On CW Philippines' Going 15 de 4F1AAR

1998 was the year we celebrated the 100th year of Philippine Independence. And taking the lead on these events was The Philippine Centennial Commission initiating and coordinating the activities coming from almost all the different sectors participating.

Interesting to note were the common themes adopted by these sectors. Everybody seemed to be inclined mainly on recalling the events, the people and culture that led to the attainment of such great freedom. Reenactments here and there, songs and cultural dances every where. True and timely enough to give our children something to be proud of as well as the inspiration for us to keep moving and continue our quest on becoming one of the most progressive nations in Asia.

In the midst of all these happening, I cannot help but look around and ask - "where is Philippine amateur radio? I know it is not yet that old, the question is "how was it before?

I am sure that somehow we, in this part of our society, have a very rich history to tell or share especially with the new hams. Having known and met the likes of DU1HR or DU1GF to mention a few and hearing their stories from casual huddles, makes me wonder how amateur radio was during their time.

Anyway, let us step down a little bit and leave these issues to those concerned.

My club is celebrating it's 15th anniversary this coming September and while I still have that centennial atmosphere bug with me, allow me to relate how I got tangled up with this

you-cannot-just-throw-away-and-leave-it-behind Club

and maybe after going over through these pages you will understand why I called it so.

OK, so let's start with some corny flashbacks first as some story tellers normally do.....

I still recall buying my first radio. It was a handheld, a TR 2400 Kenwood, sold by one of the neighbors who was a chapter member of a national civic action group in the area. And before I knew it, I was already one of them, adding one accessory after another to this radio every payday until finally, I realized that I needed a car! What? a car? What does a car have to do with a portable radio? Simple! That I may be able to use the latest power supply/charger I bought for this radio (chucks!). Actually, it is keeping up with the group's status and be able to participate in the hectic activities of the chapter like,

Yes, this group died a natural death indeed. It died when it’s members, mostly employees of the business establishments in the area, where assigned to other locations. It died because they were not residents there. And yes, you are right, nobody or no one was left behind to carry out the same objectives and principles of what had been started because there was really none. In short, nobody took over because nobody understood. Worst is, no body really cared.

So there I was, left with my radio complete with all it’s accessories that can only reach to as far as the next town so long as the other party was using a base station ("sapatos" or boosters were not yet a popular item at the time). And these led me to explore further the capabilities of my handheld. Read some books and built a twin seven yagi for another 300 pesos. To my surprise! I was now having QSO with stations located in the greater Manila area! Talking with people who can really afford to be equipped only with the bests and I was only using my good old handie talkie!

That to me, was the greatest, humble and more sensible personal achievement I have ever made since the civic action days until one night when I heard two stations (what I thought then) jamming each other.

The Humble Beginnings

But contrary to the usual suppression of transmissions, these stations were sending tones with some grace and rhythm. Well, this must be the Morse code or the continuous wave as they call it in the books! I remember one of the parties then was a station called DU1 DRF.

So the nights went on and another station called DU1PLM came in. This was followed by a DU1DVP and another female operator DU1SAV (the other being Mel, now 4F1DMD). I still remember a new comer with a "clean fist", and this was DU1FSJ. In short, this roundtable grew with the addition of more stations whose call signs, official or not at that time, I can no longer recall. And every night I listened to them patiently, trying to learn what I could at the same time. Soon enough, with my stumbling dits and dashes, I was now part of the nightly QSO as DU1RMN.

And eyeballs held at places like Club Filipino, Strata 2000, etc followed these sessions. While the thought of having to meet the persons behind those call signs already excited everyone, finding more about their professions or what they do was even more quite surprising.

DU1FSJ for one, was actually a surgeon who can talk extensively enough on radio circuits. He stumbled on the hobby while he himself was recovering from a cancer operation in a hospital where he practices - backed up by his reliable and ever dependable sidekick, an IC 2AT (a portable radio he modified with micro switches for expanded coverage) beside his bed.

Whether it was the surgical operation or the hobby itself that gave him another lease of more than ten years in his life doesn't matter any more. I am sure he enjoyed the hobby and the company so much that he even showed some sort of a reaction to a cw message (actually a station i.d.) whistled into his ears by one of the current directors Nani, DU1COP during his last days in coma.

DU1FSJ or Jun, was just one of them. The rest, where either businessmen or respected practitioners and employees.

This 1984 roundtable, by the way, is what is now known as the Communications World of Amateurs, Philippines, Inc. It was "Elmered" jointly by veteran hams like DU1HR, DU1PIT, DU1TT, etc. and was deeply founded not only by a common interest known to me as radio amateurism but also by a special brand of friendship and trust. It has grown indeed into a moderately large family, big enough to call it our own community. Yes, that's right our very own "Community On Air".

Photos and footages on the following pages were taken mostly from the CW Philippines' History, Souvenir Program Issues.

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