I know most of you aren't interested in ham radio or the projects some of us like to build, me included, but I thought you might get a kick out of the ingenuity of one of my friends. He backpacks (not as much as he used to but more and more as the itch desperately needs scratching) and he likes to take his radio rigs along and "play radio". He's really just a little boy who loves the magic and excitement of being able to talk to people all over the country and the world on a length of wire.
When you make your first QSO (contact) it's not like talking to someone on the telephone or emailing them. It's so very different and a lot more exciting, especially when the QSO is made on a rig you've built and a wire you've cut and strung in a tree or out a window. Then you know the magic and you're hooked.
At the board meeting on Monday night the treasurer talked about his first experience with a radio he built when he was a young boy. He climbed up on the roof of the barn to put up his homemade antenna. When he turned on his homemade radio he got a little static. He patiently and carefully turned the dials, holding his breath until he forgot to breathe, and through the crackle of static he heard a voice. As Jim talked about that first experience his eyes sparkled with excitement, still feeling the magic of that first voyage into the world on the air waves. Jim is well into his sixties and at that moment he looked like a little boy carefully clutching his rig and antenna as he climbed onto the roof of the barn. You wouldn't think he could still be so excited when he has a big antenna tower with a huge beam antenna on top in his back yard. I've seen it because last year I helped him and a bunch of the hams in the area bring down the tower to change out the rotor that moves the antenna around to just the right angle to talk to whomever he wants anywhere in the world, depending of course on atmospheric conditions, sun spot activity and a whole lot of other factors that affect radio waves. But I digress.
John finished his little rig some time yesterday and posted the pictures of his mini backpacking rig built into two Batman pencil tins. It is a thing of beauty and a work of art.
Yes, you can talk to people all over the country and the world on something as small as that. He's taking his rig out on the Colorado Trail soon with another friend and I hope Steve isn't bringing his goats this time. That's a story for another time.
Congratulations, John. I am so proud of you and so happy you finally finished your rig. It's beautiful.