K9ZDK: Return of a Silent Key

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Van Hoy (VR2HF), who writes:

It was one of the most sublime moments in my 55+ years in radio. Almost every night I listen to shortwave station, KNLS in Anchor Point, Alaska, from my home in Hong Kong. KNLS broadcasts to Asia and the Pacific in English, Russian and Mandarin. The English broadcast is an amazing mix of secular and Christian music and topics, science, current affairs and more. It has something for both the seeker and the saint and is one of the most informative and entertaining shows on radio.

On this particular Monday evening, August 3, 2020, I tuned in late to the English broadcast from KNLS at 1000 UTC, but went on to listen to the remainder of the show. To my complete surprise as the show closed I heard “73 de K9ZDK” in Morse code and quickly wrote down that callsign. I assumed it was the engineer on duty, obviously a ham, having a little on-air fun with a big transmitter and antenna.

A few minutes later, I also heard “CQ de K9ZDK” at the beginning of the Russian program at 1100 UTC. So, I looked up K9ZDK on QRZ.com and found it was Zavier, a young ham who had become a silent key in June of 2019.

Zavier Klingensmith (K9ZDK) Silent Key

A little more online sleuthing and a phone call later revealed that his father, Thomas, KL0K, was at the controls of KNLS that night sending Zavier’s final CQ and 73 on this planet with at least 1 million watts of power (ERP: 100KW TX + 10dBd TCI curtain array) all around Asia and the Pacific. His call on CW was heard on every English, Russian and Mandarin show that evening over 16 hours of broadcasts (two Continental 100 KW transmitters). Wow!

In Zavier’s memory, Thomas has created a DIY kit for an Iambic Keyer and is offering it for FREE (though you might want to send some $$ for his production and mailing costs…my suggestion) to anyone who asks. Details can be found at Thomas’, KL0K, QRZ page. Maybe one of the first things you can send when your keyer is completed is,”K9ZDK de YOUR CALL, 73 OM!”

Thomas, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Thanks for the amazing on-air tribute to Zavier. I suspect he was listening with a big, big smile!

Dan VR2HF, Hong Kong

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9 thoughts on “K9ZDK: Return of a Silent Key

  1. Archie L Miller

    An awesome, inspiring account. Thrilling to know John1:1 is being broadcast to the Far East. I must have been about 15 when I built a receiver and discovered HCJB “la voz de los andes” [HCJB “The Voice of the Andes.”]. I appreciated the wonderful Christian stories and music. Some young person in China, North Korea, or Burma are listening and being inspired. Tom, thanks for having the insight to share this moment of tribute for Zavier with the Christian world.

  2. Tim C

    I thought the antenna and feed line looked familiar, not just a stock photo. I worked there 1989 To 1992. I had my TS-140 hooked into the TCI-611 and the 517. My predecessor left a 160m Delta loop that I also used. A bit wasted on me since I am not really a DX’er. At that point the only transmitter was a Harris SW-100B. 73, KE4KE


      Hi Tim,

      Nice running into you again. We e-mailed a couple years back when I came across your call sign in the archives. Thanks for leaving a reply.


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