Topics

A great QCX-QCX contact and salute to youth


Steve in Okinawa
 

A year or so ago I heard a QRP station on 40 cw and answered the CQ using my QCX. It was Saku, JS6OUG, up in Hyogo prefecture. He was using A FT-817, and had a great fist and also excellent English. In the course of our QSO I learned he was only 14 and in Junior high school. I was also in Junior high when I got started in ham radio. He expressed interest in my QCX and said he would look into buying a kit. The next I heard from him he had written to this group asking for some troubleshooting help, and then afterwards saying he had it going and was trying to get it permitted for use in Japan. Then last night I finished a (QRO) QSO with a stateside station on 40 and heard Saku calling me.  I switched to my QCX and we had a brief but very satisfying chat. This was a win for both of us, and I think also for QRPlabs and the hobby as a whole.  73, Steve


Andy Brilleaux [O.B.E. pending] <punkbiscuit@...>
 

Getting it permitted for use in Japan ?

You mean you can't even build your own rig
there, or do they go overboard with type approval stuff ?


Hans Summers
 

Hi Steve: congratulations! Great story!

Hi Andy: 

When I was living in Tokyo, 2011-2016, I got licensed as JI1BVC. I well remember that under the terms of the Japanese license, the license actually allows you to operate only certain radios which are listed on your license. At the time of applying for the license, you need to list the radios which you intend to use, and their approval number. If you later decide that you wish to use another radio, you are supposed to complete some more paperwork (and a fee) and it gets added to your license. 

Homebrew rigs are possible - but again are supposed to be approved. It is necessary to submit a block diagram and a technical description (as well as a fee naturally), and get it approved and listed on your license. 

One of the criteria for transceiver equipment approval is that the radio is supposed to limit transmitting to within the amateur bands. Which is not even quite as straightforward as it ought to be, since some of the bands (80m for example) are not a continuous allocation such as 3.5 - 3.8MHz; 80m is broken into several smaller allocations in Japan. 

If all this sounds rather complicated - it is... and to the best of my knowledge, not a few Japanese hams (and particularly those of a homebrewing variety) take the decision to ignore all this, and just get on with it. 

However - FYI - and why I decided to jump into this thread even though we have Japanese members here who could no doubt answer more succinctly and accurately than I have... what people may not be aware of is that both the Ultimate3S and the QCX kits have a corresponding "Japanese firmware version" which is available on request at time of ordering. These special firmware versions are the same as the mainstream firmware versions in almost all aspects except that:

1) They do not permit transmission outside the Japanese amateur band allocations

2) Since both the QCX and U3S firmware completely fills the available 32K Flash memory space, in order to perform the frequency boundary checks, some other piece of functionality had to be disabled; for example in the case of QCX, the Japanese firmware version performs the frequency boundary checks but it cannot transmit WSPR. 

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com

On Thu, May 28, 2020 at 8:06 AM Andy Brilleaux [O.B.E. pending] via groups.io <punkbiscuit=googlemail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Getting it permitted for use in Japan ?

You mean you can't even build your own rig
there, or do they go overboard with type approval stuff ?


Andy Brilleaux [O.B.E. pending] <punkbiscuit@...>
 

Thanks for the insight Hans.
Makes me grateful for living in the UK for a change.
And with that, I'll gracefully slide out of this one ;-)


Hans Summers
 

Hi Andy

Hahahah... well I was born in London and had never lived more than 50 miles from my birthplace. Until 2011... then XYL and I suddenly ended up about as far from London and in about as different a culture as you could ever imagine. Neither of us had ever been to Japan before and we didn't know anyone for thousands of miles in any direction. Talk about a leap of faith into the unknown! 

Well no country is perfect, everywhere has its good points and bad points, though of course we humans have a great tendency to "the grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome. But I have to say the 5.5 years I spent in Japan were definitely some of the best, most enjoyable, most educational and mind-expanding, really fantastic years of my life. It was a really amazing experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. Japan and the Japanese people will always hold a special place in my heart. 

I could go on about this for hours so just stop me now :-)  Suffice it to say - if you get a chance to visit Japan, go for it... and I think generally the whole experience of living in another country is in many ways a really beneficial thing, though dragging one far outside of one's comfort zone!

73 Hans G0UPL

On Thu, May 28, 2020 at 8:58 AM Andy Brilleaux [O.B.E. pending] via groups.io <punkbiscuit=googlemail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks for the insight Hans.
Makes me grateful for living in the UK for a change.
And with that, I'll gracefully slide out of this one ;-)


 

Hi Hans, Andy (while the British contingent are having a rag chew here...) 
And then Turkey happened...

You're warmly invited to share that story too :-)

Julian N4JO.


Ted 2E0THH
 

Steve
What an inspiring story - well done!

Andy
Not much more than us in the UK (assuming your are, from your impending OBE)
I've spent a great deal of time there, in the '50s they introduced an entry level licence (way ahead of the rest of us) and it proved to be the most successfully licence in the world. I think licencing costs a bit more than it does here, but then everything does.
Given the young man's age, he may still be on this licence. Like here with the Foundation Licence, it may impose restrictions on operating a transmitter you have constructed yourself unless it is a commercial kit that satisfies OFCOM's totally confusing IR2028 (which of course, the QCX does). He may only have been seeking similar clarification.

73s Ted

2E0THH


Ted 2E0THH
 

But I have to say the 5.5 years I spent in Japan were definitely some of the best, most enjoyable, most educational and mind-expanding, really fantastic years of my life. It was a really amazing experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. Japan and the Japanese people will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Seconded!

73sTed

2E0THH


John Andersson
 

I agree with Hans, went to Japan for training at NEC and Pioneer for work - unbelievable experience - so much for the crap posted about the Japanese people !
BEST experience I ever had in any country visited for work.... 

Virus-free. www.avg.com


On Thu, 28 May 2020 at 16:32, Ted 2E0THH <qrp@...> wrote:
But I have to say the 5.5 years I spent in Japan were definitely some of the best, most enjoyable, most educational and mind-expanding, really fantastic years of my life. It was a really amazing experience and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. Japan and the Japanese people will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Seconded!

73sTed

2E0THH


Steve in Okinawa
 

No argument from me on this, not least because I rediscovered ham radio here in Japan. (My wife's father was JA9BB. He went SK just before I met her, but left his shack intact for me to eventually bring to Okinawa.) And I feel very lucky to have ended up on this subtropical island, populated by the sweetest people in the world!


Hans Summers
 

Yes Steve

I visited Okinawa in June 2016... lovely place! It did rain 3 days out of the 4 I was there. But at least the rain was warm :-)

73 Hans G0UPL 

On Thu, May 28, 2020, 12:32 Steve in Okinawa <sfab43@...> wrote:
No argument from me on this, not least because I rediscovered ham radio here in Japan. (My wife's father was JA9BB. He went SK just before I met her, but left his shack intact for me to eventually bring to Okinawa.) And I feel very lucky to have ended up on this subtropical island, populated by the sweetest people in the world!


Jim Manley
 

Please skip this if you have no interest in learning a bit more about what it's like to live in Japan, as a ham or otherwise.  Feel free to correspond with me in more depth about my experiences.  I need to have some rag-chewing QSOs with Steve in Okinawa as soon as I can figure out how to reliably get signals over the Rocky Mountains that are immediately to the West of me for about 100 miles.

I was stationed at the Kamiseya Naval (HF) Radio Receiving Facility, a few miles from Yamato City, and about 20 miles Southwest of Tokyo, for three years while in the Navy, as well as two-and-a-half years at the Navy base at White Beach in Okinawa.  I lived on-base at Kamiseya, and in the Navy-Marine Corps officer housing "ghetto" on Kadena Air Base in Okinawa because the Air Farce didn't want us contaminating their prissy, overspecialized, day-lady folks :)

I third the sentiments about living in Japan, and it does begin as Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" does, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  The UK and other tea-consuming folks would be astounded by the Japanese tea ceremony that has around 250 very-specific steps, and is one of thousands of skills that geisha still learn as part of what amounts to a PhD in Japanese culture.  Unfortunately, the Japanese have applied that detailed art form to _everything_ else there.  Steve can certainly confirm the all-day "ceremony" required to register a car there.

There are dozens of little offices that one must visit, in only one correct order, to have a bureaucrat stamp their "chop" on your paperwork after spending what seems like a good part of the day reviewing it.  Everyone in Japan has a "chop", which is essentially a hardwood dowel typically about an inch, or so, long and about 5/8ths of an inch in diameter, into the end of which is carved a Kanji (pictogram) that represents that person's name, in reverse, of course.  It's in enough detail that I wouldn't be surprised if it also included their title, address, phone number, and pages and pages of other personal information!

After the paperwork has finally been completed, you then drive your car to the entrance of a long building that looks like a small version of a vehicle assembly line.  You're instructed to leave your keys in the ignition and depart the vehicle.  At some point in the distant future, a technician in spotless white coveralls comes over and drives your vehicle into the building to a station that apparently corresponds to emissions testing.

I have no idea what most of the other stations are for, except the last one, but I suspect they're for inspecting commercial vehicles that must involve some large fraction of complete disassembly of the vehicle!  My vehicle only needed to be examined at a few of the stations that included the brakes, lights, instrument panel indicators, and who knows what else.

The last station is where a technician, equipped with what I can only describe as the nicest-looking screwdriver and plastic mallet I could ever imagine, let alone have seen (and I'm a master craftsman in several trades).  He had the pair of highly-coveted license plates I had come for, but one cannot just be expected to properly mount a pair of license plates, no matter what skills they possess.  The bumpers are first thoroughly cleaned around the areas where the plates will be mounted, which is totally unnecessary for vehicles owned by Japanese citizens, as they keep their vehicles at an immaculate level of cleanliness, inside and out, even commercial heavy-construction vehicles.

The plates are each secured with a pair of self-tapping screws into plastic anchors (which they will replace if they're not in like-new condition).  However, one screw is installed through a large metal washer with a raised lip.  A slightly concave metal disk with a Kanji character stamped into its front surface, painted with beautiful metal-flake silver layers (plural, I'm sure), is positioned over the screw and friction-fit into the washer.

That's where The Immaculate Mallet of Blessing comes in - the obviously well-trained, probably oldest technician at the facility, places the face of the mallet against the disk and, with a careful, karate-precise (and likely trained) movement back, followed by a swift swing forward, pops the disk home, deep inside the lip of the washer, covering the screw.  It's an anti-tampering device that will be destroyed if an attempt is made to remove it to remove the plate, as well as the Kanji identifying in which municipality the plate was installed, AIUI.

Mention was already made about the amateur radio licensing process, that doesn't even come with a delicious cup of tea at the end.  Now maybe you can start to dimly imagine these sorts of bureaucratic processes applied to _everything_, _everywhere_.  My civilian flight instructor came from his native Japan to SillyCon Valley to earn his private, instrument, commercial, and airline transport pilot flight instructor certificates, but he was so overwhelmed with how efficient and inexpensive the process was that he wound up staying and becoming a U.S. citizen.  Well, the relative proximity to the casinos in Reno and Las Vegas didn't hurt, either, as he had a penchant for everything those entertainment meccas offered.

On the other hand, we have five fingers, and I traveled the entire length and breadth of the country during the five-and-a-half years I lived there.  You can set your atomic clock by their trains (and the Germans have lost that ability after integration of East(ern) Germany).  There are upwards of tens of thousands of bicycles at every train station in the country, not a single one of them locked (Portland, you don't know squat about urban bicycling, compared to even the smallest village in Japan).

Many commuters keep a bicycle at each end of their commute to cover the last miles.  Places not served by a train station have buses that make the connection for the elderly and younger children.  It's possible to travel from the most remote berg to any other remote berg in the country without having to walk more than a few hundred meters, and within the same day, thanks to the Shinkansen bullet trains.  The cost is subsidized so that long-distance inter-city travel is always less than air travel.

The cultural and historical sites are just impossible to describe no matter how much I type here, but let's just say that they have upwards of a 5.000 year head start over Western contenders.  Fortunately, those infuse much of the rest of the country and its population - when I was living there, the average annual murder rate in Tokyo was ... five ... period.  All is not rainbows and unicorn farts, as the government (not the people) is xenophobic to the point where it's not doing anything about the population shrinking to half its current size over the next 40 years, give-or-take.  They will not allow foreign immigration beyond otherwise-impossible-to-fill jobs, but they can never own property or even ownership of many kinds of businesses.

There is a two-story history museum in an obscure corner of the park surrounding the Emperor's palace, built entirely of wood in the traditional architecture, without a single metal fastener.  When you enter the ground floor, you start at the beginning of the culture and gradually move forward in time.  It ends in the 1930s, and you have to look around to figure out if there's even a way to get to the second floor.  The Japanese are already all well aware of where to go, but will politely feign a lack of understanding as to what you're seeking, but, for those willing to put in the time, it can be found.  

When you do get upstairs, it's darkly lit, and when your eyes have adjusted, you realize that you've found the history of the Imperial Japanese Army, Navy, and Air Forces, starting at the beginning of their devouring of much of Asia before and during WW-II.  I won't go into other details, but the final exhibit is of the uniforms of the military leaders ... stained with their blood where sepaku was self-administered with ceremonial short Samurai swords.

If you haven't already made your reservations to visit there, prices are already starting to recover, so if you're not among the 40+ million who are recently unemployed or otherwise financially challenged, this would be a good opportunity.  I have a personal belief that, when every U.S. student has completed their schooling, they should be required to go live in a country for at least two years where English isn't spoken widely, and preferably where indoor plumbing is rare.

Despite taking an average of eight years of English, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who's conversant in colloquial American English, at least beyond tech-oriented things where local languages aren't an issue, e.g., GUI-based devices, or people who do business with Western foreigners regularly.  When such former students return home, they will kiss the ground they walk on in appreciation for how ridiculously lucky we are to have and enjoy what we do.

Anywaaay, we now return you to your life, already in progress.



Jim  KJ7JHE
Lame Deer Montana High School Amateur Radio Club  KJ7JKU


Gwen Patton
 

As an unofficial addendum to Jim's missive, never, Never, NEVER learn any Japanese from your older brother, who learned it while stationed in Okinawa.

Rubs eye at the memory of being decked by a Japanese waitress at a US Japanese steakhouse...

Just...don't.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
73,
Gwen, NG3P


On Thu, May 28, 2020 at 4:33 PM Jim Manley <jim.manley@...> wrote:
Please skip this if you have no interest in learning a bit more about what it's like to live in Japan, as a ham or otherwise.  Feel free to correspond with me in more depth about my experiences.  I need to have some rag-chewing QSOs with Steve in Okinawa as soon as I can figure out how to reliably get signals over the Rocky Mountains that are immediately to the West of me for about 100 miles.

I was stationed at the Kamiseya Naval (HF) Radio Receiving Facility, a few miles from Yamato City, and about 20 miles Southwest of Tokyo, for three years while in the Navy, as well as two-and-a-half years at the Navy base at White Beach in Okinawa.  I lived on-base at Kamiseya, and in the Navy-Marine Corps officer housing "ghetto" on Kadena Air Base in Okinawa because the Air Farce didn't want us contaminating their prissy, overspecialized, day-lady folks :)

I third the sentiments about living in Japan, and it does begin as Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" does, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  The UK and other tea-consuming folks would be astounded by the Japanese tea ceremony that has around 250 very-specific steps, and is one of thousands of skills that geisha still learn as part of what amounts to a PhD in Japanese culture.  Unfortunately, the Japanese have applied that detailed art form to _everything_ else there.  Steve can certainly confirm the all-day "ceremony" required to register a car there.

There are dozens of little offices that one must visit, in only one correct order, to have a bureaucrat stamp their "chop" on your paperwork after spending what seems like a good part of the day reviewing it.  Everyone in Japan has a "chop", which is essentially a hardwood dowel typically about an inch, or so, long and about 5/8ths of an inch in diameter, into the end of which is carved a Kanji (pictogram) that represents that person's name, in reverse, of course.  It's in enough detail that I wouldn't be surprised if it also included their title, address, phone number, and pages and pages of other personal information!

After the paperwork has finally been completed, you then drive your car to the entrance of a long building that looks like a small version of a vehicle assembly line.  You're instructed to leave your keys in the ignition and depart the vehicle.  At some point in the distant future, a technician in spotless white coveralls comes over and drives your vehicle into the building to a station that apparently corresponds to emissions testing.

I have no idea what most of the other stations are for, except the last one, but I suspect they're for inspecting commercial vehicles that must involve some large fraction of complete disassembly of the vehicle!  My vehicle only needed to be examined at a few of the stations that included the brakes, lights, instrument panel indicators, and who knows what else.

The last station is where a technician, equipped with what I can only describe as the nicest-looking screwdriver and plastic mallet I could ever imagine, let alone have seen (and I'm a master craftsman in several trades).  He had the pair of highly-coveted license plates I had come for, but one cannot just be expected to properly mount a pair of license plates, no matter what skills they possess.  The bumpers are first thoroughly cleaned around the areas where the plates will be mounted, which is totally unnecessary for vehicles owned by Japanese citizens, as they keep their vehicles at an immaculate level of cleanliness, inside and out, even commercial heavy-construction vehicles.

The plates are each secured with a pair of self-tapping screws into plastic anchors (which they will replace if they're not in like-new condition).  However, one screw is installed through a large metal washer with a raised lip.  A slightly concave metal disk with a Kanji character stamped into its front surface, painted with beautiful metal-flake silver layers (plural, I'm sure), is positioned over the screw and friction-fit into the washer.

That's where The Immaculate Mallet of Blessing comes in - the obviously well-trained, probably oldest technician at the facility, places the face of the mallet against the disk and, with a careful, karate-precise (and likely trained) movement back, followed by a swift swing forward, pops the disk home, deep inside the lip of the washer, covering the screw.  It's an anti-tampering device that will be destroyed if an attempt is made to remove it to remove the plate, as well as the Kanji identifying in which municipality the plate was installed, AIUI.

Mention was already made about the amateur radio licensing process, that doesn't even come with a delicious cup of tea at the end.  Now maybe you can start to dimly imagine these sorts of bureaucratic processes applied to _everything_, _everywhere_.  My civilian flight instructor came from his native Japan to SillyCon Valley to earn his private, instrument, commercial, and airline transport pilot flight instructor certificates, but he was so overwhelmed with how efficient and inexpensive the process was that he wound up staying and becoming a U.S. citizen.  Well, the relative proximity to the casinos in Reno and Las Vegas didn't hurt, either, as he had a penchant for everything those entertainment meccas offered.

On the other hand, we have five fingers, and I traveled the entire length and breadth of the country during the five-and-a-half years I lived there.  You can set your atomic clock by their trains (and the Germans have lost that ability after integration of East(ern) Germany).  There are upwards of tens of thousands of bicycles at every train station in the country, not a single one of them locked (Portland, you don't know squat about urban bicycling, compared to even the smallest village in Japan).

Many commuters keep a bicycle at each end of their commute to cover the last miles.  Places not served by a train station have buses that make the connection for the elderly and younger children.  It's possible to travel from the most remote berg to any other remote berg in the country without having to walk more than a few hundred meters, and within the same day, thanks to the Shinkansen bullet trains.  The cost is subsidized so that long-distance inter-city travel is always less than air travel.

The cultural and historical sites are just impossible to describe no matter how much I type here, but let's just say that they have upwards of a 5.000 year head start over Western contenders.  Fortunately, those infuse much of the rest of the country and its population - when I was living there, the average annual murder rate in Tokyo was ... five ... period.  All is not rainbows and unicorn farts, as the government (not the people) is xenophobic to the point where it's not doing anything about the population shrinking to half its current size over the next 40 years, give-or-take.  They will not allow foreign immigration beyond otherwise-impossible-to-fill jobs, but they can never own property or even ownership of many kinds of businesses.

There is a two-story history museum in an obscure corner of the park surrounding the Emperor's palace, built entirely of wood in the traditional architecture, without a single metal fastener.  When you enter the ground floor, you start at the beginning of the culture and gradually move forward in time.  It ends in the 1930s, and you have to look around to figure out if there's even a way to get to the second floor.  The Japanese are already all well aware of where to go, but will politely feign a lack of understanding as to what you're seeking, but, for those willing to put in the time, it can be found.  

When you do get upstairs, it's darkly lit, and when your eyes have adjusted, you realize that you've found the history of the Imperial Japanese Army, Navy, and Air Forces, starting at the beginning of their devouring of much of Asia before and during WW-II.  I won't go into other details, but the final exhibit is of the uniforms of the military leaders ... stained with their blood where sepaku was self-administered with ceremonial short Samurai swords.

If you haven't already made your reservations to visit there, prices are already starting to recover, so if you're not among the 40+ million who are recently unemployed or otherwise financially challenged, this would be a good opportunity.  I have a personal belief that, when every U.S. student has completed their schooling, they should be required to go live in a country for at least two years where English isn't spoken widely, and preferably where indoor plumbing is rare.

Despite taking an average of eight years of English, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who's conversant in colloquial American English, at least beyond tech-oriented things where local languages aren't an issue, e.g., GUI-based devices, or people who do business with Western foreigners regularly.  When such former students return home, they will kiss the ground they walk on in appreciation for how ridiculously lucky we are to have and enjoy what we do.

Anywaaay, we now return you to your life, already in progress.



Jim  KJ7JHE
Lame Deer Montana High School Amateur Radio Club  KJ7JKU


Ted 2E0THH
 

Fabulous insight Jim

 

My first visit was only back in the '80s but I’ve been there nearly every year since, sometimes more. I worked in music and more specifically flew one of those huge mixing consoles (SSL) that was mandatory in every recording studio back then. Like any complex bit of kit it had a huge manual but there were many ways to make it work for you that weren't written in there.

 

I honestly will never forget the look of horror of the Japanese assistant techs  as I "bent" the rules of operation, there was much manual page fumbling and protest but I managed to forge on citing translation difficulties.

 

That first session was a long project, 6 weeks I think so we got to know each other very well. By then I was reasonably world travelled but Tokyo was a utter culture shock. All of the Japanese involved in that project were so unbelievably hospitable and generous, way beyond anything I had ever known and it is a testament to the trust we built that I still remain friends with most from that first visit. Music still takes me back there most years but alas not this one for obvious reasons.

 

Those guys introduced me to a district of Tokyo around Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for the onslaught of the visual and audio cacophony that awaits; there are certainly no words I can write here that will describe it but it has become a Mecca for me and I have made the pilgrimage on almost every visit. 


A visit here should be on every ham's bucket list, for underneath the railway arches by the station there is a labyrinth of corridors which hosts a mini market of EVERYTHING electronic. The pitches are arranged along one wall and are about 2 metres wide with the trader lurking in the shadows behind trays and trays of beautifully arranged components, the more successful have bigger areas but it is the presentation of the components on offer that is so breathtaking. If you have any old '60s radio that has lost a foot, you will find it here, 813 tetrode with a thoriated tungsten filament, no problem. Really they have everything, there was even an HRO there last November.

 




I know of one other regular poster on this forum that knows this area rather well
J

 

73s Ted
2E0THH


Hans Summers
 

Hi Ted
 

I know of one other regular poster on this forum that knows this area rather well J


Yes indeed! I was so lucky that Akihabara was a 2-station train ride from my office. I could literally be there, door to door including the walk to/from the stations at either end, in 15 minutes each way. That left 30 minutes to peruse and buy what I needed. So I could be there and back in a lunch hour! Many QRP Labs kits started their development using components found in Akihabara. And yes, sometimes I did not make it back in an hour so had to have plenty of excuses on hand :-D

Later I had one of the popular eBikes (you pedal but an electric motor assists) known as Mamachari which literally translates to "Mummy Bike". Actually we bought it for XYL to use but between one lab tech and another it was me that ended up zooming all over Tokyo on it. So then it was even faster to get to Akihabara and back in a lunch hour, through the Tokyo back streets. 

Happy memories! 

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com


Jim Manley
 

Hi Ted and Hans,

I'm so glad you provided that glimpse of Akihabara (especially the photos), as my post had already grown far too long. Family and friends have diagnosed themselves as suffering from my 200 wpm "diarrhea of the fingertips"!

Of course, when I said that I lived on the base at Kamiseya, I lied.  I was on a 2-2-2-80 shift schedule that two day watches 7 AM - 3 PM, eight hours off (the dreaded double-back), two graveyard watches 11 PM - 7 AM, eight hours off, two evening watches 3 PM - 11 PM, and then 80 hours off.  The first 24 hours were spent sleeping, and the.remainder I lived at ... Akihabara!

The yen-dollar exchange rate was as high as 270:1, but it got as low as 165:1, while I was there, which is now a dream lost to time, with the current rate around 108:1.  Our cost-of-living allowance changed to theoretically keep our purchasing power constant, but for some reason, whenever the rate went down, it took months to be reflected in our pay, but the moment it went up, BAM, our pay was reduced!

Ah, to dream, perchance to sleep ...

Jim  KJ7JHE
Lame Deer Montana High School Amateur Radio Club  KJ7JKU


On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 1:36 AM Ted 2E0THH <qrp@...> wrote:

Fabulous insight Jim

 

My first visit was only back in the '80s but I’ve been there nearly every year since, sometimes more. I worked in music and more specifically flew one of those huge mixing consoles (SSL) that was mandatory in every recording studio back then. Like any complex bit of kit it had a huge manual but there were many ways to make it work for you that weren't written in there.

 

I honestly will never forget the look of horror of the Japanese assistant techs  as I "bent" the rules of operation, there was much manual page fumbling and protest but I managed to forge on citing translation difficulties.

 

That first session was a long project, 6 weeks I think so we got to know each other very well. By then I was reasonably world travelled but Tokyo was a utter culture shock. All of the Japanese involved in that project were so unbelievably hospitable and generous, way beyond anything I had ever known and it is a testament to the trust we built that I still remain friends with most from that first visit. Music still takes me back there most years but alas not this one for obvious reasons.

 

Those guys introduced me to a district of Tokyo around Akihabara Station in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for the onslaught of the visual and audio cacophony that awaits; there are certainly no words I can write here that will describe it but it has become a Mecca for me and I have made the pilgrimage on almost every visit. 


A visit here should be on every ham's bucket list, for underneath the railway arches by the station there is a labyrinth of corridors which hosts a mini market of EVERYTHING electronic. The pitches are arranged along one wall and are about 2 metres wide with the trader lurking in the shadows behind trays and trays of beautifully arranged components, the more successful have bigger areas but it is the presentation of the components on offer that is so breathtaking. If you have any old '60s radio that has lost a foot, you will find it here, 813 tetrode with a thoriated tungsten filament, no problem. Really they have everything, there was even an HRO there last November.

 




I know of one other regular poster on this forum that knows this area rather well
J

 

73s Ted
2E0THH


David Fine
 

Jim, what did you do for the USN at Kamiseya, CT perhaps?  Spent a lot of 2-2-2-80s at Sabana Seca, PR 1968-1971.

Dave, W0DF