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ECOMA 1980 Registration Badge

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I was invited as the Guest Speaker, "to speak on any subject of the speaker's choosing" for this, my first trip to Europe. At dinner at "Borsht and Tears", after the presentation with Art Cooke and Phil Bond and others from the company that was then representing SAS in Europe, I became the center of attention when I leaned into a lit candle with my full-blown afro, and literally lit up the establishment. Following this meeting I went to Czechoslovakia (as it was still 1980) and met many ham radio operators with whom I had had many contacts; it was quite revealing to understand life behind the Iron Curtain - when overlooking the Iron Curtain from the Czech side, and I asked my host, Karel Karmasin, OK2FD, how they felt about it, his first reply was "well, the fence is to keep the Austrians out", but shortly thereafter, with a tear in his voice, he said "I owe you better answer - back there - about the fence, and how we feel about it:: we try to forget that it is there". Every person I talked with had to report themselves to the police the next day that they had had contact with a non-Czech; if they didn't report themselves, the 1 in 20 of their neighbors who were members of the Communist Party would have reported them for not reporting.
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