Tonight, I happened to meet one of the oldest friends in ham radio, Tim, VK3IM, whom I had known since early '80s. Exactly speaking, I used to work him as VK3AZY in '60s when both of us were teenage kids. He had just given me a comment in this blog several days ago. I have written about him there.
I have uploaded this same picture before.
Tim on his "old" Mazda van in '80s.
A whip with a top hat is on the roof carrier of
the car. He was teaching statistics at a college
He was working with Rod K5BGB, another old friend of mine, who used to be one of the sponsors for FOC in late '80s. Rod went into QRP operation years ago, so that he has been rarely heard for the past years at this end. Rod had a good signal as well as Tim did this evening. I wondered if he upgraded his set up. Or did the condition make it? I was perplexed at the question which one I should call. Since it has been a long time since I talked to Tim, I decided to give him a call.
Tim was using an deformed inverted vee at the max height of 30 ft. The radio was old FT897, which he used to use for mobile operation. Despite of such small set up, his signal was coming here very lound and clear. Most surprising was that his fist sounded quite the same as years, I should say, decades ago. In addition to his keying, his story proved that he was still very sharp. It surprsed me a lot that he was about 10 years older than me. Everything has not changed a bit except for the slight chirp from his old FT101B.
He is living on alone and by himself. He is driving to a shopping center near by by himself. He was even climbing on the roof to fix one leg of his antenna fallen on the roon. He is living with company, a young cat named Joy, 4 or 5 years old. he would outlive her, that is, for 10 or even 15 more years! as he said. She is keeping him home. He has had a health problem for the past several years. As he told me, he was almost bed ridden one time. Through his eager rehabilitation, however, he has returned home now.
I remember he has been operating CW all the way from the office in Melbourne back to home. It took him more than an hour, I believe. As soon as he arrived home, taking his FT101B in the shack, he used to start the other session from home. How often we have had such a long QSO! His company was vermouth with dry ginger, as i was told this evening. This QSO has reminded me of those good old days. Both of us were a bit younger and ambitious for lives. Much water has flown under the bridge since then. We still, however, have love for CW and intersts in each other.
With the condition being on downhill, we have got QRM from a pile up. I told him we had better wrap it up tonight. hopefully, he will keep himself in good condition and active on the air. I would catch him often as I used to in '80s. He has taught me to connect the radials of the vertical put up at the dormitory of the medical school hospital to the metal roof structure. I have just started ham radio there again after 10 years of hiatus. It was a real fun for me to experiment such a thing following his advice. Our QSO will bring back us to those good old days.
I realized that it had passed even 80 minutes since we started the QSO.
Happy Birthday to Tim in advance! He will add one year to his age on 26th this month.