Wednesday, April 11, 2007


SOC stands for The Second Class Operators Club. It's a group of good natured and perhaps a little bit too self-deprecating bunch of Hams who celebrate our human-ness, our foibles, and our ability to screw up royally!

We realize we're not icons of Hamdom; and we're darned proud of it! The only requirement for membership is to realize that you're not perfect and to have fun with that reality. Today on the SOC e-mail reflector came a post by Rich Arland W3OSS who is an SOC member and a member of the QRP Hall of Fame, by the way!

"As long as we are sharing stories: In the mid-late 80s was stationed at Langley AFB, VA and was a member of the Southern Peninsula Amateur Radio Klub (SPARK) who's membership was made up of a group of rocket scientists. No, I mean "REAL" rocket scientists....from the OSL (Other Side of Langley)....the NASA side. One of our FD sites was on the NASA grounds a couple of blocks away from a huge wind tunnel. (Believe me....this was MUCH better than the Nike missile site and it's bazillion mosquitoes!!) Several of our "Rocket Scientists" had researched an idea for a huge loop antenna for 80 meters. They announced at a meeting before FD that their newest antenna design would garner some really good 80M Qs....much better results than over the last several years. The "Rocket Scientists" proceeded to erect their "super-loop" on Saturday afternoon and shortly before sundown they started hunting on 80M with a virtually no success. They worked a few stations over the night but nearly not as many as previous years. They futzed and putzed with their death-ray antenna to no avail. They still had problems working stations on 80M. Signal levels were down and it took many calls for them to work even the loudest stations. About 9AM on Sunday, I was told to drag my Argonaut 509 into the 80M camper and use a hastily erected G5RV to make the five Qs for our "low power points". So here I am, rummaging around inside the camper setting up the Argo. I look down behind the table and saw several runs of coaxial cable laying on the floor. The "Rocket Scientists" had apparently loaded up into he dummy load the night before, confused the coaxial cables (they weren't marked) and tried making 80M Qs using the dummy load. Amazingly, they actually made contacts....I made sure to tell them that I was extremely impressed by their "QRP" operations, but they should really leave the low power stuff to some of us that knew what we were doing! Needless to say, there were some red faces at the next club meeting."

"Rocket Scientists" or no; these guys are prime membership material for the SOC. After all, who among us hasn't screwed up big time to the point of wanting to disappear?

Just so you know what we're all about, here are two quotes from a couple of our members:

Competence is tolerated, but not encouraged (Chris, SOC#436)

I demand the right to make a fool of myself in any way I see fit (Lee, SOC#425)

If you think you're SOC material; and want to investigate a little further, then visit:

73 de Larry W2LJ
Proud to be known as SOC Member #619

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