Wednesday, April 18, 2007
One of my earliest memories of my dad was sitting in his lap while he communicated to others via shortwave, also known as ham radio. He had a wall full of gear, among it was a SWAN transceiver over which he could talk around the world. It was his generation’s form of the World Wide Web. Old school hams would use morse code, of which he was one, and able to utilize this skill in the Army. He could very accurately transmit and receive the short and long tones, which to my young ears were called dits and dahs. I would mimic the sounds coming over the airwaves out in the garage for hours, according to my mom. DaDaDaDitDitDaDitDitDa. Over and over again, imitating my dad’s tapping on the key. Every once in a while he would get a postcard in the mail from a fellow ham radio enthusiast with whom he had made contact. The card was known as a QSL, which in the lingo of their world, it was an indication of receipt of transmission. When you made contact with someone, you could request a QSL, and guys like my dad would collect these postcards that had their call letters. (Dad’s was WA5JSE. The JSE stood for “Jesus saves everyone”) The cards might come from anywhere in the country, sometimes from around the world. Seems like I remember among them were Alaska and South American. I thought that was way cool. My kids don’t think this story is such a big deal and understandably so. It’s nothing to them to contact someone in Alaska or South America. Their world is smaller. They don’t get postal mail anymore. They are not as fascinated as I am in our ability to communicate around the world in an instant. I, on the other hand, am always amazed to think that when I publish this or any blog post, it becomes instantly accessible to anyone with a computer hooked into the Internet from anywhere around the globe. Such is the generation gap. So if you would humor me a bit, allow me to go back to my childhood and relive the fond days of my dad and bringing in from the mailbox those QSL cards, If you read this blog, could you simply leave a comment stating your city and state, and country if outside the US? I would greatly appreciate it. Over and Out.