Danish radio amateur Thomas Andersen, OZ1AA/K9DXX, has said he never wanted to think back on things that he might have done during his lifetime, but did not. That’s why he decided to follow his dream and start cycling — around the globe. He’s now in the 5th year of his journey, and he’s been meeting many hams along the way. This month he’s been working his way up the East Coast of the US, more or less following US Route 1 from Florida.
“I have been staying with hams almost every day on the trip in the US!” the 32-year-old telecommunications engineer told ARRL this week. “Absolutely amazing hospitality.” He plans to end the North American leg of his trip in St John’s, Newfoundland. “From there I will be flying back to Denmark for a 3-month break,” he explained. “Then my plan is to go to Africa and start riding home from there.”
Andersen said his bicycle adventure also stemmed from a desire to attempt something that he was not entirely sure he could finish, but it’s been an opportunity to combine his favorite activities.
“Apart from ham radio I have been interested in cycling since I was a kid,” he said on his QRZ.com page. “I also love to travel, so it was somewhat natural for me to combine my passions in life into a perfect match.” Andersen has been pedaling since leaving his homeland in 2010. His initial plan was to cycle southeast and end his trip in Sydney, Australia. “When I left Denmark I had enough money for 1 year of travelling (on a $20 a day budget). That was enough to get me to Australia,” he told ARRL. “I thought I had to go back home from there, but I found work in Australia — on a huge cattle station out of Alice Springs — so I could save up more money and extend my trip to the Americas as well.” He now hopes to complete his circumnavigation back home in Denmark.
So far, he has not been carrying along any Amateur Radio gear, because of weight concerns. “Even so, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to add a small HF rig to my setup. Having a radio in my bag simply seems worth it,” he said on QRZ. Andersen said he thinks his adventure would not have been possible without his being a radio amateur. “I can’t honestly think of any other hobby where you can show up in any town in any part of the world and be welcomed like I have been. He said his non-ham friends don’t get it, though. “[B]ut all I can tell them is: Become a ham, and you will have 1 million friends around the world as well.”
Along the way he’s met many hams, and while in Turkey he got to operate TC033TAI for the Turkish Island Award as well as TA3KM for the 2010 CQ World Wide CW contest. In Syria, however, he found himself listening to a plethora of DX signals at the YK0RJ club station, only to learn that only Syrian hams were permitted to use the station. “[O]ne of the more frustrating moments of my Amateur Radio career,” he said.
Andersen said he’s not encountered anyone who wanted to harm him. Some of the dogs he’s passed along the way are a different matter. “While I only met people with good intentions, I can’t say the same about the dogs,” he said. “They have some nasty stray dogs in Turkey, and for some reason they turn made when they see a cyclist.” He said a few of the canines snapped has his legs or his bags, but he’s never been injured.
“For me, the chance to meet new people, to make new friends, and to see and learn about their way of life is the true highlight of the trip,” Andersen concluded. “Ham radio certainly plays a big role in making that possible.”