Saturday, August 13, 2005

As many of my 'Nuff Said readers know, I'm a Ham operator as well as a CBer.

CB came first, and while I enjoy aspects of Amateur Radio, CB is where the heart is... Ham Radio is like the 5th grade: Structured, policed, do this now, followed by do that then. As long as you do what the FCC tells you to do, you'll get a gold star on your chart, and be spared the horrific trauma of detention, or even worse, expulsion.

CB is like High School: There are rules, but as long as you don't break them all the time, you're okay. It's freedom of speech, it's aggravating, fun, and chaotic (sometimes all at once)'s a finger on the pulse of the nation.

The band was open this morning - through noon, mostly Midwest and Colorado stations, and then it died...Until about 8:30p.m., when it suddenly came alive again, with many voices calling into the night. One particular station, 1 Alpha 5 3 (Dave), in Rockford Illinois is the loudest, while the others are like ghosts in the darkness. Most of the operators tonight are ragchewers, more interested in talking for awhile, rather than just adding another notch to their dx belt and moving on. I like that.

My most favorite time to copy the mail is when the sun is going down, and twilight takes it's place. Some signals seem to ride the ionosphere like a Greek God on his chariot soaring across the sky. You can hear a definite whooshing noise when this happens, almost as if the radio signal is chasing the setting sun, or riding the last of the charges particles.
Very often, things get kinda crazy around this time as the conditions change - One minute I'm listening to an East Coast station playing 70's rock music, the next moment I'm hearing a political discussion 2,000 miles away...this is where you can feel the pulse, listen to different parts of the country and compare opinions, and - taste in music! It's this time when I lay back, close my eyes, listen....and enjoy!
Hah! An Ohio station has just made contact with another station he hasn't talked to in awhile. He's pretty lively at this time of night "I'm 79 years old and a virgin" he can almost see the twinkle in his eyes.
11:20pm and the skip is slowly dying. I can hear voices in the background, so faint that only a word or two can be understood, but it's nice to know that there's always someone talking somewhere on 11meters. Tomorrow will be another day, and with luck, Mr. Skip will be reborn. As for me? I think I'll leave the rig on until those voices fade into the night...

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