niederländisch-Ostindien (= Indonesien)

My Indonesian station license

By Al Cammarata, W3AWU, Fairfax, VA


My Indonesian station licensezoomWith license in hand I returned to Medan to put a station together from my house. Several days after my return I received a phone call from a Col. Lubis, who informed me he was the military commander for communications for KODAM II, the military region of N. Sumatara and for all of Sumatra (KOANDA). He had been informed of my permisson to operate a ham station and would like to visit to see my station. He was also YB6IA. Col. Lubis had made arrangements to talk to YB0AB in Djakarta on Saturday and wanted to know if he could use my station. Naturally, I agreed. By this time, I had put up a dipole for 20 meters and had just brought home the consulates emergency radio, a Collins KWM2A. When Col. Lubis saw my license, he wrote the 6 next to the /YB and told me to put “02” next to it to indicate the second licensed operator in the call district, he himself being the first one. Col. Lubis did not have any radio equipment so he was not active. He told me that I would be the first YB6 to operate on the air since Indonesian Independence. I took this to mean since Dutch occupation when Sumatra was then PK4. Thus I was the first amateur to legally operate from Sumatra since the PK era. And the same I assume is true for the YB0 in Djakarta.
Col. Lubis was organizing clubs to train prospective hams. He told me he had arranged a schedule for two days later with YB0AB and asked if he could use my radio and bring his young club members to watch. Of course, I agreed. And prudence told me not to go on the air until after YB6IA had made his contact. Watching YB6IA and his boys talk on the radio will remain a fond picture in my mind forever. After the contact, I told YB6IA he was welcome to visit with his boys anytime to operate my radio. But I never saw them again.
Finally, on May 15, 1969 I fired up the rig! I did not attract much attention in the first few days. I guess most stations thought I was in the USA, at least that is what the first stations I contacted said. Once the word spread, I was in great demand. The pileups were horrendous – and "split operation" was not a mode incorporated into radios at the time. With the help of VS6DR, I was able to get a beam shipped to me from Hong Kong. It took about two weeks to get to me via air. Although it got frustrating many times, I thoroughly enjoyed being a “rare DX”. It was an eye opener to observe what 100 watts can do using a dipole and a tri-band beam mounted about 15 feet up on the flagpole in my front yard. August 15, 1969, was my last day of operation. A week or so later, I headed home to Pittsburgh, anxious to see my wife and family. I still have my QSL cards and my Indonesian license and cherish those times operating as "rare DX" from Indonesia.

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