Story 138DX/1 Vatican City State

Story from 138DX/1 activity.

138DX/1 by 1DX041 Davide – Vatican City State Activity - 08-09 June 2013

The 138DX/1’s story begins with an unexpected invitation to join a small group of amateur radio friends which would be operating from the Ham station HV4NAC at the Vatican City State.. I was very excited to operate from such a rare DXCC prefix….. and I hoped to find at least a bit of time to be active also on 11m.

Of course the 11 mt. activity from 138 prefix has been completely separated from amateur band transmissions, in fact 138DX/1 has been developed by myself, alone with a mobile station: my car parked inside of the the boundaries of the “Pontifical North American College”! (aka N.A.C).

Like the majority of “DXCC chasers”, I always thought that the Vatican City State’s Ham Radio stations was located directly in the Vatican City as we all are led to believe, I learned that this is not actually or usually the case. There was, a very long time ago, an Ham Radio installation inside, but was dismantled many and many year ago and never rebuilt.

At present, as I was told directly by the station manager, one of the few Amateur Radio Station mainly active from HV (and the only one that has a permanent installation of rtx, tower, antenna, etc.) is HV4NAC, located right at the N.A.C. , an extraterritorial Zone of the Vatican City State located about 800 mtrs. south-east from Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Therefore, to all intents and purposes, the entire territory on which stands the N.A.C. and its surroundings (internal car park, soccer and football field, tennis court, etc..) placed within its boundary walls) are considered Vatican territory and enjoy the same privileges and status.

138DX/1 was operated only from mobile station, the equipment used was:
RTX: ICOM IC706-MKIIG (powered by dedicated car battery)
Mike: original HM-103 handheld microphone
Antenna : Sirtel “Full Metal Power” (1.80 mt. mobile steel whip on 15 cm. magnet mount)

Operations started on 08 June 2013 in the afternoon, but due very poor propagation’s conditions and very limited time to spend in the car, only 1 (one) qso was in the log…..not really a good start !

Sunday 09 June, propagation conditions improved suddenly, and in about 3 hours of operation I was able to log a little less than 200 qso’s. Fascinating pile-up!, at times an incredible amount of signals indistinguishable from one another. That hard work sometimes try to find out a callsign, reply and record it in the log by hand, leaning against the wheel of the car ..... What’s an experience!

Of course the majority of the contacts have been with European stations. At the end I counted 19 different DXCC in my log. Despite the limited conditions of work, also some stations from Brazil and Reunion Island were logged!

Unfortunately, the other major limitation was the short time I have been able to devote, for reasons of safety and engagement with transmissions from the main station….. so 138DX/1 went to qrt on 12.23 UTC. The last station logged was 14AT041…what a nice unit number !

I want to thank Delta-Xray Radio Club for giving their indispensable support to this activity, especially Darran 26DX047 and Soren 47DX002, for their valuable advices and support before, during and after. Thanks, my friends !, also thanks to John 47DX101, always present "on air" for the assistance and help with audio and video proofs recordings!, also big Thanks to Mette 47DX088, who believed and supported this activity from a rare DXCC prefix with such short notice, made from “the last rookie in the family”!

A special big Thanks to Mr. Steve, 1AT782, my photographer, cameraman (and “body guard”, hi!) during my activation!

Many thanks to the entire DXRC AVT Team, for all the time dedicated to prompt and professional work on the viewing, cataloging and verification of 138DX/1’s proofs.

Thanks to all who worked 138DX/1, and to those who tried to get in the log. You have all helped to make this exciting experience unforgettable for me !

Best 73s, 1DX041 Davide