dit-dit dit-dah dah-dit

Hey kids, and welcome to


Today we’re going to be discussing my irrational love for all things wireless. When I was a friendless, bowl-cut, glasses-all-fogged-up 12-year-old with snot running down my face, I got my ham radio license (KA0JXA, to those of you in the Biz) and obsessed over dipoles built in my yard. The thought of transmitting actual blips and blaps over a piece of wire hanging off my roof filled me with satisfaction, and offered precious nanoseconds of respite from my dreary existence behind the 7-foot diesel-covered snowbanks of Eastern Iowa.

I carried this compulsion with walkie-talkies, then cordless phones, then the internet, and NOW, fair friends, I have reached the current pinnacle of wireless technology.

Do I have to say it? Of course, it’s 802.11g!


Our Brooklyn apartment is weird, and probably has brick walls (and human bodies) laced in it, so getting a good Airport signal from one end to the other has been a constantly-shifting game of contortionist art. Today, I installed the new Airport Extreme (which always reminds me of Homer’s cartoon dog Poochie that recycles…”to the EXTREME!”) and spent three hours trying to mount it on plasterboard without taking the entire wall down, then another two hours placing the antenna so Tessa could surf from her office.

Now, having been a rabid wardriver myself, I fully appreciate how important it is to give ne’er-do-wells in the immediate vicinity the chance to piggyback on our internet connection. For months, I left the encryption password off, just to provide a bit of public service and a karmic “thank you” to all those internet connections I’ve stolen before.

But then someone started downloading the entire Library of Congress Jazz Catalogue, or atmospheric recreations for the Biosphere, or porn – and our service slowed to a funereal crawl. So, reluctantly, I’ve had to close off our access to the world at large.

Someday, my childhood fantasy of a wireless world, some fantastical system where streams of information are beamed to entire cities at a time from a gargantuan blimp docked in the sky, will come to pass. It would be the redemptive conclusion of my sad dipole in a cold Iowa yard, then Love and Wireless would rule the Earth.

Until then, the fine folks on Berkeley Street will have to make do with the seven other Airport signals they can get from their bedrooms. I recommend “fyrlearese,” she seems cool.

0 thoughts on “dit-dit dit-dah dah-dit

  1. Greg

    dah-dit dah-dit dah-dah-dit-dah
    For a brief while in my youth, I was Ka5DTG, but then we moved and my cool friend with the transmitter was no longer within driving distance and I had to turn to FM and porn. The sinpo(is that right?) cards I received from people all over the world were my most cherished posession.

  2. Alan McLeod

    QSL cards – SINPO is the code for reception quality. I, too, am a radio nerd but I love it. I judge that 48% of all bloggers are radio nerds as well. I have it from the best sources.

  3. Ian

    Oh God, I had two entire walls covered with QSL cards – sort of the equivalent of baseball cards that the cool kids collected. I was especially proud of this one I got from South America (on a 40-meter dipole, which is the equivalent of getting Radio Free Europe through the braces in your mouth).
    Peter, there is a power control in AEBS software that limits the range, but not the bandwidth (or is that what you meant?) – I left it on 100% because it still struggles to get to all the nooks of our apartment.

  4. Alan

    If you ever want a real nerd-radio-fest to wear off some of those New York center of the high arts barnacles, like these guys, we could do a Dxpedition. I seem to still have Build Your Own Shortwave Antennas by Yoder. {…shakes head…} Good Lord! Is this what internet grooming looks like?

  5. Lyle

    Hello guys. I feel compelled to weigh in that reading Ian’s latest blog and the related comments is like, for me, trying to decipher Aramaic or looking over a cricket story in the sports section (“…Rhys-Jones jerried the toggle to the wicket, sliding only razas away from half test. Wiggins added a full abellion for the tooner.”[sic]). I am awed by your technical knowledge! For me a victory is setting the clock on my VCR.


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