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Radio Casino

By Ernst Lohe

This article was originally published in the September 1974 issue of FRENDX, now The Journal of the North American Shortwave Association. It appears here with permission of NASWA.


L.A., you say? Latin America, that is! I was loaded with hopes and expectations when my plane touched down in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was not the first visit for me in Costa Rica, and even without radio stations to visit it is still an exciting place to be. All this was several months ago now. I remember it was an 8 hour trair, ride from the capital to Puerto Limon on the Atlantic. Radio Casino is located in Puerto Limon. It was a hot and humid town - so unbearably oppressive that I could not do more than turn immediately around and go back to San Jose and cooler comfort , just before I departed though, I chanced to meet a young man who was in amateur radio. So, I asked him the favor of delivering my reception report of Radio Casino to the station in person. He promised to do so and I had every confidence in him. And, so I went back to San Jose for the evening.

The next morning I took a plane for the second try. Upon arrival in Puerto Limon around noontime, I went to the station and climbed up the stairs of the rather modern building. Radio Casino is on the second floor. The director was not in at the moment. Siesta time starts early in the tropics, and I can't say I blame anyone for not working on a day like that. Such tropical weather!! I had to wait until about 2 P.M. for the return of the owner. When I stepped into the studios again, I found the director and owner, Sr. Grau in the corner of his office using a soldering iron. I felt a bit out of place with my desire for an on-the-spot walk-in QSL request. Senor Grau was apologetic; "We are in this building for several months now, and we are still working on the facilities." He seemed a bit embarrassed since he simply did not have the time to answer letters. "But, in the meantime we have responded to all our listener's mail," he continued. That included my report as I found out later. The delivery had indeed been made. Nevertheless, I decided to take no chances on non-receipt of a QSL letter, so I typed out some data on their official stationery and asked for his signature. It is the perfect way to get a complete and definitive QSL. Nicht wahr?

Senor Grau showed me two big folders bulging with DX mail from the world around. I was dying to get my hands on those folders!! What a shock! I could not believe the approach used by many of the world's DXers. Sloppy hand writing and demanding phrases gave the impression that many of the listeners abroad considered their reports as great favors to the station. IT WAS DISGUSTING!! Some of the letters, sadly for me, were written in German. The owner could not understand even English. I sincerely think that NASWA DXers are somewhat different. NASWA identification should stand for sophistication in DXing and approach to rapport with broadcasters. A good idea, especially when concerning Latin broadcasters, is to acknowledge the QSL they send you with a thank you note. Latins are like that - they desire to maintain a cordial and continuing relationship. I do understand now why so many stations have not replied at all to many reporters on the first try. In the case of Radio Casino, it has sometimes taken years for them to get their mail.


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Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995

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