Monday, July 10, 2017

I love this radio hobby!!

Way back in the "Good Ole Days", 1992 to be exact, I had just authored my first book on QRP for Tiare Publications out of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I was, I was REALLY excited. I had finally made "the big time". Over the next couple of months excellent reviews of my tome appeared in QST, CQ, Radcom, QRP Quarterly and several other publications. I was ecstatic.

Then, in the Michigan QRP club newsletter, The Five Watter, a review appeared that shredded my beautiful book! Some hack writer by the name of Emory Schley, N4LP, ripped me a new one in print! Of course, I wrote him back and vented my anger at his obvious lack of literary expertise, What transpired after that time was the thing that legends are made of. After calling into question Emory's editorial/writing ability I found out that he was the editor of five (count 'em, five) weekly news papers in Florida. Add to that the fact that Emory had a decades long history of newspaper editing, and I was eating crow! Serious crow! Little did I know, back in 1992, how much Emory's coaching would impact my writing.

Emory, in his infinite wisdom, apparently saw some raw talent in this author, because he outlined where I had "gone wrong" and offered several suggestions to fix the problem in later efforts to author the world's greatest book on low power operating. Emory even offered to edit or at least look over my next book with no cost to me. How could I say "no"?

Over the years Emory and I corresponded and I have to say his sage advice, combined with that of Fred Bonavita, K5QLF, (now a SK), resulted in my authoring four editions of the ARRL's QRP book, four years editing the QRP Power column in QST, and ultimately becoming a staffer on CQ VHF, Popular Communications and CQ magazines. Obviously these two long time editors had a positive impact upon me. Believe me when I say that without Emory's and Fred's tutelage I would not have been able to accomplish the things that I have over the last 20 years. Add to this "talent on loan from God" and you begin to see how important Fred, Emory and God were in my success as a writer.

Emory and I maintained loose contact over the intervening years. Once he found out that I really liked drag racing (no, not guys wearing high heels and dresses running down a quarter mile race course) he procured an autographed picture of Don "Big Daddy" Garlits, one of the most prolific drag race winners in the history of the sport, and sent it to me. Seems he knew the folks at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida, where he lived! That autographed picture of "Big Daddy" now resides in a place of honor on my book shelf! Thanks, Emory. 

Flash forward to 2013: Emory sent me an e-mail that literally stopped me in my tracks. Emory had a QRP rig he wanted to send me. This particular rig was an offering from Elecraft and there was only ONE catch: I was never to sell it. If I found someone who needed a QRP rig, and I felt that someone was worthy, I would GIVE the radio set to him/her. I was never to sell the rig, but only to gift it to some deserving QRPer. Once again, how could I say "no".

The Elecraft K1 arrived a couple of days after our exchange of e-mails. I was unsure as to exactly what I was going to receive, however, after opening the box and popping the case, I suddenly found myself in possession of a full-housed K1. The ONLY option that was not included in this radio set was the LDC back light option! WOW!!!

This was KARMA in the extreme. Going back to the late 1990s, my original K1 was stolen out of my truck! I was visiting Fran Slavinski, KA3WTF (now K3BX) and Paul Stroud, AA4XX, who had just fractured the world distance record for a QSO on 40 meters using QRP. In the length of time it took the three of us to greet each other (at Fran's place) and swap a couple of "QRP war stories", my new K1, along with a palm top computer and SWR bridge was stolen from the cab of my truck! I was devastated. Fran, Paul and I combed the area, asking questions but drew nothing but blanks.

About 2 years ago I purchased a K1 from Jim Stafford, W4QO, and used it while on several trips to Pennsylvania. I ended up trading this K1 off for another QRP rig. While I liked the K1 a lot, the only way I can play the ham radio game is to sell off gear in order to afford new gear. Oh, to be independently wealthy!!!!!

I always liked the Elecraft K1. It is relatively small, can generate a full QRP "gallon" of 5 watts output, has a really hot receiver with selectable bandwidth crystal filter/noise blanker and offers up to four (4) HF bands (40, 30, 20, and either 15 or 17 meters selectable upon building). The K1 is an outstanding radio and provides the frugal QRPer with a great portable/trail friendly radio with expansion capabilities.

Needless to say, I was totally stunned by Emory's generosity. I went on the Elecraft website and priced out the K1 and all the options: $670+ worth of radio!! My only reservation was "why me"?? That is when it dawned on me: Ham Radio is a tremendous hobby with unbelievably generous people. I felt humbled and honored by Emory's generosity. Eventually, mostly likely sooner than later, I will be presenting someone with this K1: paying it forward, if you will. Until that time I fully intend on operating that little radio and enjoying some serious DX! Thanks, Emory.

Until next time, I hope to meet you on the air.

vy 73
Rich K7SZ

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