The photo above shows "The Morse Pad" in its natural habitat.
I go by my middle name which is Joe. I was first licensed in 1962 as WN8ETC in Bay Village, Ohio.
I became WA8ETC in '63, and then K8MP in 1977.
Rev: K8MP - Fri Nov 20 10:25:08 1998
And now for some funny stuff:
Howdy from Joe’s Place…(Novenber 2012)
MIB: Men in Black… Cars
From a recent conversation (or maybe not…)
"I noticed you have some antennas and a special license plate on your car. What does that plate mean?"
"You’re right. That is a special plate. The K8MP was assigned to me by the United States Government."
"And what about the antennas?"
"They go with the two-way radio I have in the car."
"What do you use it for?"
"I send coded messages to other government personnel. Some are even foreign nationals. They have been permitted by their governments to send and receive coded messages as well."
"Can I see the radio?"
"Wow, that thing is small. It’s amazing you can transmit to other countries with it. What do those numbers mean?"
"Those represent one of our special channels or frequencies. They are for our use only. Currently, the radio is tuned to 14.030 megahertz and that’s what the numbers mean. If I turn this knob you can see the frequency changes. We use thousands of such frequencies to handle all the information we pass along."
"Can I listen to it?"
"Sure, I’ll turn up the volume."
"That sounds like something from a James Bond movie."
"Yes, it’s in code."
"What did he just send?"
"What does that mean?"
"That is the code name for his station. Every one of us has his own. You already know that mine is K8MP."
"Where is he?"
"He’s in Moscow."
"WHAT???? This can’t be legal. I knew something was fishy here."
"Nope, it’s perfectly legal. Look, here’s my permit from the Federal Communications Commission."
"Wow. But isn’t it dangerous to have your code name on your license plate? It’s like advertising that you’re a spy."
"Well, it does raise some eyebrows sometimes. But at the same time, it’s a good way for others who do this to recognize me. Sometimes we even pull off the road and exchange the messages in person. That way we can maintain a degree of radio silence."
"That’s great thinking. After all, your plate just looks like a typical vanity plate so most folks wouldn’t think anything was up. Heck, when I first saw it, I thought it meant the owner’s name was Kate Empy until I saw you get in the car."
"You’re not the first person to think that. At stop lights, I sometimes look in the rear-view mirror and see folks staring at it, trying to decipher it. The other day, a guy behind me even whipped out his cell phone and took a photo of my license plate and another of the big antenna on the fender. I’ve been mistaken for a cop too. Folks often come flying up behind me and then hit the brakes when they see the all black car with antennas and a cop-sounding license plate number."
"This is all so interesting. How long have you been doing it?"
"I started during the Cold War."
"WHAT??? Now I’m suspicious again."
"Relax, it’s nothing bad. Actually, I have been teasing you a bit in the way I have explained things. This radio is something you have probably already heard about. It’s a Ham radio."
"No way. I have seen Ham radios in movies and they look nothing like this. They were huge, with great big knobs and gauges and even had vacuum tubes in them. And they certainly didn’t have lit up numbers like yours does. No, this is not a Ham radio. I really think you’re some sort of spy. And that’s OK with me, as long as you are working for our side."
"Think what you want but it really is a Ham radio."
"I just don’t believe you because Ham radios died out when cell phones came in. This is something different. Speaking of cell phones, why don’t you guys just use those?"
"We prefer to stay off the grid."
"There you go again. What are you hiding? And I want to know what that Russian guy told you."
"It was routine stuff."
"Oh yeah? Like what?"
"Really, it was nothing to get excited about."
"Then you shouldn’t have a problem telling me what it was."
"All right. He simply said that I had a good signal into Moscow and that his name was Boris."
"Pretty much. Oh, he did say something about his XYL."
"That’s our code word for wife."
"I’m pretty much convinced you’re a spy now. And I bet you use that code word for wife to protect your wives from harm. I’m kind of surprised that the Boris would even mention he had a wife, er, I mean an XYL. You know, for her safety and all that."
"There is really no danger. Boris and his wife are just regular folks like you and I. I’m sorry I mislead you before. IT IS REALLY JUST A HAM RADIO !!!
"I’d like to believe you but there are too many things that don’t add up. Say, you never told me what Boris actually said about his XYL."
"Oh, he only mentioned her name."
"What is it?"
I hope to see you all at the November meeting. If not, please have a fun and safe Thanksgiving Holiday. Perhaps you can rustle up some "Moose and Squirrel" for dinner.
Howdy from Joe’s Place…(April 2013)
Sun Control has recently taken a back seat to what some consider "more news-worthy" items. Capitol Hill seems to have given it the hands-off treatment too, although I suspect it’s a hot topic behind closed doors.
Lobbyists from the NRA (National Radio Association) have raised concerns that efforts to limit the sun’s effects on the earth and its ionosphere will greatly reduce the propagation of radio waves over long distances. Some have even suggested that experiments with Sun Control have already begun and point to the very low SFI (Solar Flux Index) levels of the current solar cycle.
Alaskan and Canadian travel agents are protesting also, pointing out that travel packages advertised as "Come See the Northern Lights" have had to be canceled, resulting in lost revenues and even refunds to their pre-paid customers.
Some of the scientific community has weighed in saying that Sun Control will have a drastic effect on global warming. A spokesman for Global Research and Sun Study (GRASS) stated that "Reducing the sun’s effects will speed-up environmental warming."
Proponents of Sun Control maintain that limiting the sun’s harmful rays will greatly reduce skin cancer and other epidural conditions. Car makers and home builders are confident that Sun Control will greatly extend the lives of car finishes, exterior paints, and roofing materials.
Strange bed-fellows in the controversy are white and black extremists. Both favor the enactment of Sun Control legislation, citing the sun’s tanning effects on fair-skinned individuals. An unnamed source from a white militia group said they want it because it would restore the traditional, sharp contrast in skin color between the races. A spokesman from a militant black organization simply said "We don’t want them whites to look like us." More moderate groups, not wanting to further divide an already racially-polarized society, pleaded "Can’t we all just look alike?"
Historically, Sun Control legislation has been a taboo subject for law makers because all fifty states have constituencies on each side of the debate. Rumors of secret closed-door senate hearings on the topic continue to surface. Systematic Solar and Universal Limiting Technologies, a San Francisco-based group, has long sought Sun Control legislation. It has been suggested that secret government grants have been awarded to the firm to design and build a prototype Sun Control device. Opponents say such a device could be used as a weapon and all discussions should be held by the Joint Chiefs, with G.R.A.S.S. available.
The Anti-Systematic Solar and Universal Limiting Technologies group (ASSAULT) was subsequently established to oppose the production of any prototype. They have demanded a ban on any Sun Control devices. Their proposed ASSAULT Weapons ban legislation is now in limbo since no one in Washington seems eager to sponsor such a bill.
That’s it for this month. See you all in May… At Joe’s Place.
If you enjoyed reading these stories, please consider purchasing a copy of "Welcome to Joe's Place." It's a collection of about twelve years (over 300 pages) of monthly articles of my Ham radio life and other topics. Copies are available directly from me (email email@example.com ) or at Universal Radio: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/books/3930.html
The Welcome to Joe's Place cover photo shows "Team Papworth" (K8MP and KB8ENW) operating Field Day.
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