Happy Memories from Long Ago

Have you taken a stroll down eQSL’s memory lane?  I just did as I have some historic logs and QSLs on eQSL from as early as 1994.  What struck me was that I kept operating right through college.  My senior year (2002), I had a pretty non-covert serious station in my dorm with antennas in the woods. That’s a story for another time.

My first few years in college my QSO counts dropped but they are still there.  And each year at Christmas time, there is large spike in QSOs when I was home from break.

I’m not sure if this similar for other hams, but I rarely can remember any individual DX or contest QSO. There are so many of them and often times, the best ones are anti-climatic. I don’t chase awards or QSLs – so I think DXing is more an instant gratification thing for me. I either make the contact or I don’t and I can say conclusively that I would guess 99.99% of the time I thought I’d make the contact.

But I look back at that time at home, at those logs and think what a blissful time it all was.  The contacts would start around December 15 and would end around January 10.  There are contest logs from the Radio Amateurs’ of Canada (RAC) Winter Contest, the ARRL 10 Meter Contest and the NAQP.  Beyond radio, I was home and carefree to spend my time as I wished.  Little did I know, my mother – Roberta, would pass just a few years later.

Both of my parents supported my radio hobby tremendously.  As a teenager she drove me to club meetings, she left me do contest operations from other ham’s houses, and helped fund my very modest station.  But ham radio could drive her nuts too, my operations interfered with the telephone – and when the phone range (pre-cellphone years), I knew to cease operations.  I could hear her voice upstairs right above me and the minute she hung up, I was back in business.

It’s impossible to look back at those winter QSOs and not think of my mother, and the glow of those Yaesu FT-101ee tubes in my basement.  I’d give anything to talk to that N1SNB or watch him or to know what I know now.

I think we all know that time flies by.  But did you know creating new memories (and exploring old ones) can help slow things now just a little bit?

Thank you for indulging me.  73!



1996 – A CW Flashback

Rewind back.  The year is 1996.  I was a sophmore in high school.  The radio was a Yaesu FT-101ee.  It put out a 100w and in retrospect I really loved the radio.  My mother had given me $200 the year before to be able to purchase it  (although in a kick myself moment, I threw it in a dorm room dumpster after my senior year in college after buying a Yaesu FT1000).

My antenna was a homemade vertical that worked on 3 bands (40-20-15).  I’ll need to look it up again someday in the ARRL handbook,  it was base fed with 75 ohm cable that I had bought at Radio Shack (it was all I could afford) with a modest radial network underneath it. Picture a backyard about 30 feet wide and 60 feet long with one tree.

Anyways,  I’d come home from school and fire up the FT-101ee.  I only had a general license then so I lurked around 7025-7035.  I can now admit I would chase DX below 7025 but never CQ there.

I’d start CQing.  And usually right away, I’d get callers and many were in Eastern Europe.  My favorites were the OKs, YOs, LZ, that wild signals chirping, sparking and drifting their way out of the Eastern Bloc.

I miss those home-brew signals now, I rarely hear them now.