Contest from the past to the future

WPX CW 2013 is going on right now. I have worked 4 stations in it. It may be all I will have worked in this contest. Yesterday, it was pretty good especially on the higher bands. I could hear all continents on 15m at the same time at midnight here. By early evening here today, PJ6A was sending 3300 plus. They could go over 4500 or even 5000 when the contest is over. On the other hand, big guns have called CQ in vain for 10 or 15 min on 40m this evening. Does it mean that the condition is dropping or that there are less participants in the contest?

I don't know how contests have been started in ham radio. I guess, when it was really hard for them to work with far distance, it was to test how one's set up worked or how the band conditions were etc in the beginning. Later, by mid 50s or so, it has become events of competetion. They have started to set big amps and to install big antennas. The purpose was genuinly to win in the race. Around 1990 and on, the stations were equipped with PC and internet. Since it became quite possible for us to talk to anywhere in the wold at any time, the original end of contests has lost its meaning.

There were two kinds of stations in the participants. One group was the big contesters with the biggest set ups while there were the ordinary stations with modest set ups who won't dare competing in it but just enjoy contests for a while. The former ones have been active throughout the sun spot cycle. But the latter has been so capricious  that, if the condition is not vfavorable to them, they won't join any contest.

As I already wrote here in a post, there are more numbers of contests being held. It is amazing. There are no weekends when we could not hear a contest held anywhere in the world. Some club even holds contests in plain week day. They are often bumping each other in the same week end. It should be called as the inflation of contests. I don't know why they have planned so many contests throughout a year. Maybe, the planners, consciously or unconsciously, feel that there wre less people joining some contest and, if they plan more contests, it will help to recruit new contesters with newly planned contests. I am afraid this trial of recruit especially for young new comers has not been very successful. So far, I believe it results in inflation.

In the future, how shall contests be? I don't know about it, either. One fact is that it is the highest solar activity period right now and the contesters would spend a day or two for the events.  They are becoming older now. I guess the average of the age is around 60 or so. In the next plateau of the solar cycle, they might be over 70 years of age. I wonder if they would spend time for this blood boiling but a little bit tiring event at that time. 


Piano Quintette c minor Op 115 by Faure

Last Sunday, accidentally, the 1st movement of this music has flowed from radio. Viola plays the beautiful theme on the arpeggio by piano. It sounds not only simple and beautiful but also tinted with bitterness. A flow of melodies form this music. No rigid structure like with German music. The texture the melodies form is tender to me.

I used to listen to this music in my school days. I repeatedly played a cassette tape of this music by Jean Hubeau as pianist and Via Nova Quartet. I was not bored with it at all. But the beauty in simplicity and bitterness has caught my mind.  The more frequently I listened to it, the more I was attracted by this music.

On the latter part of Faure's life, he has suffered from hearing difficulty. His biography by his son also tells that he believed his works would be forgotten in the future. In such a difficult situation, I am always amazed, how he has composed such a great chamber music! Listen the 4th movement with such vivid and brilliant melodies. It is a miracle.

When I was eager practising cello, I wanted to reach the world of such a music as this one by myself as a cellist. It was quite tough for me and was a pain for me in a sense. But, since I have given it up now, I could enjoy this music with comfort looking back my own life. I decided to spend more time listening this one and the others which used to occupy my mind in my young days.


In 23 years

There was a picture of James, 9V1YC, uploaded in face book a couple of days ago. He seemed to be home in New England right now and to have meeting with ham friends there. He has become a little bit less young than I expected him to be. No wonder, my image on him is till back in 1990 as this QSL shows.

I happened to be the QSL manager for XU8DX, which had been operated by Sokun, a personel of PTT in Phnom Penh Cambodia since the spring in 1989 when the Hungarian team left the radio set up over there. In the summer of 1990, the PA tubes of the amplifier were run out and were needed to be replaced to new ones. No way to send them to Phnom Penh, where the civil war was still going on.

I was on a tight duty at a hospital at that time and could never take a long vacation, even though later in the next year, I managed an 8 days vacation to Cambodia and operated XU0JA as well. I asked James and Atsushi, JF3NRI, to go there bringing those PA tubes. These two young guys readily ansered yes. It was how XU0AA operation came true in Dec of 1990.

They have done a great job. XU was not so popular those days that they have had great pile ups. Despite of military curfew at night and occasional power outage, they have made over 4000 QSOs in a week. Sometimes, there were strange outages when they went for disco, as I knew later.

Atsushi is still going on his profession as a physics researcher and is not able to be on the radio except for guest operation at some big contest stations. James, as everyone knows, has become a famous DXer as well as DX peditioner. He would go for FT/Z next winter. He seems to be quite successful at his job in 9V as well. Sokun is settled down in Australia and has a peaceful family over there after she has experiened the harsh era of Khmer Rouge.

23 years have passed.



Would you call me Shin San?

In a domestic mailing list for CW lovers I belong to, it was questioned by a member why we often put "San" after names. Some foreign hams do the same way. On the other hand, in western countries, they won't add Mr. or Mrs. etc, which might be equivalent to San to their names in the QSOs.

It expresses, I believe, an aspect of the difference of cultures on each side. "San" is a polite and courteous term being often used when we call someone in real conversation. Unlike Mr. or Mrs. in English, however, it won't mean a formal relationship. We are scarcely conscious of the formality with the word "San". It sounds fairly friendly as well. When we call the other with San, the reltionship is not very close but in a kind of intimacy. This word means the distance from the others as well as the warm attitude toward the others.

Our culture is composed of fairly monotonous or homogenous culture, even though there are a number of cultures of the minorities. It is assumed, as a kind of common sense, that everyone feels or thinks on something in the same way. Or, maybe, I should say the background of such way of feeling or thinking is believed to be shared by all of us. Globalisation and transfer of goods or of people across the borders have made it undergo a drastic change now. But this culture with a historical backgrpund still seems to determine how we feel or act for someone else in our country. We won't stop using San for somttime.

In the western country, on the other hand, there are people with different racial, cultural or religious background. Or such people are facing each other across the borders. In such a situation, it might be necessary for them to express their friendliness toward the other by some action. In heterogenous societies, it might always be necessary for them to overcome the difference.  Shaking hands, hugging and so forth. Calling someone without formal prefixes like Mr. or Mrs. etc. is not an exception.

It is interesting that apparently trivial manner of QSO is still determined by some culturral thing.


A great cellist has died

This performance by Starker and Sebok has hit me when I started cello. The music sounds like whispering his thought in my ear. It is a passion in melancholy typical for youth. Starker was playing with sharp bowing technique. Yes, he has inspired me one of the best performance style and spirit of this music in my young days.
He has died at the age of 88 years on Apr 28. Rest in peace, my dear great cellist! 


Bill N4AR

There have been a number of unforgettable friends in each era of my ham life. Around 1990, Bill, N4AR, was such a guy. Those days, I devoted myself to DXing and contesting in addition to ragchewing for my main interest. Bill was active both in DXing and ragchewing as well. We often met on 40m an hour or two after sunset in our time. His signal was one of the loudest ones from his area. Chatting with me for a while, he always said he should go for the round in the ward. Yes, he has been a cardiologist since '70s, I guess. My favorite phrase to him in such a case was that I wished him peace for the inpatients.

As I have written about it somewhere else, I have worked him as K4GSU/8 in contests in '60s. He was a med student at Johns Hopkins those days, so far as I heard from him later while I was a student in my teenage without any idea to be a doctor. No ragchews at that time but several contest QSOs in such as AA contests. When I came back on the air after a hiatus for my med student days and residency etc, I ran across with him on 40m. Since we have shared the same kind of interests in ham radio as well as the same profession, even though he had been much more experienced in both fields, it won't take us so long time before becoming good friends each other.

For the past decade or a bit longer, he has been too busy at his new hobby, riding horses, which prevented him from operating radio like before. He must has been more responsible for his duty at the work as well. I have had contacts with him once a few years, mostly, from his summer home in Michigan. I was pleased to know he had been doing OK.

Last night, I was called by him on 20m CW. He told me he had finally decided to retire by the end of Sept this year. He said it was enough for him to have a phone call from ER at night. Thinking of how much he has dedicated himself to the patients in medical services for the past decades, I would say he has done very fine as a doctor. He also said it was not easy for him to tell his patients about his retirement. I totally understood what he had felt for them. The patients are so important as family members for us. I had a kind of ambivalence to say good by to them as I wrote here. It was not easy in fact. But it is the time for him to go forward for now. He has been fixing the anntenas and towers by himself. He is 73 years young! The antennas were destroyed by an ice storm some time ago. He told me that he would put up 3el for 40m at the height of 160ft again soon! It does never seem to be a work for him alone! He added, if he needed any help, his son aged 30 years now would help him.

Aki, JA5DQH, used to visit him in '80s. He has sent me several fine pictures of himself and the shack/antenna farm those days. If I remeber it right, the number of the towers at that time was 10! I asked Bill how many towers he had now. He has only 4 right now. He was smiling telling me he  took away 6 of the towers to build the horse riding ground. So, as I answered to him, only 40% of his mind is occupied by ham radio while 60% might go for a couple of horses he loved now.

In the end of the QSO, I wished him very pleasant and healthy retirement to come. It won't take so long before we could hear his big signal on 40m early in our evening.

Around 1990, he had such antennas as this. Stacked 4 el for 20m and 6 el for 10 and 15 m at the top of each tower.


He used to use Drake C line in '80s. But by this time, he has changed them to Tentec. An Alpha amp is seen on the rack. The caption says it was 1991. He must be around51 years of age, most experienced in medical duties. I used to ask him on the air how to prescribe digitalis for my mother those days since I was not good at it as a pediatrician. He was kind enough to let me know about it.


A moral hazard in medical practice

Since I needed new pair of glasses for renewing the driver's license, I have been to an ophthalmologist this afternoon. The clinic was pretty crowded with dozens of patients. Even though I have written in the quetionair before examination why I visited there, I was told to have thorough examinations for from cornea to retina. I didn't tell them that I was a MD. It took me an hour and a half to complete all the tests. Eventually, it cost only a bit more than 30 USD for my payment. It means the total cost was around 100 USD. If it were not my 1st visit, the cost would have been 60 or 70% of this amount.

I felt it was so cheap for that tests and examination. Some tests like visual acuity test were just routine. The others were done with high tech new euipments. Nurses or other personel were doing tests for me. I could hardly believe that the total cost would pay for the procedures and the work cost of the personel in addition to the examination by the doctor itself. If the doctor would run the clinic without any red, he should see and examine as many patients as possible. He could spend only a few minutes for each patient.

No wonder the doctor has done such numerous tests for economical management, even if, from medical point of view, it is quite questionable to do that way as routine. I just wondered how he submit the bill paper to the public social insurance agency. Won't the agency deny accepting the bill because of inappropriate indication of the tests etc?

Evindently, there is a moral hazard in this practice. As a doctor, I could hardly blame this ophthalmologist for this practice. I fully understand how this situation occurs. Not due to the doctor's greed at all, He won't run his office without practising in this way. He needs to pay for the staff, for the test equipment or the primary investment for the office building etc.

On the other hand, our government would cut the budget for the medical insurance. Their slogan is that they would rationalize the medical system and would provide a better medical service. Impossible. They should be more honest as for why the budget should be cut, that is, too much expenses for public enterprises since 1980s by a series of LDP governments. They should have prepared for the society of old people. The government should apologize the people that they should downsize the medical services from now. Less services and more payments are necessary for now. Or the moral hazard would be worsened, so that the medical system would be destroyed in the very near future. 


Bach's music

Have I written about the impression I have from the musics of JS Bach?

Two different things. Pleasure and sorrow. Cosmos and inner world of one's mind. I am always amazed that Bach has expressed two opposite things at the same time in a music. Even a melody expresses ambivalence. This ambivalence won't irritate our mind at all but rather soothe us. It is words of comfort by music to those struggling in the actual world.

Allemande in Partita Nr 2. The tonality is d minor. It would have been governed by a sad mood. But we listen a sense of pleasure as well as sorrow at the same time. I used to listen to this music quite often in my school days. Hilary Hahn performs it with perfect technique. In her blog, she wrote she always started practising violin with one of the unaccompanied sonata/partita like this. It seems this music has become a part of her life.


Old pictures and a QSL

Some old pictures and QSLs were found in my messy shack.
This is the QSL of Merle W6ULS, later K6DC, for a QSO in 1964. I was a 15 years old new comer at this time. The small logo shows Penta Lab, where he was working for at this time. He was a real big gun those days. I often heard him working ZS or the west Eu through long path on 40m late at night in our time. I was just always amazed at his big signal and proficient operation those days. I haven't dreamed visiting him later in my life.

 In my 2nd trip, around 1992, to Santa Barbara visiting Merle, there were 3 old timers at Merle's shack. From left to right, Rad, W6THN, Merle, K6DC at this time and Eric, W6DU. Rad used to be the boss for Merle. An interesting and a bit shy person. He took me to his wonderful home on a top of a hill later. In this trip, I was intending to drive from the bay area to Santa Barbara by myself. But Eric has kindly taken me down there despite of his back pain. Kind and good old timers. Too sad all of them have already gone silent key for now.
Merle at his operating position. The gear was, probably, TS430. I was surprised to know he was using such a simple gear at that time. On his left hand, there was a big amplifier with a pair of 8877s. Through the window of his shack, we could see the Pacific ocean over his sloping big garden, where he used to set a fixed 4 or 5 element Yagi for long path to Eu in '60s. Merle was a quiet person. But still open minded and kind to any visitors including myself. Good old days.  

A juridical person and the mass media endanger obstetrics in japan

The Japan Council for Quality Health Care (JCQHC), a juridical person mentioned in this blog in the past, has issued a report on the relationship between cerebral palsy (CP) and labor inducing drug (LID) use. It says 30% of CP cases were given LID during delivery and, in almost 80% of those cases, the obstetricians were not compliant to the guide line of LID use issued by an academic society of obstetrics. The report carefully evades expressing cause and result relationship between CP and LID use.

The mass media has taken this news as a big topic. In the news, the expression is so stereotypic that the readers or listeners are lead to believe LID use or "abuse" resulted in asphyxia of the neonates, which eventually caused CP later. What the mass media says in this way is not right.

The real causes of CP have not been elucidated yet. Not the neonatal asphyxia but intrauterine issues have been known to be the main cause of CP. Recent progress in genetic analysis for CP cases and CP related cases has revealed a number of them are due to genetic disorders like the other genetic neuromuscular disorders. A recent review of this subject has stressed that a growing amount of evidence  suggests multiple genetic factors responsible for the etiologies of CP.

It says, despite of the drastic improvement in medical science for the past 4 decades, the prevalence of CP remains the same level as 2 or 3 per 1000 live birth. Though electronic fetal monitoring, now widely used to detect fetal distress from fetal distress, has not decreased this prevalence rate. A number of large scaled controlled studies have shown, as this review says, birth asphyxia accounts for only less than 10% of CP cases. These findings strongly argue against that LID use or abuse has caused CP as JCQHC report or the mass media says.

Why does JCQHC or the mass media try to mislead the people as for this medical issue? This juridical person  has got a big amount of reserve from the compensation system for CP cases, as I have told in the previous post. They confront to severe criticism against such a scheme and against their unwillingness to reform the system. Insisting of this "malpractise" causing CP cases in obstetrics, they seem to try to make our eyes turned away from such a problem. The mass media, being ignorant of the facts known in medical science, only need any news sensationally attracting the people's eyes. Both of them are not concerned if such a campaign would destroy clinical services in obstetrics, which have already been exposed to groundless lawsuit.


A watered rice paddy

This spring, we have had cold waves in regular interval for several times. An unusually cool spring. It has made the farmers around here do planting rice rather late. A neighbor farmer next to us in the northern way started watering into the rice paddy there.

We used to be surrounded with rice paddies, watered, all around here at this time in a year. But, only this farmer grows it at present. This photo shows the watered rice paddy over the fence looking due north.
As you see, a piece of farm is not so large as that in the US etc. Farmers are always working at some job other than farming on the plain week days while they work in their farms in the week ends. The size of farms remain pretty small. Our government has tried to proceed intensive agriculture in our country. They believed that it would be the only way to change our farming industry to that competitive to those in the other parts of the world.  However, that projects have been in failure. Farming won't follow the rule of modern economics, as they say. Because it is impossible to move of the production means, that is, the land, and the people themselves. farming products are closely related with our existence itself as well. The modern economics won't be able to be applied to such an industry as farming. The same exception is medical services. It is directly related with our lives, which we won't obey the rule of modern economics.
Our government told they would place both farming and medical science/services as the main tactics to produce further growth of our economy in the TPP era.  Is it really possible? And will it make us happier than now? I still doubt it.
So far, all I could do is to enjoy a bit better take off of my signal with this watered rice paddy.  


KG6AAY in '60s

A couple of days ago, I have run across with an old friend, Cliff, K6KII on 40m CW. He seemed to have been involved in projects at his work. Shortly, he is going to Hawaii and, in the fall, is going to Guam. he said he had been to Guam in '60s and had operated as K6KII/KG6 as well as KG6AAY. The latter call has lit up my memory in '60s.

KG6AAY, a navy club station in Guam, used to be very active those days. I am sure I have worked it sometime, even though I am not sure of who was on the key. Cliff has operated the station in 1966/7. It is quite probable I have met him at this station then. Why have I remembered of this station so vividly? Because it sounded not only punchy but also very beautiful. The call sounded like a real music to me. I asked Cliff if they were running S line those days. His answer was yes as I supposed. Its mellow and pure tone on CW was really typical for Collins. Cliff told me they had had TH6DXX at 100 ft as well.

I have googled about this club station after the QSO with Cliff. Various sources told me it had started since late '40s and were most active in '60s and '70s. Jack, W0UCE, activated this club station as well, a little bit later than Cliff did. With that set up as well as the proficient operators like Cliff or Jack, this station must have been a real regular big gun from this island in the Pacific ocean those days.

Cliff's story has brought me back to good old days again.