After a few hectic days before departure and the complication of packing all the antennas and equipment, we were ready to start the long trip. Air New Zealand did not allow us more than two pieces of baggage, 32 kg each, but only the antennas in a special box were more than 52 kg. This caused our hand luggage to be very heavy (more than 20 kg each).
On one occasion when the steward helped Vasek put his luggage up in the board case, she strictly refused the suitcase above any person and Vasek had to move with it the tail of the aircraft.Slavek carried the Icom IC-706 in aluminium case together with antenna tuner, paddle, computer, FD4 antenna with 20 metres of coaxial cable and a power supply with cables. We could be QRV from on board of any of the aircraft !
As we expected, the flight from Praha to Frankfurt was very short but we had to wait more than five hours at the transit and then nearly 12 hours long fly to Los Angeles. We did not really mind as the DXpedition had started at last.
At the end of the last zear when the airtickets were booked and all the conditions agreed, I tried to get in touch with an amateur in Los Angeles who perhaps could spend a day with us and show us some of the sights there. Tom, N4XP, published our request on an Internet web page and we decided to accept the kind offer of Hank, KN6DI, of the Southern California DX Club (SCDXC) who offered us accomodation, as well as a trip around LA (we wanted to see Hollywood, Beverly Hills and an amateur radio shop). Hank met us at the airport despite our delay (due to some custom problems with a wrongly written carnet), and took us to his amazing house.
Even though we very tired after the boring trip from Europe, we had to have a look at Hankīs collection of old amateur radios (nearly a complete series of Collins, Heathkit and some others). We had never seen so many rigs in one place, and all of them had been repaired and tuned by Hank.
The next day, after a very good breakfast prepared by Hank another member Harv, K6EXO, of SCDXCcame around with a van and after picking up another SCDXC member Len, W6AUG, we set out for a whole day trip around Los Angeles. Despite the weather being very bad, we saw all we wanted to see and even much more. Being Eastern Europeans, it is very interesting to visit the amateur radio shop located in the same building as the clubroom of the SCDXC.
At the end of the trip we were invited to Lenīs very nice house for a party where we met other good friends, talked about our DXpedition plans, and tasted a very good meal and drinks. We exchanged T-shirts and returned "home" with the nice feeling that we have some good friends among in the SCDXC.
The last day of our stop in Los Angeles started with blue sky and the weather was a bit warmer. As we did not plan to do anything special, except the packing, we spent some time at Hankīs station using our USA licences. As two of us are very interested in US county hunting (OK1VD and Me), we took part in the Mobil Emergency and County Hunters net on 14.336 kHz. Not too many mobiles on air but we got an invitation to visit the well known net-control station of Alice, N4MYZ. Alice lives quite close to Hank and so it was very easy to find her house and meet her, as well as her husband Ham Ginsburg, N4MXG. We spent another two hours with these very nice people and had good meal talking about the DX pedition and the Czech Republic.
After lunch we went to the airport and after our usual discussion at the counter concerning our box with antennas we said good bye to Hank and embarked on the Boening 747 heading for our next stop, Papeete on the island of Tahiti.