Chatter Oct 2016

Chatter by Art Lee WF6P

Our Santa Cruz County Amateur centennial celebration and display at the Historical Society was a great success.  A lot of labor of love and planning went into the effort.  The display and succession of lecturers did us well.  I was unable to attend until late afternoon but as soon as I walked in I could see that our efforts were professional.  I had envisioned bringing in my 1940s Hallicrafters S-20 R receiver, didn’t have a forklift to do so, but was rewarded by the viewing of one of its identical mates.  Close by was a beautiful Hammarlund receiver.  The envy of my life during my high school years (1943-6) was a HQ-120, 12 tube receiver.  AM-CW. Weight, 58 lbs. Price used: about $100. I was a heavy-duty short-wave-listener and really wanted to upgrade.  I was studying for my ham license although during the war, hams were prohibited from getting on the air. I was taking Radio Shop classes at the time.

The price of a new Hammarlund receiver sold for about $125, far beyond my financial means when earning thirty cents/hour sweeping shop floors for the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company in Hayward. Some of my other expenses were my football cleats and baseball shoes, neither of which were cheap after you threw in a couple of gallons of twenty-cent/gallon of gas for my 1928 Model A Ford sedan.  I joined the Navy after high school and that put on hold my active pursuit of my ham license.  Instead, I had to learn to peel potatoes, swab decks and chip paint.

Our club meeting of last Friday was great!  We had a nice turnout and Cap did a good job of catching us all up on ham happenings. It was HT night and nearly everyone brought one or more from their collection.  In effect, every member was our speaker for the night!  Each of us had a few minutes to talk about what was good, bad or ugly about our HTs.  We covered every facet and feature of each.  Don, K6GHA, covered half the white board (AKA blackboards) with the various topics discussed:  Antennas, batteries, difficulty in programming (ugh!), small readouts, frequency bands covered, weight, spare batteries needed, comparisons between similar (but different models), water-proof versions and their fallacies, and more …

I mentioned that my Kenwood TH-28A performed flawlessly for about 15 years of sailing. If we were off Capitola at midnight and the wind quit, I could call Donna, AB6XJ, to let her know we were paddling home (with the help of a 40 hp Yanmar diesel). When my friend sold his Cal 34 Misty, I sorta retired from sailing and left my HT in my sailing bag, thoughtlessly not removing the battery pack.  A year later, I regretted that inaction, or more probably, when I retired from crewing, the Kenwood did too.  All the contacts had turned green.

Received a nice email today from Ron, W6WO, wondering (politely) if I was still breathing.  Always nice to have friends who care.  I told him that occasionally I get telephone calls from my pals on the Baja Maritime Net asking the same thing.  The 40 mtr band is nearly dead at 0800.  A couple of days/wk I tune in while I have my first cup of morning coffee and work my crossword puzzle.  I hear some faint chatter but not enough for a clear check-in.  Hence the inquiring calls. One telephone call last week was from Terry, N6NUN, who was hard aground on his Hatteras 52 in a mud bank not far from Discovery Bay.  He awoke to a 30 deg list and the sound of his refrigerator crashing down to the lee side.  A day later he had a favorable tide and powered on through without damage to the hull or rudder.  I crewed on all three of his boats over the years and this was his first grounding