It columned that way until the summer of 1994 when I met Bob, K3EST, in Germany at the Friedriehschafen Ham Radio Convention. We had some interesting conversations, and he presented me with a CQWW Contest Handbook. Of course, I checked the Tajik records and was really upset that we had such low results in both the SSB and CW sections.
That year. I casily broke the single operator record in the CW part of the contest. The result could have been much higher, but I was unable to overcome the "DXing barrier" in my mind. I spent a lot of time working DX.
A Contest Story
I would like to tell you a little story about the 1992 CQWW SSB. You may think of this as a long time ago, but it is very close in my mind. As you may remember, band conditions were perfect and activity was very high. A lot of contest expeditions were announced before the contest, and I got prepared for an exciting DX weekend.
The day before the contest I spent all day with my wife Zarina and son Zamir who were in the hospital. I found that my son felt well, and there was nothing to worry about, so I decided to compete in the contest-taking two breaks, to come to the hospital on Saturday and Sunday.
Everything was well planned and I was ready to get some new ones.
As usual I woke up I hour before the contest, which means 4:00 a.m. local time, and I started to check the equipment. My 500-watt amplifier was warmed up, the antennas rotated, the logbook was on the desk, and a lot of pens were stuck in every possible place.
Usually I start the contest on 40 meters. When I listened, there were a few Caribbeans on the band. Conditions were good. At 5 o'clock, when the contest started. I started to call the first station, and exactly at this time. I heard a strange noise outside. It was a very strong noise, even through my headphones. I took off the headphones and I found that the noises were gun bursts and explosions of hand grenades!
The explosions were so near that my window glass flew out. My father grubbed me from my chair and dragged me out of harm's way to the opposite side of our apartment.
The reader should know that in the middle of 1992 in Tajikistan, a confrontation started between two groups of people. One group took the Islamic position and another was pro-communist. I will not take up your lime with a description of all the political games. I will just call the two sides the Reds and the Whites.
On the first day and hour of the start of the CQWW SSB contest, the Reds tried to seize power. They began from a government building 200 meters from my shack! I turned on 2-meter rig on to the police frequency and tried to understand what was happening. In a few hours, the shooting had stopped and I decided to go to the hospital, because I was unable to sit at home not knowing the position of my wife and son.
Off to the Hospital
My father (his call is EY8AA) and I got some food and went out. Just near our house was one of the White's checkpoints. They stopped us and performed a detailed search. After we explained what we were going to do, they let us go.
They told us that we could be shot without notification, but promised not to shoot us in the back. It was enough for us, and we continued on. We passed a few Red and White checkpoints, where we were promised that they would not shoot. It is usually a 20 minute walk to the hospital, but this day it took almost 3 hours!
Everything was okay at the hospital. My wife and son were in the children's part of the big hospital, and nobody went there. Fortunately, Dushanbe is a small city and the home of my sister's family was just next to the hospital. She was able to take care of my wife and son. My father and I returned home again because my mother and my brother Irage, EY8WW, were alone in the center of the war. It was quite possible that the Reds would try to attack our house because one of the White's leaders was living one floor higher! After our safe arrival, I contacted my sister on 2 meters to check on what was happening. Thank goodness that we are a ham family and were able to use our radios. The telephones were, of course, off.
We did not hear any shooting. The fighting had moved into another part of the city, which we carefully checked on the police frequency. It was farway from the city center and it was closer now to the home of my sister. Time to time, explosions were heard near our house, and different small groups fought with each other. I checked with my sister again. Everything was quiet. The only thing that would happen soon would be that the Whiles would gel the government building back, because they already had recaptured the other places,
The Best Thing to Do
Do you know what the best thing to do was at this time? Yes, that is right! CQWW. It was a really great help in reducing nervous stress. Working in the pile-ups. I was joined in QSOs almost every 5 minutes with my sister.
On Monday, we decided to return to the hospital. I went there to see if l could be of help. I spent a week helping the doctors, playing with my son, and writing the contest log.
I will remember this contest forever, and I am sure that most hams who worked me in that contest cannot even think how UJ8JMM spent his CQWW weekend. Three years later, in the CQWW RTTY at the last minute 23:59Z of the contest my second son was born. But that is another story.