Guest Post: You might be a radio nerd if…

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:


How can you tell if you are a radio nerd?

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Jeff Foxworthy made a name for himself with his comedy routine, “You Might Be a Redneck.”

That phrase – you might be a redneck – is always followed by a qualifier, such as: “If you ever financed a tattoo.” My favorite: you might be a redneck if you ever mowed the lawn and found . . . a car.

Taking a cue from Foxworthy, I thought I might help the readers of the SWLing Post determine if they are radio nerds.

You might be a radio nerd, if . . .

  • You think DXing NOAA weather radio stations is kinda fun. (That would be me.)
  • You made special arrangements with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to visit WWV, the NIST time station in Colorado. (That would be our very own Thomas, Maximum Leader of SWLing.com. Check out this post.)
  • You traveled to Newfoundland, Canada, to lay out hundreds of feet of wire to listen to tiny maritime weather stations in Northern Europe. (That would be Don Moore, and if you have not read Don’s posts–this one or this one–you are in for a treat!)
  • You see a display of pool “floaty” noodles, and all you can think of is: “Construction materials for ferrite sleeve loop antennas.” (That would be Gary DeBock, with this post and numerous posts on SWLing.com.)
  • You think it is fun to get up in the middle of a 10 degree Alaskan night to DX an Australian station 8,000 miles away and then find yourself on an Australian newscast. (That would be Paul Walker.)
  • You are constantly thinking about how you might improve reception at your station. (That would be most of us, I think.)
  • You have accidentally said your Amateur Radio call sign at the end of a telephone conversation. (Me, again.)
  • You find yourself using ham lingo in ordinary conversation: “I’m going to QSY to the kitchen.”

So, are you a radio nerd? If so, present your evidence in the comments below.

Spread the radio love

53 thoughts on “Guest Post: You might be a radio nerd if…

  1. The Alaska Radio Nerd

    Guilty as charged, it’s part of the reason I moved to the middle of nowhere!

    Signed,
    Paul “The Alaska Radio Nerd” Walker

    Reply
  2. Bob Currier

    When you install VNC on your MacBook Air and IPad Mini so you can continue to chase FT-8 DX in bed without the XYL noticing. ?

    Reply
  3. Andy

    Jock,
    Actually I DIDN’T ask- they volunteered the information! Good folks. And, yes, I was inspired by you post.

    Best regards,
    Andy, N6WVA

    Reply
  4. 13dka

    1.) you have a long history of spending all of your money for radios, even if that meant you can’t buy food until next month.

    2.) you had some eventful life but you can’t remember all that happened and when, but you know exactly which year you bought what radio and what extraordinary stations you heard/worked with it and when, and what the signal was.

    3.) you can’t remember most relative’s birth dates but you have all HF Aero frequencies or band limits memorized.

    4.) you moved to the coast to improve reception.

    5.) you don’t do walks without some kind of radio and used to purchase overpriced handheld radios because they promised HF reception.

    6.) in a hospital, you were always the guy with a huge oldschool portable radio on the bedside, despite each bed having radio/TV.

    7.) iyou’re browsing the market for a new car and you check its aptitude for your specific radio related activities before you want to know the mileage or if it accomodates all of your kids.

    8.) many memories of your happiest days bring up images of backlit analog dials and the smell of dust roasting on tubes.

    9.) you had high anxiety most of your life, never climbed trees but you remember standing on a 30ft ladder to install a wire antenna, then climbing up a few branches to get it “just a liiiitle higher”, climbing rocky mountain tops for added VHF goodness and other things that make you feel dizzy in hindsight.

    10.) you know next to nothing about your neighbors but you know exactly what QRM-inflicting devices they own and when they use them, you also learned from their line transformer QRM what underclass TV shows they watch.

    (I’ll stop here, could go on and on I guess) 😀

    Reply
  5. Joe Topinka-WA9LAE

    You might be a radio nerd if you try to remove the 6146 plate cap while the DX-60 is still live.
    (That would be me! Nasty shock/burn and bounced off the wall!)

    Reply
  6. Andy

    When honeymooning on Kauai, the first thing you do is visit WWVH and have the incredulous staff, after giving a great tour and showing your you childhood dream (an HRO-500) tell you about some incredible hidden beaches.

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Andy,

      Nice rescue with asking for the hidden beaches!

      I hope you saw my post on the time stations.

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Andrew,

      I don’t think you are kidding; my guess is that when you see pix of the Golden Gate Bridge, you think: “I bet that sucker would resonate if . . . ”

      My conclusion — based on the response to this post — is that radio nerds are glorious company!

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
      1. Andrew (grayhat)

        well, pulling a dipole across the hills could turn that bridge into a reflector, a 2200m band yagi won’t be bad, pity it won’ t be steerable, but then one must use whatever he has 😀 !

        Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Rob,

      Makes sense to me . . . heck, I know a guy — no kidding — who bought a house in part BECAUSE IT ALREADY HAD A TOWER.

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  7. Eric Richards

    …If you see a local neglected tower, inspect it, take down the tower number and call the owner to try to lease time on it (after talking pros and cons with a retired tower site manager).

    …if, during evacuation from a wildfire, you pack the pets and what radios you can save before you pack clothing and medication.

    …if you are seriously considering getting an 8 way RF splitter so you can 4 more HF receivers to your collection.

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      I see, Eric, that you clearly understand the concept!

      Thanks for sharing. (that splitter idea has merit . . . )

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  8. jack dully

    You spent four hours putting two long dipoles in the trees with slack,Then the 40 MPH wind from the NE began for 2 days straight & the rain fell like in a monsoon.Before your first morning coffee you checked to see if your antennas are still where you put them and intact and maybe cut in a little extra slack in.THEN you have your wake up coffee.Life is good and so is hearing Bucarest in English from the woods of Pennsylvania

    Reply
      1. jack dully

        Yeah ! it’s All Fun,my little rented cabin in the woods is alive with strange pops,fax,talk,music and the local birds gotta investigate where its all coming from,they seem to like it,me too

        Reply
  9. Zack S

    You might be a nerd if you like to tune your CCradio 3 to 520 khz during the summer and then fall asleep listening to lightning static.

    N8FNR

    Reply
  10. Wesley Griffin

    When someone called the cops on me for working on my 40 meter inverted V on my tower at 3:00 am .

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Wesley,

      I bet Jeff Foxworthy could build a comedy routine on that conversation between you and the cops!

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  11. John

    When you drive around listening to the white noise of an open channel on your car radio in the hopes of an Es opening

    Reply
  12. Mike

    When you’ve spent an entire weekend participating in a RTTY contest and you’re out later in the day mowing the lawn and your hear “CQ CQ CQ…” in RTTY tones playing in your head.

    Reply
  13. Lennart Benschop

    When you read about an alien world in a SciFi or fantasy novel, the first question you ask is: what would ionospheric propagation be like in this world?

    Reply
  14. Bob

    This past Tax season I needed to talk to a tax advisor. I found one on listed on the internet, I called her & got her voicemail. At the end of my message I left my callsign. What an idiot. She never called me back.

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Bob,

      It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who has ended a phone call with a callsign.

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  15. Charles

    The radio nerd jokes are funny and they refer to those of us who love radio. Redneck jokes, however, refer to others and those jokes concern me. Many people who are called redneck are poor and struggling and do not deserve to be stereotyped by jokes.

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Well, Charles, I understand your concern, but as nearly as I can tell, many of the people who laugh at Foxworthy’s routine consider themselves rednecks and realize that his jokes are intentionally hyperbolic for comedic effect.

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
      1. Charles

        There is no comedic effect of poverty and stereotyping even though the jokes are hyperbolic. It is interesting that the term redneck is acceptable whereas disparaging terms for other groups have become unacceptable. I am glad that the N-word is completely unacceptable and that derogatory terms referring to other groups (Italians, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, Asians, Poles, Hispanics) are are no longer used.

        Reply
  16. ThaDood

    My big ‘Radio Nerd’ one is: You know where you were and what you were doing when you heard that Radio USA was busted by the FCC. Somewhere, I have my own Top 10 list of these that I should redig out.

    Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      ThaDood,

      “You know where you were and what you were doing when you heard that Radio USA was busted by the FCC.”

      That qualifies!

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  17. Bill Meara

    In the morning, you sometimes turn the soldering iron on before you turn on the coffee pot.
    You follow space weather as closely as you follow ordinary weather.

    Reply
  18. Steve

    When I see a car near me with ham plates (I have them also) and use my horn to say …. .. and they reply in Morse.

    Reply
      1. Steve

        Not sure what a QRP horn is :-). I think I’ve only made 2 mobile QSOs with passing cars – I try 146.52 as I have no idea what repeater they might be using. Once went on a long trip with another family where the dad was a ham. We stayed in touch on .52 the whole trip. Of course, this was way before cell phones.

        Reply
        1. Jock Elliott

          Steve,

          If you are ever traveling through the Capital District of New York State, drop a call on .52 or 146.94.

          Cheers, Jock

          Reply
    1. Jock Elliott

      Alex,

      I like it: radio nerdism at its most basic . . . the stories I ‘ve heard about people using rain gutters and even bedsprings as antennas . . .

      Cheers, Jock

      Reply
  19. Randy

    Not radio related, but I knew I was a nerd when I was doing a lot of machine language coding (1960s) and found I couldn’t balance my checkbook because I had added some numbers in the octal number system!

    73,
    Randy, KS4L

    Reply

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