December 1953 QST
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
"The perfect squelch" was a popular concept
in the 1950s. I know because I've seen it in a few different magazines from that era.
The Saturday Evening Post ran a regular inset feature by that
name. As you might guess, it has to do with making a short statement that has the effect
of cutting out the 'noise,' whether it be from the background of a radio reception or
from an obnoxious person shooting off his mouth (which was the
case for the SEP). BTW, the "Squegg" part of Sunspot McSquegg's name
comes from the radio term 'squeg,' which
refers to oscillations due to excessive feedback, like what happens when a microphone
is placed too close to the speaker.
See also "Written in the Stars"
by Rod Newkirk.
How Christmas Came to S. McSquegg
Ubiquitous Was the Word for Kilroy
By Rod Newkirk;* W1VMW
Yes, it was more than enough to drive a self-respecting DX man to tears. Sunspot McSquegg,
our club's hottest propagation prognosticator, was mad enough to eat the poly off his
ethylene. You see, Sunspot had finally gotten his fill of Earlybird Kilroy, the "sleepless
wonder" of our gang.
No matter what the boys would work, when they
casually mentioned it at a meeting Earlybird would reach into his vest pocket to produce
the perfect squelch - a bona fide QSL from whomever the subject of conversation might
be. Or, if that weren't possible, Earlybird would knock the ashes off his cigar with
a flourish and remark, "Oh, you got 'im, too!"
Moreover, DX was just one of Kilroy's fields of victorious endeavor. Take the annual
bargain sale at Gimple's Radio Supply, for instance. By the time the rest of the club
got downtown to the counters, Earlybird was already on the way home with his station
wagon full of 27-kc. i.f. strips, surplus high-torque radar rotators, et al. The stuff
he left behind for us wouldn't have looked respectable in a brand-new Novice's junk box.
Sure, we could deal with Kilroy for the good items he picked up, but brother, the
bargain sale was over. And under all such triumphant circumstances the guy was insufferable.
His overbearing air of omnipotence was exceeded only by the overwhelming stench of his
But when Kilroy put the damper on McSquegg's 7-Mc. AC5 contact it was the last straw.
Sunspot determined to do something about the situation and dug into the Call Book for
the rarest listing he could find. He settled on ZD5HI, whom he was positive had never
been active, and began writing letters. Letters and more letters.
Subsequently, Sunspot sent the ZD5 a high-priced
14-Mc. rock. He sent him a Handbook. He sent him a new rig and a hot preselector. He
sent him this. He sent him that. As an added token of their friendship, McSquegg even
shipped the fellow a complete library on the subject of single sideband. Verily, inside
of two months ZD5HI must have accumulated the paradise station of the Indian Ocean, all
thanks due Sunspot McSquegg.
McSquegg at length approached the point of his correspondence, figuring that ZD5HI
ought to be about ready to fire up and hit the air. In good time the stage was set; ZD5HI
wrote back that he'd be looking for Sunspot at a prearranged time - Christmas morning
- on a 20-meter 'phone frequency that even Earlybird Kilroy never bothered to tune. (McSquegg
knew for a fact that the only 'phone gear Earlybird currently had available was QRP 160-meter
Our hero had the propagation aspects all figured, too, for that was his forte. And
not only was the sked a sure thing but it was timed shrewdly to coincide with archrival
Earlybird's inevitable daily dog-walk. Sunspot McSquegg visualized a most merry Christmas
- times ten! And, brother, wait until he cornered Kilroy soon thereafter!
The fateful Christmas morn arrived. Sunspot jumped out of bed before the kids, humming
a pleasant Hit Parade tune - "Mine, All Mine" - and rubbed his hands. A bar of "Good
King Wenceslaus" and zero hour was at hand. The 866s cast an intermittent bluish glow
in the dawn's dim light; a few moments later he was working ZD5HI c.w.-to-'phone. Eureka!
A glance out the shack window revealed that the
plot was proceeding according to plan. In the snows outside, Earlybird Kilroy was being
dragged reluctantly along by his cocker spaniel. And, as usual, over the countryside
far and wide hung the asphyxiating pall of Earlybird's morning stogie. The set-up was
Sunspot was penning "Glad to be your first W" on the bottom of an airmail-special-registered
QSL card as ZD5HI started his final transmission. McSquegg could sense the impatient
W/VE crowd getting set to open up on ZD5HI with a salvo sufficient to outclass Big Mo.
It was then that the accented voice in the 'phones literally reached out and knocked
him off his chair.
"A distinct pleasure to work you, Sunspot," said the rare fellow. "Delighted to be
your first ZD5. And, by the way, please remind yaw' club friend, Earlybird, that he still
owes me a QSL for our 160-meter single-sideband QSO of last week. Very seventy-three!"
Sunspot grabbed the window sill and pulled himself up off the floor. He dejectedly
watched Earlybird and his cocker as their figures perspectively grew smaller and smaller
in their journey down the lane, realizing then and there that he had fought a futile
battle against hopeless odds.
Wheezing from the still-hovering fumes of the lethal cigar, McSquegg's own sad-looking
hound, Fleabait, disconsolately wandered out through the front gate to sniff the cooling
tracks of Kilroy's dog - pawprints in the new-fallen snow proclaiming to all the world
that Kilroy, indeed, had been there.
* DX Editor, QST.
Here are a few other Christmas-related items on RF Cafe:
Posted December 20, 2016