Poetry

A Ham Radio Operator’s Night Before Christmas

 

T’was the night before Christmas,

And all through two-meters,

Not a signal was keying up

Any repeaters.

 

The antennas reached up

From the tower, quite high,

To catch the weak signals

That bounced from the sky.

 

The children, Tech-Pluses,

Took their HTs to 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 that 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 start.

 

He ran copper braid,

Took a steel rod and pounded

It into the earth, till

The station was grounded.

 

He tightened loose fittings,

Re-soldered 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 in record time, 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. NickW

ould 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.”

 

©1996 Gary Pearce KN4AQ

Permission granted for any print or electronic reproduction.