APRIL 15 — Following the LoTW upload of April 1st, the first Kosovo Z60A QSL card arrived in the U.S. during the past week to 92-year old Frank, K4BVQ, allowing him to reach the DXCC sticker #385. Former INDEXA president Gary Dixon, K4MQG made a special personal delivery, delighting Frank, a serious DXer and supporter of the DX segment of Amateur Radio. Following this special delivery, all U.S. direct requests, whether Club Log or through direct mail will be released locally in San Francisco at the end of this week.

The donor QSLs for the rest of the world are in process, while other direct requests will start surfacing during the week of May 1st. The card is 4-page full color, giving a detailed description of this unique mission.

DX is not simply collecting LoTW points. The QSL card is also an educational piece aimed at the wide world and the issues behind the radio contacts. Better yet, you may meet three representatives of the Z60A activation; Vjollca, Z61VB, Jim, K9JF and Martti, OH2BH at the Visalia DX Convention over the weekend of April 20/22 and hear their fascinating stories. DX Conventions typically offer these personal and emotional meetings. While in California they may also visit some young DXers who were successful in contacting Z60A.

MARCH 23 — It is now 10-days from the last QSO made at Z60A, the Republic of Kosovo’s first activation. Because this is an overall new DXCC entity, it has resulted in many requests for checking missing QSOs due to pirates, a variety of logging errors and busted calls. We have extended this period for another week as we try to enter the cleanest possible QSO data to LoTW.

The magic day for the complete LoTW upload will be Fools Day, April.01, 2018. We will continue processing log errors for another 7-days prior to the upload. Queries can be made at z60a@sral.fi

While waiting, you may have a look at the Z60A four-page QSL layout at www.qrz.com/db/Z60A to capture the essence of the Mission Goodwill Kosovo. These papers cards are at the printer, and we expect to have them here around April.01 as well. We will proceed with mailing as fast as we can.

MISSION GOODWILL KOSOVO STORY IN VISALIA

The Mission Goodwill Kosovo is ever thankful and delighted to have been invited to present the heartbreaking — and regrettable — story of “The Republic of Kosovo and Z60A” at the Visalia International DX Convention over the weekend of April, 20 thru 22. The trio of Vjollca, Z61VB, Martti, OH2BH and Jim, K9JF will be the Saturday evening Banquet speakers, presenting the latest DXCC country, number 340.

MARCH 13 — KOSOVO Z60A WENT QRT LAST NIGHT WITH 98.450 QSOS

The Z60A activation went QRT at 2020 UTC last night after 30-day-long initial activation of this latest new DXCC entity.

A total of 98,450 QSOs included 30,541 individual callsigns from 174 DXCC entities. The delegates to a variety of support functions and radio operating represented twelve (12) countries. They worked well together in a real ham’s spirit and assisted local Kosovar hams in many ways now that they will be on their own among the global amateur radio community. We welcome them most heartily to our family.

The Mission Goodwill Kosovo would like to thank those twenty-eight people who came from near and far, flying and driving to spend these thirty wonderful days together in the Republic of Kosovo:

Z61DX, Z61FF, Z61VB, Z62FB, Z63DBB, DD2ML, DJ5IW, DL3DXX, DL5AXX, DL5CW, DM5TI, ES2RR, G3TXF, IK0FVC, K9JF, OG2M, OH0XX, OH2BH, OH1MA, OH3JR, OM3PC, OM5RW, PB2T, OZ1IKY, S50A, S51F, S57AW and VE7NY

We also would like to thank those people who supported the mission at different points of the long process:

9A5W, K0IR, K1ZZ, K3ZJ, K3ZO, K4MQG, K5FUV, K6RV, K6TA, K8ZTT, K9JF, N0AX, N4MM, N7NG, W3UR, W5IZ, W6SZN, W9KNI, G3BJ, G3TXF, MD0CCE, OH2BH, OH2BN, OH2BUW, PB2T, VE6SH, YV5AM, Mr. Nicholas Cendrowicz of the European Union and Mr. Kreshnik Gashi, ARKEP of Kosovo.

Just on the day of finishing the mission – today – there was a telephone call from Mr. Kreshnik Gashi, Chairman of the Kosovo Telecom administration to OH2BH indicating that just today the new ITU country code +383 and related routing was activated and Kosovo was standing on its own. It did not bother the spirit even if the minute cost of the initial call exceeded USD 25.00 and worked one-way only.

The Mission Goodwill Kosovo faded into the horizon with many fond memories of the past 10-years. Thank you for being part of it!

A LoTW upload will be done soon and QSLs are at the printers next week.

MARCH 9 — Since the original activity from Kosovo was much hampered by a high noise level at both locations particularly on low-bands, a team led by Pertti OG2M, Miro OM5RW, Rudy OM3PC and Driton, Z61DX has put all its effort into hoisting full size verticals for this weekend from a quiet location beyond the city noise. Beverages have been built for the U.S and Japan. They are using a local cell site tower as their supporting structure.

The trio will have two signals on the air throughout the next three (3) nights, on 160, 80, 40 and 30M. In addition, they will still penetrate the 20M openings above 14025 KHz for U.S. Advanced and Generals.

Last night they were able to reach the U.S on 160M and even the West Coast on 80M with only 100 watts thanks to N6TQ and others. Tonight they will have full power.

Early this week also marked another happy occasion as six (6) more Kosovar youth took their exams for amateur radio license.

On Tuesday next week the group at Z60A will start taking apart their two sites, while the towers and beams will soon be QRV with the locals. This first radio activity of the Mission Goodwill Kosovo will soon be history.

The QSL design is in the works, and cards should start coming out by mid-April.

Thank you for interest in Kosovo and its evolving Amateur Radio.

MARCH 2 — While DL5AXX and OH2BH will concentrate on the ARRL DX SSB Contest, Henri, OH3JR will do 20M CW and other CW bands from the regular Z60A base camp. He will pay special attention to the U.S. propagation window: 13.00 thru 18.00 UTC.

A follow up activity will be led by OG2M with OM3PC and OM5RW. They will make yet another major low-band push before the closing of the low-band season. The overall Z60A activation will finish March 12.

FEBRUARY 26 — The Z60A organizers OG2M, OH2BH and OH3JR will be activating this newest DXCC entity again from this Wednesday Feb, 28 onward on low-bands and in the ARRL DX (SSB) Contest, as their previous operating sites are still fully furnished with towers and beams.

They were previously disappointed as they were not able to achieve clean receiving on the low bands, thus locals Z61DX, Z61AS and Z62FB have been working hard to find the noise sources.

It now looks like both 80M and 40M are relatively clean, while 160M is still a challenge. The operators will try beverages located as far as possible from the noisy electricity lines, and they are also considering going to the middle of nowhere with their Spiderbeam radiator.

It will be another Arctic mission though, as the temperatures are estimated to reach minus 17C / 1F, and permanent snow is covering the scene as they are 700m ASL.

Additionally they will carry two complete stations for SHARK, to be put on the air by the locals. You can expect even more activity soon.

DX Engineering (DXE) has made a sizeable antenna/cable donation to boost the local activity. David, W9CTJ has donated A Yaesu FT450-D for one of the local operators to be announced soon.

FEBRUARY 19 — ES2RR, OG2M, OH1MA, OH2BH and Z62FB left Pristina and crossed the Albanian border at 2PM today on their way to their Albanian homes. They plan to work on antennas at ZA1EM and ZA1F tomorrow before finally heading to their respective countries on Wednesday. They left a piece of their hearts, and left their Kosovo operating sites in intact for their return over the weekend of the ARRL DX (SSB) Contest in two weeks.

The first Kosovo activation resulted in 81,478 QSOs with 26,487 individual callsigns. Of the total number of QSOs, some 22% (17,876) were from North America and 10% (8255) were with DXers in Asia. Europe was obviously dominating with 66% (53,725) QSOs.

Delegates from ten (10) different countries were part of the initial activity. They returned home with many fond memories of this now 10 year old Republic, which was finally granted DXCC status on January 21, 2018.

The festivities surrounding Kosovo’s 10th anniversary were warm and memorable. The entire country – particularly the capital Pristina – were the party grounds, with the main street full of people listening to the open-air street concerts, featuring the famous British singer Rita Ora, a Kosovo native. The evening was cold – below the freezing mark – but the warmth of the occasion overrode the cold February night at 650 meters above sea level.

In the comfort of the city center, the Government of Kosovo offered a memorable reception and luncheon marking Amateur Radio’s past ten years toward this memorable day. Martti Laine, OH2BH of Project Goodwill Kosovo and Hans Blondeel-Timmerman, PB2T of the International Amateur Radio Union were personally awarded plaques commemorating their support in making this day happen.

Kosovo’s good name is now carved in stone, and many Kosovar voices will continue to penetrate the radio spectrum. A new DXCC counter was born!

Please kindly look at your QSOs in Club Log and at QRZ.com (Z60A). In the case of errors, please allow the group look at problems and correct them accordingly. For a next three weeks, errors will be worked out and the log will be entered into Logbook of the World (LoTW). Early donors will receive their direct QSL cards with others to follow immediately thereafter. Thank you for being part of the first (Z60A) Kosovo activation.

FEBRUARY 11 — The weather has been warming up in Kosovo lately and is currently above the freezing mark. Many are wondering why it isn’t possible to eliminate the noise by setting up camp in the quiet open field. The underlying fact is that Pristina is more that 650m above the sea level, and this winter has been particularly cold with -13C temperatures experienced during the activation period. There are prospects in place for the final and upcoming week to operate from a better place. Driton, Z61DX, has been testing the location and reception is dramatically better than at Z60A.

Considering that Kosovo will stay on the DXCC map and that this is the very first activation, not all noise and other challenges are expected to be resolved. However, a remote location for RX/TX is underway and the first tests may be done this week.  Bill, AA7XT, has donated an XR9 antenna to this application and it is now used at a temporary location by Z61DX – soon to be moved to the remote site. The project seeks a reasonably priced pair of second-hand TS590 rigs for remote implementation. Please contact N7NG or OH2BH.

The purpose of this first activation was to bring in delegates from as many countries as possible. This helps Kosovar hams in expanding their network of friends into many interesting countries – something that had not happened over the past years of “none” status.  During this coming week Toivo, ES2RR, will boost the number of delegate countries to ten (10).

The departing German/Slovenian team of DJ5IW, DM5TI, DD2ML and S57AW did a fantastic job while introducing the data modes (RTTY & FT8). They made up to 10,000 digital QSOs (some 4000 in the WPX RTTY) , with the Z60A project total now reaching 70,000. Driton, Z61DX, and his brother Agim, Z61AS, were also QRV all day Saturday on FT8 as a result of the past week’s work by Ulli, DD2ML, and others.

During this RTTY weekend the SHRAK HQ location was exclusively activated on 20M SSB by locals: Z61VB, Z61FF, Z62FB and Z63DBB.

The DX community has been generous to their fellow hams in Kosovo. All donations are temporarily marked for SHRAK needs and will be managed by the Yasme Foundation directors Martti, OH2BH, and Hans, PB2T, together with Pertti, OG2M, and SHRAK president Vjollca, Z61VB. The “early LoTW with fast paper QSL” concept will continue to March 15th, 2018. Thanks also to Jyri, OH2KM, for managing all related data operations.

The final jubilee week is now starting. An international delegation will participate in the ceremonies celebrating the 10th anniversary of Independence. In addition, they will give out new DXCC contacts to those who still have an “ATNO” need and be active in the ARRL DX CW contest. The team includes Z61DX, ES2RR, OG2M, OH1MA, OH2BH and others.

Regards from the vibrant city of Pristina, with many new prospects underway!

FEBRUARY 5 — The 3rd week is starting and many delegates in Kosovo will be heading back home.

This week has offered variety of low-bands and odd bands on CW by VE7NY and DL3DXX who will depart soon.

Now the new week will concentrate on giving out some RTTY QSOs. The group of DJ5IW, DM5TI, DD2ML and S57AW will keep the RTTY fire on, including the CQ WPX RTTY contest while the next weekend would bring-in the local showcase by the most active locals; Z61DX, Z61VB, Z62FB and Z63DBB. They will be a fresh air from the Pristina HQ Station at the Pristina Technical University.

The 4th and last week will bring back a small international tag- team, adding the number of country delegates to eleven (11). They will take the party machine to the actual 10TH Independency Anniversary on Feb.18, which activity would include sporadic showing in the ARRL DX (CW) Contest.

Some pictures have been added to Z60A on QRZ.com

FEBRUARY 2 — Currently three stations are up and running with DL3DXX, DL5CW, DJ5IW, IK0FVC and VE7NY at the helm. The activation is now up to 50,000 QSOs logged; https://secure.clublog.org/charts/?c=Z60A#r

The first Z60A activation will culminate with the actual day of Kosovo’s 10th Independence anniversary, Sunday Feb.18, 2018, with extended festivities, which will include the international amateur radio delegation. On same weekend the ARRL DX Contest (CW) is running, and the visitors will team up with the locals to wrap up the project and salute the ARRL and U.S contesting community with Z6 now being accepted for all ARRL awards and contest programs.

As the Kosovar amateurs have suffered for the past ten-years with limited opportunities and sometimes with the pirate label, it is now noted that with the new DXCC status, DXers the world over have taken a positive step forward to close the 10-year gap and welcome the Kosovar hams with open arms to our great community. Kosovar hams are much taken by this gesture, and the project group has organized to move forward on turning potential help to the best of Amateur Radio in the Republic of Kosovo. The weekend of February 10/11 will be a showcase of locals as they will now take the microphone and put the Z60A on the air accordingly: Z61DX, Z61VB, Z63DBB and Z62FB will be at the controls for a 20M showing, both CW and SSB.

Kan Mizoguchi, JA1BK has stepped forward first and shipped a brand new Yaesu FT450 to Dona, Z63DBB (YL) so that she will be able to carry-on with her home-based activity. With Z61DX and Z62FB suffering with the Pristina high noise level, RemoteRig (SM2OAN) has donated two pairs of the remote control units so that a clean receiving site can be established outside of the capital Pristina. The European DX Foundation (EUDXF) has stepped forward, and their monetary support was presented to SHRAK, the Kosovo IARU member society. The Yasme Foundation has released an extensive series of ARRL publications to the SHRAK HQ library at the Technical University of Pristina.

If any of the U.S persons and/or clubs would like to extend their help to Kosovo, please contact Wayne, N7NG at n7ng@arrl.net

ENHANCED QSL SERVICE FOR Z60A OPERATION NOW UNDERWAY.

The Club Log OQRS system is set to cover the cost of direct QSL postage – USD 3.00, while also allowing voluntarily, private contributions. All donations small or large are most welcome to support SHRAK, the Kosovo Amateur Radio Association to aid in recruiting additional Kosovar youth and to activate the existing Amateur Radio operators and support their activities.

As many have requested confirmations during the ongoing activation, it has been decided to do an immediate LoTW and fast direct QSL service for those who contribute USD 20.00 or more. This option would not delay any of the traditional QSL options, but just put a priority on those who are willing to help Kosovo Amateur Radio finally move beyond the past ten difficult years.

If you wish to upgrade your earlier QSL request to this enhanced service you can send your donation through the ClugLog https://secure.clublog.org/make_donation.php?call=Z60A

On behalf of the Project Goodwill Kosovo,

Martti Laine, OH2BH

JANUARY 30 — A new team of G3TXF, IK0FVC, K9JF, VE7NY, DL3DXX, DL5CW and DJ5IW will be at work soon with three radios again as they lost one that had to be replaced. In total, hams from 10 countries will participate in the project’s current phase.

Last Sunday marked a wonderful and memorable reception honoring the recent DXCC status of the Republic of Kosovo. Speeches were made by the SHARK president Vjollca, Z61VB, Kosovo’s regulator (ARKEP) Chairman, Kreshnik Gashi as well as ARRL Honorary VP Jim, K9JF and IARU’s R1 Secretary Hans, PB2T. Their remarks were complemented by words from Project Goodwill’s Kosovo coordinator, Martti, OH2BH. All were emotionally touched by this long march of 10-years, further enhancing the original U.S State Department recognition in February, 2008, while now saluting Kosovo’s official entry into the DXCC world on an equal basis.

On the radio front, the 40.000 QSO mark has been passed as the team is concentrating on maximizing its Asia and North America numbers. They are well on their way by penetrating those selective openings. Be patient, as their best effort is given at all times in spite of the high noise level. As the locations are fixed, the only improvement opportunity is to see whether low-laid receiving antennas would help with this mission. The second week team will try to accomplish that task as they move toward the upcoming weekend.

Many are asking about an immediate LoTW upload during the operation, and these options are being taken under consideration. An LoTW upload and early QSL card may be considered as an additional service, while its modest compensation would be exclusively directed to further support for evolving Amateur Radio in Kosovo.

The project members are thankful for the local Z6-team and the OH, OZ and S5 guys, who did a great job in building up the sites and handing out the many new counter contacts. Happy DXCC week was passed with best of amateur radio.

JANUARY 25 – It is surprisingly cold in Kosovo as temperatures are running record low for this week – today it was minus 13 C (8F). The group is in good spirits and keeping Z60A activated as much as they can with their other duties. Another challenging issue is a noise that arise at dark when hundreds of lights come on – increasing in number are those noisy LED lights now penetrating the market. Nothing we can do about those other than suffering with up to S8 noise.

But as our U.S and Canadian reps; Jim, K9JF and Sandro, VE7NY, arrive they will hopefully be able to pull out their familiar call signs out the noise. Patience is needed as we are not able to move the party-location and the SHRAK HQ to more suitable noise free place.

More bands will be added for the weekend and among them 160M and 17M. The team will be enhanced by K9JF, PB2T, VE7NY, IK0FVC, G3TXF and DL3DXX and others so the firepower will be added after the weekend’s Independence ceremonies, added to the DXCC happiness.

The Internet is very sporadic thus the Club Log uploads can be delayed up to 24-hours.

JANUARY 23 @ 16:00z – The start date for Republic of Kosovo DXCC credit is January 21, 2018. Previous Z6 QSOs/QSLs will not count. Current Z60A operation is valid. More here

Exclusive pictures below credit Kenneth, OZ1IKY who is operating from the 2nd location with Olli, OH0XX. They generally run 20 & 40CW. Pileups have been large.

JANUARY 23, 2018 @ 06:00z — Kosovo’s IARU Society SHARK, and its president Vjollca Caka, Z61VB are hosting a tenth anniversary activation celebrating Kosovo’s independence, February 2008.

The activation has already started, with Z60A being found on several bands. Adding to their HQ location is a semi-permanent low-band site. Both sites have beam antennas plus four K3s and SPE 1.3KW amps. Olli, OH0XX has been testing the propagation over the past two days with good — but narrow — U.S openings.

An international team has been invited to Kosovo and is partially on the ground at this time. The team consists of DL3DXX, OH0XX, OH1MA, OH2BH, OH3JR, OZ1IKY, S50A and S51F, along with locals Z61DX, Z61FF, Z61VB, Z62FB and Z63DBB. Additional locals are behind this activity as well, and a new 2nd week team will be announced soon.

Jim, K9JF, ARRL Hon. Vice-President and Hans, PB2T, IARU R1 secretary will add to the party.

The ARRL Rocky Mountain Division director, Dwayne Allen, WY7FD has informed the team that the LoTW and the other ARRL structures are being put into place to receive this new DXCC country contacts. Already, “Republic of Kosovo” is listed in the DXCC Challenge pages.

Club Log will be used for this activation, while QSLs go via OH2BH. [source: N7NG]

*A reminder of the earlier news and tweet DX-World put out on January 21st.