China does not have a reciprocal operating agreement with the U.S., so you have to get special permission to operate there and can only do so at a club station. During my first trip to China, the license didn't come through from Beijing in time. And during the second trip, I was just too busy!
This time, though, my work colleagues helped me get in touch with the members of the BY4DX club and so I met them on Saturday morning, October 17, 2009 for a trek outside of Shanghai to their temporary club station. They were getting ready for the inaugaural kick-off of the club station the next day, but they were kind enough to let me have an early crack at operating the station.
I was happy to hear that this was only a temporary location for them. Unfortunately (and they had told me about this ahead of time) there was a huge amount of RFI across the spectrum. The noise was S9 on all of 20 meters, making it very difficult to operate. I began calling CQ on that band and did make a few contacts, but soon stopped because I could tell that there were people calling me whom I just could not hear. Didn't seem quite fair to them. So I tuned around the band listening for really loud stations and called them instead.
Finally I switched to 15 meters, where the noise level was only S6 or so. There I called CQ and, after a while, got on the other end of an honest to goodness pile-up. The band was open to the west and so most of the stations calling me were from Russia, the Ukraine, etc.
During my afternoon at BY4DX I was able to contact Guam, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, several provinces in China, Russia, Ukraine, Muldova, and Austria. Pretty cool. Hopefully, by the time I return, they will have moved into their permanent location in Shanghai itself and the conditions will be better.
These are great guys and I had a great time.