I’ve finally gotten serious about Morse Code for CW. My goal: get up to speed with Morse so I can do CW on a an extremely portable QRP rig.
In past summers I had set myself a goal of one license a summer. But I have relaxed and it is time to do MORSE.
And this came up on my screen. From the past….
You never know what use we may need to make of radio, especially low power, in the future. For a while now I’ve been thinking about how to network with Catholic hams, even dioceses. Ham radio is useful in emergencies. What if we were faced with The Big Emergency?
nce upon a time… in his Tiny House at the Sheltered Glade, Father stays in touch by CW with the faithful priests and the few Catholic bishops left on the continent through the Catholic net they had prudently formed when everything was hunky-dory.
Before the Collapse.
He carefully transcribes bishops’ brief pastoral letters and sermons along with messages to other priests and faithful in the area, and then relays them to other hams at times and frequencies scheduled by consulting the fifth letter and third number on certain pages of the 1962 Roman Missal. It’s a little maddening to work out the coded schedule, but it has to be done this way.
Father finds it a little harrowing to have the headphones on and to be buried in the static and the flow of the code. You can hear what’s going outside in the world, but you can’t hear what’s going on outside the house. Ironic. Scary, but ironic.
The transmissions are over. Tidying his work space his mind drifts to the day back before the SHTF when he had the bishop out to the Tiny House. He used the Roman Ritual to bless the radio equipment. He could have done it himself, but it’s better to have the bishop see what had been organized and do it himself. It was a beautiful prayer…
God, who ordered all things in creation in a marvelous way, determining even their measure, number, and weight; and who gave man a share in your knowledge, thus enabling him to detect and control the latent forces with which you endowed the things of the universe; be pleased, we pray, to bless + these instruments made for transmitting wavelengths of sound through the air, spreading out in all directions as instantaneously as lightning. Let them carry messages of aid in times of crises, of solace in times of distress, of advice in times of doubt, of light in times of darkness, and thus make known the glory of your name more widely throughout the world that all its peoples may be gathered into the fellowship of your love; through Christ our Lord.
Father shuts down the radio and power source. With practiced speed he secures the door to the lower level punching the code, closes the vault-like door of the ground level storage area and slips on the pre-sorted chest rig and camelbak pack. He double checks his mags and the batteries for the handheld, slings the 5.56 AR-15, and then scans through the ballistic glass windows for a few minutes before closing the steel shutters.
Saftety off. Exit. Scan.
He stands perfectly still, listening. Looking.
Nothing out of place comes to his senses.
As he locks the door he recalls with regret – and a rise of the hair on his arms – the smell of the men who were around the corner of the house. And what followed.
The first step away from the Tiny House always gives him the creeps now.
Shrugging his gear into place he sets out with a glance up at the nearly invisible wires of the various dipole antennas strung amidst the branches of the trees.
He points himself toward the Appointed Place for Holy Mass on the Rock By The Stream. It usually takes a full day to get there, Deo volente.
He blesses the stone-piled graves as he moves down the path in the forest. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord…”.
As he gets in range of the Appointed Place, he should be able to contact one of the hams in the area who will relay his arrival via the GMRS and FRS radios people have. That’s a security hole, but they have to do something to let people know when to gather.
Besides, things have been calm lately but you can’t have people just waiting around.
In the early days there were packs of dogs who weren’t afraid of people. There were gangs of marauders and desperate families and individuals who had survived the chaos, starvation and disease. Then came the true wolf packs.
The individuals and families were thinned out by now, but he had heard there were still some gangs and, as the chaos settled, who ever was “in charge” these days had starting hunting priests again.
“Not this priest!”, he muttered.
There are probably going to be a few baptisms and maybe a marriage or two this time. At least he hopes so. It’s about time they tie the knot and have the graces of the sacraments. Since the Collapse, things have been … intense… for young people and pretty much without the benefit of clergy. Often without any relatives at all, poor things. But a lot of them, the ones who didn’t succumb to despair, found Religion. They have the Faith now. Total disaster helps people sort their values.
People in the Catholic net are pretty serious.
This week at the Appointed Place he should also rendezvous with a contact conveying wine through the underground. He is to keep some for his own use and collect messages and news for the net to be broadcast. The messages are one thing, but it always surprises him that the wine gets through. But it does. He had made some from regional grapes but it was better suited for hand to hand combat than Mass. Brutal but valid.
The building project at the Rock by the Stream is going well. Pretty soon they’ll have to think about what to call the chapel. “Should I try to get the bishop to come?”, he mused. “It’s a hike and he isn’t young.”
Mostly, Father didn’t like the idea of the bishop saying that it was time for him to be consecrated. He shivered.
Eyes moving. Not too fast. Stop. Listen. Nothing.
“O God, Who did cause the children of Israel to traverse the Red Sea dryshod; Thou Who did point out by a star to the Magi the road that led them to Thee; grant to me I beseech Thee, a prosperous journey and propitious weather; so that, under the guidance of Thy holy angels I may safely reach my journey’s end, and later the haven of eternal salvation. Hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy servants. Bless their journeyings. Thou Who art everywhere present, shower everywhere upon them the effects of Thy mercy; so that, insured by Thy protection against all dangers, they may return to offer Thee their thanksgiving. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Next week it’ll be time again to hike up the Big Rocky Hill with a portable rig and antenna for a scheduled DX contact from “Rome”, wherever “Rome” may be now.
He had an inkling that some big decisions had been made.
Okay, that’s enough of that.
I am still securing some useful items.