The DX Hunter - Ryszard, SP5EWY
An admirable collection of DX hunting trophies on the wall in SP5EWY’s radio room.
I am confident that everyone intentionally browsing this website will easily recognize most of the awards in the above photograph. They are all highest-level, hard to get tokens of excellence in practical use of Amateur Radio to contact people in unthinkable places.
This website being dedicated to DX, I do not have to explain the idea of chasing DX entities on the air to the regular readers. However, for the sake of those who accidentally see this story, in short, DX hunting is simply a non-profit pastime where small, privately-owned two-way radio stations are used to contact other similar stations in different countries on different frequencies, ranging from long waves to microwave. DX is an international abbreviation of the English word “distance”, actually meaning “long distance” and it is relative to the frequency in use.The most popular frequencies are in the range of short waves, which sporadically cover the whole globe. Knowing where and when to look for possible signals is one step. Knowing when the signals are transmitted is the second step. The third step is to be heard by the distant operator. In order to get those trophies, all these contacts have to be confirmed in writing. Altogether, it is a very complex process.
Ryszard, SP5EWY, and his trophies in his home near Warsaw, Poland. He is currently number 3 in the world in the DXCC Challenge with 3211 points (April 2015).
The operator and his equipment.
Contrary to popular belief, the cost of radio equipment is not the crucial factor in chasing DX contacts. It has to be modern, flexible and up-to-date. The number of amateur stations on the air is increasing so a good receiver is necessary. The output power of the transmitter is not decisive. A power amplifier will save time, but a skilful operator is a better asset than a big amplifier. The cost of an extra dB in signal strength produced by an amplifier is usually very high.
Ryszard, SP5EWY, in the backyard with the antenna tower in the background.
Antenna is the second most important part of a competitive radio station. The antennas of SP5EWY are better than average, but not extreme. Extreme antennas are very expensive to build and to keep up.
The old-fashioned operation. Ryszard, SP5EWY, does all receiving, sending and logging without computer-age accessories.
Earphones, telegraphy paddle, pen and paper. The six-meter band is important for the DXCC Challenge so the IC-746 is almost always on and tuned to 50 MHz.
It is the six meter points that make the difference nowadays. In 2011 Ryszard was number 2 in the DXCC Challenge.
Ryszard was born in 1955 and today is 60 years old.
When he was 13 years of age he found an antique crystal detector and started playing with it at home in Warsaw. Now and then he heard very strong signals and tracing the source, he discovered antennas of a local radio club some 200 meters away. Following the feed lines Ryszard found his way to the club and 3 years later he had a call sign of his own. The club station was SP5PBE, a very active group of technology students.
After ten years of his DX hunting activity he reached the magical figure of 300 DXCC entities and the 5BDXCC plaque.
Living in a large town constrains serious DX chase so in early 1990s Ryszard moved out of town where noise level was much lower and tower restrictions less rigorous. In 1996 his collection of wall decorations was reinforced by a 5BWAZ plaque.
Ryszard, SP5EWY, has been running an 80-meter DX information net for more than a quarter of a century spreading news among SP operators.
Initially the net was run locally on 2 meters, but eventually the demand for words of advice became nationwide.The main HF radio is Elecraft K3. His current standings on HF are as follows:
160 meters - 314, 80 meters - 333, 40 meters - 338, 30 meters - 337, 20 meters - 339, 17 meters - 339, 15 meters - 340, 12 meters - 334, 10 meters - 334 DXCC entities - April 2015.
SP5EWY is a member of the German High Speed Club, American A1-Operator Club and the Polish SP DX Club.
Many radio amateurs from all over the world have visited Ryszard in his QTH near Warsaw. He is a real old-school radio ham, faithful to our original principles, believing in ham spirit and friendship through Amateur Radio but also ambitious and pursuing excellence.
Text and photographs:
Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF
2015 04 21