Bone Chilling Cold
Bone Chilling Cold
As I write this, we are sitting in a polar dip and buried in 8 inches of snow! And I am grateful I did not sign up for winter field day! Shoveling this stuff is bad enough. However, Dave Hewitt, WW9S, and I did a fun thing in the snow. Bill Costello, KU9N, wanted to put a sloper up in his backyard and needed the sling shot to place it in some trees. We obliged and when the time came to do the work, it snowed! We carried on like good troopers.
It was one of those sloppy wet snows with temperatures in the mid-20’s but still working your hands with those little ropes was challenging. I am watching the construction crew at my neighbor’s house today – it is 12 degrees and they have been working on framing the addition all day with no gloves! OK. So, I’m a wimp. We got the antenna up and I was grateful to be able to put an antenna up in the air instead of taking them down.
During the same cold snap, Greg Karlove, W9GAK, and I got up at the crack of dawn to haul what remained of our auction goodies to the Wheaton ham fest. I have always had a fondness for Wheaton. When they used meet at the Odeon in Villa Park, I remember it as a huge indoor wonderland. Oh, have times changed.
Kane County Fairgrounds is a lovely space, but it in no way equals the scale of the Odeon. Doors opened at 8 a.m. and there was a small crowd that remained steady ‘til about 10:30 and then the numbers dwindled significantly. We had a vigorous sales floor…so we didn’t really notice the diminishing crowds ‘til about 11 a.m. when many people had packed it up and left.
I am told the forums were good. Couldn’t get away to hear those this time. No doubt the cold temps kept the crowds away but looking over the hall, the face of ham radio is certainly older and getting older. It is worth asking if we are last of a breed. I know there are young people coming into the hobby … and I’m not talking about kids, I’m talking folks in their 40’s! I know this because I see them at pubic service events. The Marathon I help organize has a strong representation of younger hams, largely because it is physically and mentally demanding.
So, I know younger people are in this hobby, so let’s not use hamfests as a measure of anything but what they are. We sold a ton of smaller items as we have elected to sell our radio and larger things online. Just seems there is a wider audience for that sort of stuff and people have become used to moving their items by UPS or Fed Ex. Turns out Burt Krain, KR9T, has some magic at attracting online customers! Wrapping and packing is a new skill set for us.
Speaking of public service, this month’s meeting will focus on an aspect of the hobby that has become mission critical and often ignored. It used to be that many people relied on ham radio to pull through when the worst happens, and then technology caught up with us. Agencies could buy equipment that was much better and more effective than what we could provide and some hams, in their arrogance, managed to squander their relationships.
I remember walking into the Red Cross office year back and being lectured on how they will never use ham radio operators again because the last batch walked and took the gear with them. Unfortunately, this had become a common story and many people were reluctant to invite ham radio ops to the party. That often is still the case.
Now, some very serious national disasters have helped refocus everyone on the real job ahead as we brace for the very serious impact that climate adjustments will have on our lives. It is just a matter of time before we will be asked to help again. The trick is how to perform better, to learn from our past and learn how to become valued members of a team.
That is partly what the February meeting is about. For these reasons, your club maintains a Public Service Director position on the Board. It is important for us to know what we can do … and it is not sitting around waiting to be asked. We need to be trained, aligned, prepared and willing to serve.
Speaking of serving, we have been blessed with two great individuals who have served in this capacity, Eric Grauke, KC9WRB, and Bill Vest, N9WGV, both had to step down for various personal reasons so we are looking for some public service folks. Even if you don’t have lots of experience, this is an opportunity to learn about this area and help us manage some of the events we support. Have an interest? Contact me!
Stay warm. Good time to fire up those tube amps and old tube gear!!