David 6Y1V-KY1V is a well-known and world-famous contester. As a matter of fact, he operates the only ubiquitous Jamaican station in the best worldwide contests. Those who have been pleased to meet him in person, even though it is hard to find him at home, …….. ??????…….. easier in some exotic location around the world. He is a polyhedric man, of exceptional personality, almost devastating in his way of doing things. His decisions are always peremptory and effective. What he decides to do must be realized immediately, in the best way possible. He certainly doesn’t lack experience.
His station in Jamaica is famous as SuperStation, his signals are always good and 59 from all over the world. The location is fantastic, but the most important thing is that David is the creator and supporter of the Young Ham Radio Program. Every year he chooses young hams and invites them to Jamaica and he gives them the opportunity to work during one of the best contests, with an experienced team. Speaking with David, apart from the singularity of character and his very particular and fascinating history, the most striking thing is his deep passion for our hobby and especially his efforts to encourage young people,everywhere in the world, to approach ham radio, in the most entertaining and compelling way possible.
David wanted to give us a very nice interview, when telling the story of 6Y1V. He is also very introspective when he explains how he can attract young people and their ability to renew our hobby. This is certainly an interview to be read several times, to fully understand the philosophy of a great radio amateur.
F: Hi David, welcome on Dxcoffee.com. What brought you to Jamaica, what were the past experiences that brought you to prefer the Caribbean island?
D: I was first introduced to operating from the Caribbean when my wife, Stacy, rented the VP5B contest station as a gift for my Birthday in 2004. It was a one week vacation consisting of casual operating (large DX pileups) and relaxing on the beach. After the experience, I decided to rent the VP5B station for CQWW CW and operate as VP5X. This was the beginning of the young ham contest program. We operated here for two years as VP5X hosting two Young Ham Contest Program Winners, W2AU and CT1ILT. Unfortunately, following the second contest, Bud Foster K4ISV, owner of VP5B, sold the home on North Caicos island. We needed a new place to operate in order to continue the Young Ham Contest Program.
I met Colin 6Y5CR and George 6Y5GC on 20 meters. We had a very long QSO and near the end, they invited me to Jamaica.They said come any time. Almost as a joke, I asked “How about tomorrow?” They said tomorrow would be fine, so without hesitation, I woke my wife from bed and asked her if she wanted to go to Jamaica in 6 hours. She said sure, got up from bed and purchased two tickets. The next day, we were in Jamaica with our new friends. George, 6Y5GC had some land up in the hills. It was an excellent location with a great view of the Caribbean sea, but there was no place to put a large contest station because the house was only cinder block walls, without a roof! I spoke with George in detail about building a dream contest station. He liked the idea and gave me permission to use his land. I only needed to complete the house.
Construction began a few weeks later!
F: What were the difficulties by the technical point of view and how you build your superstation, why did you choose this setup?
D: There were several difficulties building the 6Y1V station. First, we had to complete construction on the house. Only the frame blocks existed. We had to build the roof, finish the walls and pour a concrete floor. At the same time, we needed to clear the jungle on the hill behind the house in order to prepare locations for towers. The local Jamaicans were eager to help as many were without jobs. We employed dozens of locals to build the station. This was good for the local economy in Hopewell. I invested nearly $80,000 USD in the construction project to prepare the home and land for the station.
Another significant challenge was the acquisition, transportation and importation of the equipment. All of the equipment was purchased and sent to my home where we loaded it into a shipping container for the voyage to Jamaica. It took nearly 2 weeks of my time in Jamaica in order to obtain the proper paperwork to import all of the equipment. I nearly had to become a Jamaican citizen in order to obtain all the proper tax documents to import the gear.
The next challenge was building the antenna system. It took several dozen trips and over a dozen operators to complete the project. I could write an entire book about the process of building that antenna system!
F: You are the only who now is interesting of young OM, your project it’s a winning choice, which can bring new young people to this hobby?
D: The Young Ham Contest Program doesn’t really bring new hams into the hobby. I think the benefit is more indirect. I think by encouraging the youth to participate in radio contesting, particularly through programs that get them involved in a manner that is extraordinary, it encourages them to spread the word about amateur radio.
F: How we can attract young people to this hobby?
D: Obviously, the best way is to get out there and show young people what amateur radio is about. It is important to be enthusiastic and make it exciting. There is no better way to do this than through amateur radio contesting. Kids are naturally competitive, so what better way to get them involved in radio then showing them radio contesting? I believe the largest problem with getting youth involved in the hobby has little to do with Internet, computers etc. Those are only temporary distractions. The real challenge is with peer to peer encouragement.
There is a disconnect between the old and young. Encouraging those youth already involved in Amateur radio to communicate their interests in radio to their friends is the best way to get more young people into the hobby.
I believe this is probably the most important part of the Young Ham Radio Contest program. Each of the winners will share their experiences with their friends, regardless of whether or not they are radio operators. Hopefully, a few of them will become interested when they learn about those experiences shared by previous YHCP winners.
D: I think success comes from two main areas. One is experience. Nothing can beat experience. Each time we operate a contest from 6Y1V we produce higher scores, more multipliers.
The other is the will to win. I find the most competitive youth always seem to do best with our station. Nothing can help you more than having the drive to win. Believe you can and you will!