The Beat Goes On

Busy week ahead. My two month hiatus from work is coming to an end and next week, I’ll be back on the road again — with most of July spent in Germany. That means all those little things I’ve been putting off for “another day” now command attention. I did connect the feed line to the rig this morning for the first time in many days. We’ve been stuck with the daily thunderstorm syndrome here in the Heartland for the last month and I’ve been QRT for most of June.

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I listened on 40 for a little while but the bands were noisy enough that copy was much less than enjoyable and I shut things down. I hope to find  a little time this week to box up the Eagle — I plan to offer it for sale soon. I’m not sure what may take its place — maybe nothing.

After nearly 39 years of pounding brass on HF, I’m due for a break. I’d really like to spend some time exploring VHF and higher, much higher. I like to imagine that future forays on the HF bands will be from the outdoors via a small trail radio, like this one.

This weekend is Field Day — the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations. Field Day is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

There will be more words and photos published in popular media over this ham radio event than any other. It’s more than a contest or emergency communications primer, it’s the best advertising the ARRL doesn’t have to buy. So leave the too small stretched and stained t-shirt with the big pig face splashed on the front of it at home. Better yet, throw it in the garbage — it was never really funny anyway.

Slap on some deodorant and dress nice when you hit your Field Day site — you never know when a camera is going to be shoved in your face. Don’t say anything dumb — don’t say that CW is dead and only a few “old men” still use it. Don’t imply that the hobby is shrinking. It’s not — it’s growing by leaps and bounds. There are more licensed radio amateurs in the US today than there have ever been. We have a swarm of satellites on orbit and even more being assembled. Our emergency response is fine-tuned and ready for action. And above all, ham radio is FUN!

Be careful. Use your head. Be safe. There is nothing sadder in all of hamdom than reading about a radio amateur getting injured or killed during any kind of radio activity. Getting your license may have been a piece of cake but we “play” with things on a daily basis that can easily hurt or kill — you have to be smart.

Author: Jeff Davis