Category Archives: Priorities

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

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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Keeping Ham Radio in Its Proper Place

I have really been enjoying the whole exercise of planning my HF antenna installation. It is refreshing to stretch my mind in ways that it normally doesn’t get stretched. It’s not every day that a pastor does trigonometry! And the whole thing is like a puzzle that I am aching to solve. So many factors weigh in on the decision, like radiator-efficiency, radiation pattern, bandwidth, power-handling capability, structural strength, durability, aesthetics, and matters of space, budget, and time.

In a future post I’ll elaborate on the particulars of my own situation. I’d enjoy elaborating on those things now, but I have more enjoyable — and more important — things to do. You see, tomorrow is Sunday, and I must finish my preparations for worship.

And that is the point of this post. There are many more important things to do than ham radio. That is an important lesson to learn, and if I get a chance to Elmer a new ham I’ll do my best to teach it to him. We must keep ham radio in its proper place. It is only a means to an end — and a very small (and usually dispensable!) means, at that. The end is what matters.

If we could only remember that, it would change the way we operate. It would change the very way we have QSO’s.

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Filed under Affections, Elmering, Priorities