On the cusp of Sunday last, sleepless, I turned on my rig and heard on 40m at 7250 Vatican Radio’s morning broadcast of Mass in Latin (OF). The celebrant sounded French. You can get VR’s Rome station 105FM perfectly over the interwebs, of course…. now.
This called up from memory my first year of U.S. seminary. I would turn on a tiny short wave radio, a German Philips about the size of a cigarette pack with a wire attachable antenna, and try to hear Vatican Radio. Those were hard days. So hungry were we for sanity that even Vatican Radio sounded good. It was as if I… we … were in the gulag listening to a contraband radio hidden under the barrack’s floorboards as the searchlights flashed passed the barred wooden shutters. Lookouts peered through cracks in the walls for the patrolling guards. Those were hard days, I can tell you. The walls and wire, the dogs, the food – or lack of it. The constant psychological manipulation, incessant harassment and punishment for tiny infraction like citing Trent or wearing black socks. But we made it. I made it, at least. I tunnelled out of there and went to Rome to finish up. But the scars… the scars… they will never leave me now. Even now I can see the faces of the men who were lost. The faces…
But on to happier themes.
On the suggestion of one of you commentators, I reached out to the esteemed artist Daniel Mitsui about the possibility of designing a QSL card, not only for me, personally, but perhaps also for a couple special events I have in mind.
If Mr. Mitsui is interested (he isn’t the swiftest of correspondents), perhaps he would take commission for QSL cards. This could be a new niche for him. I especially like guiding your attention to him, not only for his fine sacred art, but also because he has a daughter who has needed a lot of medical attention… and you know what that entails.
Speaking of my seminary days, K4MIA is running an event in honor of MIA/POWs this month. I heard him the other day at 14.260. There was quite a pile up and the big signals were simply overpowering me. Also, the guy running the event, “Mike”, though he seems like a great fellow, is pretty pokey in getting those QSOs acknowledged. Also, he has in interesting way of approaching the contacts. He will call for individual numbers, for example, just people in 2 or in 4. I could’ve strangled him the other night when he took a whole bunch of calls from different regions in order… 1, 2, 3… and only ONE call from 9. Grrrrrrr. And I have a lot of travel coming up. Frustrating.
I am developing some ideas for special events. I’m looking for a way to use the Vatican’s station (HV0A) sometime when I am in Rome. I know a priest in Rome who is a ham. Perhaps he’d like to cooperate in this venture. I’d also like to do a special event in honor of Card. Burke, perhaps for an anniversary, using the station of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta (1AoC), also in Rome. The later could generate some attention for the charitable works of the Knights.
Anyway, this morning (Saturday) I turned on the rig and heard a little less noise on 20m. I have presently strung up a dipole in an inverted V, but it slopes at about a 45 angle for reasons that depend on the layout of the balcony. I’ve got about a 1.25 SWR. I also have a vertical.
Right now, afternoon (Saturday), I hear some fierce contests going on. I don’t quite get what they are reciting back and forth. A new thing!
In any event… that’s my ham radio update. I will turn the rig on later. Maybe we can find each other.
There were great auroras last night, I hear. The geomagnetic storm is subsiding now, according to Spaceweather, but it could flare up again as Earth passes through the wake of the CME. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on 12 September.