I guess it started as a long forgotten childhood dream, but as some know I got into this looking for a couple of Old School radios as decorator pieces for my place.
I was cruising places on line, Craigslist and eBay mainly and while doing so I mentioned it to a shipmate of mine. About an hour later he looked up at me and pointed to something on eBay. It was an old early Vietnam era Chinese radio set complete with everything in it but a hand generator.
"Buy this one, Pic" he said. "I can picture you sitting on top of a hill somewhere stirring things up by sending out messages that you are a WW2 leftover Japanese holdout sitting on a hill in New Guinea awaiting the return of the rest of the Emperor's army!"
He mimed sending code. "Beep, beep, beepba beep beep," he said. "Sergeant Toyota Prius on hill 888 is getting pretty old. When are you coming back?"
"Laugh, you bastard!" I shot back. "Watch this! Better yet, let's make this official. HOLD MY BEER and watch this!"
"Oh, Lord! When I hear 'hold my beer and watch this' I generally reach for an accident report," he replied.
While there is no beer aboard ship, the term is well understood by almost every male out there.
I looked at the set and contacted the seller who was a really decent guy. He told me it was not the set for me but it made me decide to hunt. I wound up with what I have, which is a PRC 320.
Well, last night it came full circle and I sent the message and I guess someone got it.
"Sergeant Toyota Corolla, Imperial Japanese Army in New Guinea Standing by. I am getting old. Bring sake and comfort girl. Long live Emperor! "
My morse is extremely slow and I can not read it for sour apples. I did, however stay legal and identify myself with my call sign but I sent my call sign out on low power and the main message on high which I suppose is legal, even if it is pushing it a little.
Anyway I got an answer of some sort even though he sent way too fast for me to even try and keep up with so I had to break it off and I suppose he is still hanging.
While 97.4% of the people out there have at least half a brain I have tremendous luck running into the remaining 2.6%. Keep your eyes on the news for the next couple of days and see if anything happens.
Right now I have visions of about three battalions of Japanese Self-Defense forces being scrambled and stumbling around in the New Guinea jungle somewhere cursing and tripping over vines, stumbling into creeks, falling off of cliffs and using much foul language.
While there is no foul language in the Japanese vocabulary, the troops are troops and I would bet they are probably pretty well versed in the fine art of cussin' up a storm, probably in English which was likely passed down to them by US Marines during the post-war occupation.
I would love to be a mouse in the pack of one of these poor guys. I can picture the whole terrible mess I may very well have created. It would be a joy to watch the carnage I have created. Picture this, 2000 poor Japanese soldiers crashing through the boonies somewhere aggravated and half out of their skulls with pent up rage at being sent out to BFE chasing a phantom.
Every single Japanese soldier KNOWS that there is nothing out there and even if there really is a guy who has been hiding out since 1944, he has been chased countless times over the years and they know that to him escaping detection by them is child's play.
"Hey, Sarge, What's this thing?"
"You idiot! That's a dud grenade! Get rid of it!"
"Gee, Sarge! Whoda ever guessed? Everyone OK?"
The smoke clears to expose twenty Japanese soldiers looking at each other wide-eyed and agape.
"ARRRRGH!" Slip. Slide. Tumble ass over teakettle down a hillside into an awaiting creek teeming with alligators and piranaha.
Splash! And the young Japanese soldier then proves that not only Jesus, but he too, can not only walk, but RUN on water. He runs across the creek with alligators snapping at him missing him by inches.
"Why are we out here, anyway?"
"Probably some New Guinea tourist bureau guy sent the bogus message so we'd come out here and bring in a few yen."
"Hah! They'd have found some way to get the Americans to do something like this. They spend money on a lot more tourist stuff than we do."
"Most likely some old man in the United States still carrying a grudge over being sent out to this Godawful hellhole back in 1944. Judging from what it is like here I can't blame him!" says a corporal seconds before he has to step quickly to avoid a humongous snake of some sort that just slithered in out of nowhere.
"Hey, my great uncle, Toyota Corolla was sent out here. Maybe it's him," says an eager private.
"Nah. This guy is supposed to be a corporal."
"Maybe he got promoted," adds another guy.
"He was a lieutenant," says the private, slapping a mosquito the size of a raven that had come close to sucking two quarts of blood out of his arm. It is his 273rd skeeter kill of the day.
"Maybe he got busted," says another private.
"I shoulda joined the Navy."
"My grandfather fought HERE? If we had just GIVEN this place to the Americans we would have probably won the war!"
"Ouch! Don't go this way, guys!"
"Hey, the guy supposidly wanted a bottle of sake. I wonder if the officers have one for him?"
"Probably not. He wanted a woman, too, but you don't see one."
"Maybe we can give him that round-eye American newswoman," says someone else. Laughter.
Katie Couric, sent there to cover this circus is not stupid. Her female intuition goes into gear. Although she speaks no Japanese the tone of laughter tips her off and she calls New York on her satellite phone and demands that they air drop her a titanium chastity belt, most riki-tik.
Geraldo Rivera is there, of course, speculating all sorts of things and running off at the mouth with his greasy moustache flopping around babbling incoherently like he did when they opened Al Capone's secret room and found only an empty coke bottle. He looks uncomfortable like he knows this is going to be a rerun of his Al Capone's secret room story and he is trying to figure out how to talk his way out of this fiasco to be.
About the only thing this entire carnival lacks is George Foreman showing up trying to sell the Japanese soldiers his latest no-fat grille, "Great for cooking fish! Only 2600 yen plus handling and shipping!"
And here I sit behind my laptop 7200 miles away with a satisfied smile on my face, watching Katie Couric getting bit on the ass by a spider the size of a plate as she tries to cover all three rings of the circus I have created at once.
Ham radio has now come full circle for me.
Of course, a more likely scenario is that the answer I received from my little message that I could not understand because I can not read code as fast as he sent it is that it read something like "You sushi head. You think I just fell off the turnip truck, or what?"
my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/