A Little Ham and Wry

I'm sitting here listening to my husband geek-out on his ham radio ("Charlie Six Echo YankeeDoodle, over.") (I might have added the "Doodle.") And I am thinking, How has it come to this? I have a 30 foot ham antenna in my back yard waving at birds overhead. It is guy-wired into the surrounding trees, houses, and on one side, the neighbor's swing set, by bales and bales of fishing line. Our property ain't that big. It's just starting to look silly.

I am not the kind of girl who has radio towers in her back yard. Or fishing line attaching all the neighborhood trees to her rain gutter. Or who walks around saying things like "6 Echo Charlie One Niner-Niner. You are five-nine. Over." And when I married my husband, he wasn't either. I kind of think he did a little bait-and-switch thing on me. He wore Harvard sweatshirts and had Lawyerly aspirations. He would take me on dates to car dealerships where we would test drive the Beamer he was going to own in the next few years. We had started to purchase furniture in hardwood with a cherry finish, patterned after Thomas Jefferson's digs at Monticello. 

And now we've got hand-helds and high tech mic systems and guy-wires and antennae and radio Field Days, and pressure for me to get my Ham Radio license. ME?

Dude. Ask me what type of car I drive. Go ahead. Ask me. BLUE-ISH-GREEN. Ask me what pi is. PUMPKIN OR APPLE WITH CINNAMON, BAKED IN A FLAKEY CRUST. Ask me what the AT4K Tuning Chart for Home Dipole is. Go on. ASK ME. NO? WHY? DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

See, I don't think all of this is really necessary. I've got a cell phone. And in dire emergencies I've got a heating duct system and a pair of lungs that could blow the ears off of Dumbo. If I need to hollar at somebody across the state or even across the country, I can 4G it. And if all else fails, THERE'S ALWAYS CAPS LOCK.

My boy has some explaining to do. There are things you tell people before you marry them. Things like: "Hi. I have a secret ambition to heli-ski down Mount Everest. Naked." "This life-sized Pee Wee Herman doll goes where I go." "I collect belly-button lint." "You have a degree? Isn't that cute. You won't be needing it." OR, "I am a ham radio operator." I mean, who keeps this kind of stuff to themselves?

I don't think the radio-thing is gonna happen with me. I mean, okay, I can get used to the random sprints down to the basement because the signal is really good and my hub might be able to talk to a penguin in Antarctica. I can even deal with my house looking like the mother ship because of all the junk the boy has attached to it. Even the fact that we never lived in Boston because he decided not to become a lawyer. I can handle it.

But baby, I draw the line at me getting excited about all of this stuff. It's dork-city. I am NOT into it. Not. I mean it. Not.


About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. Adrian and I enjoyed reading your blog. He thinks you have a funny way of expressing things about the ham radio. He said in an emergency your 4G won’t work. I figure as long as he’s around I’m safe, don’t need to get a personal ham license to chat with penguins, I do have a few more friends closer in. If he’s not around in an emergency, I have the old-fashioned, wireless network: Prayer!

  2. I know my 4G won’t work, sadly. Also my heating ducts won’t work beyond our house. I am going to get ham certified. I took the test once. Okay twice. In a row. Missed it by one each time. Erg. Bruce and all of my kids except the littlest dude are certified–and he intends to. I shall bite the bullet and do it. When we went to Ireland, had I passed the test the NIGHT BEFORE I would have been able to talk to the kids on the radio instead of paying for International Cell calls. Well, we SKYPED, so it was okay. But still!

    Glad Adrian enjoyed it. 🙂 You too. I like your old-fashioned wireless.

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