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Old October 9th 06, 08:40 AM posted to rec.radio.amateur.dx
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Default Looking for QSL card CE0AC (Easter Island- 1953-54)

I'm editing a memoir that my sister's father-in-law has written about
his experience as the sole doctor stationed at Easter Island in
1953-54. In his book he mentions that he set up a ham radio station,
CE-0-AC, and that he had QSL cards printed up.

But now he hasn't been able to find any to put into the book! If
anyone has a copy of a CE-0-AC card, I'd love to get a good scan to
include in the book.

He's Dr. Dario Verdugo-Binimelis, a 90 year old retired Chilean
doctor. At the time he was in his late 30s. He, his wife, & 4 young
sons up and left for Easter Island for 2 years - no electricity, water
from rainbarrels, a leper colony to manage... It's a fascinating
story!

Here's what he says about his experiences as a ham:

================================================== ==
As we approached our second year in the island, I decided to become an
amateur radio operator to be able to communicate with our family back
in Santiago, so I ordered the equipment from Chile for the next annual
shipment. I was proudly granted a ham radio operator's license-my ID
was CE-0-AC and I had cards printed with a moai [the big statues],
which became very desirable . The Navy base on the island lent me a
small electrical generator and some fuel, which allowed me to use the
radio equipment on limited occasions. After overcoming many
difficulties, especially with setting up the electric power with the
generator (for which my son Pedro was the 'expert mechanic') and the
installation of the antenna supported by a tall mast erected by my
children, I was able to make it work. To my surprise however, a couple
of days following the proud launch of our radio station, the Naval
Governor showed up at my home with his lieutenant to order me to lower
the height of the antenna. In his view, it was inappropriate to have a
structure on the island that would be higher than the tallest mast
where the Chilean flag flew at the Governor's house. I was
unsuccessful in convincing him that I was not being disrespectful to
the Chilean flag, nor was I challenging the Chilean sovereign or his
authority over the island; I even suggested flying the Chilean flag on
our antenna.

As a result of this unsuccessful negotiation with the Governor, we
ended up lowering the antenna a few feet after making careful
measurements. While it was a good engineering lesson for my four sons,
I suspect that it degraded the capability of my ham radio equipment
which needed all the help it could get to reach far away distances.
(But Pedro did end up studying engineering.)

I was disappointed to realize that in spite of all my effort to
connect with Chile, it was either very difficult, or simply
impossible. The first and one of the few times that I could talk with
my parents I was so overwhelmed by emotions that my words drowned in
my throat. A different story was with the U.S., especially California,
where I was able to establish many contacts. When I turned on the
equipment and started calling , many ham operators tried to reach me,
since it was very unique to contact someone from a place so remote and
exotic. The reality is that the ham equipment became more of an
entertainment and not the tool that I had envisioned for connecting
with our loved ones back in Chile.

Having a ham radio as our entertainment, we decided that it would be
nice to share some of the music that we could receive from far away
stations with the Pascuenses [natives], so we organized occasional
musical gatherings by placing speakers in front of our porch. We had
just paved the 100-foot walkway from the gate entrance to the front
porch. Many Pascuenses came that first Sunday afternoon for our
get-together. While they enjoyed the music, especially German marches
that they had heard during warship visits during WWII, they were most
impressed by the paved walkway. They had never seen such "soft large
flat rock", and for them it was a pleasure just to walk on it , to the
point of asking if they could come back some other day with their
families for a promenade. ...
==================================================

The book, "Life and Solitude in Easter Island", should be available on
Amazon by mid-December (hopefully), and this week we're starting to
decide where to place the illustrations.

TIA!
Jennifer Simonds
Seattle
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