Breakfast, Bacon and Eggs, and Radio

Our monthly breakfast meeting at the First Watch Restaurant in Charleston was a pleasant gathering of kindred individuals and the spirit of radio was in our midst. I was overjoyed to see from left to right Steve (KC4URI) from Mineral Wells, and John (W8GDP), Jeff (K9ESE), Myself (N8ZYA) and Eric (AC8LJ) from Charleston.
As we talked this morning, it became quickly apparent that I’m the one with the least electronic knowledge in our Chapter. I’m OK with that status for now but I’m also inspired to learn more about the “nuts and bolts” of the hobby. I feel fortunate to have members who have not only built their radios, but also have a very good working knowledge of antennas and the ability to utilize them in nearly impossible locations. John (W8GDP) and Eric (AC8LJ) are the only members who have the space for “yard art”, as it was called today, and I quickly learned a new terminology for outside antennas. 
On our weekly CW net last night, I was hearing Jeff (K9ESE) at 599 plus 20 from his “half a watt” and using the “copper gutters” of his home for his antenna. He is also very good at using a NVIS antenna in the field. Steve (KC4URI) is also good with this technique from his home in a very steep valley from Mineral Wells.
During our breakfast gathering we talked about the things we’ve done in the past and the places we’ve either worked or visited which related to radio. I’m mesmerized to hear conversations about Latin and South America and old DC-3 planes, landing on mostly grass airstrips, to shuttle air conditioning mechanics to repair Ammonia type freezers many years ago. Ice is an invaluable commodity in places like these and without “radio”, getting into and out of these areas would be nearly impossible.
We also talked about “shipboard radio” and how important the invaluable skill of Morse code operators were to the safety of old freighters shuttling coal and bananas on the high seas. I immediately thought of Oleg (UR5FA/ MM) who is the Ukrainian communications officer on a freighter which regularly sails back and forth from there to Venezuela.
The subject of Short Wave Radio Broadcasters also surfaced while we were devouring bacon and eggs. Short Wave Radio was the inspiration for many of us in our current Ham radio hobby but sadly, most of those stations are now gone. 
It was cold this morning with the temperature just above freezing, but I still sense the Chapter will spend some time operating outdoors before the first heavy snowfall. Weather predictions are for temperatures to rise to the low sixties for the next few days.
Should we choose to do so, I’ll let everyone in the NAQCCclub know if and where we will be setting up and getting on the air. I feel very good about our Chapter and am looking forward to more bacon, eggs, and radio talk next month.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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