Sunday, October 11, 2009

Challenge #4

Family History Month Challenge #4 from Afrigeneas reads as follows:

OK, everybody, get ready for CHALLENGE #4 this weekend. You have through Sunday to post your entry on one of these themes: 1. Memories of your father at work or at play, or 2. Write about a milestone in you life. That's it! Have fun with it.

These days my dad always jokes about how much time I spend on the computer / internet but I recall when he had a similar hobby / passion. He seens to forget that to a certain degree this passion / obsession comes from him.You see for most of my adolescent and adult life, dad was really into ham radio.

For dad, what started out as a small passing interest, soon came to be an obession. I don't remember how old I was when daddy decided that he wanted to get into ham radio. He had a CB radio for a short time but at some point during the early to mid 1970s he switched to ham radio. Daddy spent endless nights in our kitchen listening to records of morse code and studying for the next exam. As a side note, morse code was the only "foreign language" that I never had difficulty learning which I think, at least for me, proves that children should learn foreign languages, etc. down in the grades and not when they are almost grown (HS) and it should be a natural learning experience but I digress.

While daddy had a true passion for his hobby, I must say that his motivating force for always seeking the next level of licensure came from a fellow teacher who was also a ham radio operator and told daddy he wasn't capable of learning morse code, etc. At least that's daddy's version of what was said. Ahh, I digress again.

After daddy got his license, I use to always love hearing him talk to folks half-way around the world, or so it seemed, and listening to the seemingly constant stream of morse code that came across depending on what band he was operating on. And I'll never forget the trip to parts unkown for daddy to haul back the clunky WWI or II era teletype machine that never worked and still sits in the basement of the old homestead. And oddly, although I was bored at the time, I even enjoyed going to all the hamfests (big swap meets for ham radio operators).

Eventually, daddy was trying to yank the rest of the family into his new hobby because that's daddy. If he's doing something we all had to do it. Daddy pulled two of his older brother's in although Uncle Johnnyson was the only one that really got into it. Daddy even tried to bribe me to take up the hobby. Don't get me wrong, I eventually got my Technician license but the carrot he dangled was not the motivating force. You see that carrot was I'll give you a CD (certificate of deposit) and not actual money being deposited into my hands so for me it was like big deal, what am I going to do with a CD. The reason I eventually got my license was so daddy would quit bugging me about it but it turns out that while I never did develop a passion for the hobby, I enjoyed talking on the little 2-meter radio that he gave me after I got my license even though for the most part the only person I talked to was daddy.

By the mid 1990's, daddy had essentially given up his beloved hobby. I had moved out of state by then and my little 2-meter radio was not going to reach from Colorado to North Carolina. Daddy tried to get me to upgrade my license but I never did because when it got down to it ham radio was truly his passion and not mine. Uncle Johnnyson, as some know from a previous post, moved out of state to be closer to my cousins and his grandchildren, so I think the only time he was on anymore was whenever he came back to NC.

When I moved back home in 1998, daddy was no longer doing ham radio but still stayed some what active in the local ham radio club and we would still try to get to the Shelby Hamfest, which was held in my hometown, and is considered the granddaddy of the hamfest in our area but I think for both of us we eventually even lost the bit of interest we both still had.

So, for all you Hams out there

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