When it was fun

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Thor E. Wiegman:
Anymore it seems like ham radio is behind the times from a technology standpoint.  The internet makes international contacts easier.  Add to that the fact that I'm now a professional tech and that kind of burns me out on radio for fun.

But back in the day......

I remember playing around on the air with my buddy Dan when we were both stationed at Nellis AFB (Las Vegas).  Most of the hams in the area seemed to take themselves far too seriously, we tended to take the other extreme.  The use of many repeaters in the area seemed to be restricted to members of certain club.

Most evenings we would meet on 147.52 simplex after work.  We lived less than a mile apart so low power on a portable worked just fine.  While most of the local hams discussed things like keeping other hams off their repeater or the status of their latest age related ailment, Dan and I were discussing much more important things.  Things like where the best looking ladies could be found, who had a decent brand of beer on sale,  etc.

We knew these conversations were very "un-ham-like".  In fact we had several "proper" operators in town tell us so.  These old geezers....uh, I mean OM's would encourage us to comply with tradition or cease operation.  If one of us was across town for some reason and we tried to converse on one of the repeaters, the encouragement usually came in the form of a repremand just before the repeater went dead.

So one night we discussed forming our own club.  It would be a club with an exclusive membership.  And any club member ever caught discussing hemerroids, on or off the air, would be expelled.  The name of the club would be "The Not Ready For Prime Time Amateur Radio Club And Semi-Secret Society" or NRPTARC for short.

Of course any club in the area worth it's salt would have to have a repeater.  Said repeater would then be for the exclusive use of club members.

But Dan and I lived so close that we didn't need a repeater.  Hmmm....a technical problem.  Add to that the financial problem of building a repeater on a military salary.

Our conversation at this point took a pause as I had to relieve myself of consumed beer and obtain a fresh one.  When I came back on the air I informed Dan that I now had a fresh beer.  Someone broke in instantly to inform me that operating a radio while drinking a Budweiser was against Part97.

Without any hesitation on my part I keyed my radio and called Dan again, ignoring the rude operator who had broken into our QSO.  "Dan, I've just turned on the new club repeater.  How does it sound?.......Beep"

Dan, who is now a senior NCO in the Air Force, is pretty quick on the stick.  He caught on to what I was doing and replied "You're lima charlie here.  It seems to be working great.......beep"

We continued our conversation for at least 30 minutes, talking about absolutly nothing important.  At the end of each transmission, on 147.52 simplex, we added a "courtesy beep" simply by saying "beep".

Oh what fun.  What pure delight.  We were just being silly and amusing ourselves.

What happened next had me laughing so hard I almost had to go to hospital for stomach cramps.  I can hardly type now I'm laughing so hard and this is at least 12 years after the fact.

Someone actually came on the air and asked permission to use the repeater and wanted to know if the offset was plus or minus.  Before either of us could regain our composure enough to let the poor sucker in on the gag.........


Someone else broke in to inform us that 147.52 was coordinated as a simplex channel only, that repeater operation on that frequency was forbidden.  We should cease operation right away or face....well face whatever.

OMG!!!  OMFG!!!  I have never, ever laughed so hard.  My telephone rang, it was Dan.  We couldn't even talk on the phone because we were laughing so hard.  Who would have imagined that the local hams took themselves that seriously!

To stir the pot we operated our "club repeater" for about a week and suckered a few more people.

Oh what fun.

So.....does anyone else have similar stories about how they made their own fun on ham radio?

73
Thor Wiegman
Operator of N7JCT


P.S.  A quick "howdoyado" to any other members of the NRPTARCSS

Mike Cornwall:
ROTFLMAO

Frank Drake:
That is too funny. I live in Vegas and find that the OMs you may have heard must have left town. I think that the repeater you used was probably a better cure for "stuffy-itis" than any one else could have worked up on purpose. WTG. Great stuff.
73
Frank
KL7IPV

Steve Katz:
Cute story, should have been an "article."

My own local nutty group of FM simplex ops in NJ back in the late 1970's started working "moonbounce" on 146.52, and this was hilarious.  I started it, by claiming all VHF-UHF signals would eventually find their way to the moon, regardless of power used, it's just a matter of them being very weak, too weak to hear with normal methods.

So, I set up an old guitar electronic echo box (this was before the PC era) to create an echo on my audio from my microphone.  I set the delay to a couple of seconds and started making my own "moon echoes" on 146.52 simplex.  Two or three friends joined in using various devices including the old-fashioned echo machines that used springs as audio delay lines (these don't work well when operating mobile on a bumpy road), so now we were all "moonbounce" stations, echoing to each other.

Every now and then a stranger would break in and ask if we could hear his reflections off the moon, too.  Of course we did.

WB2WIK/6

Ronald G. Reams:
That sounds like the Long Delayed Echo Effect
(LDEE) that was written up in an April CQ many moons ago.  There was recently a movie that featured LDEE,
where a current ham talked with hams from 30 years
ago or so.

73 de Ronnie

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