By Dr.Supratik Sanatani, Kolkata, 21 March 2010
I met Pradip Kundu for the first time as we were gathered at Babul Gupta’s shack for a weekend get-together & to see his brand new ICOM R75. The ICOM was connected to a dipole and a long wire and was placed next to the PC which is an indispensable DX tool today. That was an irony because there was Pradip Kundu, the DXer from Tripura (North East India) who had logged some amazing QSLs using just a two band Bush receiver and later a Philips portable set. He was visiting Kolkata with his collection of QSLs. The collection was amazing by any standards, if not for the Indian DXer alone. There were a host of European MW stations such as from Tallinin and Villinus to Yugoslavia and Finland and shortwave stations ranging from Cook Islands to WWV in Colorado. There were African tropical band stations, flood of Japanese MW qsls and many exotic AIRs. The engineer of AIR Tezu was amazed that his 250 watt (yes 0.25 kW !) station which barely reached beyond Tezu could travel so far to Tripura.
Most of Pradip Kundu’s prize DX catches were from the days when his village Kumaria Kucha did not have electricity. He had strung a modest piece of GI wire which he would shift every now and then to get different directivity. A DXer since 1978 and owner of such a glittering collection of QSL is yet to try out a digital frequency read out set today in 2010!! What is the secret of his success ? His village which is 35 km away from Agartala was first electrified in 1997. That allowed Pradip to DX in noise free environment. Work has brought him now to Agartala where he is not active at the moment. That explains why his QSL collections mostly date between 1980 and 1994.
For a DXer of Pradip Kundu’s stature, he is still not connected to the internet. And in his early days as a DXer there were no TVs . He was first introduced to DXing by the Radio Monitors International DX program in 1978. That program used to be produced in Pune by Adrian Peterson from AWR studios in Pune . It was aired once a week over a 15 minute segment from SLBC Colombo. Indian DX Club International of Kolkata had a tiny monthly segment in this program produced by Alok Dasgupta. It was this segment which brought Pradip in touch with the Kolkata DXers. Tripti Ranjan Basu who had replied to Pradip’s letter still has very strong bonds with Pradip. Tripti had traveled to Pradip’s village in Tripura way back in 1982. What does Tripti has to say about that trip ? “Green – it was green every where”.
Why does Pradip have such a large collection of Time signal stations including rare Korean stations besides WWV, WWVH and VNG ? In early eighties time signal station ATA from New Delhi sent out signals at 15 minutes interval. Since Pradip did not have accurate frequency readouts, he would keep his two band set logged to the New Delhi time signal station and listen in between their 15 minutes interval announcements !
Some of Pradip’s rare catches have a simple story behind it. Once he was tuning in to the early morning “Mahalaya” special broadcast from AIR Agartala which is aired a few days before Durga Puja. Bang on this frequency was Yugoslavia loud and clear before it disappeared after a 15 minutes ! His DX success story has the underlying message of diligence which for a DXer counts more than anything else. Then ,of course, come the vagaries of the ionosphere.
For a DXer whose only means of communication to the outside world was by post, Pradip Kundu did edit the loggings of Asian DX Review (ADXR) for two years. He is grateful to the loggings from ADXR which inspired him into DXing. He has played his role in propagating DXing too. In 1996 the well known Tripura daily “Dainik Sambad” ran a full page feature article on DXing which was compiled by him. AIR Agartala broadcast a many part program on DXing by him . Pradip recollects the amazement of Soumen basu , the program executive at AIR when he first looked at Pradip Kundu’s QSLs.
Pradip’s meeting with the Kolkata DXers have charged him up on DXing. He plans to get a digital radio set and be hooked to the internet.
Amazing collection of QSL cards of Pradip Kundu, Tripura using his 2 band analog receiver. Thanks to Babul Gupta, Kolkata for scanning & uploading the images ...