Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 21, 2010

I’m a Ham . . . or Was!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I have been accused of being a ham!  True . . . or hopefully, not true!  I guess it depends on the use of the word.  I am sure some have called me a ham in the sense that it is used to describe a person who is a show-off, or one who plays to the crowd or overacts.  If I was, then hopefully now, I am not!  That term of  “ham” is used of a person.  “He is such a ham!” 

But there is another prominent use of the term.  It is connected with amateur radio.  One who operates such a radio is called a ham operator.  That I could be called . . . or at least, I was a ham operator!

The term “ham” used of operators of such a radio has an unknown origin.  There are several suggested origins, but none can be documented. The one most often heard goes to the early days of amateur radio when the government did not assign call letters for a station.  The operators simply made up their own. Supposedly, three Harvard students named Hyman, Almay, and Murray set up a station and decided to use their initials as the call letters.  Thus, HAM.  However, this has never been verified.

Ham radio was the primary communication for us when we lived in Costa Rica.  The radio could span the distance and cost nothing compared to the use of a telephone, if one was available.  There was much pleasure in operating the ham radio.  It provided communication with our parents, as well as with other missionaries.

The most difficult part, for me, of becoming a licensed ham operation (which is required in order to get your call letters) was learning Morse code.  Fortunately, that is no longer required to receive a license and call letters.  There was also much vocabulary to learn in order to properly communicate without using terms that would be confusing.

But we got on the air!  We moved temporarily to an apartment during a transition time.  It was an apartment that had a second floor.  I prepared to erect the tower that would hold the antenna.  This forty foot high antenna would make it possible to have a clear signal regardless of the altitude of the mountain around us.

I had carefully erected each section and secured it to the wall of the apartment.  As I was on the roof preparing to install the antenna at the top of the tower, I looked down and saw an unbelievable sight.  We had recently become the owners of two terriers that another missionary family could not take with them when they left the country.  These two dogs were climbing that ladder!

With hand motions and voice I tried to get them to go back down.  They did not respond,  but continued the climb until they reached the roof.  I pulled them onto the roof with me.  Now the dilemma!  They could not climb back down.  If they tried to walk down head face, they would tumble and fall.  They certainly could not back down.  I had no choice but to seek to carry them down.  They did not favor this method.  I called for Judy, and she opened the window of the second floor. With a strong grip on one, I went down the ladder several rungs until I could hand her the dog through the window.  Then I proceeded to do the same with the other.  By now, I was thinking these could be circus dogs!  They were certainly “hamming” it up!

We soon discovered as the dogs came out of the house to the yard, they headed directly to the ladder.  They were ready to climb again.  We could never leave a ladder up without those two dogs being obsessed to climb it!  As I was practicing my ham operator language, I believe I invented a few new words of command for these dogs!  But they never understood!

The specific language among ham operators is interesting. There are a few terms that perhaps could be used in my prayer life.

“Over”  This means I have finished talking and I am listening for your reply.  It is short for “Over to you.”  My prayer life should not be where I do all the talking.  I must stop and listen.  I pray because I desire a word from God.  Perhaps I need to be more conscious that a conversation can occur between God and me.  Oh, I may not expect the audible voice, but God has a way to speak to my inward being.  I need to wait for a reply.

“Copy”  This means I understand what you just said.  Certainly God is pleased when we can respond that we have heard and understood His answer or directions to us.  I am not sure I always say “copy” to Him.  But I should . . . .

“Say again”  This means please repeat your last message.  The word repeat is not used as it is a specific command when calling for artillery fire.  It also sounds a little softer.  I know I have often said in my spirit, “God would you say that again to me?  I am not sure I understood.”  I need to listen more intently to Him.  My walk with Him should not require that He has to tell me something several times!

There is one phrase that I certainly would never use with God.  It is the language, “Out” or “Clear.”  It means I have finished talking to you and I do not expect a reply.  In my prayer life, I might indicate that I have finished when I say Amen, but I certainly would not say “I don’t expect a reply.”  Except for a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, I do expect a reply!

And so, as with so many objects and experiences in my life, I continue to learn more about myself and my relationship with my God.

“” . . . Lord, teach us to pray . . . .”  (Luke 11:1)  “Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  (Jeremiah 29:12)  “Answer me when I call  to you, O my righteous God.”  (Psalm 4:1)  “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.”  (Psalm 17:6)



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