The CI-HQ is very pleased to present this interview with Brent who kindly accepted to answer all of our questions :
CI : Where do you live Brent, tell us about your QTH ?
-My station is located just outside the town of San Andres Itzapa, Guatemala and is about a 30 minute drive to the historic city of Antigua.
This is an agricultural area and many still ride horses to work the fields but motorcycles and colorful “Chicken Buses” rule the roadways here.
We are about 11 miles from the nearest of 37 volcanoes, of which several are active fairly regularly.
The elevation here is 6000 feet and we enjoy weather in the 70’s year round.
We grow avocados and coffee on our small chunk of land and we raise chickens and ducks and turkeys. My wife loves gardening and managing the avocado trees.
She is a wonderful cook and strives to keep us as self sufficient as possible.
I am the coffee guy here and really nothing compares to growing your own coffee
organically, in fact everything we grow here is organic.
Some coffee plants and a huge avocado tree
CI : How did you get the "bug" of the radio Brent ?
-My radio occupation began in the mid 1970’s with a Robyn SX-102 CB given to me by a truck driver where my Father worked as a mechanic.
Meeting girls was priority number one at that time :)
Interestingly, the radio had a BFO, Beat Frequency Oscillator, which allowed me to tune in side band stations. This always fascinated me and later when I joined the Air Force, I was again introduced to CB radios, this time SSB models with something new to me, “Funny Channels”!
Thus began a new venture into HF radio making contacts all over the country and to other far off lands.
My setup in those days was a Cobra 146GTL with an oscillator board and a 106” whip mounted to the bumper of my 79 Honda Civic.
As the Skip faded away in the mid 90’s, so did my radio interest as family duties took top priority.
I still kept some of my radio gear around but it was not till my 2019 retirement and house project in Guatemala with my wife that I had time to enjoy this hobby again.
I have been slowly getting settled into the radio groove once more and am really enjoying the return
of Skip conditions.
My current setup consists of an Anytone 5555n radio connected to a homemade antenna fabricated with an old satellite dish, thank you TIGO, some heavy duty speaker wire, PVC tubing, and a bunch of cable ties.
Acatenango is a stratovolcano in Guatemala, close to the city of Antigua
Tikal is an ancient Mayan citadel in the rainforests of northern Guatemala
First radio in use : Midland 79-290.
Current rig, Anytone 5555n.
CI-HQ : what are your projects for 2021 ? what type of cntacts do you enjoy ?
-My goal moving forward starting with 2021 is to keep more accurate records of my contacts.
This year so far I have logged 13 DXCC with one station in New Caledonia, 172AT101- Philippe, being my absolute furthest contact ever.
One of my goals is to make radio communication with Roy and Syl someday.
With the DX conditions improving I hope to add many more countries to my list and get my E-QSL game going.
I would have to say that I mostly enjoy ordinary QSO’s and now I have more time to extend some of these QSO’s a bit longer and get to know the operators a little more than just what gear they are running.
So now I am trying to keep better records and trying to remake connections with some that care to do so.
A lot of stations seem to only want your call sign and location and then its 73’s and move on.
I guess that is the name of the game but not for me so much.
I have found that being an English speaking station in my location is quite rare and I draw a lot of attention from the US operators when they hear me calling DX.
I try very
hard to give everyone the chance to log my station.
CI-HQ :Is there any story/anecdote/memorable contact that you would wish to share with readers?
-Back in the early 90’s, I decided to try making a dipole antenna to bring in some skip.
My brother in law helped me make a pretty crude contraption out of tent poles and some long wood pieces for support.
With no way to mount it, we decided to balance it on top of the chimney of the garage.
We got it pointing North/South and not long after managed to make a sustained contact to an operator in Chile.
I was totally amazed as this was my furthest contact ever at that point.
I was able to give him my address but never was able to confirm if he heard it at all.
Unbelievably about a month later a beautiful QSL card from him arrived at my mail box!
I have since lost that precious card but will always treasure that long distance communication.
My current antenna is not much of an improvement if at all from those days
but I really enjoy firing up the radio everyday to see what stations are out there.
CI-HQ : What are your other hobbies?
-My hobbies here in Guatemala are managing the coffee operations and trying to fix things around here with little or no supplies.
Making things out of junk is second nature now.
We also spend time in Upper Michigan where I enjoy camping, kayaking, nature hiking, and spending precious time with our son and daughter and our two grandchildren.
Our hope is that they will be able to visit us here in Guatemala and experience all the wonderful
things this country has to offer.
Brent also operates from his other QTH in the upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA with the QRZ 2 CI 077.
We really hope to meet him on the band for a long QSO when conditions permit.
Special thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions and providing us with such interesting information about your hobby.