Even in a very difficult situation, such as japan is suffering in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake, devastating tsunami and the continued leak at the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plant, it’s good to get news from afar regarding a friend.
While I have never met Ichiro, JA7COI, I feel I have a unique friendship with him all because of ham radio. It was in 1976 my father, at the time, W6ONV worked JA7COI in a contest and some 30 years late I, as W6ONV received a QSO card.
Since that time I have worked Ichiro on numerous bands using numerous modes and it is always a special QSO. I think even now, as Japan recovers from the earthquake, I have a stronger relationship with Ichiro. Thankfully he updated me and all the other hams he knows yesterday on his QRZ.com profile:
We had extremely heavy earthquake on 2011/Mar/11th. The direct damages were so serious in the area faced to the Pacific. On the shore side in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefecture, 20,000 people or more were swept away by the tsunami. Whole of some cities (people, houses, buildings) was carried away to the sea. Number of victims are not sure yet because the basic resident registers were lost. One of estimated heights of tsunami was 23meters. Huge numbers of victim are still under the wreckage and sea. The search does not go quick because the field is very wide and damaged. The total victims may increase to 40 or 50 thousands. Other big problem is the accidents in nuclear power station in Fukushima. It has serious stage of radiation leak. Huge number of people lost their houses. About 200,000 refugees are taking simple shelters which are hurriedly set in public buildings. The lack of food, fuel and medicine afflicts them. JARL HQ has been taking very quick action to keep the emergency traffic. You can visit the unbelievable scenes on http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/jishin0311/.
My QTH Akita is located in the opposite side to the Pacific. So, all of my family had no direct damage by the tsunami in spite of very strong earthquake. Heavy aftershocks are still continuing now though half month passed. I check the radiation of atmosphere by GM-counter every day. But I have no abnormal count at all. My ham radio equipment has no damage, but I have been keeping QRT to save energy. We will overcome the disaster. I am alive.
I believe the last sentence holds all that is important, “I am alive.” While I did not QSO with JA7COI during WPX a week ago, it is great to know he, his family and friends are doing okay. I look forward to working Ichiro in the future. Always a special QSO for me. 73.