100-Day Challenge – Day 21

The next time you hear someone saying a popular expression, write it down. Then, write a short story that disproves the “point” of that expression. How does reality differ from conventional wisdom.

Length: 400 words

It ain’t over ‘till the fat lady has sung.

^ ^ ^

I’ve heard that line most of my adult life. I’ve never seen her, but about 30 years ago I heard her sing.

Leo and I had earned our novice amateur radio licenses about the same time. Leo had acquired a transceiver somewhere, but I was still looking. Barb had traveled from Oregon to Texas in order to be there when the granddaughter, Sarah was born. During that same week I bought a transmitter, a 20-Watt Heathkit DX-20 from West Coast Surplus Electronics. It was a crystal controlled rig, but I didn’t have any crystals.
My newly acquired license authorized me to operate on the small CW segments of 80-, 40-, and 15-meters. Marvin went through his box of whatnot(s) and he couldn’t find any crystals that would resonate at any of the frequencies on which my license authorized me to operate. I was going to have to send away to JAN Crystals in Florida.

After some discussion Leo and I decided 40-meters would provide the most radio traffic. With no experience I took a shot in the dark and chose a crystal that would resonate at 7.122 MHz, filled out the order blank, wrote a check, and then put it in the mail. I think six weeks passed. One evening, six weeks later I found the crystal in my mailbox.
My receiver had been on standby for a week. It was ready. My dipole wire antenna was ready. As dusk began settling over the valley where I lived I installed my new crystal, and with the transmitter turned down to about one-half Watt output I tuned the zerobeat the receiver to the same frequency. I could not believe my ears.

A European broadcast station was operating and some woman with a shrill voice was smack dab on my frequency. I didn’t have the capacitive circuitry to warp my signal to an adjacent frequency and then operate beside her. I had to wait.
It 1:30 the following morning that the woman stopped singing and the European station powered down and then fell silent.

Leo had given up and gone to bed. Not me. I stayed my post and grabbed the frequency before someone else got it. And then I called Leo. We made our first contact in the wee hours.

True to the adage, my wait was not over until the fat lady had sung.