Young HAM Christos 5B4AIP winner of All Asian DX Contest

Young HAM Christos Kakoutas (5B4AIP), is the Asian Winner of Junior in the category of "Single Operator" in the 2011 ALL ASIAN DX CONTEST.
Here an interview with Christos also about his work as chairman of the English School Radio Club (5B4ES). 

Congratulations to Christos!

At what age did you obtain your radio license?
I obtained my HAREC Certificate in November 2008, at the age of 14, after succeeding in the examination organised then by the Cyprus’s Ministry of Communications and Works. When the results were announced I immediately applied for a license which unfortunately did not come until the spring of 2009. 

What made you become a radio amateur?
I must say that it was a combination of reasons that made me become a Radio Amateur. First of all, my school’s Radio Club had no licensed operators at that time. It was therefore difficult for the club to work in this way and a licensed operator was urgently needed. Also, beyond this practical reason, I was myself very much attracted to this wonderful hobby. I enjoyed very much communicating with people using transceivers and aerials and constructing such equipment. Above all however I was mostly fascinated by contests. I watched other licensed operators contesting and the feeling of competing alone or with your friends against everybody else in the world thrilled me. 

 

Which parts of the hobby do you like the most?
I am extremely pleased when I manage to work a DX station. In much the same way I take pride in my collection of received QSL cards. They are a very romantic way of remembering old QSOs. You can also learn a lot by looking at pictures of operators, their QTHs and their country.
Of course, my best experiences are from contests. The feelings one gets when working a rare multiplier but especially when achieving a top rank or a high score are fantastic. 

You are also Chairman of the English School Radio Club. What are your responsibilities as chairman?
Because of the wide range of activities of the English School radio Club (5B4ES) many are indeed the responsibilities of its chairman. They are mainly organising in nature.
At the end of each academic year, the chairman needs to organise a meeting where the members elect the council for the following year. At a following meeting, the elected chairman will propose to the council possible contests and activities so that they decide which contests and awards to aim for in the coming year.
At the beginning of each academic year, the chairman makes a presentation to the new students of the school, introducing to them the club and the hobby of Amateur Radio. The chairman also needs to decide with the council when the weekly meetings of the club will take place and who will be giving the theory lectures to the members who wish to acquire the HAREC Certificate.
As part of the club’s social work, every year during JOTA (Jamboree on the Air), the chairman and other members who are interested give lectures to scout groups about the hobby of Amateur Radio. We also invite scouts to our QTH so that they can watch us operating.
Last but not least, when the club receives a certificate or a plaque in a contest, this is presented in assembly by the headmaster of the school to the chairman and the other operators who participated in that particular contest. 

Could you give more information about the English School Radio Club?
The English School Radio Club (most commonly known as 5B4ES from its callsign - Special contest callsign P39P) is located in Nicosia, the capital city of the island of Cyprus, an island located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The club is a part of the English School of Nicosia, which is a secondary education school founded in 1900. The club was founded in 1969 being the 3rd 5B4 callsign issued in Cyprus.
The club is run by the students of the school, with the younger members being taught by the older ones. Lessons start from the basics of amateur radio and go on into advanced electronics theory and the practical operating of the equipment. The younger students evolve to able ham operators, keeping alive the club as well as amateur radio.
Being a very active amateur radio club, DXing and Contesting are two of the most important activities of the club. The members who have a license participate together in contests making the club a major contester across the world. 5B4ES has occasionally organised some successful and very memorable DXpeditions. The members are also engaged in interesting practicals (especially making aerials).
Apart from this, 5B4ES is the only club in the school providing insight into physics and electronics, helping many students deciding about their studies after school concerning these subjects. It serves as a meeting place for students and is a trademark for the school symbolising the school’s pioneering in complete, all round education.
We are also proud to say that the station of 5B4ES is considered by the Cyprus Amateur Radio Society (CARS) as a model station. Hence it is used by CARS for many lectures, especially to young Radio Amateurs.
Currently the club boasts thirty-three members, where only students of the school can join. These range from 1st form to 7th form students (eleven to nineteen years old). Currently six members are licensed Radio Amateurs with a handful working towards acquiring their own Amateur Radio operating license. 

Is it easy to recruit young radio amateurs?
When I obtained my Amateur Radio operating license, it was very difficult to recruit young Radio Amateurs. The reason being, the examination for obtaining the HAREC was very challenging. One needed to have an in-depth knowledge of electronics. Part of the theory was of University level. Today the examination has changed. It has become extremely easy and thus more young people are willing to attempt to obtain a license.
The main problem however in Cyprus is that the hobby of Amateur Radio is not widely known. The English School of Nicosia is the only educational foundation that has its own Amateur Radio club. The only other clubs in the island are regional, one for every district of the island. Hence they are not very successful in attracting young people to the hobby. Scouting brings many teenagers in contact with Amateur radio but only superficially.
As a result, the only place in the island where young people truly come in contact with Amateur radio is 5B4ES (where most of the islands HF operators come from). Since there are no other similar clubs, it is very difficult to bring youth in contact with the hobby.