Not Your Everyday News

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


hhmmm, bet your wondering what the title means - O M - operation
mastermind, overt manipulation, over medium eggs? Nah, none of the
above! It means 'Old Man' in ham radio terminology. No, have no clue
about that hobby (I am a coin collector, more correctly known as a
numismatist). But my husband, when he was still living in Europe, was
a ham radio operator and gets all excited when he meets someone here
in the U.S. who was/is into that hobby. Today he had to go to the home
of an older gentleman whose computer was giving him fits (hubby can
fix practically anything that goes wrong with a computer, my hi-tech
gizmo teddy bear!). This older man, who I will call Al here, (and who I
also know as he and his son are regular customers at the restaurant!)
used to be a ham radio operator in his younger days. Naturally, he and
my husband exchanged 'war' stories and adventures, compared notes,
talked about the people they 'met' on the radio and the countries there
were from. Al then showed off his QSL card collection. I see the raised
eyebrows now, what does that mean you're thinking? Apparently ham
radio operators send each other QSL cards, which basically look like
postcards, to confirm receipt of a transmission. It is kind of like proof that
so and so really did speak to another ham radio dude in Russia or Brazil
or the Canary Islands, or any other country for that matter. Well, lets just
say that my husband was at Al's house for just over 3 hours; fixing his
computer only took about 1/2 of that time! After exchanging call signs (a
series of letters and numbers usually about 5 figures long), my husband
called his new friend 'O M', which Al heartily acknowledged. hhhhmmm,
a hobby where you can call someone a geezer and get away with it?
interesting! But I guess it is a hobby dominated by the older generations.
Todays youth is more interested in computers, TV, and video games. I see
that even in my hobby. On the rare occasions I attend a coin show, I am
almost always the youngest person there by decades. To make matters
worse, I am usually the only woman; if you do see a female there, chances
are she is just along for the ride with her husband! Not saying you never
see a young person and/or a female, but you can usually count them on 1
hand. But that doesn't put a damper on my deep fascination with coins and
currency. See, I love history, studied it in college, even taught it for a while.
(don't yawn and cringe folks, it is the best subject ever, you just had crappy
teachers instead of someone like me!) Coins are an extension of history,
remnants of it. That 1903 Barber coin may have been in Teddy
Roosevelt's pocket! Or that Civil War currency note may have been in
Robert E. Lee's wallet! Ok, so they probably weren't, but to me, when I
see that date on a coin or bill, I just picture what was going on during
that time, and I have a piece of that era, however small, in my hand.
Kind of neat you must admit!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post :)

btw :
A QSL card is a written confirmation from a radio station of a communication or signal reception. QSL cards are a ham radio operator's calling card and are frequently an expression of individual creativity, from a photo of the operator at his radio rig, to original artwork, images of the operator's home town or surrounding countryside, etc. They are frequently taken with a good dose of individual pride. Consequently, the collecting of QSL cards of especially unique designs has become an add-on hobby to the simple gathering of printed documentation of a ham's communications over the course of his or her radio career. QSL cards are sent either direct (using ordinary postal system) or via each country's centralised ham radio association bureaux.

Cya Coin Collector .... blah

12:10 PM, September 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Man a common term used by Ham Radio operators referring to someone whose name is not known (originating in early telegraphy)

Cya Coin Collector :)

12:14 PM, September 21, 2006  

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