The Night Before Christmas -- for Hams

Yep, I'm an amateur radio operator ("ham"). You non-hams will just have to wonder about some of the references -- or Google them...!

The antennas reached up from the tower, quite high,
To catch the weak signals That bounced from the sky.

The children (Tech-licensed) took HT's to their bed,
And dreamed of the day they'd be Extras instead.

Mom put on her headphones, I plugged in the key,
And we tuned 40 meters for that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged by a signal with power.
It smoked a small diode, and, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones, And with all she could muster
Logged a spot of the signal on the DX Packet Cluster,

While I ran to the window And peered up at the sky,
To see what could generate RF so very high.

It was way in the distance, but the moon made it gleam --
A flying sleigh, with an eight element beam.

And a little old driver who looked slightly mean.
(So I thought for a moment, that it might be Wayne Green.)

But no, it was Santa -- the Santa of Hams.
On a mission this Christmas to clean up the bands.

He circled the tower, then stopped in his track,
And he slid down the coax right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid behind stacks of CQ,
This Santa of hamming knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk of paper and parts,
And filled out all my late QSLs for a good start.

He ran copper braid, took a steel rod and pounded
Right into the earth, 'til the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings, resoldered connections,
Cranked down modulation, installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes in my linear amp...
(Never worked right before -- now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter cleaned up the TV,
He corrected the settings in my TNC.

He repaired the computer that would not compute,
And he backed up the hard drive and got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep in the bag that he brought,
And he pulled out a big box, "A new rig?" I thought!

"A new Kenwood? An Icom? A Yaesu? For me?!"
(If he thought I'd been bad it might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate Station! How could I deserve this?
Could it be all those hours that I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up and then very quickly
Worked 100 countries (all down on 160).

I should have been happy: it was my call he sent,
But the cards and the postage will cost two month's rent!

He made final adjustments, and left a card by the key:
"To Gary, from Santa Claus. Seventy-Three."

Then he grabbed his HT, looked me straight in the eye,
Punched a code on the pad, and was gone -- no good bye.

I ran back to the station, and the pile-up was big,
But a card from St. Nick would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final came over the air.
It was copied all over. It was heard everywhere.

The Ham's Santa exclaimed what a ham might expect,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all, good DX."

Copyright 1996 Gary Pearce KN4AQ Reprinted with permission

Posted December 12, 2012

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