On Tuesday, March 10, an international group now in New York will set sail to the British Virgin Islands and activate the VP2VB call sign of Yasme fame for 6 days, focusing on the low bands with two stations. VP2VB was the call sign of the legendary Danny Weil, VP2VB, skipper of the Yasme series of sailing vessels that carried the peripatetic adventurer traveled from one DX location to another in the 1950s and early 1960s. His activities provided the impetus to create The Yasme Foundation. For the 2020 “Yasme Memorial Expedition,” operators will include Adrian Ciuperca, KO8SCA; Martti Laine, OH2BH; Niko Halminen, OH2GEK, and Sandro Nitoi, VE7NY. QSL via OH2BH.
A Briton, Weil was, by trade, a watch and clock maker with a sense of adventure. His initial Yasme (often also rendered as YASME) sailing voyage was to the British Virgin Islands. Yasme derives from the Japanese word “yasume,” which means “to make tranquil.” Another giant of ham radio history, the legendary DXer Dick Spencely, KV4AA, became aware of Weil’s aspirations and suggested that he combine amateur radio with his ambitious travel itinerary. Spencely taught Weil Morse code and helped him secure the VP2VB call sign, which was to become famous around the globe. Spencely secured the initial ham radio gear for the Yasme and became a tireless fundraiser for The Yasme Foundation as well.
Ultimately, there were three Yasmes. From 1955 until 1962, Weil operated from several ports of call in the Caribbean and the Pacific. This latter-day VP2VB DXpedition will count toward Yasme awards and marks the first activation of VP2VB in more than 60 years.
This month’s VP2VB DXpedition will trace Weil’s original route in the British Virgin Islands under a special license authorization, to pay homage to those early years of DXing and to honor the spirit he embraced, which inspired a generation of DXers.
Weil’s last expedition in the Pacific included stops at HC8 and FO8 (Clipperton Island), the latter an especially harrowing and life-threatening experience. His new wife, Naomi, was with him at the time. The Mexican Navy rescued them and towed the Yasme to California. Weil went solo to several more stops in the Pacific before retiring from DXpeditioning and settling in Texas in 1963. He resumed his profession of a watch and clock maker there and became a US citizen. He was not to be heard on the air again — although he kept an ear on the bands. Weil died in 2003 at age 85.
The DXpeditions of Weil and of Lloyd and Iris Colvin, W6KG and W6QL, are documented in YASME, The Danny Weil and Colvin Radio Expeditions by Jim Cain, K1TN, commissioned by The Yasme Foundation and published by ARRL.
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