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Posts Tagged ‘Ham radio’

I caught a vision of you
I peeped into your room and there you were. Sitting at the tangled mass of wires and electronic equipment that stood piled up on your desk. This was hallowed ground and a place where I did not venture unless I was invited. After all he was my big brother and someone who I looked up to as a child.
I’d always wanted me to follow where you walked.
The call came out loud and strong, “ZS1MJ…….calling ZS1MJ.” I sqeezed through the opening and made my way across the room to the voice beaming from the speaker. My brother was a HAM radio enthusiast, a hobby which he began as a young man. This was before the internet boom and when radio played a huge part in our entertainment and leisure. I edged closer and he gestured towards a chair. I was always thrilled to be part of this action and to be able to connect with him in this manner. I was so much younger than him and I was still in my doll- playing phase. Hence the lack of common interest! It fascinated me as he spoke to people all over Africa. He even assisted in relaying messages during a disastrous flood in the arid Karoo in South Africa, when all normal forms of communication had broken down. Some stranded farmers were able to get messages out via their shortwave radios. My brother picked up these calls for help and passed them on to the relevant authorities.
The sand it falls away into the hour glass.
My interest in the radio activities was soon to change direction as I moved into adolescence. There was an upbeat radio programme that used to beam out from Mozambique. It was known as LM radio and those of you that are old enough would remember it! It played all the magnificent 1970’s music late into the night. Before my brother moved away to go to university, he set me with a huge old submarine valve radio which was able to pick up this station loud and clear. I still recall the big black box with the name HALICRAFTER emblazoned across the front. My favourite for the week was The Top 20 programme. The problem was that it went on till the wee hours on a Sunday night. It called for ingenious methods so that I could break my bedtime curfew.

My brother with me on the end.

My big brother…..

The years passed and we went our different ways as young families do, but he was always there. We kept in touch even after he made a move over to the United States with his then young family. We did manage to catch up on visits back to South Africa and we made the trip over a few times too.
We may have built a life away in other towns. But blood is thicker than the water in the ground.
Little did I realise that we would make that trans Atlantic move too but ours was to Canada. He was a pillar of strength especially in those early years when everything was so new. He had walked that road with his own family.
Some things in life were made to last, like brother when I see you, no time has passed.
So today I want to wish and honour you. May you continue to grow as I know you will…..there are not too many people who go back to university in their 60s to get their Masters Degree and who read and widely as you do. I am proud to have you as my brother.
Happy birthday!

Out exploring in Toronto with my Boet....

Out exploring in Toronto with my Boet….

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