Lesson in Contrast

Was up early today, as usual for a Sunday. I fed the dog and cat and the coffee was done brewing about the time the dog came back in the house. While they settled down for a couple more hours of shut eye, I walked to the shack with a steaming cup in my hand. I fired up the Eagle more out of habit than anything else. I’ve been on something of a hiatus from HF these last few weeks — my own prescription for avoiding burnout.

Before I gave it any thought, I was slowly tuning across a 40 meter band that wasn’t in great shape, but was full of signals. I stopped to listen to a few of the SKCC boys working their weekend sprint and kept working my way up into the phone portion of the band. There was all the usual clam chowder but I stopped when I encountered a small group discussing how boring amateur radio conversations had become.

And this went on for more than twenty minutes. It was, the most boring conversation I’ve ever heard, and ironically, it was a boring conversation about boring conversations! Obviously what’s boring to me might not be boring to someone else so I suppose it’s subjective. But allow me to offer another look…

This afternoon Brenda and I were taking advantage of the sun and 60 degree temperatures to do some after winter clean-up in the backyard. I carried my handheld FM transceiver along and was using it to monitor my IRLP node (4212) that I had connected to the WIN System, a wide area FM repeater system along the west coast.

It’s a big system and there’s always a lot of chatter and today was no different. As we worked we eavesdropped on several conversations. One of them, included a fellow who is a pilot. He had spent the weekend shuttling dogs from high-risk shelters to adoption centers around the region. His volunteer work was for a San Bernadino organization called Wings of Rescue. Over the entire weekend, he shuttled over 400 dogs.

We were fascinated by the conversation and others on the system were lining up to ask questions or to offer congratulations for a job well done.

It was all that, and more. It was a lesson in contrast.

Author: Jeff Davis