How it all started

Sometimes things happen you never expected it would happen. I never could imagine, that a visit to the United States in 1982, would have this story about `The First DX pedition ever`as result.


I sniff in every corner to find DX-related information, because I am a DXer myself. PA0ABM is my call, a litle pistol, using 100 watts to a dipole or a 3 el, 20-15-10 meter, beam. Main target is to reach DXCC-Honor-Roll nr 1, only CW. I like to fill in bandpoints on every HF band possible (no 50 Mc or higher), using only 100 watts. And to know when to be QRV on what times, I search for DX-information at any place like magazines, DX-clusters, the internet etc.. But I was also an editor of a monthly column in ELECTRON, the official radioclub magazine of the VERON. Often I did find information on the Internet, but also I did read interesting things in other magazines like QST, DX-Bulletin, CQ-magazine, DL-QTC, Rad-Com etc.. So I came across an article in QST (december 1993) of The First Grand Ham DXpedition ever. I made a copy of the interesting article, for personal use. And I did forget I had the copy in my files.

Bob Leo, W7LR

Back in 1982, I made my first trip to the States, a lifetime wish became reality. The trip started on Monday, june 14 1982, and ended, after visiting Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, on june 28. We did make a big circle the first week, starting and ending in Salt Lake City, driving around in Utah and Arizona. Al and Cheryl Fransisco, K7NHV, from Pocatello-Idaho were our hosts during the second week of our trip. They showed us the beauty of Yellowstone-Park, Al did know some spots were you could be very lonely, away from the crowds. On june 26, we spent the night at the Lewis and Clark Motel in Bozeman, Montana. The morning of june 27, Al had a suprise for us. A local ham, who was married to a dutch girl, wanted to have breakfast with us. And see, there he was, Bob Leo, W7LR, and his lovely wife Cobi Kapteyn. The conversation resulted in visiting us in the Netherlands in 1983. During the past twenty years, I QSO'ed Bob five times on 3 different bands. Bob did make all QSOs from his Bozeman place, the last one was in 1995 on 30 meters CW. Now in 2003, I am retired. I was invited to a local Ham-club, to talk about DXCC, and while looking for interesting things to tell, I found the story about Gatti and his two famous radio-operators W0LHS and W6PBV (now W7LR), written by Mike O'Brien (now K0MYW) for QST in the December 1993 issue. Co- incidently, I saw an eMail of W7LR, giving comments on being "Not in the log of ST0RY", the German DXpedition which took place in march 2003. I responded to Bob by eMail, and this was the trigger for a fantastic historical trip to British Eastern Africa.

Bill Snyder, W0LHS

While collecting items for the story, Bob made clear that Bill Snyder and he already had tried to write down the story. They were not succesful, because of the very different style of writing. Bobs style was just telling the facts, going very straight, while Bill liked to put personal things on paper. I wrote also an eMail to Bill, and he did like the idea that a stranger from the Netherlands was trying to rewrite the story. Both Bob and Bill accepted my proposal, putting 2 stories on internet. The W6PBV story would tell the facts, and the radio-related things, filled up with personal things that Bob remembers. And Bill, W0LHS wrote down how it was being a member of a commercial Expedition, and how it was working under "Commander" Gatti. His view of what happened is very readable, Bill put his soul in his writings..

Commander Attilio Gatti

During the process of collecting all kind of info, and reading all, I got a good impression of Attilio Gatti. He made the expedition very very commercial, and was very demanding. The same minute, the Expedition sailed off for Africa, Gatti made it clear that HE was the boss, and all others where his servants, no matter of skin color. His commercial thinking went beyond normal, but the Commander know how to survive. It is my opinion that you reader, should read both stories of W0LHS and W6PBV. In spite of written in different style, the stories belong to each other. And reading the stories, written by Gatti can only prove that.

Help !

I had the simple task, tracking down the facts, to put all together, and made the stories ready for the web. Both Bill and Bob provided me with a huge amount of information, copies of newspapers, personal letters, notes (gramms) from Gatti, original pictures, extracts from the log etc.. But also of course they had memories, memories and again memories. For me it was as I where a member of that Great Safari, having two exellent guides, Bob Leo W7LR, and Bill Snyder W0LHS. As mentioned before, Bob Leo, W7LR, was the trigger for the article. He provided most of the stuff. But as Bob said, memory is not anymore what it was back in those early days of DXCC. Bill however has a very good memory on personal things. He can recall conversations very easily. Bill did not collect items from the Expedition. And Bill was forced to leave the Gatti hallicrafters Expedition halfway. Therefore, to write down a complete story about what happened back in 1947 and 1948 is not easy. Sometimes details are hidden too well. The world wide web was and is a very big library, and produced also very useful information. EMail was used extensively, not only between the participants Bob and Bill and me. Often help was asked from others. Most of the eMails where answered, with or without the wanted information. Thanks to everyone who helped to rewrite the story of the Gatti-Hallicrafters Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon.
W7LR visiting Middelburg, from left to right: Cobi Leo, Annie Oosthoek, Bob Leo (W7LR), Sjef Oosthoek, Annie Paas, Wino Paas (PA0ABM)
LINKS Most pictures in the story can be expanded by clicking on the thumbnails. A popup window will show the picture (or document). Extensive information (links) can be reached by clicking underlined subjects. The links could point to other internet-sites, or to extra information available on the topic. There are NO links between the story of W6PBV, Bob and the story of W0LHS, Bill. To learn all about this history of DX-ing, you have to read both stories. Anyone who can fill in details to complete the story, is most welcome to respond. Please send your comments to me. Thanks in advance.