Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 12

FMLA XII — Frank Noir


 
The introduction went OK, altho it turned out not to be an
introduction.

I took Frank, my flaky pal who plans to take back 56-60 mc when
the FCC moves TV up, to see another friend: Adolphus Charles. 
Never trust a man with two first names, said The Thin Man, but
anyone would trust Adolphus at first meeting.  A retired
schoolteacher, he is also a QRQ 40M CW man and that is how Frank
knew him.

As we walked up to the poorly kept house Frank heard the clack
of a Vibroplex and said immediately, "It must be A.C."

Never having had an eyeball QSO, the two talked for over an
hour about old times and mutual acquaintances.  There was not a
word about Frank's Five Meter Liberation Army and I remember
thinking that Frank spoke in this same knowledgeable way with a
90-year-old ex-telgrapher, so Frank must be a lot older than his
apparent 40 or so years -- even older than his double breasted
suits and spats.

A.C. has one of the last Kenwood v. tube transceivers in his
ill-lit cavern of a house and Frank took a turn at the Vibroplex,
making it sound like a keyer.  I had never seen Frank use a
store-bought rig before.  

I invited A.C., who does not get out much in his huge Buick, to
stop by any time he was in the neighborhood, since Frank is
spending most of his time in my basement with his retinue which
lately included two.  His regular bodyguard is a thin young
fellow I call the WARmon.  I name him thus for his tendency to
masquerade as a LDS missionary and the fact that he and his
boss, a young woman named Christie, are in an organization called
WAR.  Unfortunately, the next time I saw the failing A.C. he was
roughly conveyed down the stairs to my basement by the WARmon who
announced, "Look what I found sneaking around."  

In those next few seconds I learned a lot -- too much.  

First, I did not know any black guys were with the 82nd
Airborne, but A.C. was and he showed it in breaking the WARmon's
hold and two of his fingers with a sudden ruse.  Next, I did not,
and do not, know where Christie conceals her Ruger revolver on
her boy-like frame, but she had it half way out when lesson three
occurred.

The only ones I had even seen  were in books, usually about
Sacco and Vanzetti, but Frank not only had a nickel plated Colt
38ACP, but he produced it in record time and pointed it between
Christie's slate blue eyes. I could not see his face, but she
could when he said, calmly, "leave my friends ALONE."  

"But Frank," plead the WARmon, he' a..."  he did not finish
because Christie carefully laid down the .357 and made a head
gesture to him just after Frank rolled off the Colt's safety. 
 
"We have discussed this before," continued Frank in a
tautological tone as he pocketed the Colt.  "You are to keep
that sort of thing out of my world." "If you chose to do
otherwise, you can go back to pawnshop C.B.s."  

Christie stood, with a lot of dignity I thought, but ruined it
by saying, "come on Mr. W., let's go where the air is cleaner." 
They moved widely past A.C. who was next to a rusting R-388
case/transcan in a corner where leans a rusty old SKS.  One of
Frank's visitors left it, I guess. The WAR folk spent the rest
of A.C.'s visit in the yard, after splinting the kid's fingers
and giving him a pull of Southern Comfort from a metal bottle
Frank keeps in his Frazer for emergencies.  They were nowhere to
be seen when we saw A.C. off in his Electra 225 just before dusk.

As soon as he was gone, Christie reappeared with a bottle of
Mountain Dew soft drink for Frank. She kissed him on the cheek
and, after that, would call him, "boss."

Well, who can figure a dame? 

Anyway, Frank went back to his projects without further
comment and, as the urban darkness descended, I added things up: 
For a few weeks the WAR folk will put Frank in their "race
traitor" category, but it will pass.  A.C., a religious fellow,
seemed not so moved by it all and Frank is working up some
project with an 815.

It all fits, I guess, but there is still one question:  Am I
the only person in Dallas, TX, other than A.C., who does not
carry a gun?
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA XII-Frank Noir

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Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 11

FMLA XI — The Conversion


 
Women's undergarments are not unusual at my house, but the set
draped over the banister to the basement was remarkable for two
reasons.  

First, I did not know they still made a panty without high cut
sides, and second, the top part was too big for my 9-year-old
daughter and inadequate for my wife, who is something of a
Colleen.  

The mystery was cleared up by Christie who scampered by,
grabbed the garments and said "Sorry, just washing out a few
things," as she went behind the curtain to the part of the
basement that has a boy scout cot and a chair.  She would have
looked like the picture of domesticity in her terrycloth robe had
I not noticed the small frame Ruger revolver in the small of her
back, held by the robe's tie.

Christie is an officer in the WAR organization and on
temporary assignment bodyguarding my friend Frank.  Her group
depends on Frank for communications in whatever it is they do. 
It did not occur to me until I wrote this that there might be
something extraprofessional between the dapper if dated Frank and
the Back East looking Christie, who is about half his age.  If
there is, it will just stay one of the many things I don't
knowabout Frank, who heads an outfit calling itself the Five
Meter Liberation Army and plans to take back 56-60 mc when the
FCC moves TV up.

As usual, I found Frank at work on a project in my basement,
but this time it was MY project.  He had pulled the SCR-522
receiver from the rack and was peering inside.  "How did you do
it?" he asked on noting my presence, skipping formalities as he
is want to do when perplexed.

"Do what?" I asked, wondering what I could ever tell HIM about
electronics. 

"How did you get that tuner to feed this receiver?"  He was
motioning first to a Standard Coil tuner I had modified, at his
urging, into a converter for 10, 6, 5 and 2M plus 220. 

"Oh," I said, "First I built it like the old VHF Handbook
said."  "They recommended pulling the output down from 21mc (the
tuner had 1947 stamped on it) to 16 mc for a BC-348, but I didn't
have one, and after the SCR-522 did not want to tackle any more
ironclad surplus.  So I fed it to the 20 mc IF of my
Hallicrafters SR-46.  That worked, but since you insist on all
homebrew, I made a converter for 20 mc to 12 mc using an old 2M
crystal."  "I feed the '522's 12 mc IF and cover about 600 kc of
6M with the fine tune.  If I need more, I just rewind another of
the TV channel sections, since there are 12." 

Christie looked in on us for a moment as I finished reciting,
and I heard a hair dryer start up before Frank spoke again. "All
that is sound."  "No problems with images and I see you have
added regeneration both to the 12 mc IF and to the detector;" 
"But what is that little silver thing beside the FT-243?"

I braced myself.  I knew Frank toyed with transistors, but
these old timers sometime resist other advances. "It is a Mini
Circuits SBL-1," I said.  "A complete double balanced mixer."  I
drew the pinout and a rough, memory-based approximation of the
circuit on one of Frank's notebooks."

"You must have those diodes backward," he said as he
considered the drawing, but he did not explode.  "Got anymore?"
he asked.  I produced three from a plastic drawer.  He took them
and asked for 700 more.  

I recall all this as I sit here monitoring the WAR/FMLA
frequency (classified but one can occasionally here colorburst
trash) on my Archer Space Patrol handy talkie.  It was a gift
from Frank and over the next weeks he sent and received lots of
them.  When they left my basement shack they had grown a SBL-1
(TUF-1 after the first 700) and a FET RF stage plus a second
crystal in some sort of weird VXO scheme that is accompanied by a
bunch of diodes and coils.  Frank never writes much down, but my
Space Patrol will outdo most anyone's 2M HT on simplex and, as a
bonus of sorts, jam it with the super-regen slop.  

So you can teach an old dog new tricks and if you see Frank in
his Frazer (with Christie following in a Toyota Land Cruiser)
and note his smile you can bet he is reading the mail.  His
mobile is a pair of 35s that have marginal audio gain.

That explains the Brandes 'phones.
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA XI-The Conversion

Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 10

FMLA X — A ‘Fest Fight


 
Gravity urged velocity down the inclines as my Hundai hurtled
toward the Belton HamExpo in the predawn.

Six hundred pounds of now-labeled chokes and TV set
transformers were back in the trailer with the other offerings. 
My second son snoozed with the mascot ferrets in the back and I
was musing, pointlessly, that I have never seen a Jew in Temple,
Texas, when a woman's bored voice broke in:  "Texas Department of
Public Safety;  Zero two hundred hours fifty-three minutes," she
said as I checked the speedometer (58mph) and looked in the
rearview where only the unshakable Toyota lit the darkness.

"Got it" said Frank beside me almost at the same time, and I
realized the ever-experimenting nutso who plans to take back
56-60 mc when the FCC moves TV up had raised the Highway Patrol
repeater with his portable...

Well, it is a portable by Frank's standards, anyway.  On a
piece of pine he assembled a 1S4 and a TI-34 Mosfet in a super-
regenerative setup that blanked my highway-monitorinig CB with
its radiation and put me to silent musings in the night.  Some
rewired Millen absorption meters served as the front end(s).  He
reached to the floorboard for his laptop and made some entries.
The open 720 drive whirred under the full-sized keyboard where he
tucked a much modified Timex-Sinclair that sits on the heatsink
from a defunct 2M amp.

Not long ago Frank came home with a handheld touchtone
generator he bought from a "nice young Hispanic gentleman" at a
park near my house.  I wasn't worried about his safety in scoring
the thing from a dope dealer as Frank is always shadowed by
"companions" like the two in the Land Cruiser behind us, but I
did ask him if he used "real money."  

Frank has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of pre-1964
silver coins and currency that says "silver certificate" on it. 
>From time to time I take a coffee can full of it to my lawyer who
changes it into modern money at a remarkable rate of exchange,
but sometimes Frank forgets.  Frank probably had more cash than
the dealer that day, and today his bankroll toped $5700, but he
lives frugally and spends mostly on his "Five Meter Liberation
Army" project.

Frank usually uses headphones, 2K, but has an interface he
can plug in the Motorola socket in my car radio for volume, and
that is how I heard the woman's voice.  He uses the same hybrid
rig as a transmitter by throwing a ceramic knife switch which
controls a relay.  The whole thing is fed by some D cells and a
daisy chain of 9 volts, which once convinced a curious ferret to
steer clear of Frank's stuff.  As a result, only Frank's touch-
tone pad is free of Bob Ferret's tooth marks.  The female weasel,
Charlie, adores Frank and tonite was nesting in his starched
shirt, Frank having left his double-breasted coat at home and
rolled up his sleeves in a gesture to hamfest informality.

After the touchtone device, Frank read a green Radio Shack
"Introduction to Computers" paperback off my "free to good home"
stack, and was soon using my library card to get 3-inch books on
theory and, especially, on telephones.  From that, over the last
two weeks, evolved his equipment and his zeal for the hamfest. 
He usually avoids them as "havens of appliance operation."

We arrived at Belton at 0325 and were number 7 in line.  I
was deluged by flashlight-toting opportunists and lost sight of
Frank 'till about 10 when a disturbance drew me.  When I got
there, Frank was dusting off his rumpled sleeve and a fat
fellow's eyes were glazing over as one of Frank's bodyguards, a
pale kid I call the WARmon, applied a Carotid Choke Hold.

The fat fellow's raised arm, fruitlessly resisting the pressure
of the "Snot Block" as policemen call it, showed blood dripping
from two previous attempts, but Charlie had finally found a good
place on some upper arm flab and her red, albino eye's glowed as
she held on.  She looked rather like a furry, blood-stained water
snake on a trot line.

The only good things about the scene were that the MFJ
package the WARmon was carrying today was on the ground with its
concealed Uzi, and Christie, a WAR officer from the Toyota, had
not unlimbered her under-the-arm package of "Mini" blinds that in
in fact concealed a small Ruger rifle.

With some small help from me, the efficient yellow-shirted
attendants got everyone untangled and only Charlie was banished. 
I assured the concerned she "had her shots" and Christie, who is
also long, skinny and very white, took her to the Toyota.

It seems the fat fellow observed Frank's bankroll and began
extolling the virtues of a rack full of vintage black box Collins
equipment to a gathering crowd.  He dwelled, I am told, on the
virtues of Class B Plate modulation, which was also a mistake. 
At the end he told Frank "you ought to take these home," and
Frank, uncharastically, answered off handedly.

"If I had those," he said, "I'd scrap the rigs and use the
rack for a backhouse."

The fat man raised his hand and things developed to where I
came in. 

At lunch afterward there was no talk about the incident as I
ate one of Denny's Veggi Omelets, my kid had the cheese sandwich
and Frank, of course, the California Dreamin' Special.  The WAR
folk stayed outside and ate takeout chicken, all white, where
they could watch the trailer with Frank's purchases and the cage
with the other ferrets.  Charlie would not leave Christie and
snapped on her crisp khaki trouser leg after a growling lunch of
chicken skin.

We rearranged for the trip back because the WARmon had to
take the Toyota for "a pilgrimage near Waco" as Christie said. 
She sat in the back with the miniblinds, Frank and the ferrets
while my son slept in the front.  He was exhausted by Frank's
extended remarks at lunch on the evils of "appliance  idolotry,"
and "inefficiency modulation."

It was a quiet drive, but when we passed the highway patrol
substation, all the garage doors opened.
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA X-A ‘Fest Fight

Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 9

FMLA IX — Following Frank


 
I followed Frank, feeling justified in the fact that he
slipped in and out of my basement workshop uninvited and
unnoticed by my would-be watchcreatures.

He led me to the Barrio where his pre-Eisenhower plates drew
no comment  on streets named for heroes of 1911.  Down Obregon
Avenue, past Caranza Circle and Emil's Shoe Repair we drove 'till
we reached Joad's RV Rest and Frank turned in with a nod to a
fellow sitting in a surplus toll booth. "Morning Tom," I heard
Frank say thru the Frazer's open window.  I turned in too but
was surrounded by Mormons.

At least they looked like Mormons.  Clean cut young men in
white shirts on bicycles were as out of place here amid hombres
of ambiguous ancestry as I in my foreign sedan among the
zero-ground-clearance land yachts.  But instead of tracts these
youths brandished tommy guns, pistols really: an Uzi and what
formalists call an Ingram but what the world knows as a Mac 10
when, as now, it has a credit card inserted in the top to defeat
the sear. 

"Frank invites his guests," said the one, but his voice
trailed off at the last and he added: "Hey, Sir, weren't you you
at Operation Overleap?"  I then recognized one of Frank' s
friends from a "field day" operation I once attended.  He was one
of the "WAR" group that helps Frank in his quest to take back
56-60 mc when the FCC moves TV up. But today he lacked his
jackboots and  was, happily,  putting the machine pistol back in
a suitcase on his Schwinn.  "I'll take him in," he told the
other, and I followed him down several rows to a vintage Airflow
where Frank greeted me as if I were expected.  

As he stroked a peculiar-looking Siamese-like cat,  I
speculated that the ever-present Archer Space Patrol handy
talkies had heralded my arrival.  "Shoo, Zack," said Frank as he
dropped the feline to shake hands and I reflected  that only Frank
would name a pet after Gen. Zachary Taylor, hero of the  Mexican
War, in a neighborhood undistinguishable from Matamores. 

The cat jumped to the lap of the WARmon who took metal
lawnchair as Frank conducted me inside.  It began a low purr that
approximated Frank's top-condenser refrigerator, and started
pseudo-nursing the WARmon's white shirt as Frank introduced me to
a departing woman of striking appearance.  

"This is Ayn Tagert-Tamez." said Frank of the tallish but
mildly Mexican looking woman who was folding up a leather set of
computer tools.  "She is a member of  Progressives Organizing  to
Combat Hispano-Orthodoxy," he explained, and said that they want
to start an all-English Spanish TV network on one of the lower
frequencies.  Having common goals with Frank, they keep up his
website. 

"Thirty -six hits since we moved it," she said.  "Same
password," she added as she nodded to me and stepped out of the
trailer where the WARmon stood, sending Zack reeling, and said
"Miss" as she passed.  

"Puto," she answered curtly as she slipped into a vintage
'Vette the side of which was tastefully lettered "Chicana Power"
below the factory badge reading "427."  It took the four of us a
minute to get over her, but Zack soon hopped back in the WARmon's
lap and Frank showed me his shack, not wanting to discuss the
rack of computer equipment next to it.  

Frank is all homebrew.  His receiver is unshielded outside,
but built around a central square of aluminum that houses a
Velvet Vernier dial thru the front panel and some tubes I did not
recognize jutting horizontally on both sides of the box where
coils also plug in.  

The transmitter is a multi-stage affair on a piece of
particle board.  The tubes are vertical here, and  the bench was
littered with brown Hammarlund coils labeled 5, 10, 20, and 80. 
The 40M coils were in place and Frank worked a few stations at
dizzying speed with a  J-38.  He never used the same call twice,
and when he offered me a turn, I declined.  

The only transformer in the place was on a small screen
modulator attached to a pair of TH-100s labeled "PA" in the rack
below the new-as-tomorrow computer.  He seemed to be taking all
his DC off the three-wire service line that entered thru a large
piece of plastic DWV pipe and  where, in turn, a run of
fiberoptic snaked out and disappeared along a railroad right of
way.  

I eased toward the back of the trailer, but Frank ignored
the hint and suggested lunch. As we took our leave the WARmon
resumed his post at the gate and Zack began burrowing a small
hole in a sack of Vital Varmit Dog Food.  I never saw a canine. 

Frank drove to a a place called Pancho's Villa where he was
well known and greeted with cries of "Vato!"I agonized with
the menu's contorted Tex Mex, but Frank ordered menudo, rice and
beans like a native.  Indeed, in this environment his
double-breasted suit did not seem so out of place, and when he
parked, the Frazer drew a cadre of youths saying "Looks Charp"
and "How High will it jump?" 

"These are good people," said Frank, " and they recognize
the value of improvisation."  "They are not like modern hams who
cannot homebrew a CPO without a PC board," he continued and,
once again, he warned that when, as he says, "the balloon goes
up" a lot of "KA this(s) and Vanity thats" won't be in those
chosen to retake 5 Meters.  On a more personal note he said my
efforts at converting an old SCR-522 receiver were a good start
and, when we left and said goodby at the Airflow, he procured
from a plastic storage  case under the napping Zack  a Standard
Coil tuner from a TV set long departed.  

"The old VHF Handbooks show how to make these into a
converter," he said, "See what you can do with it."  I
reflected on the way home that while Frank is truly a nut, he is
also like the hams I knew when I was a kid.  Those were guys who
could "fix a radio" as the neighbors said, and we are something
else.

Toying with the tuner, I found a note from Frank inside. 
"Don't change the Channel 2 part," It read. 
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA IX-Following Frank

Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 8

FMLA VIII — The Boy Over There


 
I won't say Frank has moved in.  It is not that formal, but he
can get in my yard past the dog and duck at will and I often
find him puttering in my basement workshop at all hours.  He
never asked, but is a better housekeeper than my wife, please, so
I tolerate it.  I am used to seeing him.  But yesterday morning,
at about 4 a.m., there were two of them.

I don't mean two Franks.  Two delusional if dapper dudes
planning to retake 56-60 mc when the FCC moves TV up with a "Five
Meter Liberation Army" would overload any circuit.  But Frank had
a military advisor, and not one of the WAR weirdos I have seen
him with.  This one was a major in the regular army, signal corps
by the insignia I memorized from a childhood fascination with
WWII, but the uniform looked more like a Scoutmaster.

They saw me coming down the stairs and Frank made a hasty,
somewhat distracted introduction to "The Major," before they went
back to a box of stuff which I learned, from the colloquy of it
all, they picked up around the neighborhood.  "My theory," Frank
was saying, "is that any pasteboard box of well chosen refuse
should produce a usable communications device."  He then showed
The Major a 2N2222 gleaned from a broken cassette recorder, saying
it was "like a triode."  The Major became somewhat animated.  In
no time they had some TO-220 horizontal outputs in push-push for
a TX and a handful  of the 2N222s arrayed as a regenerative
superhet with a 3.579 mc IF using a 4.5 IF can from the same
remnant of a dead "home entertainment center"  Their chassis was
a tire-marked sign for DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit), and 
they used octal sockets and plugs for every discrete device.

I was impressed.  In about an hour they were making contact
after contact on 40 using seemingly random calls issued prior to
the W series.  The stations kept asking them if they were DX. 
All this was accomplished loading my 30M full wave loop against
ground with the twinlead feeders shorted together.  They were
using a piezo buzzer for a speaker and congratulating one another
on its restricted range as I started picking up the unused trash,
enumerating each item so as to encourage future fastidiousness. 
It was then the Major disappeared in a puff of smoke.

It could not be the B+ as they were using a burglar alarm Yusua
that would not charge past 11.8. 

"What happened?" I asked.

"It was the vodka," answered Frank.

"Did the Major drink?" I asked?

"No, No, nothing like that," Frank explained, "When you read
the label, "Smirnoff" he thought you said "Sarnoff" and off
he went. 

"Gosh," said I, picking up another 1930ism, " I'm sorry."

"No matter,"  said Frank as he turned  back to the sideswiper
key made from a broken hacksaw blade, "The Major always comes back
to us."  "I scared him off once, too, with a hackneyed
expression:  "I said: 'You cannot see the forest for the trees,'
and he thought I said 'DeForest.' "
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA VIII-The Boy Over There

Frank & the Five Meter Liberation Army (FMLA) – Chapter 7

FMLA VII — Frank @ War


 
I got enough of Interstate 30 in my 15 1/2 hour Dayton-to-
Dallas drive, so I took one of Texas' farm-to-market roads back
from Greenville and my relatives.  It was then I saw Frank, or
more particularly his brown Frazer parked with some Toyota SUVs
in a pasture.

I stopped.  Sure, Frank is a nutso who thinks he leads a Five
Meter Liberation Army that is going to take back 56-60 mc when
the FCC moves TV up, but at least he is interested in radio.  My
relatives are only interested in indictments, and avoiding them. 
I did not believe there really was a FMLA, anyway; or if there
was, that there were any soldiers in it, so I was surprised when,
at the cattle guard, I was greeted by one.

He was a pale, thin guy with short hair, fatigue trousers and a
camo muscle shirt.  He also wore bloused black boots and red
suspenders.  I would have laughed out loud had it not been for
the rifle slung under him arm so I could see the curved magazine. 
I know the old stuff because my dad once had a sporting goods
store, but the new ones confuse me with their Polish names. 
Anyway, it was the kind Arab terrorists always have.  "State your
business," he said as I noted a button saying "WAR" on his
suspenders.  Maybe some sort of reenactment?  I told him I was a
friend of Frank's and he confirmed it on a walkie talkie and waved
me on.  Again I suppressed a laugh. The handheld said "Archer
Space Patrol" on it.

"Doing a double load of laundry?" I asked Frank
after negotiating two more Space Patrols and a Minnie Mouse Fun
Mic.  "Leecher wires," Frank said of the parallel clotheslines he
was adjusting between the bed of a Federal truck and a tree.  A
10-foot folded dipole of welding rod fed with matching twinlead
was screwed to a 4X4 above the Federal's cab.  He greeted me
warmly to their  "Field Day" operation, saying he fell out with
the CBers over plate modulation but that these young patriots,
while they had some strange ideas, were really interested in
emergency  communication.

"But Field Day is in June," I objected.

"That one is for dipsomaniacs and appliance operators," he
retorted, as one of the WAR persons pulled the cord of ancient
engine that said "Lincoln" on it and a big surplus generator
whined.  Frank began adjusting the rig, the rest of his remarks
obliterated by the noise.  I had seen an 8877 before, but never
on a breadboard.  There was some sort of blower below the
plywood I would have asked about, but Frank drew a spark from a
coil of half-inch tubing with a pencil.  It was about another
half inch that the fire leaped to the appropriately named "Big
Mo."

"Looks good," he shouted as he slipped a loop of  red TV picture
tube wire into the coil.  The other end was attached to a plastic
box adorned with lambs and ducklings and saying "Sleepy time
Sentinel."A baby monitor transmitter, I thought as Frank, with
his other hand, withdrew a watch, opened it, and counted off the
seconds.  He then told the ducklings "Able leader, this is Final
Hour."  I could see he was reading from a card held by one of the
WAR guys, but before I could read the inscription he pulled out
the 'monitor and every walkie talkie in the meadow answered: 
"Final Hour, you are loud and clear.  The Eagle is gathering its
wings."A cheer broke out and one of the W.A.R.s shorted the
plug on the motor with a banana-shaped clip.  There was much
congratulating but finally they settled down to Mountain Dew soft
drinks.  Being tea total I wondered if they were somehow attached
to the Texas Baptists.

"Where is Able Leader?" I asked.

"Sonoma," Frank said, and I gasped. "How in the world did you
reach California from Texas on a self-excited oscillator modulated
by a baby monitor and using Super-Regenerative receivers?"

"Well," grinned Frank, "Some of these young persons are in
the military and one of them outside Santa Fe just happened to
turn on the over-the-horizon radar for a moment or two. "It
really heated up the E layer--just like '58." 

The WAR bunch was cordial throughout, but made it clear that
the rest of the evening would be devoted to "marksmanship," so I
took my leave.  Walking past Frank's Frazer my eye caught the
telltale side loading port of a Krag-Jorgenson rifle.  

The U.S. quit using those in 1906 and I have no idea where
Frank acquired one.
 

de ab5L, michael in dallas, MNHopkins@JUNO.com
Student of Tecraft, ICM and Six Meters’ Golden age: 1957-58
Box 226841, Dallas, TX 75222
Copyright FMLA VII