Chatter – February

Chatter by Art Lee WF6P

Our January club meeting was held in the Red Cross building on the frontage road across from Dominican Hospital.  ARES used to meet there a couple of times per month for training.  The room we had was adequate but in the front part of the building at the main entrance.  The new room is a bit on the plush side, by comparison with the side door entry (softer chairs!).  Plentiful parking is in back and closer. Ron, W6WO, put on a highly informative (of course!) presentation using the Red Cross overhead projector.  Like all good presenters, he checked out the power first and ran a test with his computer hookup.  All was well until he was ready to use the gear – then, there was, naturally, a loss of power. Most speakers would have given up, but not Ron.  He and we all scurried around looking for alternate sources of power.  Dedicated hams don’t give up!  Finally, about six of us held K6TG Tom Ginsburg’s legs as he stood on a rotating office chair with wheels.  He was the tallest among us so could plug in Ron’s 100’ extension cord.  It was strung directly from an across-the-room source to the overhead projector.  No OSHA reps were present to object.  Everyone was happy to enjoy Ron’s lecture.  We were also treated to a display of 1920s ham gear including a for-real crystal set.  The coil was about the size of a Quaker Oats oatmeal box.  I think my high school crystal set had a coil wound around a toilet paper roll, but it worked fine.  I used to listen to Oakland and SF stations (from Hayward) without a problem. I still had the earphones until recently when we discarded a bunch of unneeded “stuff.”

Rich Hanset, KI6EH, was our DEC for over a decade, maybe two.  We trained well and frequently.  I remember when we met in a conference room down in Rich’s old business building across from COSTCO, perhaps 1982ish.  Bruce, AC6DN, was one of Rich’s employees.  (He operated the wave solder machine, I think.)  One of our elderly ARES members complained that Rich’s training sessions lasted nearly until midnight, but there was a lot to cover.  Rich even developed a general EC guide, which he dubbed the Gray Book.  I don’t know what happened to it, but it was geared for general ARRL distribution.  There may be a copy or two still around.  We’re talking early to mid-1980s.

Dave Taylor K6GHA (SK) was our Red Cross/ham coordinator.  He and Jamie Finch, WI6F, worked together for years. I think we met every week. In the Red Cross building, Dave had a closet set up with ham gear, both HF and 2 meter.  He also had an emergency power generator at hand, fully fueled and tested regularly and a few fully charged 12 volt batteries. I haven’t been in the Red Cross building for the past decade but it was good that Bruce, AC6DN, made arrangements for the club to meet there again. Thanks Bruce.