Cyprus # 3 Ham Radio
OldEric says :-} Shortly after arriving at Ayios Nikolaos, with a large electronics contingent I made enquires to see if there was a Ham club. Yes I was told, but it was in recess, no one was interested but there was one at the nearby army camp. I tracked down the key-holder, explained what I wanted and I got the key and gave the club a look over and was told if I was interested the key could be signed over to me.
The club was housed in a stripped out mobile signals trailer and contained a radio receiver but not a transmitter, a decrepit transmitting aerial was outside. The receiver was a top of the line AR88, I turned on the power and switched on the receiver and it roared into life. I applied for a license to operate quoting my UK license and I was told my application would be accepted but there would be a delay in the permit coming through. So, no transmitter, I decided to purchase one from the UK from a small firm Labgear later to be come much larger. They said shipping would be no problem and the transmitter would be shipped to the port Famagusta in Cyprus.
My license to operate and my call sign ZC4JX duly arrived and I operated from a forces friends home for a while, who was married and lived down in Famagusta who was not qualified but had a transmitter and receiver.
I was duly notified of the shipment date of the transmitter and its estimated arrival date. I checked the shipping each day, the ship arrived and after unloading and passing through customs, I was phoned by the shipping agents that I could collect my consignment. I took a taxi down town collected the packing case from the docks and no way would it fit in the taxi. Not deterred I borrowed a pinch bar, levered off the wooden packing case boards and extracted the transmitter while the taxi meter ticked over. I collapsed the sides of the wooden packing case and stuffed those in the taxi too. I would be wanting the packing case at some future time. Heading back to the camp at Ayios Nikolaos, I was hot to get down to the club and fire the transmitter up. Which I did. The collapsed packing case was safely stored in the back of the club rooms.
Only one other person showed interest in the club but he didn’t come too often. Maybe the many operator personnel had had enough of operating during their shift and didn’t find operating during leisure hours attractive.
There was little recreation during the week in the camp and I found Ham radio a very pleasant relaxation. Many in the camp spent most of the time either in the NAAFI or in the many card schools during the week, in fact among the many shift workers the card schools used to operate 24 hours a day—none stop. Then they had no money to go down town during the weekends.