No. 13,  November 10, 1996

(Low Impact, Vegetarian, Environmentally Safe DX)

We really need DX-ing to remind us that we are not the center of the universe and that life does exist beyond the rectangle defined by Pea Soup Anderson’s, The Pond, The Meatless Mess Hall and Coulton Piano and Organ. Last weekend, fifteen meters opened to Africa. I should say that "Africa became available," because fifteen meters is probably open a lot more than we think. It happened on a Sunday, and at a mutually convenient time. We were all there.

Fifteen meters is where that vertical out on the lawn really works, the discreet dipole gets
you some DX at last. The "window" remained open about an hour. During that time, signals emerged from the noise like a chunk of ham slowly visible through the skin on your Pea Soup Anderson’s pea soup. About forty minutes later, the chunk slipped off the spoon and sank.

Judging from the commotion, just about every ham west of The Bun Boy in Baker was calling 5R8EE in Madagascar. No wonder. It was probably the first exotic DX for a lot of new hams, and the first they really heard with their modest antennas. The first they would have a chance at with low power. I even swung the array up towards Cairo and cranked the Alpha down to a grand or so. I worked Michel on the forth call, threw him the ol’ five ‘n nine, and settled back to listen.

To his credit, even with extremely limited English, Michel worked his way through the pile, carefully repeating callsigns and trying to give somewhat honest reports. I think Michel is a resident of the peaceful Reunion Islands, a French province, and he crosses the Indian Ocean to Atanarive when he is in need of an uprising or revolt or two.

The proceedings came to an abrupt halt when Michel tried to figure out how someone could be named "Bottle Of Beer". He struggled with a callsign ending in "Orange Nails".

"You are five ‘et three, mon ami. Again your call?"

"Yeah, QTH here is cow town, Cerritos. That’s Cereal, Eggplant, Roasted Rat, Itchy Toe, Orbit, Slimebag. So, uh, how’s the weather in your neck of the woods?"

"Again your call?"

Several thousand anxious hands grasped microphones, Michel’s signal submerged into the thick green soup as he tried decipher the message carried by the roasted rat with the itchy toe, and pondered the question: "What woods has a neck?"

At the peak of the pile-up, a station in Northern California broke in to ask Michel if his signal was louder on the five-element quad or the phased six-element beams?

Wednesday, as I was heading for the Laundromat, I thought of that pile-up. A fire truck was trying to go west on Vanowen, lights blazing, siren blaring. In front of the engine, several cars blocked the passage, either because they didn’t know they were supposed to yield, or they were enjoying the clear road ahead as others pulled over. The engine sounded a piercing horn, but inside an aluminum cocoon, mega-bass drowned the sound, the driver dreamed of the night to come. His gaze fixed on the crinkled tickets in his hand, tasting the bliss of nachos, beer and a crisp night in Irwindale. A joust of once-noble, former transports in a struggle to the death.

That small voice, rising out of the static gumbo from the other side of the world reminds us that there is life beyond our cocoon.


Last month’s tirade inspired a flood of letter, and it is our duty to pass it on. A Ms A Coughaur of Riponette, R.I. writes:

"Dear LIVE,
You have pointed out that many prominent physicians travel to exotic places to activate their ham radios. I
have to know: Do Foot Doctors go to the Antilles? Is there an E.N.T. Specialist on the Heard Island team? Did a Plastic Surgeon go to the Line Islands? Has a Dentist gone to Owensmouth? Do Proctologists go to Hinds, and if so, do they operate from the backsides? Can Psychiatrists be found on Koko Head? Does an Ophthalmologist accompany Iris Colvin? Do Gastroenterologists camp along the Belly River? Do Orthopedists go to Bone Gap? Will Dermatologists activate Pittsburgh in the CQWW Contest? Is there a Urologist in Peoria?

Please answer immediately. My life depends on it."

LIVE Answers:

"Dear Ms Coughaur,

The answer is ‘No’, except sometimes Proctologists go to Asbury Park."

* * *

The rumor is that Jean-Pierre, 9U5DX, is back in Burundi looking for another location to open an Office
Depot. After that he intends, I believe, to open a deli.

Stations from the United Arab Emirates (A6) have been rare. David Collingham, AA6DC hopes to be on all bands and satellite as A61AF. This coincides with fall break at the Dubai Men’s College of Technology. This year, the guys are eschewing Fort Lauderdale and Vegas, and are staying to help Dave put up his 160 meter delta loop. They would only do this if Collingham promises to swallow a goldfish.

I hope we all catch Pedro, HK3JJH during the six hours he will be on Roncador Cay. This was once on the ARRL official countries list, but was deleted. It happened when widespread smelt trapping reduced the small fish to an endangered species. LIVE is happy to report that the smelting ponds on Roncador have permitted the reintroduction of over a billion smelt eggs. Pedro’s operation coincides with the weekly Roncador Smelt Fry and Clambake. Soak the QSL in warm, salty water and keep in the dark for two weeks.

As if I wasn’t depressed enough, Viacom’s Comedy Central has announced that it plans to produce a "spoof" of Frank Capra’s classic, "It’s a Wonderful Life." This incredible conceit is like repainting the Mona Lisa as Madonna because you’re the best damn over-the-couch picture painter Levitz has.

"Aaaaaargh," (to quote my son). Excuse me. TR8XX is on fifteen meters and my pea soup is getting cold.


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