A couple of eye balls

For the past few days, I have had a couple of friends visiting my home. On two different days. I have known both guys through ham radio.
The first one was still pretty young person aged around 50 years. He has been involved in education. In conversation with him, I realized that the English classes in Japan had been very problematic since our young days. We have been taught the grammer at school. The grammer was composed of strict rules with number of exceptions. We were expected to remember all boring marshaling of rules. The rules were still systematically organized. But, as told above, there were so many exceptions. It won't center on the nucleus of the language. If we should concentrate on the latter, it must be much easier and much more interesting to study English. The grammer should have been lively in such study.
In English study at schools, we have been forced just to remember the vocabulary in addition to the grammer. It is even torturous to students. The visiting friend told me the university exams were changing requiring another capability in English, that is, understanding an amount of sentences in English, rather than knowledges of the grammer itself. It might influence what they teach at high schools etc. Those already having finished their education might stay hatred for English after all those boring study. They won't open a page of English literature or critics after graduation.
It might be related with paucity of japanese hams who enjoy ragchewing on CW. If reading and writing capability is highly related with head copy and sending on CW, we should brush up reading and writing in English. It won't mean we look on our mother tongue as lower language at all. English has become a lingua franca for now. We should do that in order to do with the other peoples all around the world not only in ham radio but also in our routine lives. 
The other guy is a little bit younger than me. A retired engineer. He has spent many years abroad at various places in the world. I have known him for over 40 years. A long time has passed. I have met him only several times in about a decade interval in our lives. He could go on working if he would at the time of retirement. But he wanted to get away from the heavily crowded commuting train etc and to do what he would like to. In retirement, he has been enjoying operating radio at his newly built station in a countryside. He let me see a photo of home brew PLL for TS830. He has put up two towers and big beams on them.
It seems he was much concerned about the nuclear power plant problem. I shared with his worry about the used fuel at the 4th reactor. It is an enormous amount stored in a watered pool there. If it were destroyed by any natural disaster, that amount of radioactive substances, much more than the contamination on 3.11, would fly over here. It could never be handled or repaired at all. It forces them give up controlling the other reactors at the same nuclear power plant or even the adjascent ones due to extremely high radiation level from the freed used fuel. The situation would be uncontrollable then. It would mean we could not live this area including Tokyo any longer. The government or the mass media would neglect it. Nevertheless, we should be always aware of that, as he told me. I agreed him completely. We need to know any informations hidden by the authorities. After talking for a couple of hours without pause, he has left for home.
Interesting meetings in fact. 


  1. I’m very happy to see you for the first time on the ground. Thank you for sparing time for me. On the band it was not easy for me to call you and ask you some questions about how to master CW. That’s because my ability to talk in CW is not good enough and the conversation in QSO is conducted on a simplex mode, so it would take a lot of time.

    I really enjoyed talking with you. Your words encouraged me to keep active on the band and improve my CW skills. I think a lot hams want to be a good CW operator like you. You gave me a lot of hints to brush up CW skills. I found learning CW is similar to learning English. There are some hypotheses for learning English. One is “Input hypothesis”, which emphasizes language input trainings. Another is “Output hypothesis”, which emphasizes output trainings. And now “Interaction hypothesis” is considered, which claims language is learned through interaction. When we learn CW, input training is important. At the same time, we need to practice output including a keying skill. But we have to interact in order to enjoy a real QSO.

    As for English education in Japan, it is criticized that students cannot use what they have learned in English classes. For most Japanese, picking up English is not easy and it requires a lot of effort and practical trainings. English skill is, of course, an important factor to enjoy CW QSOs in English. So by improving English skills, we can improve our CW QSO skills.

    You said I am young. I’m happy to hear that. When I got a ham radio license in 1976, I was in a young generation among radio amateur at that time. Still now, I am in a young generation in this hobby. Being young is a good thing, however, I wonder if I should be glad to be still in a young generation. But I think it is allowed for young hams to visit veteran hams, get a lot of practical advice.
    Thank you, OM, for a nice eye-ball QSO.

    1. Nobu,

      Thanks for your visit. Your story is inspiring to me. It is difficult for us to formulize how to brush up our skill in CW communication. In some senses, it might be comparable to learning foreign languages as you told.

      Keep up your activity. You must be busy at work as well as at family chores. But never forget being an evangelist for CW communication.

      See you soon.