What’s He Building in There?

From the Tom Waits MTV Video of the title name

When I first moved to Orinda, I put down some radials, stapled to the grass, and put up a vertical. My next door neighbor came up to the fence (we have practically wooded lots) and asked if I was with the CIA. Another neighbor came from across the creek to mention he heard some Morse Code on his stereo. He uses a siphon pump to pump water from the creek to water his lawn.

12 years passed without a peep. Until a month ago. Then, the water pumpers wife stopped by to ask if I could fix the stereo RFI. You see, I had just put up the 60′ 80M vertical and was testing it. The last time I had a resonant 80M antenna was in Lafayette! I have only been on 80M these past 12 years to check into The Mission Trail Net which takes about 10 seconds total. It was always with some inadequate non resonant antenna. You see, I never liked 80 or 75M, but lately decided at the bottom of the cycle to try liking it. I had earned DXCC Honor Roll and 160M DXCC here in Orinda. I had already earned 8BDXCC in my old Lafayette QTH, including 80M.

At my DXCC peak, I even had a 28′ boom 45′ wingspan N6BT DXU-32 up 50′ and ran 1500 watts on 40 and 20M

It’s amazing that I (by total coincidence), stayed off 80M for all these years. The last 3 weeks I stayed off 80M. I had given the lady my phone number and email and told her to let me know if I interfered again.

Total silence…

I learned that it’s best to give your phone and email and do what I did. I also learned not to say or do too much – no one wants to hear explanations these days. Oddly enough, the woman said her father used to do the same “tap tap tap” thing, with an annoyance in her voice like it brought back bad memories. She was very confused and couldn’t explain her father being a ham or even her husband very well. I was just as nice and understanding that I could be and economized on my words.

I realized I must look like a weirdo with antennas and using Morse Code! Anyway, in this case, (even though I did buy a Bencher YA-1 Low Pass Filter), abstinence from 80M might be the best solution. I also learned they only play their stereo near dinner time, so early mornings would be a safe bet for 80M DXing.

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