Interview with Dmitri Zhikharev-RA9USU

Posted: April 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Interview with Dmitri Zhikharev-RA9USU


Introduction: Dmitri Zhiklarev or “Dima” as his friends call him is an amazingly talented CW operator. In my view, he is probably one of the best ever. Dmitri is a very private, somewhat reserved person. He does not like to be in the spotlight and is very content to work and operate behind the scenes, out of the limelight. He reluctantly agreed to do this interview and I am grateful for his sharing of his insights and views with the readers of my Blog.

Dmitri has been on numerous Dxpeditions beginning with 5A7A in 2006 from Libya. He has a distinctive CW operating style, very fast, smooth and predictable.

Dmitri has shown considerable skill in activating the difficult if not impossible entities. In 2012, he made his second visit to Sana’a Yemen and brought his life’s savings. The culmination of that effort was his license and approval to conduct a Dxpedition from Socotra Island, Yemen.

What is not well known is that Dmitri had immediate permission to get on the air himself, but instead chose to wait and to build a team, what would later be the 7O6T Dxpedition. Dima is the epitome of a team player and works very hard to ensure the success of any Dxpedition. Dmitri has previously lived in Brooklyn New York for a decade and holds US Extra call KP2P.  Dmitri is the recipient of the 2014 Intrepid Spirit Award and I’m confident that Dmitri is a future DX Hall of Famer. Here is the interview.

Yemen_2012 257

Dmitri-RA9USU operates as the Leader of 7O6T

Dmitri was born in Siberia but now lives in Moscow with his wife and children. He became a member of UA9UWM radio club in 1983 at the age 8 and was licensed at age 15 in 1989.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, how are you able to travel and join so many DXpeditions?

Dmitri-RA9USU: I recently quit my Job. I will now start my own Communications Consulting business and work for myself. I am an experienced Communications Engineer.

Yemen_2012 174

Dmitri sets up a five band Spiderbeam for 7O6T

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, you are a very talented CW Operator. Tell me how you learned and have mastered CW?

Dmitri-RA9USU: First of all I don’t really think that I am anyhow different from other CW operators from Eastern Europe. In the Soviet Club System, you must master High Speed CW before you can enjoy operating the station on your own. You cannot just be a SSB operator or know just a small amount of CW. You have to be a strong CW man or you are not allowed to enjoy the radio.

In Russia, we learn CW in our own way. We do not focus on the characters as much as the combined characters together to make words. We then use the words in a “sing song” fashion which enables us to learn CW at faster rates. Also in the High Speed telegraphy you receive and transmit messages in military manner, groups of letters, which is completely meaningless – that forces you to avoid “guessing” the next one or the word in general.

Eritrea_SD1000 176

Dmitry operates as a member of E30FB from Eritrea, March 2015.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, What was your favorite place to operate?

Dmitri-RA9USU: My first and most favorite place of operation is still 4U1UN, thanks to my friend Mohammed Jendoubi, KA2RTD. But if you are talking about DXpedition experience – that was Libya in 2006 as a member of the 5A7A team. This was my first serious DXpedition and I became hooked on the experience.


Dmitri operates from the 4U1UN Club Station

Paul N6SE: Dmitri, what are your dreams of places that you would like to activate?

Dmitri-RA9USU: I am interested not in “places” nor “entities”, I am operating with people. Friends I respect and enjoy traveling with. Most of the time I am just asking my friends to take me with them, so in the other words – I will go anywhere to operate, as long as the Team is good and I have enough money.


Dmitri helps unload the boat at TI9/3Z9DX Cocos Island.


Dmitri operates as TI9/3Z9DX

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, on April 18th, you will be honored at the International DX Convention with the Intrepid Spirit Award for your activations of Socotra Yemen as 7O6T and 7O2A. How do you feel about Yemen as it nears civil war?

Dmitri-RA9USU: I do not speculate on politics and I am really sorry for what happening in Yemen right now. I hope that one day there will be no War and I would be able to go to Socotra again and again to operate as 7O2A.


Dmitri recently served as a Referee at WRTC 2014.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, I hear that you are a King, can you tell us about this?

Dmitri-RA9USU: Yes, I am the King of Bir Tawil.  Last year I was travelling to the section of desert between Sudan and Egypt that neither country wants or claims. So I have travelled there, crossed Bir Tawil until the Sudanese border, planted the flag and staked my name and made myself King. Later I found that it was falsely claimed by one person, who hasn’t any proof of visiting Bir Tawil nor responded to my official request. Hopefully soon you will be able to work a new King on the air from my Kingdom.


Dmitry operates from the K1LZ Contest Station

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, what is your favorite band to operate?

Dmitri-RA9USU. I like all the bands and have no favorite. I like them all.

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Dmitri operates as a member of the ST0R Team from Juba, South Sudan in July 2011.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, 7O6T was not allowed to work any Israeli 4X4 stations and was closely monitored by the Yemeni Authorities. How do you feel about that?

Dmitri-RA9USU: You have to understand that before you operate from any country you have to agree to obey the local regulations. The “4X4 issue” ( blown out of proportions by “small but vocal group”) – is just a technicality. There is a still many countries (including, for example, DPRK), which is not recognizing Israel as a State. Therefore none of the amateur radio licenses, issued by unrecognized government are in fact legal in the eyes of the Government of Yemen in this case.

You must follow the rules in the host country or risk being shut down, possible expulsion or even jail for breaking the rules. Most of the previous operations were challenged by local authorities based on the violation of that exact rule. Also, it is not the secret, that some of the famous amateur radio operators are using “but he was working the Israeli station” in Arabic countries to push the immediate stop to the any operation, or for gaining the political points in the stake of their own agenda.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, you have just returned from a Dxpedition in TI9, Cocos Island. How was that?

Dmitri-RA9USU: TI9 was warm and beautiful. The operating location was nearly surrounded by high mountains blocking the signals in many directions. I met a new friends and happy to be able to operate from such a remote location. I have to prepare myself for the future operations from Island locations and doing it from Cocos Island really helped to realize the organization challenges in places, where you don’t have any local procurement available.


Dmitri enjoys a visit to the Dayton DX Dinner, May 2013.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, you have shown great aptitude to activate the rare and difficult entities such as 7O-Yemen. What other rare entities would you like to activate?

Dmitri-RA9USU. I would like to activate a few rare entities. I am working on some things but I will rather not speculate on that.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, how do you feel about pileup behavior? Is it getting worse?

Dmitri-RA9USU: Pile-up is the reflection of the operator on the DX side. It is good that contact numbers are growing from the DXpedition perspective, but that’s surely reflects on the mood of the mob.

If DX-operator is strict enough (sometimes it is taking a lot of disciplinary actions) then less chaos you will get from the pile-up. People, who really deserve to work your station – they will definitely do that. Listen! Listen! Good operator will give you a clue on where, how and when he will listen.

If you paying attention – you will not have any troubles working the station. For example – when I feel that callers have trouble copying my returns – I’ll check my own frequency. In case there is a mess on it – I will slightly move away and start calling UP with exact number of Kc’s, to avoid the pile and work only those, who listen… 


Dmitri operates from the IY4FGM station in Italy.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, what are the qualities of the best Dxpedition operators?

Dmitri-RA9USU: The best operators are Team players, flexible, versatile and have real stamina to operate for long periods at a rapid rate. Not everyone can do that. You have to have trust in people, especially if you going to the places where your life depends on the person next to you. One mistake can cost you not just money, invested to the operation, but in the worse case scenario – the life of the person, depending on you or your own life.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, where or what will you accomplish in the next five years?

Dmitri-RA9USU: I have launched my own company, My wife and I would like to live somewhere warm and cozy, perhaps Socotra Island, Yemen. Somewhere, where I can build a nice station.

Paul N6PSE: And your proudest accomplishment or Award?

Dmitri-RA9USU: My proudest accomplishment is my sons who are growing up to be fine young men. I will try to do my best so they can be proud of being my kids.

Paul N6PSE: Dmitri, on behalf of a grateful global DX Community, thank you for all that you do, you have really added some excitement and some rare activations and we know that you are just getting started.

  1. Jonathan W6GX says:

    Very nice interview. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mike W2LO says:

    Just listening to Dmitri working down a pileup is a real pleasure. There are world-class virtuosos who play musical instruments and others who do other things. We have virtuosos in radio, too, individuals who can take a raging pileup and mow it down, getting the call signs correct with incredible accuracy and speed. When I’m calling Dmitri I know that one of the best is listening for me.

    I’ll never have his skill but I can certainly enjoy listening to a real master. TU, Dmitri!

    • n6pse says:

      Mike, yes you have captured my sentiments about Dmitry as well. I like to sit and watch him operate during DXpeditions. His style and technique is very unique and his skill is amazing. He has amazing stamina and can operate for many many hours without rest. On top of that, he is a nice guy!

  3. Gary says:

    Paul, I always enjoy your insightful “insider” interviews (as I am sure many others do). Dimitry is a pure joy to listen too, indeed. 73, Gary K7ZD

  4. I don’t even know Dimitri, but this ITW seems to well illustrate the whole philosophy of this rare, skill full and generous operator.

    Working DxPedition when Dima is dealing a pileup in CW is just a pleasure. Tons of operator don’t have his capacity of changing their behavior because of the rudeness of a pileup and to take care of conditions rather than trying to reach an high QSO rates.

    Thanks Again Dima for your recent activation, and let’s hope this ITW will encourage many others to follow your path.

  5. Robert H. Pusch WD8NVN says:

    I would like to thank Dmitri for overcoming risks for us DXers in the rest of the world, to enjoy a rare DXCC all time new one, with some of the troubled nations of this world.

    Keep up the excellent style of CW operating !

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