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Used with permission from Elizabeth VE7YL

On October 1, 1980 the OM Reg (VE7BTY/YB0ADS) and I (VE7YL/YB0ADT) left Jakarta, Indonesia. Reg had been with Shell Oil for 33 years, having gone to England straight from his graduation as a Chemical Engineer from UBC.

We returned to Vancouver for retirement and I left behind a couple of DX calls that were definitely on the wanted list.

In 1944 I had earned a second class radio license and after 3 years employment with the Dept. of Transportation in Vancouver and the Dept of National Defence in Victoria and began a new phase in my wireless career, serving as a ship's radio officer for four years on two Norwegian ships, the MV Vito and MV Skauvann leaving the latter vessel in 1951 to marry Reg in Singapore. The OM at that time was working in Pladju, Sumatra.

We departed Jakarta that October day and took the long, slow way home starting in Perth where I met with hams I had talked to on a daily basis from my ham station in Jakarta. Flying on to Melbourne we drove through wine country to Canberra. From there to Sydney, then on to New Zealand for a golf holiday and a meeting with ZL hams. Next it was on to Manila where we attended the South East Asia Convention (4DISEA) and finally home via Japan.

From being a wanted YB and a very wanted EP (Iran) callsign I found myself in a townhouse with a wire antenna under the sun deck and a VE7 call that wasn't really needed by anyone! But that is what I had so I started working on my DXCC, DXCCYL, WAZ etc and I also started a campaign to move to Richmond where I knew I could have a tower and a beam antenna!

That campaign resulted in our building a home on property my parents had lived on and I achieved my dream - a 70 ft crank up tower with a TH7.

Reg and I took trips overseas armed with a radio and wire antennas returning to Holland where my PA call was still good. I was also issued with a G call and we spent some time in Gurnsey, Jersey, England and Scotland. Later we visited the Cayman Islands and I also operated from PJ2CC in Curacao.

In 1989 we went to the YLRL convention in Hawaii and I met Mary Lou Brown NM7N who was leading a YL DXpedition to Wallis and Fiji. I became their QSL manager. The follow year, 1990 Reg became a SK and after some thought I decided to stay in the home we had built and put that TH7 to good use.

My first solo trip overseas was to Sweden to attend a YL International conference. Then later in the year I joined Mary Lou and a group of YLs going to the British Virgin Islands (VP2V/VE7YL) and Grenada (J37EA/J37YL) followed in two years by San Pierre and Miquelon (FP/VE7YL)

September 3, 1996 found me heading for Perth, Australia via LA and Auckland. This was for the ALARA MEET. I stayed with Poppy VK6YF (a CLARA member) and her OM Les. With me I carried a CLARA DXCC-YL plaque for 140 YL countries and presented it to Gwen VK3DYL. From Perth I traveled to Melbourne to stay with Gwen, visited Mavis VK3KS, went to see the penquins on Philip Island, visited a friend in Alexandria and then on to Syndey and Coonable on October 17th to stay and visit with Heather VK2HD. Heading north to Brisbane I stayed for a week at Fox Mountain Lodge the B & B run by Rick VK4HF and his xyl Julie. They took me on daily tours around the area.

Oct. 27th saw me off to New Zealand and a drive with Biny ZL2AZY and her OM Merv to their home in Perongia, then a visit to Pearl ZL2QY, a flight back to Auckland from Hamilton on Nov.1st and home the following day via Honolulu.

In 1997 I attended the CLARA Gala in Toronto and won a plaque copying CW at 50wpm.

On Dec 4, 1998 I heard the sad news that Mary Lou (NM7N) was a SK, having died a the LA airport on her return from a DXpedition to Lord Howe Island (VK9LX)

My next journey abroad was to an International YL Conference in Hamilton, New Zealand in 2000 followed by a visit to Norfolk Island. On Norfolk a few YLs rented Aunt Ems' guest house and set up the station AX9YL. The photograph shows some of the operators Ella G0FIP, Gwen VK3DYL, myself, Raija SM0HNV behind me, Biny ZL2AZY and June VK4SJ at the mike. Our host Dave Magri climbed coconut palms and hung a wire antenna for us and eventually the vertical that was shipped from Australia caught up with us. We were wanted and people heard us! We met Kirsti VK9NL and Jim Smith VK9NS who kindly lent us an extra radio.

From Norfolk I went on to Brisbane and a camping trip to Fraser Island and across Queensland with Rick and Julie. Where to next was the question. Why not Lord Howe Island and the Cooks? Why not!

On Sept. 2, 2002 I headed for Brisbane, stayed 3 days with Rick and Julie to get over my jet lag and then met the rest of the party in Brisbane. There was Doug VK4BP and June VK4SJ, Gwen VK3DYL, Raija SM0HNV, Mio JR3MVF and myself. The weight restriction on that Dash 8-one and three quarter hour flight was 14 Kg and it took a lot of packing and discarding before we reached that allowance! Forget the clothes - wash and wear will do "just take the radio gear was the motto!" We stayed at Ebbtide, self contained apartments, with plenty of Kentia palms growing close by to hang our wire antennas on. Quickly we got on the air as VK9YL and stayed until the 29th when it was back to Brisbane. Mio, Gwen, June, Doug and I then continued on to Auckland and a connecting flight to Rarotonga. We were met by Vic ZK1CG who took us the next day to the Radio Inspectors office where we were issued the call ZK1XYL.


Lord Howe Island 2002

Raija SM0HNV, Mio JR3MVF, June VK4SI, Elizabeth VE7YL, Gwen VK3DYL

Next we were off to Aitutaki where we were greeted by Queen Manarangi, the wife of Des, ZK1DD. June, Doug and I stayed at Gina's Gardens and Mio and Gwen were 10 minutes away at the Maina Sunset Motel. Des even had a beam antenna for us to use - no rotator so I kept it pointing just East of North - great for the US and Europe. By the 7th we were back in Rarotonga staying in accommodation close to Vic ZK1CG who kindly let us use his radio shack and beam antenna. We set up with wire antennas and June's Buddypole erected on the beach close to her cabin. The world was again looking for us. I returned home on October 15th and started wondering 'where to next'? Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Island. Again - why not?

An article I wrote about this trip appeared in the YL News and Views by Cathy VE3GJH in the March/April 2004 edition of TCA.

Oct. 3 2003 I flew to Perth, Australia with a few days stop over in Singapore. Then stayed with Poppy VK6YF until the 13th when Gwen VK3DYL, June VK4SJ and I left by National Jet Systems for Christmas Island. We had the call VK9XYL and operated from the Ocean View Rooms at Rocky Pt. June with one station and Gwen and I sharing the other. Putting a wooden table on the verandah across our sitting room door, with the door open we got the effects of the air conditioner on our backs. We toured the island, found good food and thoroughly enjoyed our operating and our stay.

On the 27th it was on to Cocos (Keeling) where we had 3 cabins on Airforce Rd. right beside the airport runway and with a bird's eye view of the golf course which was built on either side of the runway - sand fairways and sand greens! Our call was VK9CYL and we strung wire antennas between the cottages and coconut palms but had not anticipated that a coconut would fall on June's Buddypole nor for the largest explosion ever recorded in our solar system which resulted in no progagation for a few days. On the 10th we left Cocos (Keeling) for Perth. Another wonderful DXpedition! But -where to next?

Gwen and I decided on Vanuatu and Tonga in 2005! Again I wrote an article for Cathy, VE3GJH which was in the November/December issue of the Canadian Amateur 2005 so this is just a short repeat of that. I left on April 28 for Nadi, Fiji and Port Vila meeting Gwen at breakfast in the Melanosian Hotel, as planned, on the 30th! We stayed and operated from the home of Bob Wyllie and his wife Cornelia. Bob was a pilot with Air Vanuatu and with his wife ran a large market and nursery garden. Gwen and I applied for and were granted the call YJ0YL. From Port Villa we headed north to Espiritu Santo to a lovely resort on Aore Island returning to Port Vila on May 20th and the following day flew to Auckland. Biny and Merv drove up to Auckland and then, Aola ZL1ALE, Dave ZL1AMN and Celia ZL1ALK came and joined us around the pool at our airport motel for a lot of talking and catching up on news. On the 22nd we took a night flight to Tonga arriving at 2:15am and to our resort at 3am. Dead tired! To town the next morning to see Mr Lopete Palefau, the Radio Inspector, who issued us with the call A35YL for us both to use and A35EL for myself if I wanted to use it. Gwen and I stayed at Heilala Resort and once again used our wire antennas very successfully. On the 29th we headed north to Vava'u where we stayed south of the town of Pangaimutu at the Marcella Resort. The TS50 did a good job once again though gave us a scare when the SWR hit the roof. A session with the manual and a lot of muttering and we solved the problem - we felt very proud of ourselves. We loved Tonga and Vanuatu - the people were so very friendly - we hated to leave. We had visited paradise. Gwen headed home to Melbourne and I to Vancouver.

That was the last of my DXpeditions - they had all been wonderful but during the times that I was home in Richmond I kept chasing things that interested me, I kept that TH7 busy! In 1993, '94 and '95 I became involved in the Canadian Islands Program started by Garry VE3XN and with the help of Paul VE7FJO (SK) and Arnold VE7CZI of the Richmond Ham Club I was able to put on 33 islands in and around Vancouver. They drove the Club Communications van for me or guided the small power boat we borrowed around the mud banks and islands of the Fraser River. We were refused access to only one island and then chugged around to the opposite side of the island, pulled the boat up on the sand and proceeded to put the island on the air.

I started collecting islands for IOTA and now have around 1013, the second YL in the world to get over 1000 islands. I have the 1st CLARA DXCCYL plaque hanging on my wall with 250 YL countries confirmed and 9 ready to go for my next seal when I get one more YL country confirmed. Also have the first WAZ YL with Diana giving me the last zone I needed - Zone 2, VE8XYL in Iqaluit, NWT. I have worked 344 entities, that covers all the countries listed Mixed and am working slowly at contacting as many as I can on CW.

It has all been fun, I've had a wonderful time with this great hobby and I hope that all of you who read this will have as much fun as I have had. Get on the air - be heard YLs!

Elizabeth VE7YL