George Pataki  WB2AQC



   In the summer / fall of 1996, for six weeks,  I visited the amateurs of Hungary and Yugoslavia, including the Serbian zone of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I photographed them, and later I published several articles.  In 1997 during a QSO, Venco Z31JA asked me why I did not come also to Macedonia.  I told him that after six weeks of travel I was tired but if he wants, I may take a side trip from my scheduled visit to my native land of Romania.
  I started the preparations. I exchanged some e-mails with Venco Z31JA,  took a visa from the Macedonian consulate in New York,  read a few books about the country, and checked out the Internet for more information.  I even wrote a letter to the Macedonian Amateur Radio Association in the capital city of Skopje, informing them about my project, presuming that I won’t get any answer, and I was right.
   I took a non-stop, eight hour flight from New York City to my native town of Timisoara, Romania.  After a couple of days recovering from the emotions in passing the Romanian customs, I went to the Yugoslav consulate to get a transit visa   First, the consul advised me no to go to Yugoslavia, saying that it is not the right time.  There were some disturbances connected with the elections but I argued that right time or wrong time, for me it is the only time I have.  I can not go back to New York and wait for the “right time.” I showed the consul my articles published in QST, CQ and 73 about the amateurs in Yugoslavia and told him that I have a box full of those magazines for their radio clubs.  Finally the consul gave me the transit visa advising me not to take any weapons.  I assured him that I left my bazooka in New York because it is too heavy to carry around.  He agreed.  I was asked to pay $20.00 and I was told that is not a visa fee but a “reconstruction fee.”  I said that I did not break there anything, why should I pay for what other people broke, but not willing to get into politics, I paid and left quickly.
   I took a train to Belgrade and I witnessed a very strange happening: organized smuggling.  In my car there was a group of about 35-40 people.  Virtually every passenger, had many and very large packages, full of boxes with merchandise.  As soon as the train left Timisoara,  at a signal, all these people got off their seats,  removed the screws from the ceiling covers and pushed up most of their stuff in the crawl space, reinstalled the covers, sat back on their seats, and waited for the customs officials.  The whole operation of hiding a tremendous amount of merchandise took about three minutes.  First came the Romanian customs inspectors, then we passed on the Yugoslav side and came the Serb officials.  On both sides there were some haggling over the customs fees due on some remained merchandise,  some payments were official and the passengers received receipts, other were... unofficial.  After the train passed the border area, and the last customs inspector left the scene, another signal and everybody started recovering the hidden merchandise.  Some people climbed up in the crawl space, handed down the contraband, others packed them in their large bags, and in 4-5 minutes everything was recovered.  The smugglers got off at Vrsec where there is a special “smugglers’ market,” I visited it on my way back.
   In Belgrade I had a couple of hours before taking the train to Skopje, Macedonia.  At the railway station four local amateurs were waiting for me and we went to their headquarters.  They were pleased with the magazines I brought with me, especially the ones with articles about them.  I was real happy to see them again, in special meeting Fex YU1DX, their General Secretary, a very nice person.
   After 3-4 hours I went to the railway station and took a train to Skopje.  At the border, neither the Yugoslav, nor the Macedonian customs officials were interested in my luggage.  However, a Macedonian border guard, a lady officer, looked at my passport, took it, and motioned me to get off the train and follow her.  I love to go after ladies who invite me to follow them, except for ladies in uniform, in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar surrounding, leaving my luggage behind.  She took me down to the guard house, handed over my passport to another officer who applied a visa.  I pointed them out that I already had a visa from their consulate in New York; they mumbled something in Macedonian, I mumbled something in English, and I am happy we did not understand each other.  I returned to the train and to my amazement I found my luggage intact.
   Around midnight, after 9 and half hours on the train, I arrived to Skopje where Venco Z31JA, Chris Z31GX and Dimko Z32DR were waiting for me.  Another hour and half by car and we arrived to Stip, 60 miles S-E from the capital city.  This short ride would have been uneventful if we would not have been stopped on a dark and deserted road by a patrol car.  Venco Z32JA, the driver, was invited to present his papers and to blow in a gismo which unmistakenly showed that he treated his upset stomach with a little vodka.  He traded in his driver license for a summons what in my humble opinion was not a good deal.  But what do I know about local customs?
   Before I start describing my journey, here are the various prefixes and license categories of the Macedonian amateurs:
   Z30......Special callsigns
   Z31......A class - all bands, all modes - 1.5 kW
   Z32......B class - all bands except 30, 160 meters - 300 W
   Z33......C class - only 40 and 80 meters, all modes, 21.1-21.15 Mhz CW - 300 W
   Z34......D class - VHF, UHF only, all modes - 150 W
   Z35......Repeaters, digipeaters, beacons, etc.
   Z36......E class - VHF, UHF only, FM only - 30 W
   Z37......Radio clubs
   Z38......Special callsigns, for foreigners
   Z39......Special callsigns

    In Stip I slept in Venco’s house.  Venco is a civilian employee of the army; works in communications.  He was licensed in 1983, is a contester, a DXer and an occasional builder.  He claimed that he is using 150 Watts; I wonder if the 1 kW Heatkit amplifier I noticed near his transceiver is just an ornament? Venco has a 2 element quad for 10-15-20 meters, and several wire antennas.  He is a reliable QSLer.  His wife Lily Z36ARA, a housewife, was licensed in 1992.  According to her license, she operates only on VHF and UHF.
   Next morning we went to the local radio club Z37GBC, ex YU5GBC, with several other calls like 4N5GBC, 4N5M.  The club has many operators, some with, others without personal callsigns, and they do answer QSL requests.  There I met again Chris Z31GX who is full time employed as the chief of the club.
   I met there several amateurs:
   Kiko Z32RY is a maintenance technician in a shoe factory.  Kiko was licensed in 1991, is a contester, a DXer, and operates mostly on CW.
   Marian Z32PM is from Kicevo where he is charge of the Technical Center.  Marian was licensed in 1995 and he is an award winning photographer.
   Zoki Z31GB a broadcast technician licensed in 1988, is a builder, contester, and a DXer with over 300 countries confirmed.  Zoki does QSL.
   Dragan Z32XX is also a broadcast technician, he was licensed in 1992, is a contester, DXer with 291 countries confirmed.  Dragan Z32XX has a couple of types of QSLs; I had a QSO with him and promptly received his nice card.
   Momo Z31MM, an architect, licensed in 1964, is the vice-president of the radio club.  He is a DXer with over 230 countries confirmed.  Momo Z31MM is using a vertical antenna for 10-15-20 meters, and wire dipoles for 40 and 80 meters.
   Toni Z32ZT, an electrician at the telecommunications office, was licensed in 1992.  He is a builder and a contester, and is using 100 Watts with a FT-200 and a multiband W3DZZ type wire antenna.
   I saw the station of Chris Z31GX, the chief of the local radio club.  He was licensed in 1988; is using modern factory made transceiver and a laptop computer.  Chris is a member of the Macedonia DX & Contest Group, he is a contester, a DXer, and he worked 291 countries.  He has a very nice QSL card; his manager is Aco, DJ0LZ.
   Next morning I went to see a “fox hunt” or direction finder contest.  It was held in a wooded area near Stip, there were 23 participants aging from 12 to 69.  There were five categories: old timer, senior, junior, woman, and children up to 15 years old.  The participants left the starting line at five minutes intervals, in groups of five; one from each category.  Chris Z31GX was timing and recording the start time for every group.  Every category had its separate winners.  Because there was only one single woman participant, no matter how late she arrived at the finish line, she was assured the first place.  The 80 meter band was used and were five hidden “foxes” and the finish line, everyone calling other letters on CW.  Each fox was guarded by a soldier, and it had a stamp and a pad; the participants had to mark their tickets to prove that they found it.
   About one and half hour after start, Djordje Z32LD from the old timer group arrived first.  Second to arrive was Toni Z32ZT who took the first place in his senior category.
    After the contest was over, there was a common lunch and an award ceremony.  The winners received diplomas and gifts.
   In the evening I checked out the bands and on 80 meters I heard a Romanian QSO.  I called in and I had a Romanian pile-up.  I worked over 60 YO stations, using the Z38 / WB2AQC callsign, with Victorin YO6QW handling the crowd.  Venco Z31JA was amused that I created a pile-up.  Many hams said that they worked Macedonia before but they still need confirmation.
   In Stip I gave two interviews; one for the radio, and another one for television.  They must have been desperate for programs if they interviewed me, a tired old man who could not speak Macedonian, and could not talk about anything else than amateur radio.  The TV interview lasted 45 minutes, I spoke English but in the evening when I watched the show I was amazed to see myself speaking a perfect Macedonian, without any trace of foreign accent.  Gee, I did not know that I am so smart.
   On the bands, I overheard several dialogues:
   “For how long are you calling CQ?”
   “For about two hours.”
   “Is the band open?”
   “I don’t know yet.”
   Other one:
   “Is it true that North Korea was heard again”
   “I don’t think so; Romeo is at home with the flue.”
   And another one:
   “When you’ll be a Silent Key and you go to Heaven you can not take your FT-1000MP with you.”
   “What kind of Heaven is without a FT-1000MP?  Can I ship it ahead?  No?  Then I don’t go!”
   One more:
   “My wife left me because of amateur radio.”
   “Don’t worry, just call CQ YL, CQ YL; sure you will find a better one.”


   The next day I took a train to Kocani, about 25 miles N-E from Stip.  At the railway station Zoki Z31VP and Jane Z31CN were waiting for me. They took me to their radio club named Nikola Tesla which has a couple of rooms in the Technical Center.  Zoki Z31VP is the chief operator of the club station using the Z37DRS call, in the past YU5DRS, 4N5DRS and 4N5C.  The club has a TS-820S, running 100 Watts to a 2 element Quad for 10-15-20 meters, a Delta Loop for 40 meters, another  Delta Loop for 80 meters, a 2 element fixed wire Yagi for 80 meters, and some antennas for 2 meters.  They do have QSL cards.  The club has many operators: Jane Z31CN, Baco Z31HB, Cucy Z32CC, Todd Z31ET and his wife Edita Z34XYL, Mike Z32FK, Vane Z31VJ, Zoran Z31VP and others.  I met and photographed some of them at the club, and at their personal stations.
   At the club, the indicator for the antenna rotator was not working.  I noticed that when they rotated the Quad the operator looked at the clock instead to the control box.  He knew from the end position how many seconds it takes to get to various pre-established directions.  For example it takes 15 seconds to get towards N-W, the direction for the U.S.
   Zoki Z31VP is a civilian employee of the army, working in communications.  He has a modern Japanese transceiver,  on the top of his apartment building he has a 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters and some wire antennas.  He is using a computer.  Licensed in 1971, Zoki is a contester, a DXer with over 200 countries confirmed for his DXCC.  His QSL manager is Aco DJ0LZ, ex YU5FD.
   Cucy Z32CC, licensed in 1991, is an electronic technician.  He enjoys building his home made station.  Cucy has a nice QSL card with a colorful cartoon.
   Mike Z31FK, ex YU5FK and 4N5FK, licensed in 1988, is an economist.  He is a member of the Macedonian DX Group and the Macedonian Telegraph Group, has a couple of types of QSL cards and is a good QSLer.  Mike is a builder, contester and a DXer with over 300 countries confirmed.
   Baco Z31HB, licensed in 1974, is retired, he worked in a paper factory.  Baco is a builder and worked over 100 countries.  His children, age 16 and 18 are club operators without personal calls but they are studying for the personal licensing test.
   Todd Z31ET, licensed in 1983, is a traffic policeman.  He has 8 different types of pretty and colorful QSL cards; some of them together with his wife Edita Z34XYL.  Todd has 311 countries confirmed and he is an avid fisherman.
   I also met Lozenka, a 17 year old student at a high school for science and mathematics.  Lozenka likes electronics and she is a club station operator, without personal call yet.
   I spent the night  in the house of Jane Z31CN.  Licensed in 1976, Jane is a tax inspector, and an occasional writer of poems, short stories and reportages.  He is ex YU5CN and 4N5CN; and is a member in the Macedonia DX Group.  Jane has a Yaesu FT-101E; he prefers CW, has QSL cards, is a DXer with 280 countries confirmed, and received a big bunch of awards.
   The next day I visited Zoki Z31VP who is using a Yaesu FT-901DM for the low bands and a Yaesu FT-221R for the 2 meter band.  He has a 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters, a Delta Loop and a wire dipole for 40 meters, and a single element dipole for 2 meters.  For the WARC bands Zoki is using an antenna tuner.  His computer is used for packet radio and RTTY.
  At Zoki’s place I met Vane Z31VJ.  Licensed in 1969, Vane is selling lottery tickets.  He is an antenna builder and experimenter; he has about 200 countries for his DXCC.
   We went again to the club to photograph the Quad because the previous evening was too dark to do it.


   After finishing the visits in this town, we went to Blatec, a small village, about 15 miles East from Kocani to see Stole Z32KS, ex YU5XKS.  A master builder, licensed in 1970, has a radio-TV-electronics repair shop.  Stole was very active years ago, building and using the first SSTV in Macedonia.  He has a series of home made equipment, including a 800 Watt linear amplifier.  Stole has a 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters, a ground plane for the same bands, a 18AVT vertical, and a W3DZZ multiband for 10 to 80 meters.  For 2 meters he is using a single element vertically polarized Yagi, and a 12 element horizontally polarized Yagi.  Stole Z32KS works on CW, SSB, RTTY, color SSTV and packet radio.  He is an occasional contester, worked about 100 countries on SSTV.  Doesn’t QSL anymore.
   From Blatec I returned to Stip to Venco Z31JA and Chris Z31GX, and together we went to Veles, ex Tito Veles, about 25 miles West of Stip.


   In Veles we found Vane Z31VV, a retired army officer, at the center for retirees.  He took us to his house to show us his station, a Yaesu FT-501 and a FL-2000B linear amplifier which he seldom uses because of the TVI it creates.  Vane was licensed in 1953; has a home made vertical antenna, operates only on 20 meters, mostly on CW.  He has QSLs but answers only direct requests.
   In Veles we also visited Pepi Z31PK with whom I had several QSOs even with his previous calls YU5PK and 4N5PK.  Pepi, licensed in 1964, is communications technician working at the City Hall.  He has a 2 element Quad antenna for 10-12-15-17-20 meters.  Pepi is a builder, and his specialty is linear amplifiers.  Pepi Z31PK is a contester and a DXer with 320 countries confirmed.  His manager is Aco DJ0LZ, ex YU5FD, the same as many other Macedonian amateurs.
   I sent Pepi my QSL cards but I did not receive any of his.  I found out the reason: like in many other countries, dishonest postal worker are pilfering the mail coming from abroad, looking for valuables.  Pepi’s wife is doing an accurate bookkeeping job with all the received and sent cards, and every request is answered.  The ones passed through the postal clerks’ sticky fingers, if accompanied with an IRC or a green stamp, are answered promptly and directly.  The others received through the bureau are answered the same way, however, the radio clubs often do not have funds to mail them abroad.  Pepi checked his logs and filled out all the cards he owed me.
   I brought back from the radio club of Stip a couple of pounds of cards, addressed to U.S. amateurs, and DX stations with managers in the U.S.  I sorted them and mailed them to the ARRL Outgoing QSL Service.  They were just laying there waiting for a miracle.  In other cities the outgoing cards are still waiting.
   Some more overheard dialogues:
   “My wife keeps asking how much I paid for my new transceiver.”
   “Tell her that you won it as the door price.”
   Another one:
   “The best way to make a DX station answer your QSL is to send him $10.00.”
   “OK, but what is the second best way?”
   One more:
   “I want to send a green stamp to a DX station but I am afraid that he won’t answer.”
   “Send him half of the bill and tell him you will send the other half after you receive his QSL.”
   The last one:
   “My neighbor is complaining that I interfere with his television.”
   “Tell him that his television is interfering with your radio.”


   From Veles, with Venco Z31JA and Chris Z31GX, we went South about 26 miles, to Kavadarci.  There we visited the radio club Z37KXY, ex YU5KXY and 4N5KXY, located in the Technical Center.  It seems that such centers are in many cities, some have radio clubs, photo clubs, and other technical activities.  At the club we met Mladen Z32MB, employed there as the chief operator.  The club has a Yaesu FT-101 transceiver, a computer, a 2 element Quad for 10-15-20 meters, a 3 element Yagi for 15 meters, a Delta Loop for 40 meters, a wire dipole for 80 meters, and some 2 meter antennas.  The club station Z37KXY has over 300 countries confirmed.
   Mladen Z32MB at his personal station has a wire dipole for 15-20-40-80 meters.  He is using 180 Watts but is plagued by TVI.  Many Macedonian stations could use some good low-pass filters.  Mladen has QSL cards, even some special ones: Z350MB used for the Golden Jubilee: 50 Years of Amateur Radio Association of Macedonia.
   At the club we met Dean Z32MV, licensed in 1966.  Dean graduated from a trade school for electricians.  He is DXer and he does have QSL cards.
   We also met two club operators without personal calls, both active on CW and SSB.  In Macedonia one has to be at least 18 years old for a HF license, and 16 years old for a UHF license.
   Didi, a young lady of 16, is a high school student.  She started amateur radio at age 11.  Didi won several times high speed telegraphy championships; she can receive a clear text at a speed of 180 words/minute, and send 160 words/minute.
   Nick, the other club operator, is a 14 years old high school student.  He is also a champion in high speed telegraphy.


   We continued 45 miles S-E from Kavadarci to Gevgelija, right on the border with Greece.  Here I have to mention a controversy between Macedonia and Greece regarding the name of the country.  I may get some nasty letters but it looks pretty silly to me.  While Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia, nobody made a great deal about this.  However, since it became independent, using the same name as before, some Greeks claim exclusive rights to the name of Macedonia.  I know that the Governor of New York state uses the same name as mine; since I am older and I used it first, unless he changes it, I may start a war against Albany.
  In Gevgelija we visited the club station Z37FAD, ex YU5FAD, 4N5FAD, YT5G, YT5FAD, and Z350FAD during the Golden Jubilee.  The club, as many clubs in the former republic of Yugoslavia,  is named Nikola Tesla, a known inventor in electrical sciences.  The club has four rooms: the radio room, a QSL bureau, a shop and laboratory, and a storage room.  The station uses factory made transceivers and a huge home made amplifier with 3 separate wire dipoles for 20, 40 and 80 meters; the other bands are used with an antenna tuner.  A computer is also in use.
   Ven Z32AF, licensed in 1985, is the president of the club.  He is a broadcast technician at an FM station.  Ven has QSL cards and worked over 300 countries for his DXCC.  I worked Ven when he had his old call YZ5AA and we exchanged cards.
   Joe Z31DX and Don Z32AM are a father and son team.  Joe, Z31DX, ex 4N5DX, licensed in 1965, is a metal worker.  He is a builder, a contester and a DXer with over 300 countries confirmed.  On the top of his tower installed on the roof of his building, at a height of about 130 feet, there is a 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters, a 3 element Yagi for 15 meters.  There is also has a Delta Loop for 40 meters, another Delta Loop for 80 meters, and a 2 element sloping wire Yagi, W1AKR style, for 40 meters.  Furthermore, if these were not enough, there is a multiband long wire usable up to 160 meters, a 5 element Yagi for 6 meters, a 7 element Yagi with vertical polarization for the 2 meter repeater, and a 13 element horizontally polarized Yagi, on a 23 feet long boom, designed by DL6WV, for 2 meter DX and meteor scatter work.  The station has 100 Watts but with this kind of antenna farm who needs more?
   Don Z32AM, ex YT5AA,  licensed in 1983, lives in Dojran, about 20 miles from Gevgelija. He is a contester, a DXer, worked 274 countries, and has a nice QSL card.  I worked with him and received his card through the bureau.  Don is a mountain climber, he participated in several daring expeditions, both in Macedonia and abroad.
   Blagoj Z32RS, licensed in 1978, is running a supermarket.  He is contester, a DXer, has QSL cards, works only on CW, and has 220 countries confirmed.
   Tony Z32AY, licensed in 1991, is an electro technician.  His station is in the nearby village of Petrovo.  Tony is a builder and repairman.  He operates only on CW.
   Mite Z33MJM, licensed in 1997 is also an electro technician; he works in a machine factory.


   In Struga near the Ohrid Lake, in the S-E corner of the country, lives Vlado Z32KV, ex YU5KV, 4N5KV, licensed in 1987.  He started his ham activity in 1983 at the local radio club YU5FCA, now Z37FCA.  He is the editor of ARO, the 12 to 20 page monthly bulletin of the Amateur Radio Association of Macedonia.  Vlado is running 100 Watts with an IC-745 and an antenna tuner to a 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters, an inverted V for 80 meters, a wire dipole for 40 meters and a half square (what ever that means) for 20 meters.  Vlado Z32KV worked 290 countries, has the 5BDXCC, 5BWAZ, WPX Honor Roll, and many other awards.  He operated from ZA, LZ, YU and UA.  Vlado is a reliable QSLer.


  We continued our journey 35 miles North of Gevgelija to city of Strumica to see Pance Z31RB, ex YU5XPX, YU5RB, 4N5RB, and his wife Mare Z36XAM.  Pance is an economist in a sanitary appliance factory.  He is a member of the Macedonia DX Club and has over 300 countries confirmed.  Mare Z36XAM, a bank director, according to her license category, works only FM on VHF and UHF.  They have a very nice station with all modern Japanese transceivers and 6 element Yagi: a TH6DXX.  Pance has two kinds of QSL cards, Mare has none.

   From Strumica we went all the way N-W to the capitol city of Skopje, then straight west, about 23 miles, to Tetovo.  There we visited a real big gun: Zika Z31CZ, ex YU5CZ, 4N5CZ, licensed in 1970.  Zika, an economist, is the director of an electrical factory.  He is running 100 Watts from a TS-930S, sometimes with a home made 1 kW amplifier.  Zika Z31CZ has a 2 element Quad for 10-15-20 meters, 3 element fixed wire beam for 40 meters, radiating to the N-W direction, a dipole for 40 meters for NE-SW, a sloper for 80 meters, and some antennas for 2 meters.  Zika has the 5BDXCC and 5BWAZ, and scores of other prestigious awards.  He is a reliable QSLer.
    The last of overheard dialogues, I promise:
   “My neighbor is complaining about my tower.”
   “Tell him that it will keep the in-laws from visiting.”
   Another complaint:
   “My neighbor, a farmer, does not like my antenna.”
   “Tell him that it will protect his daughters from traveling salesmen.”
   Yet another one:
   “The other neighbor, a traveling salesman, disapproves of my tower.”
   “Tell him that he will have luck with farmers’ daughters.”
   “And the very last one:
   “My neighbor, just moved in from Utah, dislikes my antenna farm.”
   “Tell him that it will keep peace among his many wives.”


   From Tetovo. with Venco Z32JA and Chris Z31GX we turned East and went to the capital city of Skopje.  We paid a visit to the headquarters of the Amateur Radio Association of Macedonia where we met the secretary handling administrative chores.  Curious enough, there is no active radio club in Skopje, the country’s capital and its largest city.
   Here we visited Meto Z31VL, a retired railway worker licensed in 1960.  I met Meto previously in Stip where he participated in the direction finding contest, and took the third place in the old timer category.  He is member of FIRAC, the railway workers’ radio amateur association.  Meto Z31VL is a builder, a contester and likes to ragchew with friends.  He has QSL cards.  He received from the Bosnian Amateur Radio Association a special commendation for his “Extraordinary Contribution in Relaying Humanitarian Messages of the Citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995.”
  We also visited Dimko Z32DR, the one who waited for me in the middle of the night when I first arrived by train to Skopje.  Dimko, licensed in 1983, works for the social services administration.  His brother Sasho Z32FC works in France for the Council of Europe.  Dimko Z32KO is a builder, a contester and a DXer with over 250 countries worked.  He operates on CW and SSB and in contests he is working QRP with 10 watts.  He is one of the few Z3 hams who does computer logging.  Dimko has a ground plane for 15 meters and for contests is hanging up a temporary Delta Loop for the same band.  He has a nice QSL card and his manager is Aco DJ0LZ who seems to manage the QSLs of quite a few Macedonian amateurs.
   In Skopje we also saw Alfred Z31AA, a retired electronic engineer, licensed in 1955.  He is a former president of the Yugoslav Amateur Radio Association.  Alfred is a builder, his specialties are electronic keyers, antenna tuners, low-pass and high-pass filters.  He also repairs the rigs of other amateurs.  Alfred Z31AA is using both factory and home made equipment.  His 3 element Yagi for 10-15-20 meters is on the top of his 12 story building, at 168 feet, and his coax cable is 230 feet long.  Alfred Z31AA is a DXer , works mostly on CW, and has 320 countries confirmed.  In 1977 he created an automatic transmitter for direction finding competitions.
   Mile Z31JY, licensed in 1950, a retired flight controller, is now 72 years young.  He is one of the earliest hams in Macedonia.  Mile is a builder, he made electronic keyers, transmitters, and linear amplifiers.  He has a home made 50 Watt transmitter and a 200 Watt amplifier, and is using a multiband inverted V antenna.  Mile Z31JY works only CW and has QSL cards.
   Bob Z32BU, ex YU5XBU, YU5BU,  licensed in 1985, is a civilian employee of the army; he repairs communications equipment.  Bob is the technical editor of ARO, the monthly bulletin of the Amateur Radio Association of Macedonia.  Bob Z32BU is a contester, a DXer,  operates on SSB, active also on 6 meters.  He has a 3 element home made Yagi for 10-15-20 meters, and a 5 element Yagi for 6 meters.  Bob is a good QSLer.  He needs the following QST magazines: July 1986, Nov. 1987, Dec. 1988, and Nov. 1989.  They can be mailed to Box 467,  91000 Skopje, Macedonia.


   Finally it was time to leave.  I took a train from Skopje, via Belgrade, to Timisoara, Romania. However, after about 9 and half hours, my train was late and I missed the connection in Belgrade.  The next one was 12 hours later.  I took a bus to Vrsec, close to the Romanian border.  There I went to the smugglers’ market full of Romanians, and they told me about special buses that carried them across the border.  I got on the bus.  I was the only passenger who had nothing to hide, and after about four hours a arrived to my home town of Timisoara.
   I had a great time visiting the amateurs of Macedonia.  They are kind of isolated in the Balkans, not many people go there. The shortage of funds makes mailing their QSL cards difficult.  The necessity, not having many modern factory made equipment, made them skillful builders.  The lack of technical books and magazines slows their progress.  Old amateur radio publications sent to various clubs at their Callbook addresses would help them a lot.  Next time you have a QSO with an Z3 amateur, for a moment imagine yourself in his place, then ask yourself how can you help a fellow amateur.
  The publisher of a European magazine suggested to put a happy ending to my report.  I am sure that if I make my story long enough, the readers will be happy that it ended.  And so I did.