Originally published in the October 1983 C&E.
TOKYO (C&E News Service) — Weak but fast CW signals signing A5A/XV were heard in Japan and China during the second week of September, raising hopes for the long-lost PXpedition into Vietnam that was led by the world’s greatest DXer, Oklahoma’s own Q. R. Zedd. The CW station was dishing out contacts far too fast for anyone to get any information from it on fate of the expedition, which also included Zedd’s momma, ‘Constance Wilhelmina Zedd, Ohio’s Bill Buckeye, famed Russian DXer Boris Badenov, and Bill Blast, American honor roll member who usually hosts the Blast Off DX Net from his megawatt station in the Pacific northwest. The Zedd party was invited to open XV to the world back in June, causing a stampede of `operators that terminated Zedd’s wedding to Tondelayo Schwartz, blonde, nubile, 20-year-old QSL secretary, before Rev. Billy Graham could pronouce the vows. Since then, the expedition went to Vietnam, where members were wined and dined on Proletarian Potluck ‘dinners, featuring gartersnake and ancient Twinkies, washed down with liberal quantities of. fake Russian Budweiser, and then entered the Vietnamese jungle to begin operations. Alas, a border incident involving three or four neighbors and their respective armies obliterated the DX camp site, and since then nothing has been heard from the Zedd group. TIME magazine has already run Zedd’s obituary, misspelling his name. As a result of this error, 7.1 million readers cancelled their subscriptions in September and the magazine went bankrupt. The signals coming faintly from the jungles somewhere near Vietnam’s border with Cambodia were terminated after about seven days and nothing has been heard since. Among the transmissions monitored on bigh-speed recording tape were the following: “W5OU 599 599 K” “A51PN QRX W5NUT 599 599 KN” “QRZ DE A5A/XV K” “U5 U5 K” “QSL VIA CALLBOOK K” “W2NSD/1 QSY QSY QRZ 5 ONLY K” “W5UAW WE WORKED QSY QRZ 5 K” Those who heard the sianals said they had a chirpy quality and were not only weak, but susceptible to rapid QSB and flutter. Peter Drake, in Ohio, issued a statement that this was not the signal of a TR7, which the type of rig Zedd had strapped to his tee shirt with velcro tape when he was last seen stalking into the jungle. Drake speculated that the TR7 had been damaged or destroyed in jungle fighting, and Zedd’s party was operating on some sort of jury-rigged rig. There was jubilation and celebration worldwide, not to mention the firing-up of countless illegal linears, when Zedd’s signals were first heard on the American west coast. However, the signals quickly faded and since that date nothing more has been heard. Renewed fighting along the Vietnam-Cambodia once more raised fears for the party’s safety. In Newington, Conn., headquarters of the American Radio Relay League, the DXCC desk announced that it might or might not accept cards from the Zedd expedition. It was explained that approval will depend on documentation submitted if and when the party ever gets back, and whether there was a CIA agent along, as there is supposed to be on most DXpeditions to sensitive areas of the world. Meanwhile, also in Newington, the League’s board of directors met to discuss
mounting a rescue operation in case Zedd and his friends are really in trouble. By a vote of 17-6, the board voted to take certain actions. The world waited with fishhooks in its mouth to learn whether the ARRL could be of value in the crisis, but minutes of the meeting were written by an old technical writer and have not yet been translated into any language anyone else can read, so details are sketchy at presstime. Back home at Honor Roll Ranch, just a hoot and a holler south of Norman, Tondelayo put her trousseau in mothballs and did tower work. Her house guest, Natasha Bullwinkle, brunette, nubile, QSL aide from Box 88 for Boris Badenov, reportedly pleaded innocent in Cleveland County district court to a charge of sticking several people with her knife. Natasha first promised a reporter from the C&E an interview, according to stateside reports, but then changed her mind and stuck him with a knife, too. At last word, N5MS was in good condition at Norman Municipal Hospital’s new Natasha Bullwinkle Stab Wound Treatment Center, and was working at a bedside card table, trying to convert a 1939 Zenith floor model to two meters. By month’s end, the silence out of Vietnam’s airwaves had once more grown worrisome. Helicopters combed the area where the last signals were thought to have stemmed. Flags were flown at halfmast at the world-famous Q.R. Zedd radio museum in Rome, and the Zedd chicken farm near Lexington was closed to the Public. Just at presstime, NEWSWEEK came out with its October 5 issue, featuring a picture of Zedd and his momma, and the headline, Can This he the End? Gloom deepened around the world.