In a Radio Daze
Two licensed radio hams in the same club.
Aidan Murphy (EI5HW) and Tony Allen (EI4DIB).
As I grew up, particularly in my 20's, I found I garnered a natural technical aptitude.
Show or explain to me a technical theory or process just once and I would have fully grasped it. Ironically, I'm looking at Aoife right now and she's a real mini-me, god help us.. lol.
When the internet eventually arrived here in Ireland (albeit on slow dialup), I taught myself how it worked and I experimented with building my own websites, just for fun. That's when I registered the domain name aidanmurphy.com way back in 1999, that's 18 years ago. Little did I know back then when I parked it up, that I would be taking it out of hibernation 1 year before my 50th birthday and for a mission I never in my wildest dreams envisaged.
Winding back some years before that, I showed an interest in technical radio communications, or Ham (Amateur) Radio to be exact. This is where one uses specific shortwave, VHF and UHF radio frequencies to communicate with fellow radio amateurs all over the world. It is a distinct hobby and is regulated by each country's Department of Communications. Here in Ireland this is managed by ComReg. A specific licence is required for this technical pastime and as such one is required to sit and pass technical examinations in the field of radio and electronics theory, rules and regulations and an optional exam (which I did) in the sending and receiving of morse code, at twelve words per minute. On successful completion of one's exams, one is awarded a special callsign.
Manning the B.A.R.C stand in Friedrichshafen, Germany in 2012.
Photo L-R: Aidan Murphy EI5HW and David Morgan EI7GEB.
My call sign is EI 5 HW. About 10 years ago, I went one step further with this hobby and established B A.R.C: The Ballooning & Amateur Radio Club of Ireland. With B.A.R.C, I have setup successful radio experiments where we accomplished a live two-way voice radio link from the basket of my Hot Air Balloon direct to the homes of other licensed radio amateurs who were in the USA and Malta, all simultaneously, at the time of that specific flight. To this day, we bring B.A.R.C on tour every summer to Friedrichshafen in Southern Germany where for the past number of years, we have a club stand at 'HamTronic', the largest radio and electronics Expo in Europe and the 2nd largest in the world after Dayton in the USA.
Since I started in this hobby, one of the first friends I made was with Co. Louth based licensed radio amateur, Tony Allen. Tony's callsign is EI4DIB. When I got my license initially, I attended Dundalk Amateur Club. I would drive down (up?) to County Louth one evening per week but on the way, I would pick up Tony and we would both head up to Dundalk for the spin. I have to say, to this day, Dundalk is still one of the most enthusiastic amateur radio clubs in the country. Back then, when I was a member they already owned their own fit for purpose main street sited building and to this day, the club owns and operates efficient radio repeaters (remote radio relay stations typically located and managed on a preferred mountain or hill top).
Roll on to the present, both myself and Tony are diagnosed with a dreaded cancer illness. If you recall, I did mention Tony here in my blog before. Who would have known, back in the day, on my weekly travels to Dundalk that we would both share this cruel twist of faith? I met up with Tony yesterday (Sunday) at a Ham Radio event in Dublin and to be frank about it, he looks fantastic. Infact, as I write this, I'm reading a text message Tony has just sent me.
Tony's text to me, and I can't honestly disagree.
The following single paragraph I'm writing here does require
a sense of humour and as such is not intended to offend.
At yesterday's Ham Radio Convention, I sat down beside Tony at his stall he had set up for the day. We had a great chat and catch-up. Swapping and comparing stories on our respective Chemotherapy. For the duration of my stay on his stand, we set up 'The Cancer Club' and were giving out free membership to all who came by our stand. Now that I think of it, we hadn't many takers. Being the type of convention it was and our length of time we are both licensed in the hobby, the pair of us and our personalities are widely known. I call Amateur Radio an extrovert hobby for introverts, but I'm not sure where that leaves myself and Tony. Either way, this was just the two of us showing everybody else there yesterday that neither of us has lost our sense of humour and between ourselves, we were quietly given our respective cancers the proverbial two finger salute.
I also found out we both had something else in common in relation to our cancers, we were both told the horrible and mind numbing news when alone in our hospital beds with no company and without prior warning. I mentioned to Tony my own personal theory on this: It can't be ignorance as we were both told by qualified surgeons in their field. My own opinion is that in some perverse way, it's a power trip, a control thing, a Julias Ceaser 'thumbs up / thumbs down' real life role play. Regardless of what you may call it, it's a disgusting practice. Tony's surgeon was reprimanded for it. As for my prize beauty? He was in such a hurry to give me the bad news, he jumped the gun and got my diagnosis wrong too !!
It took a very kind and compassionate student nurse to walk back to my bed on her own and offer some dignified comfort to a total stranger... me. This young lady was and will always be ten times the person this Surgeon will ever be. I'm not finished with my fella yet, he needn't be concerned about any legal issues, I'll be teaching him a much stronger life lesson, the Aidan Murphy way, watch this space.
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