Late on winter night as I tuned through the 40-meter amateur radio band I heard N7JEU calling CQ in Morse code. He was searching for someone who had time for a chat. I responded and after that night we had a regular schedule. We even had a frequency where we met.
His condition worsened and within a year his voice over the phone was no longer recognizable. I knew the clock was ticking, so one Saturday Barb and I hopped on our Gold Wing and traveled the 125 miles to his house that was situated some 2,000 feet above the Columbia River.
His wife knew we were coming and she advised me that his voice was gone. It would do neither of us any good to have an eyeball, a personal face-to-face visit. And she asked if I’d brought a radio with me. Well, I had. Somehow, I had a gut feeling that the code-only time was near, so I’d come prepared.
Barb posing on the bike
Me. I’m looking for a place to throw my antenna.
Look closely between me and the mirror and
you can see the Vista Dome.
Barb and I rode to a deserted parking lot near Vista Dome, and I tossed a random-length antenna wire into the trees behind the bike and tuned, and then I went to our frequency and called him in Morse code. He immediately responded and we had a two-way, him on the high bluff, me in the parking lot a dozen miles away.
The green radio was his, a HW-8.
Affectionately called the Hot Water 8
After ten minutes he told me he was too tired to continue and he signed off.
That was the last contact I had with my friend.
However, his wife contacted me after he was gone. He’d left me the radio he used in our last visit as well as the ammo box he carried it in when he traveled.