Demian’s First QSO

My 4 1/2-year-old nephew Demian had his first QSO (ham radio contact) with Santa!

The Blind Hams had a Santa net. A net works like a round table, where a net control takes check ins then lets them comment. Hams have a tradition of letting kids go on the radio to talk to Santa. Legally we can bring them on as third parties. When they announced it I texted my brother Ari to see if Demian would like to do it, and Ari loved the idea. They live close by, and we felt safe meeting in person.

I went shortly before the net. I figured that I could bring my HT hit my ClearNode and everything would go smoothly. After all, I had upgraded the stock antenna. I thought wrong. It turns out Ari’s house blocks radio signals even more than my condo. First I put the node in Parrot mode, which repeats back what it hears. This comes in handy for testing. I couldn’t hit it at all from their kitchen table. I took the node out of Parrot Mode and connected to Blind Hams. I could hardly hear it. We decided to go on a little ham radio adventure to the roof deck. Ari and I went up with the radio, and his wife Sarah brought Demian.

We made it just in time. Pat, KE0TGA, asked for final check ins and I gave my call.

That sounds like Austin, Tango Tango Tango. You are coming in with about a 30% signal strength, but try again.

The response caught everyone off guard. They wondered how Mrs. Clause knew my name. We still had some trouble sending Demian’s name even after spelling it phonetically.

The name is Demian. Delta Echo Mike India Alpha November.

I lifted the radio as high as I could, and Ari lifted Demian. At first he just wanted to say hi, but we convinced him to talk to Santa. He felt shy, but he opened up when Santa started talking to him. After a little coaxing from Ari he told Santa that he wants monster truck things. Santa got the message.

Demian likes science, and you couldn’t pick a more scientific hobby than ham radio! I hope this event will start him on a long and enriching path. Ari said that Demian felt overwhelmed and quiet, but would talk about this for the next six months. I have a feeling that Santa will bring him plenty of monster truck things.