1.      What is the story of how you became a ham? Who got you interested?

In Birzai (Northern Lithuania) High School that I graduated, there was a circle of radio amateur headed by the teacher of physics. There were annually organized exhibitions of own amateur radio constructions. They would exhibit some 10 – 20 self – made radio receivers, ranging from detector to six – tube – superhets.  For me, a 14 – year – old school boy, such an exhibition made a huge impression. and since  then I have gotten my interest in radio technology. At first I built radio receivers only. From pre – war Lithuanian magazines I learned about amateur radio, e.g. in 1937 K.Karkauskas LYIKK won a gold medal  at an international HF competition. Together with my friend Rimas (now LY2GC) we started looking for information how to get licenses. To get them at that time, believe me, was a very complicated task.  Nevertheless, in 1959 we got our first licenses for 38 – 40 MHz only), and on the receivers of our own make we heard for the first time what Amateur Radio is.

2.      What was your first station?

After finishing school, I was studying in Vilnius but I didn’t have conditions for Amateur Radio. My attempts to join the city station of city radio club were unsuccessful. At that time it was allowed just for a few people. Only when I moved to Kaunas to study at Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (KPI – now KTU, Kaunas University of Technology) I was able to establish my first contact from club radio station UP2KNP!

At that time I made my first 10 m band radio station. I remodeled the receiver from an old Red Army tank receiver. Transmitter was two stages (VFO + Pa) 5W power with FM modulation. Living in a dormitory, I could use only an indoor dipole. Despite limited equipment, I would succeed to establish long – distance contacts. These impressions are unforgetful!

3.      How did you become interested in contesting?

At Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (now KTU) there was a club short wave radio station UP2KNP and a group of active students. They would take part in local and USSR HF contests. This made a great impression upon me! Relatively close to UP2KNP there were operating transmitters for short wave jamming (1.5 – 5.0) kW power with combination modulation AM+FM. These transmitters at that time scrambled VOA, BBC and other foreign programs. QRM were gigantic, therefore conditions even for non – DX contacts were difficult, especially in Phone. So we had to quickly learn CW. It was achieved in one month by personal effort while listening to 20m band. At that time, information about contests would reach us via local radio club, but unfortunately, there was no information about international contests. Once with my colleague Rimas (now LY2TX) we found out that there was a contest and we had to transmit 59915, we got involved into “test – x’. This first international start turned out to be CQ WW DX CW 1960!

4.      What is it about DX contests that is challenging?

For students and young people in general, competing is absolutely natural. KPI students were active in other technical kinds of sports – auto, motorcycling, gliding, next to Olympic sports. That’s why it’s not surprising that UP2KNP team was very much interested in competing at first with Kaunas RC team, later with other Lithuanian teams, etc.

Besides, we are constantly improving our technical equipment, aerials and have noticed that contests are the best places to test our possibilities and those of our equipment. Of great importance for following the trend of radio sports was the establishment of Lithuanian Radio Sports Federation (LRSF) in 1960. Also, another fact of  big importance was when in 1961 radio sports was recognized USSR – wide next to other Olympic sports.   E.g. having fulfilled qualificational norms, sport names were awarded, the highest among them was “Master in international class”.

5.      You are a member of KTU. What is that club and what are the requirements?

Yes, I’ve been a member of KTU (former KPI) RC since 1959. The best radio sports related club is located in Kaunas University of technology and is a LRSF affiliated club. KTU RC joins HF, VHF Contests and ARDF enthusiasts: students, staff, alumni from our University, other Lithuanian institutions of higher education and high school without financial background. Traditions of KTU RC have developed since 1956, when we got first Amateur Radio license with call 019528. Yes, such callsign! The main aims of KTU RC are to develop and propagate radio sports in Lithuania, to encourage technical creativity in the field of telecommunications and to provide humanitarian aid by using Amateur Radio.

We are very proud of high achievements by KTU RC team at international level: three victories in CQ WW DX contests, seven victories in European DX Contests. In 1989, 1990 KTU RC was the winner in WAE DC. The RC team and individual members have won over 180 contests! They have established many World, European and  Asian records.

KTU RC from 1965 – 2000 in CQ WW DX contests made 519.086.852 points! It is difficult in a short interview to describe the activity and achievements of the oldest club in Lithuania.

Welcome to LY7A m.o.m.t. home built station and KTU RC (http://www.ktu.lt/radio) meetings every 1st Thursday of each month at 16.00 z in KTU, Studentu str. 50  - 241, LT-3031, Kaunas, Lithuania.  

6.      You have been interested in many aspects of contesting. You have operated multi – operator many times. What callsigns? What was that like?

During 40 years of contesting I have tried to operate from s.o.s.b. to m.o.m.t. I have noticed that participation is interesting in all subgroups. With great delight I can remember team actions like call 4L7A, UP2A, RP3P, EW6V, RF3V, LY7A and of course UP2NK/UF.

Apart from other contesters, I think that all contests on air, if you are seeking high results, are interesting in their own way.

7.      What is your favorite mode? Why?

My favorite mode is CW. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, CW mode occupying a minimal part of  RF range allows to transmit a sufficient amount of information. Besides, in my opinion, system “operator – radio communication equipment” corresponds most closely to the definition of global radio communication sports using, in particular, CW mode.

8.      Did you have to travel on DXpeditions for contests? Which was the most challenging?

The first KPI RC expeditions were caused by natural need to get away from QRM source in the center of the city.  We would transport our home built equipment on the eve of a contest to the building of another faculty located in the outskirts. There we would install 127 m LW, GP and similar aerials and would start, and afterwards we would transport everything back. This way, UP2KNP team in 1964 for the first time became the USSR HF champions. Then we had an idea to go to another continent especially for CQ WW DX contest. The group of young, enthusiastic contesters from KTU RC started to produce and collect equipment for the expedition. There were specially made lightweight 3 band 3el. (20, 15, 10) beam. The most difficult part was to get a pass and special call. At least three times me and Arvydas (now LY2OO) had to go to Moscow and to try to persuade CRK leaders. Up to that time nobody had made expeditions like that. It is still strange now, but both the pass and 4L7A call were issued. This first DXpedition in 1966, even when we had to turn off the electricity at 12 o’clock during the contest, we managed to win CQ WW DX CW 1966 m.o.s.t. and W3AOH World Cup, is incomparable to the other ones in which I took part.

Perhaps another more impressive was the 1985 DXpedition RF3V m.o.m.t. 35 operators and about 8 t of equipment traveled again to the 1966 place at Suchumi in Georgia and we managed to win again.

9.      What sort of station do you have now?

Sorry! I lost my contest equipment at the end of 1991. Then, during the period of restoration of Lithuanian Independence, KPI RC organized an emergency net in a specially made base outside Kaunas. I gave all my equipment, except for aerials, for their needs there. Before the withdrawal of Soviet Army, the base was robbed and destroyed. The tracks led to the dislocation of the enemies of Lithuania’s independence.

At present I have only my own home made receiver and original antennas constructed 30 years ago: 160 m vertical 37 m, 80 m 3el. collinear beam W/e, 40 m 3 el. at 31 m, 20 m 5 el. at 31 m, 15/10 7 el. at 35 m.

10.  How do you prepare yourself for a major contest? Do you operate single op or Multi?

I think that single op can seek for high results in the Contests up to the age of 50. My last Contest that I won was CQ WW DX CW 1987 s.o. 160 m. from Georgia. After that, a logical way was to operate Multi and in organizing the activities of radio sports. From 1990 we started to built m.o.m.t. LY7A contest station. We have better equipment and antennas every year. Our results are increasing every year also. 

11.  Do you eat any special foods for the contest?

My maximum activity in contests was during 1965 – 1980. In the USSR of that time the notion “special foods” was beyond comprehension. One problem was money, another – we couldn’t buy anything much because simply there was nothing to buy! During that period I could operate without sleep or with 3 hour rest period in 48 -  hour contests.  For the increase of endurance, my recommendation is to increase physical activity three days before a contest, and after to get a good sleep.

12.  Where is the most interesting place you have operated from?

While living in the USSR, possibilities to travel were limited by the boundaries of the empire. Therefore for expedition we chose Georgia. This choice in our opinion was rather good: not far from Europe, better conditions at all, convenient azimuth – the same for EU and USA, subtropical climate and friendly local people. So, all our expeditions took place there, one UF6A in 1978 started just on the beach of the Black Sea, the rest at the high of 360 m. There we founded a KPI RC base and achieved such a level that we had to take to the contests only the transceivers. Unfortunately, with the beginning of civil war in Abkasia, there were active military actions in the region of our base and we lost antennas, power amplifiers, receivers and a lot of other equipment.

13.  Are you interested in 6 M or other VHF bands? If so how did you become interested?

In my opinion, when the frequency increases, the aspect of radio sport is decreasing, and the experimental one is increasing. But there are good solutions in VHF area also.

Together with Lithuanian VHF team I took part in the USSR VHF on-site championships in 1967, 1968 at the Azov Sea. Therefore, I can confirm that such events have a huge sports prospects.

14.  What is the Lithuanian national organization called? Does it have a national convention?

At this moment there are two national amateur radio organizations in Lithuania – LRSF (Lithuanian Radio Sports Federation) and LRMD (Lithuanian Amateur Radio Society). LRSF, founded in 1960, is interested in radio sports activities and is the only in Lithuania with such interests. LRMD, reestablished in 1988, is interested in general aspects of amateur radio.

LRSF is a non-profit public organization registered in the Ministry of Justice Lithuania Rep. as a national organization. Today it has over 300 members who are interested in HF and VHF Contests, ARDF and HSCW. LRSF has for a long time been organizing official Lithuanian championships. We have been constantly arranging the Baltic Contest. In addition, LRSF registers official Lithuanian radio sports records, annually nominates best sportsmen and team top tens and also their ratings. Since 1999 LRSF has been a co-founder of European radioorientering sports federation.

LRSF annually arranges its sports – technical conferences in autumn, and every summer LRMD arranges a hamfest in the countryside. By the way, LRSF publishes its official magazine “Radio Sports in Lithuania” (in Lithuanian) one – two times a year. Vol. 26 has just been  published. The issue reviews and comments on the results of the previous season, regulations of forthcoming contests are announced, Lithuanian records, contestman ratings, and also technical articles.

15.  For a relatively small country, Lithuania has several very active contest clubs. What are they? Do you know how they became formed

Yes! In Lithuania not only basketball is popular, but also radio sports. This is to a certain extend due to the fact that for 40 years we have had organized radio sports in Lithuania with all features characteristic to any other kind of sports. The majority of our radio sports achievements and traditions are related to LRSF. Victories are the best radio sports propaganda. E.g. after CQ WW DX 1966   there was made a film about 4L7A team “Short waves” by the Lithuanian film studio. Without doubt many young people having seen that film, came to us. KTU radio club has had a great influence on radio sports in Lithuania. Members of this club establish their clubs in other towns or joined the existing ones. e.g. in Siauliai LY5A, LY2ZZ, in Vilnius LY2WW.

16.  What advice would you give to amateurs who would like to get started in contesting?   

LRSF members differ in age, but particular heed is paid to radio sports propaganda among the youth. I wouldn’t like to hurt anybody’s feelings, but a classical way by which we come to radio sports in the age of Internet has become outdated. Too long is the learning period for the sake of an aim to communicate with the world via air. But young people always find it interesting to compete among themselves. To meet this aim, LRSF annually organizes international competitions for youth. A few words about them. “Professor A.Jurskis memorial” contests same time with CQ-MIR contest usually take place at KTU RC. During the contest the youth of two age cohorts compete by receiving calls from other contest participants. Besides, there are computerized tests for testing elementary knowledge in radio communications.

“Open Lithuanian HSCW championship for youth” takes place under  a simplified program in Vilnius in November.

“Lithuanian Cup” on-site competition (80 m CW/SSB) takes place in different places of Lithuania in June, also Baltic Contest one week before CQ WW WPX CW with a trophy for youth. Information about us can be found at http://www.lrsf.lt.

Everybody is welcome to our events! We believe that sports competitions can be used as a vehicle for recruiting new participants and for promoting Amateur Radio.

Thank you, Bob!  73! Algis LY2NK