I have been toying with the idea of starting another blog for my ham radio adventures, but I’m not convinced I can keep up with two blogs (history proves I usually end up abandoning one). In the interest of keeping everything on Salt Water, here’s a ham radio post I wrote on October 27th, re-posted here to keep things consistent:
The other day I took my two kids to a fellow homeschooler’s house for an afternoon of board games. I’d never been to this house before or met the people hosting, and so it was an especially great first impression I made by accidentally backing into their mailbox post in our van and knocking out three out of six of the mailboxes. Three of six! That’s not bad if we’re keeping score. In case you’re wondering? We’re not keeping score.
The host stepped out her front door and onto her porch, as I’m walking up her house with what must have been a look of abject horror on my face, and to my shock she calls out sweetly, “Oh don’t worry! It’s okay! People hit that thing all the time!” I couldn’t believe it. I just shaved three mailboxes (still full of mail!) off a post in front of her house and she’s imploring me not to worry about anything.
We picked them up and set them, battered but not broken, back onto their post, and the whole time I’m telling her how happy I’d be to pay for the replacement of any of these, to which she calmly replies that her husband can fix everything, no problem, they’ll just screw them back on. Then she starts rattling off a list of all the people that have hit this thing. After spending three hours with her, I can attest that she is just as friendly and sweet as this initial meeting suggested.
Her neighbor, Ed, stepped out of his house to investigate, and then he started reminiscing about all the people who have hit this post, including himself. While he’s telling me this, he’s holding a hammer, with which he’s battering out the dent in one of the mailboxes. It was so funny. Later, in the house, after I’d been handed a cup of tea to calm down, and met everyone else (oh you bet I had a couple other witnesses – guess who they won’t be calling to do homeschool field day transport duty?), we got to talking about hobbies, and I mentioned something about being a new ham radio operator.
My host exclaimed, “Oh! Ed is into ham radio!”, and I looked across the street and noticed what I should have seen twenty minutes earlier: three tall antennas coming up out of his backyard, towering over his house. Ed really is into ham radio. I almost went over and re-introduced myself, this time with my call sign, but resisted the urge. I didn’t want to bother him.
Later, on the 9 o’clock net, I told the story, but I was transmitting on a frequency 5 kHz higher than the right one, which made my signal weak and my transmission garbled. It seems that our net host got that I had managed to dust off some mailboxes in my van, but the rest was a mess. I’m not sure Ed heard me well enough to recognize what I was saying, if Ed was even listening. I’ll keep an ear out for Ed in future nets and hope that I get to meet him.
Incidentally, that was the second time I’d accidentally hit the UP button on my little Baofeng HT and knocked my frequency off by 5 kHz, apparently right before I hit the PTT button. So tonight when I checked in with an in-and-out, the host joked, “Well, your signal sounds great, you must be on the right frequency this time.” Every n00b has their story, this is mine. I’m 5kHz-off girl. Or 3-mailboxes off. However you want to remember it.