Tuesday, February 18, 2014


I added a weather gadget to my blog the other day.  It's over to the right just above my picture.  When you first come to Oddball, you can check to see what the weather is at that moment.  Then I won't have to brag tell you about it.  Nobody has mentioned it so I wasn't sure anyone had noticed it or if they just weren't going to give me the satisfaction of continuing to grin.

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One of the advantages of moving is having stuff in boxes that you hadn't seen in a long time.  And, in my case, having lost a really nice compass in the deluge of boxes.  Somewhere that dang-blasted compass is hiding but so far I haven't been able to find it.  What I DID find was a collection of QSL (confirmation) cards from my second ham radio career.  I got my first amateur radio license when I was 15.  I held it for about 11 or 12 years before I let it lapse during a divorce.

15 years later I got interested in the hobby again and re-tested and got my license again with a new call.  That lasted for about 15 years until SWMBO and I opened a bookstore and I just didn't have time for the hobby anymore.  But in that second stage of my amateur radio career I "worked" (made contact with) other "hams" in over a hundred countries on every continent in the world.

QSL cards are personally styled postcards with your call letters, location and pertinent information about the contact which the hams exchange.  I didn't quite get to 100 countries confirmed but I came pretty darn close.

Well I ran across those foreign cards I'd received last night and I went through them today.  I no longer found any reason to keep them but I just didn't want to throw them away.  So I contacted a local ham radio club and they've agreed to take them.  Maybe someday they'll become an exhibit on QSL'ing.

Here's my card from back in the day.

And here's one that I was particularly proud of.  It's the QSL card of the late Tom Christian from Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific.  He was one of the descendants of Fletcher Christian, who led the mutineers of the Bounty episode to settle on the island, scuttling the ship so they could never escape.  Tom was the "Voice of Pitcairn" for decades with his ham radio setup.

Another card I'm especially proud of is this one, of another of the most well-known amateur radio operators in the world.

The owner of that card, posing jauntily by the sports car, is none other than the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater.  Pictures of his "ham shacks" in Washington, Scottsdale and Newport Beach are displayed as well.  I never talked to Barry on the radio but I did handle a lot of get well messages for him when he was in a Phoenix hospital recovering from a surgery.  And, in my professional career as a television newsman, I interviewed him on numerous occasions.

But that's another story for another day.


joeh said...

I can see how that would be a fun and interesting hobby.

Thérèse said...

Pretty fancy QSL.
I think nobody quits being an amateur radio...

Steve said...

Neat post, you old ham.