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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Phantom Operator:

Frank Faber (KB7LYM) on December 24, 2004
View comments about this article!

The Phantom Operator:

In 1975 a strange signal was received by Ham radio Operators all over the world. It was sent via CW but no one could make any sense out of it. It was perhaps a foreign language. The signal continued to show up and baffled many Ham Operators. The strange thing was that the signal was always precisely at 1510.

The Operator, by now was called The Phantom. And only on Thursdays did the Phantom strike. The location in question was about 75 miles East of Sumas, Washington. It was hard to get a bearing because the Phantom was on the air only about 15-30 seconds.

Years passed by and the Phantom did his job. Yes, folks, 1510 on Thursday. Then in 2003 and the Phantom still going strong, Boy Scouts found a lone Cabin in the Cascade wilderness. To their amazement they found inside the Cabin the left over remains of a diseased Radio Operator. There was not much left of the poor soul. Rodents and other wild animals had carried most of it away.

The Scouts also discovered an array of wires strong out all over the place. They found about 50 Deep cycle Marine Batteries, Solar panels, Wind Energizers etc. All used to charge the batteries that were alive and still doing their job, even after 28 years.

The Old Ham who ran the place was wise enough to use sealed batteries. The Scouts discovered in the Cabin the remains of a right skeleton hand that was resting on an old Telegraph key. The radio covered with years of dust and moss covered was still running. Suddenly without warning the hand started to vibrate. It was Thursday 1510 hours!

Strange rhythmic sounds came from the old Key. After 20 seconds it stopped. Upon investigation they found out that on the other side of the mountain a Rock quarry Company blasting the mountainside precisely at 1510 on Thursday. The shockwaves was what the hand made vibrate!

We then knew that we had found the Phantom. The only other items to identify the poor dedicated Ham was a call sign hardly readable due to moisture damage and mice that had chewed on the wooden sign that was nailed to the wall of the Cabin. We could see the first letter, a "W". The second was harder, could be a 1 or a 7, but the rest was gone.

Who knows who he was and why he was there is anybodies guess. We sent the hand, the key, and what was left of the call sign to the Smithsonian Institute, but due to the high cost in operating our Government the display promised is still on hold.

All this good news from my desk to yours and it shows that one can still be on the air after becoming a SK!

73
KB7LYM

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
goose bumps creeps me :)  
by SINDK8 on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
the "phantom Operator" is a great ham, ready for the worse. did anyone notice any distress calls 28 years ago?

73 du1bhc
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by K0BG on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I suspect this is a case of Rural Myth.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KF4VGX on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Reminds me of the day the water sprinkler called C.Q.


True Story !



;->
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KB9YZL on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Since I have no evidence to support my opinion, I really hate to doubt someone’s story; ……but I’m afraid I have to side with Alan.

You would think that after 28 years, someone would have noticed that the signal in question was simply the result of random electrical contacts, ………not properly keyed dots and dashes!

A cute story, ……….and really neat if true!

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KY6R on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Old Brass Pounders never die, they just lose their [your phrase goes here] . . . .
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by EXPRO on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
yepper nice story the kind of meat rural legends are made of.
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB9YZL on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Uh – Oh! ……….I think I see what’s coming!

This is going to turn into a “Code/No Code” thread, …..…Isn’t it?

Kent Carroll
KB9YZL
“Appliance Operator”

 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by W6TH on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The Phantom Operator

Now that is what I call rare. Save the hand as who knows he may come back and claim it. You may find the key on eBAY some day.

.:
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KK7WN on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Mystery (of all kinds) is a magnet to the mind! Nice story. Is it just a coincidence that the signals started in 1975 and the cabin was 75 miles east... or the unconscious mind at work developing a plot line? Hmm.
KK7Wn Bob
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by K8LEA on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, since nobody's said "Fan Dipoles" (we do have a mention of Code/No Code), there I did it....

Great story, regardless of origin.

Which reminds me of....

From sometime in the 60's, the former day job owned a small textile plant in western SC. From the mid-80's on, I used to drive down there two or three times a year to harass the PC's we put down there.

There was a cement plant or something like that across the street, and every day about 1700 they'd turn something on or off (never did figure which), which dropped the AC line enough to shut down the PC's in our building. (It took a while to figure out why....)

Since my staff worked later, I went out and bought a very expensive UPS. End of problem.... However, a year or so later the battery in the UPS failed. Prices having dropped, and my time there being limited, I went out and bought them a new UPS, and then asked the Maintenance Supervisor to replace the battery at his convenience. We would find a home for the older unit on another PC that was less critical.

John called me about a week later. "Stu, I replaced the battery, but this thing is kinda strange. When I put my meter across the output, I see 110VAC whether it's plugged in or not...."

It was hard not to laugh. "John: it's a 'backup power supply'. It's supposed to do that...."

'Course, it could have been haunted - he never mentioned the setting of the power switch....

Happy Holidays All!

Stu K8LEA
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by W1NK on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"they found inside the Cabin the left over remains of a diseased Radio Operator"

Diseased??

What did he have? The Plague? Dengue Fever? The Yaws??

Did the scouts get sick?? Did they realize he was diseased?? Are they OK??

And, what merit badges did they earn???
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KB9YGD on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Frank And All In Here.True Or Not I Have Enjoyed Reading You`re Story. 73 To Everyone & Merry Xmas & Happy New Year.KB9YGD. http://www.qsl.net/kb9ygf/index.html
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KY6R on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe this is also the "mysterious ditter" . . .
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by N6AJR on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
yes but was he transmitting into a Fan dipole..?? hi hi

http://www.hamuniverse.com/multidipole.html

bye the way, I don't know who owns that url but he sure has a nice picture of a fan dipole.. thanks for the loan of the url and Merry Christmas, Seasons greeting, happy 3 days after Yule , Kawanza etc. may you all have a prosperous new year..
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W1NK wants to know where the Phantom Operator died of.
After the Boyscouts left a team of Medical experts flew in by Helicopter and soon realized that after DNA samples research they found that the poor soul died of Vesci Lombitus a rare desease transmitted usal by acupuncturing with rusty needles. Those engaged in that kind of medical help are in most cases here in the Woods hanged immidiately from the nearest Tree. That is not hard here in the woods.Four members of the Medical team who tested the DNA Samples are now also infected by the VL desease. Who knows where it might turn up hey ?

Frank KB7LYM 73 Happy Holidays
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by K0IMJ on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Is it possible that ham Was D.B. Cooper?

73 and Merry Christmas K0IMJ www.heathkits.com
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by WA3IRJ on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
O.M.G... Where was that location?? LOL
Happy holidays all !
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KA4KOE on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This scenario played out in the movie "On the beach". They found a lone transmitter still in operation. The key was being move by the wind or something.
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by K1CJS on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Are we back at the end of October? This sounds like a great Halloween tale!
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by K3ZE on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Line from a play, Hamlet to Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and on earth than meet the eye..." File it under "S" for Silent Keys, in the Twilight Zone.
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KB1IVU on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
They just identified the body...It's Larry King!!!
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by K3ZE on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Whoops! The quaote should have read: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by W5GNB on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, wasn't Jimmy Hoffa a HAM ??? or was he a CB'er?? I can't seem to remember...................
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by NU0R on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Is his rig for sale? Was he the original owner? Are the finals original? Was he a smoker? Hi! Hi!
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by WA6BFH on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Ok,,,,, fine.
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by W1NK on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Frank KB7LYM--

LOL!

I thought we agreed not to tell anyone about VL! But not to worry.... We can avoid the potential panic.

Recent studies by acupuncturists in BY-land found that 3.5MHz quarter wave acupuncture needles made of Flex-Weave ,placed in acupuncture points around the ankles and with the patient standing in marshy land, clear up VL in 2 treatments.

It is a fun story though and it reminds me of a joke my Dad played on me. He called me in Oregon to tell me a skeleton was found under a porch in the town next to ours in CT. Upon careful examination, the decedant was determined to have expired in 1942. Dental studies revealed him to be 1942's champion hide and seek player.

Merry Christmas!

Frank, W1NK
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by W1NK on December 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Frank KB7LYM--

LOL!

I thought we agreed not to tell anyone about VL! But not to worry.... We can avoid the potential panic.

Recent studies by acupuncturists in BY-land found that 3.5MHz quarter wave acupuncture needles made of Flex-Weave ,placed in acupuncture points around the ankles and with the patient standing in marshy land, clear up VL in 2 treatments.

It is a fun story though and it reminds me of a joke my Dad played on me. He called me in Oregon to tell me a skeleton was found under a porch in the town next to ours in CT. Upon careful examination, the decedant was determined to have expired in 1942. Dental studies revealed him to be 1942's champion hide and seek player.

Merry Christmas!

Frank, W1NK
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
NEWSFLASH !!!

Latest report on this Christmas morning.
Found 45 miles SW of the Cabin an old worn boot.
Inside a rusted sealed can and when opened revealed
a scrap of paper with the writings ...

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEWYEAR

Frank KB7LYM 73
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by K2QPR on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'll bet the rig was home brew with a 6L6 driving an 807 .....!!!!!!!



Happy Holidays to all.!!


 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by N0YD on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi:

I like the sprinkler that sent CQ.

KF4VGX could you give us "The Rest of the Story" !!!

tnx and73,

Tom, N0YD
 
RE: The Phantom Operator: ?  
by KS4WJ on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Makes One think
 
RE: The Phantom Operator: ?  
by KG6JUF on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Is this one of those CW-yea,CW-nea posts
 
RE: The Phantom Operator: ?  
by KL7IPV on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Good grief!
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by VE1BQE on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

Nice story..

The Truth is Out There........

time to call in Mulder and Co. of the X-files!!

Happy Holidays all.
73,

Norm de VE1BQE
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KF4VGX on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hi:

I like the sprinkler that sent CQ.

KF4VGX could you give us "The Rest of the Story" !!!

tnx and73,

Tom, N0YD ,


The Day the Sprinklers Sent CQ !

by Steve Altig, N7IF,

What an afternoon. Sending CQ with the sprinklers doesn't get a ham very far. It only gets strange looks from the neighbors, and the occasional curious earthworm. But, you need a little background.

After discussion with my wife, with retirement just a few years away, and a pending move to the country we reached the conclusion that it would be a good idea for me to rejoin the ranks of Amateur Radio Operators. I had held a General class license (WA6ISW) back in the '60s, but it had expired while I was in the Army, and then family and career became time priorities.

So, I bought a copy of Ham University(c) and began to study the code and technical elements, hoping to get my Novice license and later upgrade to General. The more I studied, the more I began to think I would try to take all the elements qualifying me for a General instead of working up to it.

The big day, March 1, 1997, arrived. There was a big crowd taking various Amateur Radio tests on this day, my day. An entire Scout troop, a group from a school, and an assortment of others, of which I was one.

"We are going to begin with the code tests, and after they begin, no one can leave the room." said the Volunteer Examiner in charge. "Who is taking the 20 wpm test?", she asked. The fellow in the seat next to me raised his hand. After some more instruction, the test began. I listened to the 20 wpm code test, copied about 1/3, and began to worry. When the 13 wpm test began I breathed a sigh of relief when words flowed from my pencil to the paper.

"Anyone want to go for one minute of solid copy," asked the Volunteer Examiner. I raised my hand. He took my paper and began to go over it in detail. "Looks good," he said and gave my paper to the other VE s at the table. "One minute solid copy," he said. They looked up at me and looked back at the paper. After a few minutes they were also nodding and saying things to each other like, "Start here" and "Looks good" and "No problem." Then they looked at me and said, "You passed." What a relief. Element 1b passed. Now on to the technical elements.

Element 2. PASSED. Element 3A. PASSED. Element 3B. Waiting and sweating. PASSED. What a feeling. Walking out with my CSCE showing completion of all required elements for a brand new General class license felt great. Now to get equipment, antennas, and all of the other necessary "stuff" to get back on the air. My license came from the FCC a few days later and I was now KC7UXA.

How things have changed! It's a long way from a Heathkit DX-40 to a modern solid state transceiver. Scary stuff! My biggest problem though was how to deal with the homeowners association restrictions on antennas. I convinced myself that a random wire antenna, nailed to the eaves of my house was the way to go.

Everything was connected. Power supply, transceiver, antenna tuner and key all ready to go. I was ready. Power on, tune the antenna and try an 80 meter CQ. Out to my shack comes my wife. "There is something wrong with the plumbing," she cries. "Come quick. The pipes are banging and crashing"

I went into the house and listened but heard nothing. She insisted they had been making horrible noises. I stood in the doorway of the house and had her key down a few times and she was right, as usual. Sounded like someone was pounding on the pipes. This was disaster. All my work and study, not to mention money, and now this.

After some thinking and discussion with other hams, it turns out the RF from the transceiver was activating the solenoids in the sprinkler system for our yard. I asked my wife to go watch the sprinklers while I transmitted. What a sight for the neighbors to see water spurting out of the sprinklers to the rhythm of "CQ CQ CQ."

In the end it all worked out and now I am back on the air and have worked 13 states in the weeks since everything came together. Oh yes, I do get the occasional "hi hi" when I tell other hams that my antenna is a random wire nailed to the eaves of my house 12 feet off the ground. But the best part is IT WORKS..

P.S. Since this story was originally written in April, 1997, the writer has upgraded to Extra and is now AB7VZ, and now has new vanity call N7IF.

 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KC5CQD on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I thought that in order to write a short story here you were required to have at least a rudimentary grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Hmmmm......guess I was wrong.
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
JESS E MATERNE CALLSIGN DOES NOT LIKE ME SPELLING.
Well folks Old Frank who came from over the wild waters and had to learn speeking English made many mistakes in the language. I make the same mistakes in the other 6 languages I speek.
The question is.... How many LANGUAGES does the Guru Jess speak ??


But I wizz him what he wizzes me on Christmas day.
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KC5CQD that is
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KF4VGX on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
by KC5CQD on December 25, 2004
I thought that in order to write a short story here you were required to have at least a rudimentary grasp of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Hmmmm......guess I was wrong.


The above was a copy paste from Steve Altig, N7IF

Yes, you're wrong ! But still give it your best shot ;-) .
If you need help ,I'm sure others will intervene as you have .

 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KC5CQD on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Personally, I don't care how many languages you may or may not speak. You're in MY country now and here we read, speak and write English. The Queen's English, that is. Don't think to impress me by being an immigrant to my land and making shabby attempts at articulating my native tongue.

And yes, I do wish you a merry Christmas. We may differ in our views but we're both still Ham operators. I must respect that.

Jess Materne
KC5CQD
Pacific Grove, CA
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KC5CQD on December 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As a reply to my own reply;

I sincerely didn't mean to offend you. I only meant for that response to be viewed as nothing more than tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. I seem to have the ability to piss people off with my writings. Maybe I should have been a political columnist.

Hey man, if you speak 6 or 7 languages then more power to you. I only speak English. It's Christmas day and of all the days to go about making enemies, this isn't one of them. I do sincerely apologize if I offended you. Please don't take any of my comments to heart. It just "ain't" worth it.

My grandparents always told me that I had a way of saying things that incited people and they all suggested that I become an attorney or a minister. Guess they were right.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. Good fortunes, my man.

Jess Materne
KC5CQD
Pacific Grove, CA

 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Good morning Jess.

Well. me too. I am fast from the lip so to speak.
My mother used to say ( in Dutch ) that they had a
hard time stealing the Cheese of my Sandwich.
( Its an old Dutch way in telling you that a person don't take any heat )
Learned the languages on the ships I sailed on. Most of the time those teaching me were no Professors in the English language highi

Have a Happy Season.

Frank KB7LYM
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by W3TTT on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Great story. Something to tell the younguns late at night during field day.

BTW, I was always wondering why I never got a QSL card back....

Hee Hee

Joe n3iqa
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by KC8TDP on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hello and Merry Christmas to all!! What a neat story!! I do have a question or two though.After 28 years is there anything left at all of the Mountain that apparently is still being blasted away? Why is the blasting being done precisely at 1510? Is this to coincide with the rotation of the earth? If so would not the day of the week have to have changed to compensate for leap year? If that were the case I suppose if the signal in question originated on a thursday that after 28 years it would have been back on the thursday rotation. Also were the contacts on the key gold plated or at least constructed of some other corrosion resistant electricaly conducive material?
In addition to the CQ sprinkler I have a story of my own.
I am one of the 5 word per minute GC operators. Admittedly I only learned what I had to to get on HF. Since I have obtained my General ticket I have not even tried to copy or send code. That is with the exception of while driving my forklift on the job!
And then the only code i ever send is CQ ! The point of the story is that I am scared that some day some one will answer my call!! :)

Merry Christmas
Charles KC8TDP
 
RE: The Phantom Operator--GhostRider  
by KD4FUN on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
No callsign...must be an 11 meter appliance op...Still cannot figure out why your so afraid of M.A.R.S. Maybe you heard scary stories as a tyke.. Please obtain a life...borrow one if you must.







Not afaid to show my call Brian KD4FUN
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KB7LYM on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I was wondering myself about the Mountain ? Yes, they are still working and blasting but as you can see on my page its slow going


Happy New Year !!

Go here and look at last report

http://members.tripod.com/northwest-beanpie/KB7LYMTALES.html
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by WA2JJH on December 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
......Just a ripoff of the plot of the movie and book "On the Beach" in which after WWIII a (collins no less) radio is still on the air keyed randomly by a blowing curtain and powered by a hydroelectric system whch kept working after the Big One. K1YDA.......

Great movie and book. Won the oscar back in 1959.

I would rather go with BIG FOOT!
 
RE: The Phantom Operator:  
by KT9Y on December 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
LOL! What a great story!! Even better if it's true!
Thanks for the smile!! :)
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by W3DCG on December 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I love this story.
Some person has a problem with it just because it's about the Spirit of Ham Radio being portrayed with a skeletal hand on a straight-key. You know who you are.

73!
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by WA0EAJ on January 1, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Many years ago, in High School, I read a book (pretty sure they made a movie out of it).. for the life of me, I can't recall the title (Fail Safe, I think).

Anyway, after the atomic blasts that destroyed all of civilization, a lone remaining nuke-sub kept receiving cw signals... ultimately, a suited-up crew DF'd the location, and found a Coke bottle, resting on a key, that would get moved by a windowshade, blown by an occasional gust of wind. They sat the bottle upright, closed the window, and returned to the sub, and THEIR eventual doom.

Tom Dailey
WAØEAJ
Denver
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by AB8RU on January 3, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good ole Campfire story by golly had to laugh at later replys, some funny though got a good laugh at it.

say do we have some good Orson Wells stories here too Westinghouse Radio etc.. ????
 
The Phantom Operator:  
by W5LJM on January 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
THANKS ALOT!!! I read your story. Now I'm going to have nightmares. Just like watching old Frankenstien and wolfman movies.
Happy New Year!
 
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