DX Stories by Paul M. Dunphy, VE1DX
Greetings From Don Miller, W9WNV
By Martti Laine, OH2BH
(Re-printed from the Editorial of Chod Harris' The DX Magazine, August 1990)
Has the world forgotten its idols - the people who provided a full scale of entertainment to radio rooms across the world? In spite of certain controversial issues involved, Don Miller W9WNV devoted more to the art of serious DXpeditioning than anyone else in those early years. DXers have always inspired controversy and so did Dr. Miller.
Don is now in his fifties but, as a result of many unfortunate events following his DXpeditions, he has spent the last eight years in a California prison. Furthermore, he has been isolated from amateur radio for the past twenty years in the aftermath of his dispute with the ARRL, a dispute that was settled in a manner satisfactory to both parties. At the good age of 52, Don is missing his freedom but maybe even more his 15 year old son who was everything to him after he quit amateur radio. These twenty years have not wiped out Don's extraordinary code proficiency. He mastered code better than anyone else in the history of CW operating. "It's still banging in my mind - even better, purring like a cat, itching at night," he said.
It took some effort and searching to find Don and to make the prison gates open for a first amateur eyeball with him for the past twenty years. There he was standing - an idol of the entire DX community for almost a decade. Don was physically in great shape since he was exercising every day. He was mentally sharp, working on several specialized subjects related to his medical profession. He was involved in efforts to combat the drug problem - a major problem in many prisons. Don Miller was found thirsting for new life and freedom. He was found searching for that Samoa girl whom he had once planned to marry. He was ready to re-establish his contest records and set up a contest site on Fiji, the island he had fallen in love with. But many years will still need to pass - and that massive 5-inch gate is very demanding until it finally opens up for him. God bless Don Miller.
The visiting time ran out when two DX types got down to discussing their DXploits - past, present, and future. The California Sun was shining brightly to set the scene for this historic meeting. Tears were running down the cheek when the session had to end. Don Miller was revisited and greeted by his fellow DXers. It had to happen. And it did.
Don Miller sent his personal greetings to the many people whom he still remembered with fond memories. Two decades had not left out a single character of their callsigns. According to Don's letter of thanks, "A little of the faith I had lost has been restored now." So, the visit was definitely worth the effort. Don Miller is not forgotten.
[During the 1960's, Don Miller operated from many of the rarest DX locations around the world. While everyone in the DX community admired his enthusiasm and operating skills, some of his practices generated controversy. At times he seemed to hear the signals of those DXers making financial contributions to his DXpeditions over those of some Honor Roll DXers.
He ran afoul of the ARRL Awards Committee following an unauthorized landing on Navassa Island. After a long disagreement with ARRL officials, including a law suit against the league, Don admitted he had never landed on St. Peter and Paul Rocks, and DXCC credit for that and some other Miller operations was denied.
In 1980 Don was convicted of conspiring to murder his estranged wife, and is currently serving a term of 25 years to life in a California prison. - ed. VP2ML]
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