Enthusiasts tuned in to amateur radio column

I want to start off with a big thank-you to our readers. The response to my column about amateur radio was nothing short of overwhelming. I received lots of email, phone calls and personal comments.

I am pretty sure interest in the hobby was stirred up in some of you.

I heard from some folks I had lost touch with over the years; it was good to reconnect.

I also heard from some new friends, one in particular from out in Boston.

It seems that “eHam,” an amateur radio-oriented website, published a link to the Greenfield Daily Reporter, in effect sharing the column with the entire “ham” world.

I even had one gentle correction. I ended that column with the sign off of “73s.” I guess that was influenced by the 1970s CB (Citizens Band) radio craze. To use the term correctly, I am told, it is simply “73,” no trailing S.

My “ham shack” is equipped pretty sparsely, so I really don’t have any long distance contacts to report.

Well to be honest with you, I really don’t even have a ham shack — the picnic table in the backyard has been filling that role for now. I really don’t need a lot of space for an HT (handi-talkie aka walkie-talkie). I do have dreams of something more weatherproof come winter. We’ll see.

I have talked to former Greenfield resident Dr. Gary Stouder out in Sedona, Arizona, a few times. That really doesn’t count as long-distance contact because although he was out there, his equipment is in Greenfield. He has the ability to remote-control his gear via the Internet. I did get to talk to him directly not long ago but that was on someone else’s equipment. I guess that one still counts!

Since that column, written in mid-June, I have had the opportunity to attend a local hamfest. It was a nice gathering at the Marion County Fairgrounds. My grandson picked up an electric scooter in the flea market, and I bought a small base-station antenna from one of the vendors.

I made one other purchase that helped to make me an official ham. I had a name tag made with my call-sign and my first name. Everyone else seemed to have one, so I thought I better join the crowd.

My next chance to wear it will probably be at the Greenfield Hamfest on Sept. 19.

Switching gears, my wife and I recently took a little trip down to Madison, Indiana. On the return trip, we ran into a bit of weather in the town of Osgood. We really didn’t know it was coming as we pulled in to the Grub Company for some dinner.

It started to rain just as we got out of the car. We were seated in short order, and within a few more minutes we’d placed our order.

Suddenly, the wind picked up, the rain started to pour. There was all kinds of very close lightning and accompanying thunder. It wasn’t long until the lights began to flash on and off. Within two or thee minutes, we were sitting in the dark.

Funny thing these Osgoodians, they seem to like power outages. When the lights went out, there was a cheer throughout the restaurant!

The wait staff never missed a beat. They whipped out their cellphones and turned on their flashlight apps. They continued to take orders, and the food kept rolling out of the kitchen like nothing had happened. We later found out that they have a gas kitchen, so the only thing that wasn’t working necessary for cooking was the deep fryer.

There was a minor glitch — paying the tab. No power meant no cash register or credit card readers.

We’d spent the last of our cash at a little Amish store south of Versailles. Turns out they were just as happy to take a check. I can’t remember the last time I have received a restaurant bill on one of those little green and white guest checks.

The storm settled down just about the time we finished our meal, so off we went to finish our trip home. Sadly, we discovered Osgood had been hit pretty hard. Limbs and whole trees were down everywhere, some blocking streets and roads.

The power was out throughout the whole town.

The stoplights weren’t working, and some folks sure didn’t know how to treat those intersections like a four-way stop. We were nearly creamed by a wrecker rushing to an accident.

The road out of town was blocked, so we followed a fire truck that was apparently trying to get out of town, too. It turned out to be a pretty good bet. After dodging a couple more downed trees and a few power lines, we found our way back to our main route home.

It sure was nice to get back, especially since it was obvious the storm that hit Osgood had skipped most if not all of Hancock County.

I didn’t intend for this column to sound so much like a blog post, but that’s what came out this time. Never mind me. I’m just Grumpy.

Tim Renshaw formerly taught broadcasting at Greenfield-Central High School. He lives in New Palestine and can be reached at tim_renshaw@msn.com. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.