It took just 4 days — some of that time without much sleep — but ARRL member Gabe Zeifman, NJ7H/VE6NJH, of Oklahoma City recently became the first radio amateur to earn VUCC — working 100 grid squares — by satellite from Greenland. In fact, his is the first VUCC award of any kind from Greenland. A relatively new licensee, Zeifman, 22, has managed to activate more than 300 grid squares via satellite as well as nearly 20 DXCC entities. Apart from the operating accomplishment, Zeifman told ARRL, he was attempting to inspire newcomers.
“I thought it could get more people interested in satellites in general — VUCC is very achievable for anyone — and could also get more people interested in roving,” said Zeifman, who began training this week to become an air traffic controller. “I was overwhelmed by the support I got; it was really astonishing the number of people that helped!” He said one operator activated eight grids for him, while others who don’t typically rove, visited at least one neighboring grid square to give him a new one.
“It was really cool to see our community throughout the world come together to help in this goal,” he said. “I really first envisioned this idea when I realized I had nearly 70 grids confirmed from Iceland, and I thought ‘hmm, OX is an even better location, I bet it’s possible.’”
Zeifman said he prefers the linear-transponder satellites such as FO-29, rather than the FM satellites. He said he may one day get into HF more seriously, but, for now, he finds VHF/UHF/SHF “more fascinating.”
He said the trip to Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands with his mother and his sister, was “fantastic,” although, he noted, “they may have sometimes been annoyed by my getting up at 3 AM or several times in the night to work passes.” He said Greenland’s weather varied. “Sometimes it was a very nice sunny day, and sometimes it was rainy, windy, and cold,” he recounted. “But, I was happy to operate in everything, and it paid off.”
Zeifman, who said he enjoys visiting in “the north,” has been to Northwest Territories twice in the past couple of years, and is hoping for an ATC assignment in Alaska. “But now that I’m a ham, I’ve really developed a passion for operating satellites while all over the world,” he told ARRL. He said a goal still on the far horizon would be to complete a “reverse DXCC” on satellite — working the US on satellites from 100 DXCC entities. “I think it’s definitely achievable someday,” he added.