September 2, 2003

Learn Something New Every Day Department.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:03 pm

In my post about this weekend’s Labor Day Party I had mentioned Bill, the newest of the Usual Suspects, who supplied the excellent cigars. Over the past few months, I have learned that, in addition to knowing a good cigar when he sees/smells/feels one, Bill is also a good golfer (at least in the view of this mondo-shitty duffer). He is also a motorcycle guy, a merlot drinker (with the occasional “mart”), and a guitar and mandolin player. I have also come to know that, although his horseshoe game still needs some work, he can sing a respectable rendition of Wild Thing by the Troggs. All good stuff.

I seem to recall that, on one occasion, he had mentioned that he was “involved with amateur radio.” I admit it. I sort of let that go in one ear and out the other. Not knowing shit from Shinola about “amateur radio,” I had assumed that being “involved with amateur radio” meant that he had some sort of electronic gadget about the size of a stereo amp that he uses to talk with one or two like-minded people in places with names like Possum Breath, Wyoming. He never mentioned it again, nor did I give it any more thought.

Well, over the weekend, he left a comment on one of my posts, and he included a website URL.

A web site? Bill never said anything about a website.

I figured that it must have been he employer’s website. Being curious, I clicked on it and was surprised to see a picture of Bill on the Home Page, surrounded by an array of scary looking electronic stuff. I navigated through the site to see numerous photos of his “gear,” including pictures of the guts of some of the stuff he has actually built. The site also has a great collection of images of some of his favorite “keys.” (These are the widgets, many of them antiques, that people use to send Morse code.)

I was and am fascinated by it all, even though I don’t have any idea of what any of those electronic boxes are, or what exactly they do. Then again, I have always been fascinated with people who know a whole lot about something that neither I nor most folks (I would bet) know a damned thing about.

When I wrote to tell him that I had no idea that he was this committed to and knowledgeable about something that seems pretty deep to me, Bill summed it up very well in his reply:

“Amateur radio is an obscure hobby in today’s cell phone and internet connected world. To me, its still a thrill setting up a simple wire antenna and sending an RF signal into the air and being able to communicate with another “HAM Operator” on the other side of the world.”


So, in the off chance that you have any interested in “HAM” radio, or what “HAM” radio people like and do, take a look.

If you do pay his site a visit, please tell him that Jim said, “dot, dot, dot, dot……, dot.”

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