Thursday, November 12, 2015

I just got word from my Burkina Faso

 contact that my QSL card is on the way. This is nothing short of amazing when you think about it. The guy in Burkina Faso isn't a funded DXpedition. He's just a regular guy that is there from Germany.

I worked him three or four days ago and my card is already on the way! A major funded DXpedition generally takes months before the cards arrive.

Of course, he is in AFRICA. That brings on a lot of things to mind. Now let's NOT let the facts get in the way of a good story. I figure that in real life he's most likely visiting friends. He probably sleeps in clean sheets and sets up his rig in clearings of some sort. He's probably clad in a pair of khaki pants and probably a cotton shirt.

Yet one ot the thinga about ham radio is that you don't see the operator at the other end of things. You only have an imagination to go with.

Enter the costume department that has supplied Hollywood for decades. We now picture the guy on the other end of the radio in maybe a leather jacket and fedora ala Indiana Jones. Or maybe he's in a khaki bush jacket with khaki shorts, sand colored knee socks, wearing a pith helmet and with a huge Webely revolver strapped to his hip and carrying a big bore Gibbs .505.

Yeah, that's more like it!

He's sitting behind his rig in a mud hut and hears a Tarzan yell. He cocks his ear to see which direction the elephants are going to go and relaxes. They are not headed his way. Some other village that angered Tarzan is going to get flattened.

As he looks out the window he sees Tarzan swing by and waits for a second to see Jane, Boy and Cheetah following the Ape Man as they head off somewhere into the deepest jungle. Tarzan is probably looking for another alligator to wrestle with.

He turns back to the radio. "Calling Bombay!" he says in a clippped British accent. Of course, the fact that this guy is a German and is running Morse has nothing to do with it. People think what they want to and that's the way this one is going to be pictured in their minds.

It's kind of like seeing a jet plane passing through the clouds and hearing propeller noise. It really doesn't fit but that's what you want to believe so you do.

Meanwhile the natives are outside the hut dancing around the fire. Is trouble brewing?

There is the roar of a lion in the background and the constant movie jungle noises. 

At this point he reaches for a square bottle of gin and makes himself a drink as he surveys the village with an arrogant look on his face and tells a native kid to turn the generator powering his rig.

Or that's what central casting and the magicians of Hollywood would have you believe. Most likely he's actually there visiting friends he made, either when he was there working years ago or friends that are there working now.

If one takes a few minutes to look up Burkina Faso they will find that it is kind of a middle ground between the deserts of North Africa and the lush tropical rain forests south of the place. While probably fertile it certainly isn't the Tarzan movie jungle one sees the Ape Man living in. Nor is it camel-through-the -desert country like North Africa. It's somewhat of a transitional part of the continent.

I once worked an Italian woman with a beautiful voice and from what she sounded like she was a Sophia Loren look-alike. I think of her as the Contessa, a true gorgeous blue blood.

Of course, I have never seen her so she may very well be an 80 year-old 400 pound woman in a muu-muu but I don't really want to think of her as anything but the Contessa. Why ruin a good day dream?

I think this guy that worked me from Burkina Faso is going to go into the same kind of slot. Even though he's probably a guy in khaki pants and a cotton shirt, it is a lot more fun to envision him as the guy in the bush jacket with the big Webley revolver on his hip.

Seeing how I'm the one telling the story, I think that I'll stick with it. It sounds better that way.

Of course, it is highly likely that this guy, while nowhere near as colorful as a movie character has had quite an exciting life in Africa. Maybe even more interesting than most of the Hollywood characters out of the movies.

He just doesn't have a good press agent and a team of spin doctors to turn things into cliffhangers.

Thank you, Harald!


One of these days I am going to have to write about the QSO I made the night the cat's tail hit the VFO and changed frequencies on me. I was trying to work a pileup in California and landed in the middle of another pileup. 

Instead of being mad at the cat, I decided that one pileup was as good as another so I simply kept trying to bust through.

When I busted through I explained what happened and asked for his call sign. You are supposed to have that before you enter the fray but when I explained I got a pass. 

I found myself talking to an Arab.

A couple of emails followed and I played kind of dumb, much to his amusement. He was actually well educated and traveled so it was a lot of fun.

I acted like there really were things such as genies and flying carpets. He sent back that he had one question regarding life in the States. He wanted to know why the US Cavalry ALWAYS arrived JUST in the nick of time.


While we are at it, I made a QSO with a Moroccan that was in Casablanca at the time. I asked him if Rick's Place was still there. I was curious and thought it might go over his head.

Not...The guy was sharp!

He told me that Rick closed it in '43 and smuggled himself out and made it back to Chicago where he met up with Elsa. She dumped Laszlo and married Rick and they had a bunch of kids together.

Great answer! I laughed myself silly when I heard it.

You just gotta love Hollywood.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY


  1. That don't make you the Lone Ranger.

    I got one, too in case someone waving a scimitar attacks me.