China, the most populous nation in the world, is now, without doubt, one of the big economic and political powers capable of influencing events in the contemporary history of the democratic West. Do not forget that this vast Asian Country, still ruled by a communist regime and now devoted to capitalism is likely the most dangerous regime known to recent history.
The incredible economic and productive Chinese boom, with all the contradictions that goe with it, is witness, however, to an evolving situation, looking increasingly to ways of life more democratic and balanced with that of the West.
The Olympic flame lit in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics Games is still very much a part of all of us. Figuratively, the lighting of the torch represented the official offering of the Chinese culture to the world. There were significant radio activations of long duration, special stations to celebrate the XXIX Olympic Games in Beijing, the capital of the New China. In fact, it’s now possible to have a QSO with China today on a daily basis. Radio operators are not few in number and are generally very young. The English language is still a barrier for some, but it is not a most wanted unattainable as it was until the ’80s.
In this way I was thrilled to read the story of Giuseppe Giunta, IT9VDP published in Radio Rivista Magazine (the Official Magazine of the A.R.I. Associazione Radioamatori Italiani) from January, 2013 entitled “80s, The China Mirage.” That group of Sicilian radio amateurs meanwhile is part of the history of the top Italian DXers and identify myself with the emotions felt at that moment in front of the glorious Drake line of Piero Marino, IT9ZGY with a CW signal from the fortified China of the 80s. This has set me to thinking about how it would be now if I could contact North Korea. Thanks Giuseppe, IT9VDP for sharing with us such beautiful moments.
We are, however, now in full development of amateur radio in China, the heavy autocratic censorship no longer posing more impediments to the many young people who become fascinated by radio. Even so, we shouldnn’t to be surprised if we see even the invasion of a small sampling of equipment made in China, the country of the Rising Sun having discovered that there are no barriers to airwaves!
Until yesterday, the only organization authorized and recognized by the regime was the Chinese Radio Sports Association (CRSA), which was presided over by quite restrictive licensing legislation. The future, however, will see legislative changes which will simplify the acquisition of personal licenses, but perhaps even more importantly, licenses for club stations. But now, in this way, the importance of the Chinese Radio Amateur Club (CRAC), an association founded and continuing to grow around the large contest station of Beijing, BY1RX – B1Z. And most likely it will be accredited for the first time at the IARU as the representative of China, with the blessing of the government.
The exponential growth of this associated reality is unbelievable; someone might see also the more general boom of China in the world, but in fact, DxCoffee’s readers can well remember the story which Giorgio IZ4AKS, a frequent guest of BY1RX, wrote in these pages (http://www.dxcoffee.com/ita/2010/09/11/le-trasferte-di-lavoro-con-la-passione-per-il-dx-dalla-cina/). A useful comparison written by Giorgio, may be the last WPX Contest 2012 from B1Z, published by PY2QI in CQ Hamradio Magazine in January, 2013. We can easily see how, within just a few years, China’s reality has been able to change significantly.
Young Chinese amateurs are numerous and are slowly taking ownership of the different bands and the various modes, from CW to 14,100 MHz only allowed to BY1PK, the only station diring the 80s, as told us by Giuseppe VDP. Today we came to listen and contact a Chinese OM via satellite on the low bands during the passing of the mutual grayline. Indeed, the first digital mode based on the European / American alphabet along with the Chinese alphabet, the mode called CP-16 was born (Southgate Amateur Radio News speaks about: http://www.southgatearc.org/news/november2012/new_chinese_data_mode_cp16.htm).It is based on a 16×16 matrix display used to generate the symbols of the Chinese alphabet, uses audio tones spaced 16 to 17 Hz with a bandwidth of 400 Hz, doesn’t need special software to read it, because the characters appear directly on the received waterfall; you just have to know Mandarin Chinese …
Personally, I’m glad to tell of and take note of the progressive evolution of our hobby, as I see so many young people involved in our passion from all over the world, in spite of those who continue to say that our hobby is destined to disappear. I’m thinking amateur radio still has plenty of good stories to tell. In China, there are many new and young OMs. In the U.S. There’s a real boom of newly licensed operators. Even in Italy the number of new licenses is growing. Radio is not just a passion for older men!
Photo credits by flickr: iz4aks.