The Gift

24 Oct

Sometimes Mother Nature conjures up a surprise or two for old duffers like me. Today it was fog. Yes, real dense heavy fog just like the fog we used to experience when we lived in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Fog so thick it can be cut with a knife. I usually go walking before dawn so that when I wear cans during my walk and listen to my mp3 player I can see the headlamps approaching from any direction and not have to worry about hearing oncoming traffic. Today I got my cans and  head wet from foggy condensation. Fog like this is a rare event where I live as there is no swampy or nearby large bodies of water. The ground must be saturated by a recent rain and the temperature must be just right before it forms properly. I can recall just a single other fog event like this in the past 22 years. Today’s fog was a sort of gift in that it reminded me so much of California and the good times we had with our Ham Radio friends there. It also conjured up some memories of running across the Golden Gate Bridge when I was on an exercise gig. I found myself remembering the early morning runs across the bridge and experiencing the Bridge Fog Horns warning shipping traffic of bridge abutments and other invisible dangers to shipping. There is no sound quite like those large and loud fog horns on the Golden Gate Bridge on a gray early morning. There is a radio station in SF with a call sign of KFOG and they play a bumper sound bite of those Golden Gate horns but it doesn’t come close to hearing the real thing. Perhaps the magic in the hearing requires walking or running across the bridge with the attendant mist or condensation being part and parcel to the whole thing in order get the desired effect. Anyway, when I arrived home and after my morning chores I switched on 10 Meters and again reveled in the nice band openings. After a while I leaned back in the old office chair and closed my eyes with the band playing softly on the background and wondered about what it was like looking out across the Bay, way back in the twenties and thirties, watching a China Clipper take off from its base at Treasure Island on the Hawaii leg of that long journey. There is an awful lot of history in that brief glimpse, and an awful lot of radio history as well. Each Clipper carried a Radio Officer and a lot of those fellows were Hams.

Ive completed the Don Wallace book now. It has been two days since I stopped reading and I still cannot get it out of mind and cannot comprehend all of that history. We tend to skim over the happenings of the past. Instead of comprehending the trials and lessons learned, history and our mind conspire to compress time into glimpses and small chunks. Methinks we do a disservice to the past this way: or maybe I am getting old and surrounding oneself with historical stories and brick-a-brack is a way to feel more comfortable in an ever more frenetic world. For whatever reason historical things seem to be a source of some solace for me.

Ten was nice again this AM. Stations either worked or heard in a short time included: DL5FCZ, HA3FTA, UY0ZG, UT7UJ and some others I didn’t take the time to note. As I complete this short entry I notice that the fog remains. It wraps me up in a blanket of great memories and I cannot think of a more pleasant way to begin a day.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in DX, Maritime, Radio, Stuff


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