For most amateur radio operators of twenty-eight, being the top-performing bond salesman on Wall Street would be enough.
But not OM X, the ham now known as "Pop."
He took his seven-figure 2014 bonus and ran upstate to the tiny town of Tommytucker, New York, where the go-getter quickly set up a local ham radio shop straight out of a Mickey Rooney movie. But he didn't open the storefront until after the operation.
For that, he rushed back to the city, where a team of plastic surgeons sharpened their scalpels and transformed the lean, chiseled, hirsute squash-playing ham radio operator into a tubby fifty-something late 1930's radio shop proprietor.
"Whatever you do, make me a Good Egg," was Pop's last request before going under the knife.
The docs did their thing. And Pop was back on his feet in a few days – taking inventory, swinging his feather duster like a squash racquet and installing a potbelly stove where the local layabouts could ragchew and and swap DX that got away.
"Trust me," confided Pop, "Tommytucker is the NEW New Brooklyn - if not the genesis of a whole new Radio Row."
When asked the point of all this, Pop had to think a couple of New York minutes. "A lot of hams collect boat anchors, especially the older hams, but I'm just too next level to settle for that. I mean, look at me! Call me a Type A OM, but I guess I just wanted to BE a boat anchor on some existential level.
Is this a trend? You'll know for sure when Buzzfeed asks the amateur radio question, IF YOU WERE A BOAT ANCHOR, WHAT BOAT ANCHOR WOULD YOU BE?
Power Decluttering The Void
Since the beginning of radio, hams have been saving all kinds of electronic trash against the day it turns to treasure. Thing is, what's a ham to do if, for whatever reason, empty space has accumulated around your shack, instead of say, old, dried, and partially conductive rubber grommets, Fahnestock clips just missing that funny little tab in the slot that snugs the wire, or a molded-over 1958 QST with a cute poem in Strays?
Well, if too much space is what's plaguing you Punky, there are economical ways to stuff it with stuff you might normally take to the landfill. But don't try anything willy-nilly. Take a Tip from Dash! and by all means game the system.
Just don't go crazy, all right?
We Kid Because We Love
Ears on Our World.
Look who's prudently spreading Holiday Cheer (and Chow!) among some exotic, far-flung pretty Southern Ocean inhabitants, well ahead of the WAY DOWN Under 2015 VKØEK DXpedition to Heard Island. Get up to speed on all the latest news and pix at their extremely cool site as this great DX leap for hamkind continues to coalesece in the company of Our Little Volcano logo starring the really real deal AKA Big Ben on Heard Island.
No, he's not a faculty member, thank goodness.
But you'll find Dash! lurking in the QSL wallpaper of the background shack scene we drew up for the Ham College pilot episode, produced by webcaster AmateurLogicTV.
Click here now and screen this fun introduction to amateur radio aimed at Live Ones who just might need the slightest, uh, motivation to jump in and join our cool hobby that's hot, hot, hot again.
Ham College is hosted by popular amateur radio media personalities George Thomas W5JDX and Tommy Martin N5ZNO and their production is pretty darn slick, so have a look and pass it on to likely prospects in your circle of friends and family.
Ham College....because a back yard without an antenna just ain't right!
Double Classic Stuff
We're certainly not the first to celebrate the historic connection between classic telegraph keys and classic electric trains, but we'll bet nobody ever keyed a caboose quite like our hero!
Pretty neatly echoic too, the occasion is what's become our annual holiday cover for the K9YA Telegraph, amateur radio's premier eZine, for which you can sign up free HERE.
If this scene gladdens your heart, why not pick up our new cards HERE and send 'em along with best wishes to your favorite train freaks, CW geeks, or anyone still young enough at heart to wanna hunker down beneath dear, dear Old Tannenbaum and drift away.
Dash! and I received our post-war O-gauge Lionel train set when we were both about five, and aside from sticking our paws into AC outlets, we began our electrical education struggling with its enigmatic transformer, wires, binding posts and Fahnestock clips. We all know where that stuff leads, eh? So yeah, electric trains are very much a gateway, uh, hobby to ham radio. And imagine our consternation, when years later, as rock 'em sock 'em 30 wpm brasspounding ham kiddos, we discovered that Lionel manufactured both straight and semi-automatic keys during the second world war, including the all-time iconic J-38 model pictured here.
73, Happy Thanksgiving and have a Merry, ya hear?
Jeff & Dash!
My good ham friend Nils is a good old fashioned letterpress artist and produced these cards all ready to go with envelopes for Christmas. Nils' Dad cut the lino block from which they're printed too, for a delightful family holiday collaborative. Now available in a number of variations, including Norwegian, at Etsy.com.