Others might be blamed, but these will do

Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham and your 'umble scribbler have been abetted, ballyhooed and egged-on for some years now and this lot has much for which to answer. Many of their clubs and sites have printed and posted our cartoons. Most provide links. Some reviewed our book. And for all this we're most grateful. What's more, certain of these operators, authors, editors, bloggers, scholars, chairmen, cartoonists and other usual supsects have generously exercised their influence, shared their talent and spent valuable time to boost Dashtoons in ways most unexpected and entirely welcome. TNX chums. We consider such aid and comfort above and beyond the call.

Look at them. Dash!Chums sure do get out and about. Thus we get the benefit of some amazing inside stories about ham life around the globe -- everything from good ol' South Florida radio contest speechifyin' beneath a little mousse, to open ocean South Atlantic MMing, as so often happens when one is cruelly shanghai-ed into helping deliver 46 feet of luxurious lah-dee-dah Leopard catamaran to some tiresome old Tortolla yacht club. Turn Big Bertha towards Cape Town and ask poor thing ZS1RA all about it.

Yes, Dash!Chums call CQ DX from moonscaped Lesotho. They ride, ride, ride the wild surf of Shell Beach, California. They play hardball croquet in those, like man, far out antipodal Far North Districts. They battle spiders big as disc capacitors and hunt vintage Hallicrafters radios barehanded in stuffy, cluttered, untamed attics of the Hoosier State. And what the heck, we ask, could be more appropriate?

Because we're out to bring you a world of ham radio fun. And our correspondents, both domestic and international, really keep it real with cool surprises like neo-classic Zed-L Special cucumber sandwiches, carefully prepared according to an authentic recipe from Margaret, our favorite Kiwi XYL. Can you guess? We're wicked chuffed about our chums.

As time goes by, we've gotten to know some chums better than others. But even business as usual, now and then, back and forth has its kicks -- like emailing our well-traveled FCG editor snapshots of a nostalgic neon whale restaurant sign about to go dark in Portsmouth, NH --where we used to live and through which K4LQ used to pass.

Of course, we also meet up and carry on with our Dash!Chums the old-fashioned way. Field Day 2009 found us far from the Hudson Valley, pinicking in an eastern Washington park. We spied antennas, which oddly enough attract us like sugar does ants. What were we to do but march over, introduce ourselves and evaluate security on the hot chow line?

Way too early for Hurst's HamBeens soup, this United States government licensed General Class forager nonetheless enjoyed a quick tour and a great chat with a swell bunch from the Maple Valley ARC.

Click these banners. The diversity is what you'd expect from a bunch of hams on the loose around this small planet. No matter how long you've been on the air, there's always a new twist on playing radio, a new take on building gizmos from scratch, a new squawk about our hobby, the archetype for all geek avocations, often too funny for words.

Yet pictures can help bridge the gap. And that's where Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham comes in. Strange as it may sound, drawing this stuff can get pretty darn exciting -- because hams' semi-private, arcane, freestylin' subculture of electromagnetic recreation never got too much informed play in the funny papers, much less arts and letters. So from our vantage point, it's kind of like a very large lawn after a blizzard, unmarked save for relatively precious few footprints, one wide open whitespace begging for boot tracks and snow angels. And with more than a little help from our chums, Dash! and I are just the jokers to give it a go.

Jeff K1NSS

Malcolm ZS4SM, fashionista
Sasolburg Radio Club

Erik ZL1GE, malletmeister
Far North Districts ARC

Andries ZS6VL, elektrotrekker
Sasolburg Radio Club

Dr Alexander Magoun, tubular author
Television: The Life Story of a Technology
Johns Hopkins University Press

Scot KA3DRR, stoked bloke
Radiosport Blog

Shaun ZS1RA,
Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre

Der Prozess, Franz Kafka

Stan Horzepa, ARRL Contributing Editor

Joe W0IW & "Quilty" K0QLT
Iowa Wireless Club

Bill Meara, N2CQR, author, bon vivant
THE BOOK: SolderSmoke -- A Global Adventure in Radio Electronics
THE BLOG: SolderSmoke Daily News
THE BAZAAR: SolderSmoke Stor

Ward Silver N0AX
Author of Ham Radio for Dummies
and Contributing Editor to the ARRL,
including the ARRL Handbook, the
ARRL Contest Update newsletter,
and the ARRL License Manuals

Mollie, Gif & OM Ken

Sydney Padua,
animator, story artist, steampunker
2D Goggles/ The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage

Xeth Feinberg, animator, director, cartoonist,creator of Papu, Bulbo,
Felix the Human Worm
and many
more too funny for their shirts

Fred K4LQ, OM of the mountain
Florida Contest Group