Category Archives: Call Signs

Busy, Busy: ARES Incorporation and My Son’s Enrollment in an Electrician AAS Program

It’s been too long since I’ve posted; for those waiting for my next post on the ARRL Radiogram, please pardon the delay. The last couple of weeks have been unusually busy. More important matters have largely taken precedence over ham radio and blogging, but ham radio has by no means died at the QTH of NØIP and KAØCEM!

ARES® has been thriving here. On July 5, Yellow Medicine County ARES®, Inc. was incorporated. We filed our articles of incorporation with the MN Secretary of State and also obtained vanity call sign WØYMC (Yellow Medicine County) from the FCC! Two nights ago, the board of directors held their organizational meeting at which they adopted bylaws, elected officers, etc. Now we are ready to make application for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Hopefully I will get to that next week.

We had one emergency operation in July, though I sort of backed into it. After I received a phone call from a friend, my son and I assisted in searching for a missing girl. At first I wasn’t even thinking in terms of ARES. Intending to just help our friends, I told my son to throw on his ARES vest to be more visible, I grabbed mine, and we brought our HT’s so we could communicate. Upon arrival at the scene we found ourselves in the midst of many similarly-clad firefighters and EMS personnel as well as police officers and deputies. Long story short, by the time the search was concluded, many more firefighters would be involved as well as local K9, bloodhounds from Watertown, SD and the MN State Patrol Helicopter. Thanks be to God, the girl eventually turned up safe.

The weekly Yellow Medicine County ARES Training Net continues. In July I covered the ARRL radiogram, an introduction to the Incident Command System, and spent one session discussing lessons learned in the search for the missing girl. Thus concludes the latest ARES news from Yellow Medicine County.

And on the home front it appears that by elmering my son Antonio, KAØCEM, I have unwittingly steered him toward a career as an electrician! This past Wednesday he was admitted to the Electrician AAS program of MN West Community College, Canby, as a PSEO (Post-Secondary Enrollment Option) student in his last two years of highschool/homeschool. He surprised me a couple months ago by asking about this, and now he’s all registered for classes and already has a pile of books to study.

That’s all I have time for right now. After dashing this off it’s back to work for me. Hopefully I’ll get back to regular posting next week.

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Filed under ARES®, Call Signs, Elmering

Heartwarming: My Son Takes My Old Novice Callsign, KAØCEM

Novice Station KAØCEM, circa 1978.

Novice Station KAØCEM, circa 1978.

Today my son, Antonio, was granted my old Novice call sign from 1978: KAØCEM. He has wanted this call sign ever since he began studying for his Technician license. What a moving thing this is to behold my son showing such honor to his father, if even in such a trivial matter as an amateur radio call sign. It gives me pause to contemplate my relationship with Antonio and the man he has become.

Back in 1996, when he was born, I could not foresee the year 2012. I’ll never forget that day when we came home from church to hear a message from Antonio Maset, the director of our adoption agency. Our hearts leaped to hear him say that a baby boy had been born the night before in Guatemala City. Mr. Maset said he would call back later that evening. We spent the afternoon with another adoptive family with a boy from Guatemala, and my wife and I looked at each other in awe when the mother told us we should have a name picked out when Mr. Maset called us back. Watching her boy and imagining a son of our own like him, our minds whirled as we tried to grasp the magnitude of what was happening.

When we went home and waited for the phone to ring, the minutes crawled by like hours. Finally, the phone rang and my wife and I each picked up. Antonio Maset was on the line with Helen de Rosal, the lady who ran the home where this little baby would spend his early days. We eagerly told them that we did indeed want to adopt this little baby, and we told them we wanted to name him after Mr. Maset. Thus was my son named Antonio before he left the hospital that day. Five months later, after our lawyer in Guatemala City finalized the adoption with the courts, I flew to Guatemala to bring Tonito (as we called him then) to the American Embassy for a visa. And a day later, I delivered him into my wife’s loving arms at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport as my daughter and a host of smiling friends and relatives looked on.

Antonio’s last lab in book one of the Electronic Learning Lab: a frequency meter using 555 & 4046 chips.

Now Antonio is sixteen, and he has chosen my old Novice call sign as his own. As heartwarming as it is, this symbolic gesture reminds me of far more important things about my son. Most importantly he has given himself to Jesus Christ; as a Christian he is as much my brother in the church as he is my son. He has grown up to be a respectful, hard-working young man who disdains teen culture and loves ham radio because he gets to talk with adults who treat him as an adult. He adores his sister, respects his mother, and honors me not only as his father but as his homeschool-teacher. He keeps up with his chores, and he willingly tilled and planted the garden this year. He loves playing classical guitar, riding and training horses, and reloading various kinds of ammunition.

And now, he’s a ham radio operator — with my old Novice call sign. He wants to master CW, but until then he is active on 2 meter FM and 10 meter SSB. He has registered as an ARES operator, and last night he even passed his first radiogram on the Yellow Medicine County ARES Training Net (a radiogram that I need to pass along on the MN Section Net today!). Not bad for being a ham for only one month!

I pray that God will guide Antonio as he continues to grow in wisdom and stature. Son, may you always keep amateur radio and your other pursuits in their proper place, and strive above all else to bring glory to God as you seek to know him and love him — not only to live well, but to die well.

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Filed under Affections, Call Signs, Priorities

QSL Cards for My New Call Sign: NØIP

I know, I know. Just five months ago I got a new call sign: NIØL. But as I said back then, there was an even better call sign that I wanted: NØIP. I’ve always preferred 1×2 call signs, probably because back when I first became a ham that was what every extra-class operator got. But not only is NØIP “lightweight” in Morse Code, it also suits me as a web developer (IP stands for “Internet Protocol”).

I feel bad for killing NIØL for the next two years. That’s what happens anytime you take a new vanity call sign — when you cancel your old one, it stays out of circulation for the next two years and one day. I’ve heard there are hams who change their vanity call signs as often as they change their socks, but I intend to keep my new call sign for the rest of my life. It’s downright selfish to tie up a call sign on a whim since the pool of available call signs is already so small, but I think I made the right choice. After all, the odds were against me when I applied for NØIP. Half a dozen other hams were in the running, but I won the lottery. If I hadn’t, I sure would have regretted not snapping up NIØL when I had the chance.

Anyhow, once I got this new call sign I needed a new QSL card. There are lots of vendors who will make them for you, but I decided to try my hand at printing my own. There are web pages you can visit that help you do it yourself, and freeware you can download for this purpose, too. But instead I just designed it in my word-processor, OpenOffice. Here’s the result (filled out for a QSO I had the other day):

The straight key pictured on this card is the one I’ve been using since I was 10 years old — a Nye Viking Speed-X. It’s a great key! While I prefer using paddles with an electronic keyer, I have still used this straight key from time to time over the years, especially for portable operation. That was the case this past weekend when I set up my Heathkit HW-8 on the picnic table in the backyard. There’s nothing like sitting outside and working QRP with a trusty straight key!

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New Call Sign

All sorts of little shipments keep rolling in — torroids, wire, ferrite beads, teflon tubing, mast sections, coax connectors, SWR analyzer, Softrock kit, etc. I haven’t had time to do anything with them quite yet, though. Not only have there been far more important things on the agenda (like the magnificent Conference on Suffering we had at our church last weekend), but there are a few things on the critical path that need done before sitting down at the electronic workbench. One of those things is simply putting my office in order — not just cleaning it, but remodeling it a bit. This is something that has needed to be done since I moved in, and it should help me immensely in my vocation. A nice spin-off of the hobby!

In the meantime, my new call sign came in: NIØL. The FCC calls it a “vanity call sign” because I requested it, but I sure hope I’m not being vain! I put in for this call sign for two reasons. First, it’s “lighter-weight” in CW than my old call sign (though my old one, NØART, was nicely iambic). Second, my old call sign was often misinterpreted by folks who saw it on my license plate. They would read NØART as “No art!” as if I was expressing some kind of Philistine aesthetic philosophy. But the biggest reason is its ease of sending with CW, my favorite mode.

There’s a different call sign that I have my eye on, but it won’t become available for another four months (two years and one day after it was released by the last holder). But since there’s an element of chance to getting these (It’s not quite first-come-first-serve; everyone who applies on the same calendar day has an equal chance.), I figured I’d better grab this one before it got snapped up.

And now, back to work!

73,

Todd
NIØL

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Filed under Call Signs, Priorities