*MEET* 68DA024 Francis


_1gg49591337537134While grand prix motorbike riders experience severe G-forces as they corner, accelerate and brake, pushing their body and their machine to the limit around the race track, imagine the emotions of the pit crew where the team’s performance hinges on every mechanical adjustment, every tyre change and refuel…

Flag-map_of_Northern_Ireland_svgFor 20 years, 68DA024 Francis has lived and breathed the ultimate pressure cooker situation of a grand prix motorcycle mechanic, rubbing shoulders with some of Europe’s top riders.

Behind the scenes though, radio comms and 11m DXing has never been far from his mind. In fact, it’s provided the perfect distraction from the high pressure, high octane world of grand prix racing.

The Gaelic city of Larne, on the east coast of Antrim County, is Francis’ home QTH in Northern Ireland.

explore-larne_8373_thumbThis is a seaport and industrial market town, as well as a civil parish, situated on the western side of a narrow inlet that links Larne Lough to the sea.

Larne is roughly 50 clicks from the 108 Division mainland, with stunning views across the North Channel towards the Mull of Kintyre, Rhins of Galloway, Islay and Paps of Jura, often visible from the Larne area.

A population of roughly 32,000 share a beautiful part of Europe with numerous coastal bird species and other wildlife such as otters, whales and dolphins are often visible along the Larne coastal area.

As an operator, 68DA024 Francis has been active on Freeband frequencies for more than 20 years.

larnePreviously known on the band as 68FM001, he’s always enjoyed taking part in local nets with radio friends and making the most of propagation when it presents.

Apart from radio comms, away from the turbo charged action of racing, Francis enjoys chilling out at some of his local community’s haunts.

Local attractions here are many and, by all reports, the proximity to Scotland, has had a defining influence on Larne’s history and culture.

They include the Olderfleet Castle – ruins of a 13th-century castle at Curran Point, near the Chaine Memorial Tower; numerous sandy beaches; the lighthouse on The Maidens rocks which hosts a colony of seals and a large number of churches such as St. MacNissi’s Church and St. Cedma’s Parish Church.

Occasional mechanical work also pays the bills, as well as for that next piece of radio equipment.


In the future, 68DA024 Francis looks forward to taking part in some the DA-RC’s contests, challenges, including the new IOTA-360 and DAP (Delta-Alfa Portable).

68DA024 Francis’ DX weapons of choice are a Yaesu FT-450D transceiver and an Antron 99 vertical antenna high above the rooftop of his home in Northern Ireland.

These have enabled him to be in the slipstream of DX success, easily qualifying for pole position for DA-RC membership in the DX Hunter category.

While burning rubber, petrol fumes, smoking lock-ups, brake pads, blistering tyres, twisting chicanes, and gravel traps have dominated Francis’ life in years gone by, he looks forward to replacing that to an extent with the adrenalin rush of DX adventure in the years to come with the DA-RC.


  • “Will QSL First”