This year I got my license to operate from Vietnam as XV9WJR. I am still only 1 year into this hobby, but I am having a blast and feel fortunate to be able to operate here in Vietnam. I travel here about 4 times each year, and got a 3 year license to operate on 20 and 40 meters from 3 different locations. My 'shack' (actually just a desk) is up and running with an Elecraft K2, Vibroplex Vibrokeyer, MFJ 818 Mobile SWR/Wattmeter, and a RM Italy HLA 305 Amp running 100 watts into a Buddipole antenna powered by a Mingwell power 42 amp supply I purchased in Ho Chi Minh City. Pretty simple setup, but easily packable on an airplane or motorbike. Unlike the US, radio operations within Vietnam must be from a physical address (or at least within about a hundred meters of the physical address). This usually means that you will be surrounded by a lot of electrical cables generating a lot of noise. The RFI and band conditions sometimes make hearing a contact pretty difficult. The Elecraft K2 has an internal ATU that helps, but I found I can get the Buddipole settings to less than 1.7:1 using the setups recommended by B. Scott Andersen (NE1RD) in his book Buddipole in the Field. With a power output of 4.7 watts from the K2 into the RM Italy HLA 305 I am putting out about 100 watts as indicated on the MFJ-818. At this point I don't see a need to increase power out because of noise issues I know there are stations that can easily hear me, but I have a difficult time hearing them. Most of the signal reports for me are 579, but unfortunately I am not hearing those stations well (most of my RST reports back are 557), and only one station in Kuwait came in at 5nn last night. The Buddipole setup is using 2 accessory arms on each side of the VersaTee, loading coils (set as per the book noted above), with the long telescopic whips setup in a standard dipole configuration. With the dipole antenna mounted on it's tripod and the standard 9'6" mast I was able to make contacts in Indonesia, Philippines, Java, and Japan on 20 meters the first night of operation. Of course, getting more height is always a good thing. So, I purchased a 7 meter length of bamboo (from the bamboo ladder shop of course) placed the Buddipole mast on top of the bamboo pole and extended the mast a little to give me about 26 feet AGL. The additional height lowered the VSWR on 20 meters from 1.7:1 to 1.2:1 as indicated on my RigExpert AA-30 antenna analyzer. Current the dipole antenna is oriented so the radiation pattern is directed towards 330 degrees and 150 degrees to target Indonesia, Australia, western China & Russia, India, etc. Last night stations in China, India, Russia, and one WA2 station in the US spotted me on DxMaps. I was very surprised to see a US station spotting my CQ given the orientation of the antenna and band conditions. Here is what I've learned so far... Amateur Radio is about as foreign a concept to most Vietnamese as bamboo ladders are to Americans. It draws a lot of curiosity, and lots of questions like 'who do I 'talk' to,' 'what do I 'talk' about,' and 'why don't I just use a cell phone.' If you get a chance to operate in remote locations such as this be ready for lots of questions and curiosity. Antenna height makes a difference. I've used the Buddipole using it's tripod and standard mast that puts the antenna at about 12 feet AGL on several occasions already. Using the K2 at 5 watts I have made contacts over 1500 km away. But, now at abt 25' AGL I think I am getting out and also 'hearing' a lot better. The Vietnamese electrical grid leaves a lot to be desired; there is a lot of RFI. I must ask most stations to repeat their call multiple times before I get it completely. I am thinking that I might invest in an MFJ-1026 noise cancelling device for my next trip. The bands (20 and 40 meters) are pretty dead during the daytime. They start picking up around 11:00 UTC and seem to die down around 17:00 UTC. I need to learn to work pile ups. I've had multiple stations try to contact me, and it is extremely difficult to identify a single station in a pile up. I am sure that some of you have tried to get through a pile up, but if anyone can give me some tips on how to 'listen' and pick a station from a pile up I would be grateful. I made the cables between the transceiver and amp and meter about 3 feet long each. Given my setup here...they could have been much shorter and my desk would not be so cluttered. I brought lots of adapters, but I should have also brought connectors, tools and a soldering iron. Grounding - last night I noticed a slight electrical charge on the case of the K2 (but interestingly enough not on the amp). I thought about bringing 30' of 3" copper ground strap I had in my home shack, but left without it. Now I am regretting that decision and will be off today in search of some grounding wire. Hopefully grounding the radio and amp may help bring the noise level down. Once I find a suitable ground wire, I'll just have to figure out where to find a good earth ground. This month marks my 1 year anniversary since getting my ticket. I have learned a lot, but I am still learning. Most of all...I am having a great time and have had lots of great experiences so far. I know I have much more to learn, and in the down time here I am studying for my extra class ticket for when I return. But, in the meantime, if anyone who has participated in a DXpedition or remote ops can share some advice I would very much appreciate it. This weekend I will be driving down to Vung Tao to operate from the beach. I intend to use a vertical antenna setup with 4 radials (again as suggested in B. Scott Andersen's book).