The DXCC Ghost of Christmas Past

Clinton DeSoto, W1CBD

This is a fun little “ghost of Christmas past” story . . .

My next door neighbor looks exactly like Clinton DeSoto – its really quite amazing – even a bit startling. My neighbor is a hermit – lives alone and has let all of the trees and brush grow around his house so you can hardly see it from any angle on the street from my side or backyard. Ironically, he is a plant expert who works at a local garden store. I believe his father (or step father) was a professor at UC Berkeley, and that he grew up in that house. He waters his yard of leaves even during our rainy season and burns his fireplace with the flue so closed down it smokes like mad. He pours ashes around his trees – and they have all leaned so far over that now he has had to cut them down. When he saw me put up an antenna – he asked if I was with the CIA. He’s a nice enough guy, but yeah – quirky as all get out. This is one of those little stories that is one part spooky and one part kind of cool.

Antique Globe Lamp

I recently had guests over and did a quick ham radio shack tour – and I wanted to explain DXing with one sentence that would mean something to them – as they marveled at my Geochron 4K – which hangs above my Collins Gold Dust Twins:

Geochron 4K Digital above my Collins 75A-4 receiver – the KWS-1 will join it very soon in operation

My explanation hit the bulls-eye – I simply said:

“I have made radio contact with every country on the planet – and have a collection of confirmation postcards called QSL cards”.

That’s it – that is all that was worth explaining as far as giving the essentials of DXing and DXCC. Its pretty funny how us guys (and yeah its a guy thing) decided we had to keep adding onto the DXCC list so that we wouldn’t get bored – and maybe there was a competitive aspect to this – the rules seem to favor those who simply live the longest – and who have the most current plus deleted – etc, etc

But when you think about it – and read the original DXCC rules:

http://www.arrl.org/desoto

This is the most important part of the article:

“We laid down fairly definite rules as to what constituted a country, and proceeded to tabulate the countries of the world. When we had reached several hundred, with the end not yet in sight, we hollered, “Whoa!” and decided that there must be some other better method. We knew that there were not more than 150 countries in which amateurs had ever been worked; it might be possible to list only them.”

National SW-3 “Thrill Box” regenerative receiver – lovingly restored and decorated

I have a (somewhat musty old) binder of the 1931 QST magazines – and also have a National SW-3 from that era – which is quite cool – because it transports me back to the 1930’s – as if in a time machine – and I really love the writing style and the excitement of new tubes and the advent of the superhet receiver (jumping off the regenerative receiver of earlier days). The 1930’s has a special post recession optimism and excitement – you can see people rebounding from rough times – and the scourge of what led to WWII was brewing – but mostly in the background – unnoticed by most of the general population.

I’m having a ball this Holiday Season – and for me – the Holiday Season includes the Fall Harvest and Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – these are what I celebrate. Since its the entire 4th quarter of the year of celebrating the year as it comes to a close – for me its all of these holidays that matter.

Dickens – the Ghost of Christmas Past

This year is so much fun because my inner compass of inventors and inventions and their history – and now my ability to really imagine what those times were like adds a new and fascinating point of view to my life. Its not nostalgia as much as living history – and with a good old Christmas Time “living history ghost story” right here in my own back yard is quite a bit of fun.

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