[amsat-bb] Smokey & The Bandit

K5OE k5oe at aol.com
Sun Jul 3 18:01:17 PDT 2011

There I was yesterday, sitting on the side of the road (actually, off I-45N on the frontage road), at the intersection of grids EM20 and EM21, trying (unsuccessfully, it seems) to work the 1710z pass of SO-50 when the Texas State Police pull up behind my truck.  You know the ones--the black and white units with a really large fellow wearing an impressive hat.  To complete the picture, when he pulled up behind me I did have my arm out the window holding my home-brew 3-element 70 cm beam and pointing it where I could best hear the downlink.  And he said, "What you in for, son?"  Just kidding--and sorry for mixing metaphors.  What he actually said was, "Can I ask what you are doing?"  When I explained, in as non-technical terms as I could, he asked me to, "explain that again."  I did.  My wife was quite amused.  He walked around my truck, noted the call sign on the plates (in Texas it actually says "radio operator" in small print on the plates), and I explained the antenna on the back window was for transmit and the hand-held one was for receive.  He looked perplexed, but then smiled and told me he had a call from someone saying I was waving a gun around out my window.  My wife actually chuckled at this point.  He asked me to pull further off the road and went on back to his cruiser/interceptor and drove off.  My wife continued with quips like, "I can't wait to tell people about this."

I never did make any contacts on that pass (I've only had this radio 10 years, but I swear I still get confused on the menu choices), but managed 13 solid contacts today (AO-51 2201z) from the same spot on the South side of I-45 as I returned home from Dallas, including HK3Z, Aki, and CO6CBF, Hector.  I was hoping to work some VEs to impress my wife, but I think they were all on royals watch for the weekend.

Jerry, K5OE

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