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Alaska Plus Yukon Plus Ham Radio = Magic in The Far
North Plus DX!
Books By John
Reisenauer - KL7JR
this article were edited from John's book, "Go North
bottom of article for other books by John!
Some books available as "ebooks"
(Photo courtesy David
It was an early
June, 1989 morning (12:30 am) when the British Aero 146 jet set down
in Whitehorse .
I'd left New York City about 10 hours ago.
I was very surprised how light out it was this early in the
morning. I have a lot to learn about the North!
restful sleep and hearty lumberjack breakfast I was off to tour the
town. I wandered into radio station CKRW and received a warm welcome and full tour of the
facility. This was a nice surprise for me since I'd been an avid SWL
for many years. At 10:00 am I got my first glimpse of the mighty
Yukon River. I had never seen an emerald-green fast flowing river as
this before. I was mesmerized. Little did I know this spell
would last a lifetime.
I worked Bill, VY1AU on the local 2 meter (146 MHz )
repeater. We met for an eyeball and discussed old times. Bill
and I first said hello some 15 years ago in Oregon . I commented how
strange it was to sign N9GPK portable VY1. We agreed to meet later
in the day for a barbecue. I decided to drive to Skagway , Alaska ,
since it was only 115 miles south of Whitehorse . The scenery
enroute to Skagway was equally as awesome as in the Whitehorse area.
This area houses some of the most rugged terrain on this planet. I
just couldn't imagine being exposed to this great wonder every day!
Even the Yukon highway signs reflected the northern spirit. I spent
three hours wandering around the tourist town of Skagway before heading
back to the Yukon . I think I burned up ten rolls of film just on
this one day adventure alone.
Later back in Whitehorse I
attended a barbecue as Bill's guest at club station VY1DX, a single wide
mobile home located on top a high bluff over looking the city. All
sorts of antennas protruded from the trailer roof and a tower tied off to
a tall pine tree had a shiny new tribander glistening in the sun! I
was told the tower tied to the tree was a temporary installation.
The club was waiting on the City of Whitehorse to donate the concrete for
the tower base.
After Bill's deliciously cooked T-bone steak dinner,
complete with all the trimmings (Yukoners sure know how to eat!), we all
retired to one of the two operating positions (one for SSB and one for CW)
to start the Alaska Highway Net. I had a nice chat with VY1BQ, DN,
AD and FF before VY1BQ called the net to order on 3855 KHz as
VY1DX. I jumped at the opportunity to assist at the mic and worked
VY1DW (near Fortymile) and VY1DU (near Mayo) as check ins. These
were my first HF arctic to arctic contacts! I worked them as
The next morning Ron, VY1AD (now VY1RM) gave
me a very interesting tour of his work QTH, radio station CBC Yukon . In the
afternoon I met with Bill, VY1CW over coffee. Bill gave me the keys
to VY1DX and said "have a good time"! Bill has an interesting
job as a radio technician for the Yukon Government. He maintains
most of the government's HF and VHF radio equipment and antennas
throughout the Yukon . He's the only Yukon ham running high
Propagation was very poor but I did manage a dozen contacts
with California and Oregon (W6's and W7's) on 20 meter SSB as VY1DX.
My operating was in competition with the local gun club next door.
Bullets were zinging everywhere it seemed like. One Ham asked me if
I was in a war zone. He chuckled for a long time after I explained
the situation. Bill had mentioned propagation was poor for the last
2 months up here.
This was truly an exciting and enjoyable
experience on my first "north of the 60th parallel" adventure.
The first of many, many more to come.
The next few months drug on for me- all I could think about
was Alaska and the Yukon . I was hooked!
Thanksgiving I phoned my oldest daughter Tracy and told her we're going to
Anchorage ! We met in Seattle and flew to Anchorage together. My
luggage was packed with radio gear. I even hand carried a 10 meter
(28 MHz) Hamstick vertical antenna all the way from New York City !
I've been in the "Big Apple" for a year- this North Dakota boy was
definitely a "fish out of water". Tracy soon learned her new title
was "chauffeur" while I played on 10 meter phone from our rental
car. Where's the guy who told me magnetic mounts won't scratch the
car's roof !
I couldn't believe how clear and strong
the signals were from Japan , Korea and Siberia compared to what I was
used to from the lower 48. Dxing seemed very easy and QRM was
non-existent. Later I'd be in for a surprise called "aurora" and
just what kind of impact that has on radio signals! I tuned around
on ten meters and noticed a very strong signal from Siberia
Operator Mike was 20 over S9 when I broke his pileup.
He welcomed me to the north and gave me the same signal report. Not
bad for a mobile I thought. The next evening we met with Rich, AL7FI and
Shari, AL7FJ at their QTH in Eagle River just a few miles north of
Anchorage . They were friends of a friend (AL7GQ). Shari
was net control for the Motley Net on 3933 KHz and checked me into the
net. We counted over 60 hams who checked into the net. Later
I'd come to learn the importance of nets in the North. For some hams
living in the bush (ie- remote Alaska ), Amateur Radio was their only link
to the outside world. I distinctly remember a Ham checking in from
McCarthy with health and welfare (medical) traffic for Anchorage. He
reported the medical condition of his elderly neighbor.
McCarthy, in southeast Alaska , is only accessible via plane
or by foot.
By noon the next day we were back along Cook Inlet in
downtown Anchorage working 10 meter SSB. I actually had a few
mini-pileups going. Most stations couldn't believe I was operating
mobile using a Radio Shack 4 ft CB vertical on a mag mount! What a
fantastic ground plane the sea made. Contacts poured in from all
directions. What an exhilarating feeling being on the other end of
the pileup! I even worked my friends John, NL7HW in Delta Junction
and Ken, AL7GA in North Pole on short skip (200-300 miles) with fair
signals. They both welcomed me to their state. I'd worked John
and Ken several times over the last two years while I was in New Jersey
. They both assured me that Alaska is where I needed to relocate
N9GPK/mobile KL7 was having a great radio time,
especially when KC4AAC, Palmer Station
Antarctica, came back to my call. I gave him a 5x5
sig report and op Mark at Palmer Station said he was sorry he could only
give me a 4x4 back. I told him "the 4x4 looks pretty FB in my
The weather was very mild with temperatures in the low
20's during the day. We both noticed how friendly the people were
too. We were both having such a good time playing tourist that we
forgot to order turkey for our dinner on Thanksgiving Day. We took
in the championship game of the "Great Alaska Shootout" (basketball), a
yearly event in Anchorage .
Although the trip was not all play, I did manage to find
time for a couple of job interviews with local engineering firms. I
was so confident (and hopeful!) I'd receive a job offer that I rented a
mailbox from the Mail Cache. When I arrived back in New Jersey, I
put in a FCC form 610 request for an Alaskan callsign. On January
4th, 1990 I received NL7TB. One month later I landed a job and
hit the road for Anchorage !
Do you know of a place you've visited a
hundred times or more and just can't seem to get enough of? Well, my place
is the Yukon. I've been trekking and Amateur Radioing from the
magical Yukon since 1990 and something just keeps pulling me back for
contests, special events or just to get away from it all. One of my
favorite Yukon places is the spectacular Kluane Lake
Kluane Lake straddles two small communities in the
Yukon, namely Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay along the Alcan Highway.
Kluane is Shoshoni for "Big Fish".
This beautiful body of fresh water
is 50 mi. long by 6 wide.
Kluane Lake, Yukon
The average temperature during the winter is 40-50 below zero and
it's not unusual for the lake to keep its ice through late June. Jacquot and Fish Heart (aka Silver City) are the
only islands in the lake. Jacquot is the larger of the two islands. Burwash Landing, home to about 100 hearty souls, is
located at historic Milepost 1093 along the Alaska Highway, on the shore of beautiful Kluane (pronounced
"kloo-WA-nee") Lake about 76 miles northwest of Haines
Junction. The tiny community is the traditional home of the Southern
Tutchone Athabascans. This is one of the oldest
settlements in the Yukon. The original trading post was established in
1904 by the Jacquot brothers, Louis and Eugene, as a
supply center for local miners. Sometime in the early 1960's, the big
island was officially named after the Jacquot
brothers. A lodge was built here in 1944-45 to serve highway
Visitor services today include gas, food, camping and
lodging at Burwash Landing Resort.
My book, BROTHERS IN THE YUKON, depicts life here for the Jacquot
and Dickson brothers during the early Klondike
Gold Rush era through today (book available through Yukon Archives in Whitehorse).
Most of this area today is virgin wilderness
with its chief resources still buried under ice and glacial rocks.
Perhaps the most extraordinary episodes of Yukon
history were the Klondike Gold rush and the building of the Alaska
changed the history of the Yukon so drastically that it could never be
"Yukon John", KL7JR
Special Event op for VY1RST, VE8RST and KL7RST
Anchorage Sunset by
"ALASKA, YOU ARE"
A wondrous landmass of towering mountains, endless
forests, islands galore in fish-abundant waters and Ice Age glaciers-
Alaska is your name.
You host the midnight sun, northern lights,
Mount McKinley and much, much more in your paradise of ice and snow. You
are different things to different people. The alluring voice that so many
hear but few heed. Your domain of rugged splendor and untamed beauty
demands respect but seldom forgives mistakes.
An independent realm
of opportunity, you are as diversified as your climate, wildlife and
people. You are remote to all except your own. No roads lead to your
capital and your closest neighbors are foreign to your ways. You are
life-giving, yet number only approximately 525-thousand people (slightly
higher than the population of Denver, Colorado).
You are "peace
within ones self" when wanderlust runs deep in the soul. You are an
everyday holiday, an outdoor playground where high tech meets the
primitive frontier. You house exotic wildlife, including reindeer,
caribou, musk ox and polar bear- they roam about you
Unbelievers previously referred to you as a "folly and
icebox" (Seward's), but look who's laughing now! A precious property
wealthy with oil, fish and knowledge, you bring out the very best and
sometimes the worst in people.
You are a state of mind where
freedom prevails above all. Most of your people possess a positive
attitude, knowing negative is defeatable. From your rain forests to your
wide open tundra, you are beyond definition and almost too vast to
comprehend. You have; 3-million lakes, 12 major rivers, 119-million acres
of forests, 33-thousand miles of seacoast, about 100,000 glaciers and you
border 2 oceans and 3 seas. Those are quite impressive measurements from
the seductress of today who long ago gave up her territorial virginity.
You collect no sales tax or state tax but instead financially and
spiritually reward your inhabitants.
You are not for everyone- that
in being your scheme to forever ensure a Last Frontier. I can't imagine
what it would be like not living within your
Go North John!
I stand humbly in awe of your magnificence and pledge always my
allegiance, for you are home!"
Other Exciting Ham Radio Books by
Wonderful reading for the Ham Radio Operator or the
adventurer in you!
A life lived well in a place few people visit. A story
of joy, hardship and a love of Amateur Radio in
Reisenauer, Jr. KL7JR
Pictorial Essay of the Many Moods of Kluane Lake
John, KL7JR has captured mother
nature's finest faces of Alaska
with his glorious
photography of Kluane Lake !
Amateur Radio in
along with "Yukon John" KL7JR doing what he does best with his
Amateur Radio! Includes 20 years of John's DX'ing
as an "ebook"
See how to
Of Ice and
OF ICE AND MEN
is an adventurous journey of
researching some of Alaska's shrinking glaciers by KL7JR. Loaded
with info you won't find elsewhere.
Brothers In The
BROTHERS IN THE
is the most complete and comprehensive family
autobiography today of the Jacquot and Dickson brothers who settled
and tamed the Yukon's Kluane Lake area wilderness. Loaded with
documentation and actual pictures on their struggles and
family history dating back to 1888!
Alaska is Really Cool!
A beautiful pictorial of
Alaska awaits the reader, from local scenes in Anchorage to remote
Alaska captured by John Reisenauer, Jr. John has lived the "Alaska
dream" twice by calling the Last Frontier home. Photos taken 2009 to
Pacific and Caribbean DX
KL7JR is doing what he
does best - making HF contacts world-wide on wire and CB antennas
from places most hams only dream of!
Get it as an
See how to
adventures from KL7JR!
EXTREME DX is a striking compilation of
some of KL7JR's most exciting DXpeditions from the Alaskan and
Canadian Arctic to the Tropics of Hawaii and the US Virgin
as an "ebook"
See how to
All "print" books available from Lulu.com.
Do a search by title for them. See listing below for
order the listed "ebooks above direct from Hamuniverse.com in
pdf form, use the PayPal buttons below.
Normal delivery time to
your email less than 24 hours!
forget to check your Spam folder for them after
Amateur Radio in Canada's North $12.95 pdf
Pacific and Caribbean DX $12.95 pdf
Extreme DX!! $12.95 pdf
More good reading and info about Alaska and the
State of Alaska
Scan Police, Fire, Rescue, Ham
Radio, Aircraft, Ships, and much