ST2UU And His "Magic Carpet" - as told by K8MFO

Arkie – W8NBK was one of my dearest friends. Before he became a silent key in 1995, we spent a lot of time together. I can and will tell many stories of those times. One of his favorite stories concerned ST2UU – Jim Jamie in Khartoum, Sudan.

Prior to ST2UU, Jim had been active signing EQ3UU from Persia (Iran) in the 1950 and 1951 time frame, and had also been worked as YA3UU and MI3UU. These had been relatively low-key operations. Without question, ST2UU was located in The Sudan, and began operating from there in 1953 with a 25-watt CW transmitter and Hallicrafters S-40A receiver. He was a very popular station whenever he opened up on the 20 meter band. His job also afforded the opportunity for travel. Reportedly Jim was a pilot, and could move around quickly. Whenever Jamie left Khartoum, the ham rig went along. Mainly in 1953 and 1954, Jamie was reported from many exotic DX locations, always with the suffix "UU".

Back in the early 1950s, antennas were still in the developmental stage. If you wanted a good antenna, you would build one, try it out, and share your findings with other enthusiasts. Arkie, W8NBK was one of those folks who transmitted a world-class signal on the bands. In those days Arkie worked in a "brick yard". This was not easy work, but Arkie was equal to the task. He and his beloved XYL Emma Jane lived on a farm in Dennison, Ohio. This was a very good radio location, particularly when the target DX was in the eastern or western directions. It is highly doubtful that there was a ZS or VK station born in those days who was not aware of W8NBK and his potent signal.

When a rare DX station came on the bands in the early 50s, there was indeed an informal "pecking order" in who would get through first. When it came to the African continent, even the 8th and 9th call areas were able to compete. Arkie often told me that he could stand on his hill and watch the Africans turn on their radios! The W8NBK station allowed Arkie a chance to compete with the "best of the best". They all knew who they were, and became close friends. Charles Mellen – W1FH was one of those legendary Dxers. competing for that "top spot". Of course W8NBK was one of those players --- not only did he have a topnotch antenna, he was a super operator and one of the finest people to walk on "terra firma". W1FH owned a liquor store during this period, and was able to take an "extended break" whenever a rare one showed up on the bands. Arkie did not have the luxury of leaving the job to chase DX. Charlie and Arkie developed a close friendship. Please remember that there were no 2 meter spotting nets, Packet clusters, or DX bulletins in those days. You depended on monthly magazines and personal relationships to find the new ones. Of course, putting on the headphones and listening was a good method. It still is!

ST2UU also became an on-the-air friend and admirer of Arkie. In fact, when he became active with a "new call", he would often decide that W8NBK should be his first QSO. Jamie was a patient fellow, and would think nothing of calling Arkie for a few hours at a time. In the meantime, the 20 meter band would be in an uproar. During this time Arkie was quite busy at the "brick yard". It was very common for Charlie – W1FH to call Arkie’s house and talk to Emma Jane. "Where is Arkie? We are all waiting for Jamie to work him so that he will work others!" Charlie would state. . Emma Jane assured Charlie that his message would be passed to Arkie as soon as he got home, and that she would bring his dinner and a "cold 807" to him while he worked Jamie. Arkie would indeed make his QSO, and then the pileup would begin. This went on for a number of ST2UU 1953 and 1954 operations!

This was an exciting time for DX. Achieving WAZ (Worked All Zones) was still a major accomplishment. The CQ Magazine WAZ Honor Roll was taken very seriously by the DX crowd, who hung on to every word of editors W6QD and later KV4AA. In fact, it shared equal footing with the ARRL DXCC Listing. In 1953 one of the most commonly asked questions was, "Where is Jim now?" Reports would be published regularly, coming in by mail from Jim at some exotic DX location. He even "quit ham radio" for a week or two in 1953, when the crowd would not heed his calling instructions from VQ6UU. After reflection, he came back and announced plans for more operations. When Jamie reported that he dropped and broke his only crystal, offers for replacements would come from everywhere. He told an exciting story about an attempt to fly to The Gambia, but was turned back enroute, arriving back in Khartoum with about enough fuel to fill his Zippo lighter. Adventuresome fellow, this Jim Jamie!

Suspicions began to develop about some of the ST2UU DX trips. A couple of influential British Dxers, G6ZO and G6CL, eventually made an inquiry to the British Trade Commissioner in Khartoum about Jamie’s travel history within that period of time. They were assured that Jamie had not left The Sudan at all. Jamie had been exposed as a "bootlegger" of the first degree. Virtually nothing was heard of him after DX Editor Dick Spenceley – KV4AA detailed his shenanigans in the August 1954 edition of CQ Magazine. Several of his operations were disallowed for country credit. Others were determined to be "OK" and were credited. subsequent posting about Jim Jamie.

The September 1954 issue of CQ Magazine (page 25) listed all of the operations that were disallowed: CR7UU, FB8UU, VQ7UU, VQ9UU, I5UU, VS9UU, FF8UU, VQ6UU, FL8UU, 4W1UU and HZ1UU. A similar announcement was made in August 1954 QST Magazine by the ARRL. I have not been able to find a subsequent posting about Jim Jamie.

This was 11 operations in all. Arkie – W8NBK lost credit for 9 of these, which he had worked! Arkie also worked Jim from VQ9UU – Amirante Islands, and VQ9UU – Bird Islands. In later years, Gus Browning stopped off and conducted operations from those spots enroute from Seychellles to Aldabra and other spots. They never made it onto the DXCC list – the Jamie operations would also have been disqualified, so it did not matter!

The only 3 remaining credited operations were SU1UU, EQ3UU, and ST2UU. The same could perhaps be said for MI3UU – Eritrea. It was reported that G6ZO had personally seen him in at least the SU, EQ, and ST2 locations. Considerable doubt was cast on the legitimacy of his YA3UU operation. These were all from years prior to 1953 and 1954. Jamie had "bamboozled" the DX world, apparently from the comforts of his home in Khartoum.

Licensing was rather "loose" in the early 1950s. Perhaps a paper license would have been necessary from MI3 – Ethiopia, from a British authority (one of Jamie’s reported operations), and perhaps not. It is conceivable that Jamie never had a written license from any of his claimed locations!

Arkie told me the "Jamie Story" many years ago. In fact he gave me his QSL display entitled "My Pal", all of which were for discredited operations. I also have a number of other "UU" QSLs from the W8NBK archives.

This was all a bit disappointing to Arkie and many others. The DX game was a serious one back in those days, and those who played the game "fair and square" were a bit taken back by the discredited "ST2UU DX exploits".

Please note that not all of his operations were de-certified. His 25 watts and S40-A created a lot of excitement. Too bad a good portion of it was from the Sudan. Think about it, though ... a bootlegger with a legitimate ST2 call who wanted more!

We are trying to find out if Mr. Jamie had another legitimate callsign. Perhaps he was licensed in the United Kingdom with a "G" callsign. He did all of his QSLing through the RSGB. What ever became of this person? If anyone knows this information or has any additional information on Mr. Jamie, we would be interested in hearing from you.

You can see quite a few of his QSL cards by going to http://hamgallery.com/qsl/ and typing JAMIE into the search engine located on that page.

I am missing CR7UU, FB8UU, I5UU, FF8UU, 4W1UU, HZ1UU for my collection. If anyone has any of these cards and wants to trade or sell, please contact K8CX.

 


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