A Whole [Old] World

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Recently I read “surfing the ether”in a story.

Amateur radio operators used that phrase, back in the day of continuous wave key operations, referring to sending CQs, asking anyone who detected their signal to respond. Respondents would exchange post cards to confirm the contact. When conditions were right their relatively weak CW signals bounced or “skipped” off the ionosphere, facilitating an extraordinarily long reach. My Dad had a pile of post cards from around the world.

My brother and niece caught the ham radio bug, but I didn’t. Dad went “silent key” in 1992. (Somewhere I have one of his old brass keys. It differed from the illustration by its polished wood base.)

Funny how a phrase in fiction can open a treasure chest of memories.


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