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The 95th: My Story of The D-Day (5)


At the end of the day, I thought everything was not perfect. Nobody is perfect, but I certainly have done my best. Here are some pictures after Minister Rudiantara has clicked the TX button on the computer screen :

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The 95th: My Story of The D-Day (4)


At last, the time came for the Minister to go to Gunung Puntang. There I was. Not even sure with whom I could join the ride to go there. For sure, I had no choice but leaving all the preparation on site with Gustian. I thought I had to arrive to Gunung Puntang before the Minister did, but as it happened, he went there with the escort of some voorijders, so fast that I got disoriented as how I could manage go there myself. Luckily, I met with YB1BML (Pak Wowon) and YB1MBA (Pak Anil). I was with them in the same car, driven by Pak Wowon.

The minister was supposed to arrive at the location ahead of us, but as we were there, we were told that he had to attend invitation from the locals. They wanted him to taste the Coffee of Gunung Puntang (which is said to be the most expensive one in the world). I took the chance to go to see Gustian even as Pak Wowon having the hard time finding the parking lot. What I knew later afterwards, the minister had to attend just another event: welcoming ceremony from the locals just before the road to the location.

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I rushed to where Gustian was supposed to be ready with all the rigs. Along the way the road was hardly smooth; muddy & slippery. Not going to be a problem for the minister because it was planned he would go there with an off-road car. Out of breath, I touched down my feet to the spot. Thank God, everything was ready. Gustian said, we just wait for the minister to come.

Yes, we had to wait for him, but that took just way too long, not for our patience, but for the exact time I had an agreement before with Jan-Willem to start sending the RTTY message, that was 16.00. During the wait, the propagation at 21.080 Mhz was worsen, so we asked Jan-Willem to QSY to 14.080 Mhz.

At about 16.50, the minister arrived :

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In brief, the message was then sent from both sides. From our side the message was this :

“Greeting from Indonesia, Here, we are gathering in Gunung Puntang (QTH Loc OI32TV) to commemorate the 95th Anniversary of Radio Malabar. We are just few meters away from the ruin of the historic transmitter building. Some activities are arranged for this occasion, involving Amateur Radio Members and public in general. (PS REF yc1zah.com). May this communication inspires good friendship & goodwill between the people of Indonesia and the Netherland. TU, 73.”

From the Netherlands side (Jan-Willem’s) :

YE95PK YE95PK YE95PK the PI4VRZ/A-PCG the PI4VRZ/A-PCG  calling.
Radio Kootwijk, Saturday 24 March 2018.  0800 h– 10:00 h gmt.
21070 PSK / 21080 RTTY (or QSY 14 Mhz) OTH Locator: JO22VE
“Special message from Radio Kootwijk by the association headquater station
PI4VRZ/A-PCG of the VRZA,  Association of Radio Zend Amateurs.
“Hello Malabar, here Radio Kootwijk” is a widely used saying when we talk about the origin of the creation of the wireless connection between  Radio Kootwijk and the transmitting station in the Malabar near Bandung on the island of Java.  Almost 95 years after the official opening of the  telegraph facility on the long wave, a new connection is now made from the Malabar amid the ruins of the radio station destroyed in 1947, to the center parts of the Netherlands. The ‘short wave’ now serves as a carrier for this special commemorative message by radio amateurs of  the Netherlands.  We wish the Orari Amateur Radio Origination and radio amateurs from Bandung this weekend much success their many  activities from the Gunung Puntang.  Over five years’ time, we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Malabar-Radio Kootwijk  radio link. We hope to be able to meet each other via the ether than”. =
End of this special message”. Good luck to all.
Radio Kootwijk, 2018-03-24.  73’s cuagn in 2023.  Crew PI4VRZ/A-PCG

And then this :

“We are honored that after so many years, there is still communication over the air from Radio Kootwijk. In the beginning by the government, today by voluntarily’s.
Congratulations with the 95 anniversary with your radio station.”
With best regards, The team of Staatsbosbeheer Radio Kootwijk

The 95th: My Story of The D-Day (3)


The Indonesian Minister of Communication, Mr. Rudiantara, arrived at the main hall of Graha Sabilulungan at last. Some ceremonial speeches are delivered from the Major of Bandung Regency (Dadang M. Nasser), The Chief of Indonesian Amateur Radio organization (H. Abidin), and from Mr. Rudiantara himself.

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A movie that is said about Radio Malabar was played on the big screen. It’s a compilation of old photos and some clips. Nothing new for me because I have seen most of them, but I am interested in getting a copy of the movie because it could be an introduction for what Radio Malabar was. There were some error in the narration and text anyway. I told YC1CDN that I could improve the information in the movie.

The best part of the show for me was when suddenly a lady arised from the bottom of the stage. She sang Willy Derby’s Hallo Bandung. Oh my God, she was excellent! : (I did the recording with my smartphone. Sorry, it was not right from the beginning)

The original version was sung by a male singer. But there’s another version sung by a female. The latter was the one that played in looping just about everywhere in the venue. This one :

For those who speak Dutch, I wonder if the spelling of the singer was correct. I didn’t speak Dutch, but for sure, I was deeply touched by the song. When it was played live, it makes all the difference!

The 95th: My Story of The D-Day (2)


I was feasting my eyes on a homebrew of HF Radio made by YD1OSC when someone approached and asked me to meet YC1CDN. YC1CDN is Prof. Dadan Wildan, an amateur who also works in the Secretarial State Office. I have been communicating with him during the preparation, and that was the first time I saw him face to face. We were in the VIP room and he waited for the first program to commence: a workshop where he and the Netherland Ambassador for Indonesia were supposed to be the speakers. As it turned out, the Ambassador didn’t come.

Strangely, I didn’t sense any atmosphere of worries from anybody in the room. I wondered if this has been anticipated, as YC1CDN asked me if I could be the next speaker in the workshop. I didn’t take it right away. A workshop about the history of Radio in Indonesia ? I thought, what was I supposed to deliver ? Then he said I could just tell the audience the story / history of Radio Malabar / what I have done in 2013.

The show must go on, so I just rely on my memory. If he just let me know long before, I could have made a presentation of my own :(

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My turn to speak :

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The way I thought about the “workshop”, it’s not a workshop at all :) It’s more like a presentation, maybe a seminar-like one. I have done it anyway.

The 95th: My Story of The D-Day (1)


So this is what I can recall from what I have gone through yesterday (24th of March). It’s an Amateur Radio Fair and it’s well-expected for those who are amateur radio members. A fair that covers the typicals : Walking & Mobile Fox Hunting, Eye-Ball QSO, CW receiving, some stands that sell just about any ham-things: components, gear, radio, antenna, gadgets, etc. Not to mention the ones that sell the all-non-related: t-shirt, food, … even whitening cream :)

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This is the banner of the event : (The committee seemed to make more than one banner. At least this is one of them)

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I know it must be interesting for just windows-shopping and having chit-chats with standkeepers, but my mind is occupied with one thing only: the message transmission with digital mode that is going to be done by the Indonesian Minister of Communication, Mr. Rudiantara. I felt like I had to go to Gunung Puntang right away to accompany Gustian (YB1ALL) with the rig preparation and stuffs, but nobody seemed to be going there as they were gathering in the main building (called Graha Sabilulungan), either for the ham fair or the official opening in the hall. I just waited for any chances that I could join the ride to Gunung Puntang. I was out of luck.

Trying Out The Digi Modes


I don’t remember the last time I went to Gunung Puntang. However, going there at this rainy season is just predictable. The weather is vastly changing. Slightly drizzly here and there, and just drenched all around. The ground is muddy. Saturday has always been my off-time for doing anything at home, but I decided to go here instead to make sure that this trial is well-managed.

Just as I arrived :

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A little closer to the tents :

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Inside :

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The Radio and the Laptop for the Digital Modes :

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The main operator. His name is Gustian (YB1ALL)

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I tried to type, but there’s only narrow space for the mouse, and the pointer went wild.

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At first, we intended to do it with 100W. The electricity didn’t give enough power, so the transmitter shut down as we hit the TX. We turn it down to 75W and then 50W. At 50W, we were able to transmit. Receiving was all Ok. I asked if they have a spare genset with more power. They did have one, but the rain was getting bigger. It was just impossible to swap the genset while it was raining.

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The chief of YC1ZAH (YB1BWI) was happy that the digi modes trial has gone well. Jan-Willem told us that it was 4-4-9 for RTTY and 5-9-9 for PSK31. Only with 50W for those reports is rather surprising. Gustian has told me that never before he could do anything to Europe with just 50W (then we talked about the mystery of how and why de Groot had chosen the exact spot for Radio Malabar in the first place).

I do hope that at 24th the report is going to be all 5-9-9.

The 95th Commemoration!


I feel like I procrastinate to write this. Even for such an important one as yet another big event for a commemoration! Nothing else implied. It’s just that my teaching routine has worn me out that everytime I got home lately, the most tempting place to be is nowhere but my bed :)

Ok now, a little bit intro should start this.

When the 90th was finished in 2013, all the crews agreed that the next project is going to be the 100th, which should be taken place at the 5th of May in 2023. I have signalled this to the Netherland Counterpart, and they agreed with that. 100 Years should be important as the number suggests.

However, here now in 2018, a club station (its callstation is YC1ZAH), within the district of where the ruin of Radio Malabar is located, has proposed that they should arrange for the 95th commemoration. To the best of my knowledge, none of the member of YC1ZAH involved in the 90th, but they contacted me, and wanted me to help facilitating the coordination with the Netherland Counterpart. So to put it simply, the people behind this 95th commemoration are different with the 90th. I was the one who inisiated all this, but I don’t mind if this is going to be handled by other party. I didn’t claim any right with anything. I never did. Having that said, I am only happy to help them, to make the 95th successful.

Anyway, they have a little problem. As you all know, the date of the commemoration is at 5th of May. In 2012, I set that date to remind the official opening of Radio Malabar by Dirk Fock in 1923. They can’t do it at May. Here in Indonesia, as I write this, we are facing the regional election throughout the country, and any social activities that preceed the election could be easily associated as a campaign for certain political party. They just can’t make it at the date, so that sometime somewhere along the discussion they somewhat put it as “A Commemoration Towards the 100th”. As it turns out, they mention the 95th anyway. The official callsign is YE95PK. The official title for the whole event is “Hallo Bandoeng-Netherlands Amateur Radio Fair 2018”. Please refer yc1zah.com

It’s an Amateur Radio Fair, and the commemoration of the first historic, longest-range, wireless communication is going to be one of the programs. In 2013, it was carried out by CW exchange from Radio Kootwijk to (the ruin of) Radio Malabar, and continued with Special Call to all amateur radio stations around the world. Now, here they have just another problem (if it has to be like in 2013). For CW, it has been around DX’ers that the propagation all over the globe these days is not at its best, if not the worst. So we dropped CW as an option. For Special Call, they have set the date that coincides with the CQ WW WPX Contest in SSB. They can’t change the date and an open Special Call mixed with such an important contest would be a chaos. Special Call is neither an option.

There was a meeting at the West Java Regional Amateur Radio Office (ORDA JABAR) in 10th of March 2018 to discuss the whole plan and dealing with the problems.

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It was decided that for the commemoration, the communication is going to be with digital modes, that could be RTTY, PSK31, or FT-8. I was asked to contact the Netherland Counterpart for the possibility of using (one of) the three modes.  Of course, I have nobody else but Jan-Willem (PA0JWU) for this. …… to cut a long story short, it was said to be Ok with the commemoration (given the imperfection) and the communication is going to use RTTY / PSK31. Here using YE95PK and the Netherland is going to be with Jan-Willem’s callsign. I asked for a trial before the actual date, and it was at 17th of March last week. The report with some photos is in the next blog entry.

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