Newsday, Thursday August 13, 1970
Syosset--"No, I didn't address him as "Your Majesty". He is just another Ham". Long Island ham operator Sherman Leifer was referring to King Hussein of Jordan.
Leifer, an amateur radio operator for more than 15 years, said that he had made radio contact and talked to the King last April 24. Recently, he received a "QSL" card mailed to him from Jordon and signed, "Best regards and wishes, Hussein." Hams routinely exchange QSL cards after a radio conversation to verify their contact.
The American Radio Relay League in Hartford, Conn., an organization which represents all domestic amateur or "Ham" radio operators, confirmed that Leifer had registered the card with the organization and that other hams in the U.S. had received QSL cards from Hussein. George Shamma, a representative of the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, acknowledged that Hussein was a licensed amateur radio operator.
The conversation lasted about five minutes, Leifer recalled. And the fact that Jordan is Arab and that Leifer is Jewish never entered the conversation. "We did not talk about anything political", Leifer said. "Ham operators have a fraternal bond. All we care about is whether or not he is an operator and the kind of equipment he uses."
The conversation began about 8:30 PM. Leifer's radio shack (station K2SHU) is a room in his home at 139 Southwood Circle, with radio equipment which Leifer said is worth about $3,500. Leifer said that he heard Hussein give his call sign. He located the frequency, he said, and the King acknowledged contact and introduced himself only as Hussein.
Hussein said that he was broadcasting from near Amman Jordon. Leifer said that he gave his name, told him where he was broadcasting from and asked about his equipment. The pair broke contact after they promised to exchange QSL cards.
Leifer is the president of the Long Island DX Century association, a group of ham operators whose main interest is in talking to hams in rarely contacted countries. In his radio shack, are certificates presented to the organization for having contacted all the continents in the world, all the states in the U.S. and all the stations in Japan.
A licensed operator since he was 13 years old, Leifer estimated that since he started broadcasting, he has accumulated more than 10,000 cards from operators around the world.
Leaning back in a black leather chair at his desk, Leifer thought for a minute and remembered that he had brushed with royalty once before. Glancing at a QSL card, he said, "Some ham who is the prince of Sikkim, wherever that is." The ham Leifer referred to is Palden Thondup Namgyal, ruler of a tiny Himalayan state between India and Red China, who in 1963, married Hope Cook, a New York socialite, information that cannot be obtained from a QSL card.