Monday, July 22, 2013

I try and think out of the box.

I QSO'd a guy in Tajikistan the other day and his QRZ page said that to get a card out of him you had to send a registered letter which popped up a red flag.

Sounds like mail corruption to me. 

I went to the USPS website and looked up what that would run and it is $7.95 but I cannot send any cash or anything to compensate him for return postage.

Generally when we want a QSL card from someone we stick between $1-3 in the envelope, depending on their postage rates. No return postage, no QSL card. It works unless you are dealing with a post office in Outer Slobovia where the postman has to ride a goat to deliver the mail and gets paid with what he can steal. This brings Tonga to mind.

I know nothing about Tajikistan except that getting a QSO from there is a rather rare event and I want a card to prove if for my DXCC award AND bragging rights.

I wondered how to get the job done and it occurred to me.

This is a job for the United States Marine Corps.

What? The Marines? How in hell do you figure the Marines are going to be able to help you get a QSL card from Tajikistan?

Simple. There is a Marine detatchment at just about every US embassy in the world.  There's one in Tijakistan.

It's actually pretty good duty and if you play your cards right as a good Marine you can wind up with a pretty good job at one of the alphabet agencies when you retire. 

I heard a Marine describe embassy duty as being one of the best kept secrets in the Corps.

Generally there is a Gunnery Sergeant on duty there and any Marine can tell you that if you want to get something squared away most riki-tik you see the Gunny.

It seems that Staff Sergeants are issued sticks to get the job done. First Sergeants are issued baseball bats. 

Between the two is the Gunny and he is issued a magic wand,

The Gunny should be able to get me my card in his sleep.

Of course, it's likely that he knows what's going to happen when I get the card and show it off at the club.

"It was a snap. I wrote the Marine detachment at the embassy and the Marines sent out a couple of rifle companies and 4 tanks to the guy's house to collect my QSL card. Didn't you see it on the news a couple of weeks ago?"


"Oh, yeah! A sergeant won the Navy Cross for delivering the card under intense small arms fire."

Or this: Four reinforced rifle companies and six tanks battled their way up Khyber Pass along with a 113 years old swashbuckler. He was a retired college professor clad in a leather jacket and carrying a bull whip showing them the way to get the QSL card the the Tajikistani ham radio operator...

One can never let the facts get in the way of a pretty good story and I'll promise the Gunny that if he is successful getting my card by simple means that I will keep the truth to myself and that my lips are sealed. I'll tell everybody something that is befitting the Marines.

The likely scenario IS the Gunny will simply mail the QSL card to the ham in Tajikistan via local mail along with a prepaid return envelope to the embassy and will forward the card to me but you never know.

Anyway, I sent a package to HQ USMC to forward to the NCOIC of the embassy in Tajikistan and we'll see what happens.

This one may wind up being a pretty good tale or maybe HQ USMC might just say 'No dice' and return the package to me.

We'll see, but still it ought to be fun to watch what happens.

I'll keep you posted.

This was written about 3 or 4 weeks ago and HQ USMC has not returned the packet so I assume it is on the way to the embassy in Tajikistan.Actually it has been my experience that little off the wall things like this generally sort themselves out. The likely scenario in this case is that some corporal is likely to say, "Wait a minute...I met some guy that might know him when I was downtown the other night......"

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this:

1 comment:

  1. It's true. I learned early on in the Marines, Gunnies are as close to God as you can get without actually seeing God. The only rank better would have to be Sargent Major, They tell to generals what is what.