October 5, 2007.

In memory of a very good friend, EA3DXU

There are good days, and there are bad days. This is an extremely bad day..

Today we lost a very good friend, radio amateur, and moonbounce colleague; Josep EA3DXU.

 

 

Not having been in close contact with him recently, I had no idea that Josep was so ill. Therefore, the message that reached us yesterday, sent out by his brother Pau EA3BB, came as a shock to me. And the second message today, telling us that Josep passed away this morning is still hard to grasp.

I started moonbouncing in September 1985. A few months later I had a good discussion with F6BSJ (also SK) regarding the possibility to start up a European EME Net, dedicated to 144 MHz moonbounce. Eventually I started this EME-net on 20m, and that is how I came to know Josep;

"Echo Alpha Three Delta Xray Uniform"!

Remember, this was before email or loggers, all communication between moonbouncers (except via EME) was made on HF or via regular mail. We also circulated monthly paper newsletters, making the bonds between people involved very strong. The possibility to talk to each other, and learn from each other, was essential for all of us who were constantly struggling to improve our EME stations.

Josep and his Spanish colleagues EA3ADW, EA3BTZ and EA2LU were regular checkins to the net. EA3ADW having the bigger station at the time, was leading the way. Josep started with a small station, but he was very successful. We worked the first time on January 24, 1987. That was the start of a row of random contacts and for instance in 1991 we worked on random when he was using a single 17 el M2 pointing at the horizon.

But Josep was suffering a lot from local noise on receive, which lead to frustration. Again, these were early days, and antenna patterns were not always optimized for low noise on receive. We were however amazed at the signal Josep was bouncing off the moon, it was crisp and clear and always easy to copy. If I am not mistaken, Josep and Joop PA0JMV completed the first single yagi to 2 yagi contact on CW EME, which really was quite an achievement in those days.

Josep upgraded his station with better antennas and a new amplifier, and like Joop he was handing out 2 yagi EME QSOs to most of the stations who were active. Hearing the echoes Josep produced on 2mtr EME, it was hard to believe there were only two yagis pointing at the moon at his end. Outstanding signals!

A very difficult country to operate from was Andorra, C3. Josep and friends managed to put the first EME expedition on the air from there in August 1988. We were all amazed by hearing moonbounce signals from C3URA, they were doing very well and reports were in the RST range. Results were excellent, and this was one of the early expeditions that lead the way to the first DXCC awards on 144 MHz EME.

Josep was of course involved in many more expeditions, including some smaller ones to show people at exhibitions what EME is all about. He did not miss a chance to inform people what we moonbouncers were doing, of course with the interest of possibly recruiting some new blood to the aging crowd

And I am sure he was successful, at one time EA stations almost dominated EME in Europe..

It came as no surprise when I on May 1 in 1993 had my first contact with Josep on 432 MHz EME. He was my initial #231, and I had been waiting for some time for that QSO as I knew he was coming on a new band. At the time of the QSO Josep was only getting 85 watts to the antenna but he had a solid signal. Despite his rather modest array, we were almost always exchanging RST reports, indicating how well he was doing on 432.

For quite a few years forward, on every page in my paper log I see QSOs with EA3DXU on 144 or 432 MHz. Josep was always where we all need to be.. on the band, looking for QSO's!

We never worked on 23cm though, not with his home call anyway. I understand from others that there were plans for an EME station for 23cm, but unfortunately those plans remain unfinished.

Ive been going through my logs, and I dont think we ever missed a contest QSO. Josep was one station that I knew I would catch, sooner or later, and that proved to be true. This is not because of pure luck, the reason is of course that Josep was always QRV and he was making his signal heard by calling CQ, despite his relatively small station. This is something we would all like to see more,  people should call CQ and be heard! There will be no QSOs made if everyone is just listening. Joseph sure understood that fact!

Finally, after many many years of communicating via the airwaves, I was able to meet Josep and his family in Prague in 2002. I still remember the smile on his face, and the warm greeting I got when I introduced myself. We chatted for a while about old times, and this was the one and only time we met in person. But it was a good feeling, and we told each other to keep in touch via the moon, as usual.

I can understand if Josep in recent years has been dissappointed with me and the standpoints I have taken towards different issues in our hobby.

This never lead to us loosing contact via EME though, and I had my last CW EME contact with him on August the 4th this year. This was on 144 MHz, and as always we ended the QSO with "73 Jose" vs "73 Peter". Little did I know that this was the last time I would hear his CW via the moon..

This is the hard part, knowing that Josep will not be sending his powerful signal to the moon any more so we can hear him and talk to him.

Rest in peace my friend, and THANK YOU for all the fun we have had through the years on the radio!

And my condoleances go to the family of course, in this difficult moment.

73 de Peter SM2CEW

 

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