Starting off the year with an injury.

For the sake of not embarrassing myself I will say that last weekend I injured my left wrist in a fall. Sue, the XYL as been running the QSL business almost entirely alone.
Meanwhile the doctors are not displaying any signs of telling me what I have injured or broke to cause this much discomfort and extreme pain in my hand and wrist. Another week wearing a velcro wrist brace and then another XRAY and Dr visit to go. If there is any good to mention it is than my CW hand is alive and well still !


It has been a varied year in my amateur radio activity. I have made a few thousand JT mode contacts to my surprise. With the new year I am going to get back into my favorite mode of CW more.
I have found myself finally burning out on operating the JT modes and also noticed my CW  sending has lost some of it’s well developed sound while sending. So much more CW operation is my New Years resolution, but then again I have never been one to keep them !

Western Union Polechanger Key 1-B

Latest addition to my key collection.  A Western Union “Pole Changer Key”.  The name would lead one to think they were used by the guys who climbed the poles and installed the landline wires.
Actually they were not used by the actual pole changers but used in the office to switch between landline wire systems. Example would be switching between a North, South route to an East, West wire.
So changing between the poles sort of speak. Circa around 1900.

Western Union Pole ChangerWU Polechanger


Ted “Mac” McElroy Worlds Champion Telegrapher

Here is the hero of the radio telegraphers in our time. Mr. Ted R. McElroy – W1JYN – *1904-1963*
As legend has it, Mac astounded the audience by not doing anything when
the sending competition started in the3_pppurchase
July 2nd 1939 Hamfest at Asheville
N.C. –
The competition commenced and Ted
took a drink of water and light a
cigarette. He didn’t start typing until
a full 15 seconds of code had taken
place. When the tape finished he kept
typing for that same 15 second period
and it is no coincidence that he also
won touch typing contests. He left
that Hamfest with the Worlds Title
for fastest telegrapher at 75.2 WPM,
never to be broken.



Band Conditions

Now I am usually a very early to bed guy and with that I get up in what you would consider the “Wee Hours” like 02:30am almost every day.  The last three or four days I have been staying up late. Late to me is 9pm but I am talking 11pm here. I found 20 meters alive with DX on CW and digital modes more than once. So now I am under going a sleeping habit change and forcing myself to stay up later.

I related this story to a good friend in Georgia and he indicated he was in bed by 9pm each night. I got to thinking about the time difference so I do understand him not being up at midnight and having to get up for work in the morning. Being retired does have it’s advantages as far as Ham Radio is concerned !

Johnson Speedx Bug eBay find

My dad bought me one just like this when I was a young ham in 1962. He paid $19.95 for it at a local electronic supply house (Peninsula Electronics) in Salinas, CA.  I was so happy to get it as it got me away from a straight key. I developed my CW speed on it and used this bug for many years.
This weekend I ran across one just like it on eBay and it was a had to have.  So glad to have for the memories it will bring.