Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Smell NERD!

Well, that smell is ME!

I have a total confession to make...I'm nerding out. I was indeed a nerd in high school, albeit a fairly heavily armed nerd. One didn't have to worry about high school hazing when one could demonstrate hand tricks with a straight razor...but I digress...

I decided to once again get an amateur radio license. I got my first Novice license in 1965 — I was in the womb! Well, not really. I was WN4WXG. I upgraded to Technician Class and became WB4DCD a year or so later. Then I went to college, discovered sex, drugs, rock and roll, journalism and per diem expenses. Somewhere along the line my license expired and I didn't even notice.

In the late 1970s, when I was living out on Long Island in the dead of winter writing books, I started building knives and inexplicably decided to go through the amateur test again. I became General Class operator N2AWX, specializing in QRP (very low power) CW (Morse code). Later, after several moves, a cataclysmic relationship break-up, etc., that license expired, too.

After the debacle with the hurricanes and reading the lessons' learned threads on the High Road, I got to thinking that a communications device separate from the Internet and the cell phone service and that could be operated in an emergency might be a pretty good idea. So I started hitting the books yet again, and I'll take the test for another Tech license next week. I'll pass, because there's still a lot of this stuff rattling around in my brain. Plus, I'll get to upgrade to a higher class of license (more available frequencies to use) because of my old, expired licenses.

Learning Morse code in the old days, BTW, was like contracting herpes — you can't make it go away! I learned from a couple of old "fists" from WW2 and Korea, who worked war traffic in Europe and the frozen peninsula. They hammered those dots and dashes into my head so deep that ever after...31 years...I automatically translate billboards and highway signs into code as I drive along! Talk about a freakin' waste of available mental RAM!!!


Anonymous said...

From one ham to another, lots of luck! I got my Tech-Plus about two years ago and I'm just now studying to upgrade to General myself!

Michael Bane said...


Your participation in ham radio alone gives hope to a whole new generation of nerds!

Please accept my invitation to the gigantic Outdoor Channel party at the SHOT Show in Vegas this February. We can discuss frequency allocation!


shooter said...

Nerds of the world UNITE! Glad to know there are other bloggers out there hamming it up. I am working on my General, too. But I may wait a bit and see how this rumor of dropping CW pans out.


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