I did a very cool thing! And a cameo appearance.

I did a very cool thing. The International Space Station was to pass reasonably close to my position, though it would be pretty low on the horizon. I hooked up my handheld radio to an external antenna (a Buddistick) tuned to the 20m band and was able to hear a faint conversation for a few seconds! This was the first time I tried!  I look forward to a closer pass so I will have more time and a stronger signal.  I didn’t try to transmit to the ISS, of course.


Penjing nearly miraculously survived the winter and beginning to get back some leaves. I thought it was a goner a couple times, having lost all its leaves and then again and again losing the little that sprouted out. The other Fukien Tea indeed did die. Penzai the Chinese Elm did just fine as did Irohamomiji, the Japanese Maple. Penjing took ill during one of my trips, when the person who was to water… didn’t. Enough of that. I expect it is past the crisis.

Here is Penjing listening to the ISS, on 144.800 MHz.


“But Father! But Father!” some of you are probably grumbling, “Isn’t that radio overkill for the sake of listening to Bill Bennett, Rush and Hugh Hewitt?”

It would indeed be over kill for mere commercial AM and FM broadcasts, but I am also studying for my Technician (entry) level amateur license.

One of you kind readers sent me the radio (thanks MZ!) and, as I started to dig into it, my interest in radio revived from its many decades long slumber.  I think I could walk in and pass the test handily right now, but I would like to get my Morse Code certificate as well so I could do some low power, CW.  As part of my study and as time allows I have been watching each evening an episode of Inspector Morse, which seems appropriate.  I would eventually like to take some paramedic courses against the day when I might also be of help as part of a volunteer network.  It would be good to have a priest involved.

And we all know, don’t we, that Ham Radio will be useful at TEOTWAWKI.

I would like eventually to find Catholic Hams and, especially, clerical Hams!  It could be fund to start a group of priests.  I know one priest Ham whom I will dub my honorary “Elmer”, though he hasn’t been on air for a long time.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Ham Radio, Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky!, TEOTWAWKI and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fraternal greetings from Region 4 — I’m a Technician Plus (from back in the days when we had to pass the Code test) and my DH is an Amateur Expert and a dedicated DXer (only4 countries left to go!)
    He even worked Fr. Moran (may he rest in peace) 9N1MM.
    If you ever set up a sked, let us know.

  2. AAM: Interesting! Thanks for the note.

    I am always fascinated by the range of interests my readers have. When I post questions about things there are almost always people who can chime in with real knowledge.

  3. acardnal says:

    Father Z, I am a General Class licensed Ham here in the USA. If you need any advice (Elmer), please do not hesitate to contact me. I moved to Wisconsin from Virginia so my call sign is KE4WKV. (‘Sconnies have a 9 instead of my 4.)

    As you are aware, no code is necessary any more to pass any of the three FCC license exams so push ahead now with getting your Technician license so you can legally transmit. An excellent free resource for study is http://www.qrz.com and look under “Resources.” FYI, there are now over 700,000 Hams in the USA with the largest group being in the Technician Class. Good luck!


    As I recall, Cardinal Mahoney, AB Emeritus of LA, is a Ham.

  4. acardnal: I moved to Wisconsin from Virginia

    Is making contacts more complicated or confusing by the fact that you are in 9 territory but with a 4 in your call?

  5. acardnal says:

    No, not any more complicated at all. I usually explain up front my situation, and it adds to the conversation (QSO).
    One can always change one’s call sign, too, which I may do after I get my Extra Class. The next objective!

  6. moon1234 says:


    The code requirement was done away with a few years ago. All you need to do is take theory tests. The Technician should be a piece of cake. Your lucky a ham sent you a transceiver. None of the stores will sell you one without a valid license for obvious reasons.


  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    Good luck on the Extra (drat that autocorrect . . . ) As I understand it, there is no code requirement for anybody any more on any level. But the DXers still study it hard because you can pull a weak code signal out when you can’t hear phone at all.
    It’s so funny to see the difference between the ragchewers (like me) and the die-hard DXers who only get the signal strength.
    Typical conversation outside the shack:
    Me: “Who you talking to?”
    Him: “Cocos-Keeling.”
    Me: “How are they?”
    Him: “5-9-9.”

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fr. Z,
    In my case, it’s my dear husband who’s the expert. I’m just a hanger-on and shouter of instructions when he’s aligning the antenna rotor.

  9. FloridaJoan says:

    Father Z,

    Good luck studying for your tech ! Keep it up and we can all have a QSO on 20 or 40 meters. By the way , did you know Maximilian Kolbe was a ham ? [No! Very cool!]

    pax et bonum

    Joan W4JMJ ( vanity call )
    ps I once met a nun at the Orlando hamfest and when she saw my callsign said ” I get it , W4JMJ … Jesus Mary Joseph ? right ? ” Of course, I answered in the affirmative. :)

  10. BMKoenig says:

    K3BMK, Extra class from Emmitsburg, MD. If you are interested in learning the code I recommend the Code Quick system. It is a series of audio/workbook/computer program lessons. By working an hour a day for a month you can attain basic code proficiency. I works very well.

    For getting licensed, I have used the practice tests on QRZ.com for quick progress checks while preparing for the exam.

  11. BMKoenig: Thanks for the suggestions!

  12. crule says:

    Christos Voskrese!

    Another greeting from 4-Land. N4TII here. All the best as you study for your ticket!

  13. chris1 says:

    But Father, But Father,
    144.800 MHz is in the 2m band…not 20m! Keep studying. Seriously though, I’d recommend you go ahead and get your general ticket at the same time as your tech. The tech test is super easy, general is a bit harder but you can do so much more with the general privileges. Working 2m on local repeaters is fun, but once you get the dx bug, there’s a satisfaction you can get only from hf work on 20, 40, or 80 (you do have a small section of 10m you can work with your tech license). I’d also suggest you find your nearest ARRL field day site. They’ll put a mic in your hand and tell you what to say and you’ll be talking to people from all over!

    Anything I can do to help, let me know.

    73 de KJ4MPE.

  14. JayDeee says:

    General class here. (Hi Joan, from another YL!) I don’t do anything with it any more, but, the knowledge is worthwhile. And you never know – in cases of natural disasters (e.g. huge hurricanes), hams can get a bit of a network going sooner than cell phone companies can bring in COWs (cell towers on wheels).

    So cool that you heard the ISS. If you are into any kind of atmospheric science, there’s plenty to learn and enjoy related to that and ham radio.

    In the test-taking, for what it’s worth, I found the regulations harder to learn than the theory. I tried taking the Extra class exam right after the General class exam (on the same day) and missed a few too many of the questions on regulations to get the Extra.

    I’ve heard your chanting on the podcasts – you have a good ear so won’t have much trouble learning Morse. :-)

  15. acardnal says:

    More trivia on famous Hams besides Cardinal Roger Mahoney and St. Maximilian Kolbe (Patron saint of amateur radio): The late King Hussein of Jordan was also an active Ham radio operator. Queen Noor, Jordan. King Carlos of Spain. Walter Cronkite. Steve Wozniak, co-founder Apple. The late musician Chet Atkins. Sen. Barry Goldwater. Priscilla Presley. Donnie Osmond. Sir Cliff Richard, singer. Gov. George Pataki. Jim Croce, singer. Ronnie Milsap, singer. Arthur Godfrey. Burl Ives, actor. Marlon Brando. Fr. Z . . . well, it can happen.

  16. bohanlon says:

    Wow; I thought that I got my blogs mixed up; very cool! I have been thinking about picking up a handheld dual-band yagi for working satellites myself; maybe I should get on that! Thanks for the post, Father, and I am glad that others have mentioned Saint Maximilian Kolbe, SP3RN, patron of Amateur Radio operators.

  17. –… …– ..-. .-. –.. -.. . -. —.. — -.–

  18. Bryan Boyle says:

    WB0YLE checking in here…from 3 land…Extra Class licensee…first licensed in 1969…led to a career in radio broadcasting, first phone back in the day, etc…as others have pointed out, don’t need morse since 2007; however the low ends of the HF bands are still active with brass pounders, me included.

    Your call sign does not necessarily indicate where you live anymore, since the FCC expanded the vanity call system (mine is a vanity call…and hams will know why I picked it if they look it up…:), your first license is from the sequential system, but, after that, you can, if you want, within the privileges of your license class and subject to a couple other restrictions, choose your own, from whatever zone you want, subject to availability…

    I echo previously mentioned encouragement to try for the general in the same sitting…once you taste DX, you’ll be hooked..repeaters are fun (I run 5 of them in the NYC/PHL corridor), but DX, casual or radiosport contesting is a whole ‘nother thing…and field day is next month….so, a chance to see it up close and personal, and the test isn’t that hard. mostly basic electronics and RF theory.

    if you need any help…happy and willing to oblige, Father.

    I’m thinking, fellow OM/YLs, we may have a real HAM budding here…:). 20M or 40m sked, anyone?

    73 de WB0YLE

    -Bryan (who still does paper QSLs…)

  19. Bryan Boyle says:

    and as an aside, my elmer was the board engineer for K2ORS (Jean Shepherd..’A Christmas Story’) back in 69…and K2ORS was my first contact as a Novice in 1969…:). Just some trivia..fwiw.

  20. (Oops, the dits and dahs all ran together in my original post. Try this…)

    Dadadididit didididadah dididadit didadit dadadidit dadidit dit dadit dadadadidit dadadah dadidadah

    Yes, I am one of those ham radio “traditionalists” who refuses to use anything but morse code!

  21. Andy Lucy says:

    Yet another 4 here… KG4ZMF. Got my start back in 1981 as a Novice, and upgraded to General class. Hope to hear you on the bands, Father!! I would love to join a WDTPRS sked. And, EtVerbumCaroFactumEst, I am an old brasspounding ragchewer, as well. There are still a few of us around!

    And, speaking as an inveterate prepper, look into constructing a Faraday cage to protect your sensitive electronics from EMP effect… whether natural or man made.

    73 de KG4ZMF

  22. acardnal says:


    Your page on QRZ.com is great!! One of the best I’ve seen.

  23. Well, actually Andy, I find that a lot of ham radio “traditionalists” like me are just like Catholic traditionalists–young and vibrant!

    I must admit, though, that college has caused me to become “lapsed” in my practice…of ham radio, not Catholicism.

    Yes, I’m definitely due for a “radio reversion,” if you know what I mean…

  24. Navy Jeff says:

    Nice radio!
    There are some cool Morse code apps for Android that will buzz your phone one letter and let you guess what it is. A good way to kill time when you have a few moments here and there.
    I’d been working on my Extra but haven’t passed the test yet. Technician is not too hard if you know some basic electronics (Ohm’s law).
    Look forward to a future post when you get your license!

  25. This is starting to get interesting.

  26. EXCHIEF says:

    N7WR here–licensed in 1958 and an active extra class ham. We ought to have a Fr Z net on 40 meters in the evening!

  27. pledbet424 says:

    WB0MZT here…licensed since 1974. I know that code is no longer a requirement, but I’ve always liked it, and am glad the FCC made me learn it. You might want to go ahead and learn it Father, as it is the most efficient way to use your radio power!

  28. Absit invidia says:

    Does that radio say “Yaesu”? As in a Taiwanese version of our Lord’s name? Just wondering.

  29. Kenneth Jones says:

    Hmmm… I thought the proper response to “Yaesu” was “God bless you!”

    -DE KB3JA/BY

  30. Clinton R. says:

    “It would be good to have a priest involved.” Amen, Father. A good and faithful priest such as yourself would be a tremendous addition to the ham radio world. A great medium for the New Evangelization! May St. Gabriel, the patron saint of radio broadcasters, pray for you. +JMJ+

  31. asperges says:

    Greetings from G4NJH. I remember the RSGB (UK Amateur organisation) put Maximilian Kolbe (SP3RN) on the front page of RadCom (house magazine) when he was canonised in 1982.

    BTW The Jesuits occasionally activate the Vatican amateur radio station in Rome. HV is their prefix. (SJ would belong to Sweden, but I have never heard it as a live amateur call). 73s

  32. Supertradmum says:

    Ham radios are cool and very important. My family had them years ago in Iowa, but since I have lived in England and France, I have not met anyone who does this. Does anyone on this blog know of any ham operators in England? Could be important in days to come…

  33. jflare says:

    TOTALLY Cool!
    I had read a Hardy Boy mystery a loooong time ago in which they possessed a shortwave set. I’d thought it rather interesting, but by my mid-teens, had mostly assumed that active shortwave use had pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird, so I didn’t pursue it.
    ..Then, along comes 2005 and I read in Mother Angelique’s book about her efforts–and/or those of the Vatican–to transmit programming on..shortwave!

    I have a radio scanner that I’d bought back in ’98, when I thought it’d be neat to listen to police and aviation. Sadly, it will NOT do shortwave that I’m aware of. ..Might actually be as well for now, I’m seeing terms and jargon that have me scratching my head.

    Hmm. I have a radio that’s capable of receiving shortwave, but it’s a pretty cheap gadget. Maybe this fall I can consider something like what you just got, Fr.
    …Well, I can dream, can’t I?

  34. asperges says:

    @supertradmum: You are following immediately on from one on this blog!

    G4NJH Nottingham.

  35. Supertradmum says:

    Hi, your comment wasn’t there when I posted. I am visiting in a weird area in Kent where the Internet is off and on like a Ham radio would never be. Thanks for the information. Cool. Will keep information for future use.

  36. Bryan Boyle says:

    Acardnal: Thank you! Threw it together when I got back in a few years ago. I call it an ‘elevator talk’ CV…

    I’m thinking Fr. Z may step up his studying after seeing the cross section of his more vocal followers (is there a correlation between those of us who are not afraid to verbalize and our love of radio?) who enjoy the radio art.

    Besides…if we get a sked together on 40 or 20 (like the maritime net at 14.300)…he may want to chime in..who knows what directions THAT virtual debating society would veer off into…someone want to volunteer to do net control?

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Bryan Boyle, sounds like the beginning of a secret Vatican society, with or without albino-organized assassinations…..

  38. frdanbecker says:

    WA1ZHQ, Amateur Extra. I’ve been a ham for 35 years, and a priest for 15.
    Count me in for your group of priest hams.

  39. wmeyer says:

    Father, you may wish to look a bit at Civil Air Patrol. [Interesting!] CAP performs the majority of domestic search and rescue in America, and many squadrons are in need of chaplains. They also make extensive use of radios in their search and rescue work. If you find a cadet squadron, these are, in my own very biased view, excellent resources for teen leadership building. My daughter, who was a member of such a squadron here in Atlanta, will graduate from the Coast Guard Academy on the 16th.

    Radio work, search and rescue, youth guidance, and a chaplain’s work, all in one package.

  40. Bryan Boyle says:

    wmeyer: wow. congrats to your daughter…I retired last year from CAP after 41 years of membership. Spaatz cadet, Mission Pilot rated (10 saves), and there is NO better leadership traing for young folks out there than the USAF Auxiliary, outside of the service academies. None.

  41. In a TEOTWAWKI event, wasn’t there talk that the POTUS would simply jam all these frequencies, you know, with the same attitude that all Vets are possible terrorists, [Not to mention pro-lifers!] with the same attitude of wanting to be able to shut down the internet even for six months at a time in case of an ’emergency’?

    Anecdote: I was the last ‘foreigner’ out of the Nicaragua war zone, as they called it, during a certain stressful time some 28 years ago. I met an unapologetically Marxist catholic priest there who was into amateur radio. He had an antenna that stretched the length of the rather large rectory. He told me how he would talk about the ‘weather’, such as “It’s really hot 20 kilometers northeast of Rosita today” … meaning that there was a battle going on and the marxist rebels needed all the help they could get. Yikes!

    Is it true that you have to have a room full of equipment and gargantuan antennas?

    Obviously, I know nothing about all this, but I am interested.

  42. wmeyer says:

    Bryan Boyle: Thanks! I am very proud of her. I serve, as well (IT Officer for my squadron), though I joined late in life. Being at every meeting as her chauffeur didn’t make a lot of sense. ;) And the squadron is a great one — about half of the senior members were cadets there. My hat is off to you for your Spaatz award, and your long service.

  43. This is GREAT! I had no idea that there were so many hams reading the blog.

  44. Art says:

    Ham radio: the original Twitter.

  45. Hesiodos says:

    AD7QQ here, welcome to the Ham world! If you end up getting into HF it would be enjoyable to have a WDTPRS net! All the best and I’d be happy to help (extra class) ,
    John B “Hesiodos”

  46. Mary Jane says:

    My husband got his first license when he was 13. Of course, he wasn’t my husband back then ;-). Due to the budget constraints inherent in being 13 years old, he was only able to work the 2m band with an FM transceiver his dad got him. He participated some with the SkyWarn program with his local radio club. Eventually he got his general license, but he hasn’t been active in quite a while between going to college, working, and now raising a family.

    He says 73 to Fr. Z and all the rest from KD5AYJ. (He would say ‘my very best 73s’, but he tells me that would mean “my very best best regardses”).

    In Bavaria, folks greet each other with Grüß Gott (Greet God). My husband thinks there ought to be a ham radio short-hand equivalent for this.

  47. I have been attempting to study for my license for the past year or so, but keep needing to put it off for other obligations. This has inspired me to dust off my books again!

  48. rcg says:

    An Inspector Morse mystery for Fr. Z. : listen carefully to the ceaseless bell in Barrington Pheloung’s opening tune. Also, at the end. This is one of my favourite television shows.

  49. acardnal says:

    Here’s an “atta boy” to Brian Boyle. I have learned a great deal about you on this post, e.g. broadcasting, rebuilding cars, piloting aircraft, CAP. I am sure you are involved in many other activities as well especially as a father. Thanks for putting your God-given gifts to good use helping others! Life ain’t over yet tho’ so keep active.

    RE your broadcasting career: were you an on-air personality or the engineer? I assume you needed a First Class Commercial FCC license. Is that still in required?

    I got my electronics training in the Air Force and then serving as a federal employee until retirement from one of the intelligence agencies. They kept my technical skills current believe me! If I was smart I would have gotten my 1st Class FCC and Amateur radio licenses right after A.F. tech school when the information was fresh and my brain still functioning. ;-) Of course, the excellent Virginia wines didn’t help matters. But I figured why bother since US Govt. employees didn’t need the license for work purposes so only got excited about Ham radio after I retired. I learned that the electronics theory never left my brain after all but the FCC regulations and procedures were unique and I had to memorize them to get my Tech and General. Now studying for the Extra Class.

    Let’s all keep the pressure on Fr. Z to get his Tech and General and we can start the WDTPRS Amateur Radio Klub or “WDTPRS ARK”.

  50. acardnal says:

    Correcton: Bryan Boyle.

  51. mamajen says:

    I had to search your blog to get some backstory on Penjing as I’m still relatively new here. Now I want to do bonsai! I am a notorious plant killer, however. I don’t have the presence of mind to remember watering.

  52. Rouxfus says:

    The Catholic who helped EWTN build its shortwave broadcasting facility is an active ham operator from New Orleans.

    Here is a link to EWTN’s shortwave broadcast frequencies, which are optimized to reach areas of the globe not covered by ordinary methods found in North America (cable, Internets, satellite radio, etc.), so it is a bit if sport to hear it in North America:


  53. acardnal says:

    EWTN used to have HF antennas directed to North American listeners. WEWN was my first experience with Mother Angelica’s wonderful network back in the late 1980’s before my cable and satellite TV carried EWTN. Eventually the internet and direct broadcast satellite radio took off and I believe they stopped pointing HF antennas to North America but, of course, one can still pick up their HF signal under the right conditions. God bless Mother Angelica.

  54. Navy Jeff says:

    In TEOTWAWKI a ham operator with a radio will be more valuable than a firearm. And no, the President won’t be a. able to or b. want to jam the RF spectrum. So don’t worry about that.

  55. pm125 says:

    This kind of radio world sounds so much more practical than trying to manage in the cyber one.

  56. @ Navy Jeff

    (a) Very cool. I just remember back during the Cuban missile crisis that the young Castro cranked up his gazillion watt towers and blew the rest of the radio waves out of usefulness. It was only at the threat of immediate and overwhelming retaliation that he backed down.

    (b) I hope that doesn’t need to be tested!

  57. Navy Jeff: In TEOTWAWKI a ham operator with a radio will be more valuable than a firearm.

    Happily, we can and should have both!

  58. Bryan Boyle says:

    Acardnal: No such thing as a First Class anymore…they did away with it in 83 or so…as for the other question…was on-air talent (!) as well as behind the scenes in the control room. Miss it a lot. But, the industry is changed, that’s for certain. Still do voicetracks and reading for the blind occasionally.

    Lacking getting an HF net together (if the good Fr. only earns his Tech…), as long as he has a verifiable license, I have an Echolink server on my repeater, which can handle up to about 15 simultaneous connections. I know, not RF. But, it is there…just look for my callsign in the zero land down by the bottom, with the -R, and that’s the repeater hub, so…

    Father Z: I think all us hams should virtually camp outside your door until you do take the test…:)

    (I can take the radio side of the Echolink off the air, if folks don’t feel good about tying up my repeaters, which are tied into a NYC/PHL-wide network, or, just stop on by. There’s usually someone on the system who’s more than willing to ragchew…)

    New modes of communications are just the old modes, re-purposed for today! And, the family mentioned is my sister’s…never had offspring of my own, so, I was active in my niece and nephew’s childhood…wish I had had a family, but, the Lord had other plans (hence my other activities to keep the fingers busy…:))

  59. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z,
    Books you want to get for your study; some are available via Kindle:




  60. wmeyer says:

    Fr. Z., CAP is easy to find online, but if you want any help locating info, feel free to contact me. Outside of the Church, it is one of the most worthy volunteer organizations I have found.

  61. rakowskidp says:

    KC8LRE (lapsed) chiming in… I got my license shortly before the birth of our first child, and I was in an apartment at the time so I couldn’t do much with it. Y’all have me wanting to get back into it!

  62. EXCHIEF says:

    When the Jesuits activate their station in the Vatican they use SJ as the suffix not the prefix. They use the IARU authorized HV(Holy Vatican)prefix. Last time I worked them it was HV1SJ. BTW there has been a Varican ham station on the air each of the past few evenings on 20 Meter SSB

  63. Kathleen10 says:

    Here I am again, in the dark as usual…..

    What is TEOKWOWKI, or the derivative that I see here….?

    Can someone tell me why one would get into ham radios? What’s the lure? I’ve never seen one, and my use of technology save the computer is very minimal….I find it intriguing that so many on this blog are into it! But why!

    The shuttle once passed right over our house. All of a sudden a fairly quiet something with a huge light on it just passsssed over….something very different in the dark sky….it was thrillingly wonderful and eerie….like Close Encounters…it gave us a patriotic feeling….
    Thanks all…..

  64. acardnal says:


    Well, it’s not Latin. Not sure what TEOKWOWKI means but “TEOTWAWKI’ as Fr. Z mentioned means “The End Of the World As We Know It.”

  65. EXCHIEF says:

    The reasons are as varied as the 700,00o who are licensed ham radio operators in the USA. I’ve been involved for 54 years and am still intrigued by the ability to talk directly, over the radio, with people all over the world. I have also used it to assist with emergencies and disasters, have talked to the International Space Station, met people over the air who have become lifelong friends…and I could go on and on. A modest station at fairly minimal expense and a General Class license and that”s it. No monthly IP fee–just get on the radio when you have the tme and interest and see what is out there.

    At the moment a very rare country (Yemen) is on the radio for just a couple of weeks trying to give out contacts to the many (most hams) who have never contacted that country before.

    The hobby ranges from techno geeks to the very non technical as there is something in it for almost anyone

  66. acardnal says:

    To append what EXCHIEF said above: Kathleen10, it is also useful during natural disasters when cell phones, telephones and the internet are not working or when the host government is not friendly and disables them to limit communications. All a Ham needs are batteries and a gas powered generator and he can communicate.

  67. Navy Jeff says:

    Agreed…never said not to buy a firearm…just that the radio may be more useful.

    Holy Souls Hermitage,
    Interesting, I didn’t know that. Did it affect both AM and FM radio stations? I’m sure dedicated HAMs would figure something out. CW (morse code) would be invaluable here.

  68. Bryan Boyle says:

    kathleen: what echief said. that i can sit here in my den, or in my ham shack, or in my car, a nd carry on a conversation in one moment with my friend Phil in Florida, Hakim in Kuwait, and mario in Parma, or Glenn in Alabama…and have a pleasant, friendly, and respectful conversation with all of them…is the draw for me. as a kid it drew me out of my shell, provided a path to a rewarding career, and has been a source of being able to satisfy a techno curiosity since I was a boy.

    that i get to play with soldering irons, antennas, wire, computers, and the like is a side benefit…it’s the folks you meet along the way that makes it fun..as many hams say, there are no strangers on the bands, just friends you haven’t met yet…

  69. @ Navy Jeff — I think everything, since he was out to jam all anti-Castro stations, pretty much all of them at the time!

  70. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thanks for the reminder about Yemen. Hubby worked them back when 7O1YGF and 7O1II were on the air, even though it didn’t get approved for 10 years.
    But it never hurts to get another one. (The DXCC giveth, and the DXCC taketh away.)
    He has gone up to the shack to see if he can hear them — now that we have completed some running repairs on the beam (it got struck by lightning AGAIN.)
    I could understand the lightning hits where we used to live – we were on the north side of a tall hill on a toenail of Stone Mountain. Every tree on the place had the telltale spiral mark. But now we live in a hole . . . I don’t get it.
    Kathleen, I’m just a hanger-on with an old Tech Plus license and I’m sometimes amazed at the extent to which DH is bit by the bug. But it IS fun to talk to folks in other countries. And sometimes it’s even useful — my folks were down in the French West Indies and we absolutely had to get hold of them. The phone system there is impossible – imagine Caribbean technology combined with French administration. But fortunately hubby knew a ham on the island, so he got in touch with him and he called my parents and they called us.

  71. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fr Z, I’ll make you a deal.
    If you’ll go for your General I will too.
    Then we can have a high class Catholic Sked.

  72. EXCHIEF says:

    I encourage both AnAmericanMother and Fr Z to get their General. It opens up so many more facits of the hobby….and, An AmericanMother I also had Yemen confirmed from past operations but have been fortunate to get them on new bands this time around. I understand about lightning as we get it here too. Tell your husband good luck in the 7O pileups.

  73. chris1 says:

    Brian Boyle , couldn’t Fr. crossband from echo link onto an hf net using your or my equipment, so long as we ID as the control operator?

    And exchief, what freq are the Jesuits working on 20? I haven’t been on as much as I like lately ever since. Or 3rd daughter was born…too tired…but I need to get more regular on the bands again. On this end, I have a ts520 barefoot into a dipole cut for 40. Mfj949 to smooth things out so I can work 10, 15, 20, & 80.

  74. EXCHIEF says:

    14190 about 0200Zulu

  75. Kathleen10 says:

    Well, this is just crazy interesting. Now I want one!

    Thanks all, for the helpful info! :)

    Does anybody else think it is really interesting as to why so many ham radio users would be on this blog? I wonder what the connection is….
    By the way, if the W is going to E, will somebody please inform me first? I’m always the last to know everything…

  76. Michelle F says:


    Yes, I too am stunned by the number of ham radio operators posting on this blog, and I’m also wondering about the connection!

    I’m not a ham radio operator, but I played with my mom’s shortwave radio – something she got when she was a USAF wife in Germany – when I was a girl. I inherited it, and then got a newer one with a few more bands on it. Then I added a police scanner to my collection; it picks up aircraft, firefighters, EMTs, and other users of radio transmitters as well as the police. Then I added a handheld CB radio.

    I haven’t tried to get a ham license because I’m terrible at math and science, but I certainly do get a thrill out of listening. In fact, some people make a hobby out of only listening; it’s called “DXing,” which is “Distance Listening” (I think).

    A good amount of my catechesis came from listening to Mother Angelica’s shortwave broadcast in the late 1990s.

    You should give listening to world-wide radio a try. It’s very interesting, and you might decide to get a license so you can talk to others around the world, or off the world like Fr. Z!

    You’d also be sure to know when the W is E-ing! :)

  77. AnAmericanMother says:

    OM says thanks, he got ’em on 20m sideband this time around.

  78. jeffc says:

    Way to go Fr. Z! I’ve been licensed since 1989 (as KB0FFL) now as Extra AC5XL. When I was first licensed I was helped by two Benedictine priests (both now SK, and one RETIRED to the Monastery from active parish work at 90) who used to use the station at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, KS to communicate with their dependedent priory in Brazil. I was a member of that community for a few years myself and enjoyed using my then Novice SSB privileges on 10 meters (1992-1994). Sadly, the monks have taken down the station as there are no licensed monks and conventional communications between KS and Brazil have improved much over the last 50 years. I am not as active as I’d like to be as a ham, but I have a station and love to chase DX on the 10 through the 20 meter bands!


  79. I love that this entry is still getting comments and Hams chiming in.

    Keep going!

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