Archive for December, 2011

The Family Side of Ham Radio

December 27, 2011

I know it’s been a while since I posted. Things have been a little crazy around here. The new job has kept me busy on a rotating schedule and a little travel. The holidays are busy of course. And my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. That has been the worst of the things. Among the flood of thoughts and feelings about this there is a ham story. I am sitting with him today at Chemo so here goes.

After I was first licensed in 1978 (15 years old) I was thinking about antennas and decided on a 40m inverted vee. It would be on the roof of our house so first I needed to come up with a center support. I talked it over with dad and he said let me think about this. A day or two later he came home with the top rail to a chain link fence. I don’t remember if he bought it or picked it up from someone or what. All I knew was that I was going to get my antenna up. We had some old coax from a CB antenna that had been taken down some time before. I bought some 12/2 electrical wire at the local hardware store. I homebrewed a center insulator and connected the wire legs to it. When we stood the mast up in its mount it was just the right height. I put two eye hooks in the roof at opposite corners and stretched out the wires. They were hooked with rope to the hooks and it was a perfect fit. Dad look at me and said “Now go see if it works.”   I went to my bedroom shack and fired up the DX-60B.  A couple of trips to the roof later the SWR was great in the novice band. Of course I was too excited to try that night to make a contact. I eventually did make contact with W9ALM. A couple of days after the QSO he called me and I talked on the phone with him and told him how dad had helped me with the antenna.

Over the years dad  helped me even more with the radio stuff. He helped with the concrete pour on my first tower. He even helped my group set up at Dayton. He never tried to get his ticket even though I hounded him frequently. He was content helping me out when he could. My ham career would have been a lot different without him around.

I hope that the chemo will do it’s thing and kick this cancer hard. I hope that he will be around a little longer to help me out. Meanwhile I am enjoying every minute I have with him.

Thanks Dad! I Love you!



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