Ham Radio Operators Convention to Convene

By Lewis Griswold
The Fresno Bee

Amateur radio enthusiasts who go the distance start their annual convention today at the Visalia Holiday Inn.

The International DX Convention, now in its 58th year, draws “hams” from Northern and Southern California, but also from as far away as South Africa, New Zealand, Japan or Italy, to learn new tips.

DX is radio lingo for “distance.”

DXers fire up their transmitters to talk to people halfway around the globe.

“The fun of this hobby is that in the privacy of your home, you can talk to anyone on the other side of the world without the Internet or telephone wires,” said Steve Jones, N6FJ, an officer in the Northern California DX Club. “The magic of being a DX operator is to directly talk to someone without interference.”

Last year, more than 500 attended the three-day convention.

It is being hosted by the Northern California DX Club, and will swap duties next year with the Southern California DX Club.

The two clubs make Visalia their convention home because it’s halfway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Local hams will also attend.

Bill Jungwirth of Visalia, call sign AA6S and a 47-year veteran of the hobby, said the goal of DXing is to contact as many countries as possible.

“It’s fun, and there’s competition in DX,” Jungwirth said. “Whoever gets the most — ‘I’m higher than you.’ ”

Last week, Jungwirth exchanged hellos (English is the DX tongue) with a guy in Turkey. A few years ago, he scored a rarity — contact with a ham in Vietnam.

IRAQ WARRIOR: Army Pfc. Jeffrey A. Avery, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died Monday in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated during checkpoint operations, according to the Department of Defense.

Avery, a military policeman stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., was sent to Iraq in November. He was on his first tour.

The incident occurred in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Avery spent summers in Visalia fishing and swimming, he grandparents said.

“He was a sweetheart, jubilant, a lot fun to be with,” said his grandmother, Dorothy Avery of Visalia.

Avery was born into a military family. His father, Richard Avery III, who lives in Visalia, served in the Marines and Army. His brother Richard Avery IV, of Colorado, is an ex-Marine who served two tours in Iraq.

Burial is expected to be at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

RHS MEMORIES: Visalia’s Redwood High School graduated its first class in 1957, so the student government will mark the 50th year of the school graduating students by holding a dinner “under the trees on Main Street” on May 4.

Head cheerleader Pauline Casarez Medrano, ’57, will talk about how the school’s first students helped choose the RHS colors, and named the school, teams and yearbook.

Redwood alumni of any year are invited.

Social hour is 6 p.m., and dinner is at 7 p.m. Cost: $25. Information: (559) 730-7705.
Lewis Griswold’s column appears on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. He can be reached at lgriswold@fresnobee.com or (559)622-2416.