Well… this may be a CCARA club first as the day before this year’s Christmas party, Central Alabama was at first possibly going to get snow. At first it was a (few) flurries, then upgraded to up to 1/2″, then up to an inch, but in the end it was snow-ma-geddon 2017!!! Many people saw 4″ on average, and others shared they had 10″ of snow!!! Now in case you are a visitor reading this and are not from or have lived in the south, this kind of snow is NOT a normal thing!! Many of the southern states also do not have the machinery or the man power to handle this type of storm, so all we can do is ride it out, and hope for the best. Luckily the day after, it was warm enough for the roads to melt and allow drivers back out (as many of the central counties officially declared city streets and roads closed). So onward and upward with the Christmas party!!!

So my sincerest apologies to all, since someone (me!!) got busy socializing and did not get pictures of the food, and for the most part, the only one taking pictures this year as our other photographers were in other areas for the party. But at least I got some of the dirty Santa pictures.

As is custom to our club, there is NEVER a shortage of food at the party, and this year was no exception!! We had ham, chicken fingers, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casseroles, and even some chicken fried rice (has to be a first :o)

Before we got the main event of the evening (presents) going. I had found a Ham Christmas poem on the web by Gary Pearce (KN4AQ) written in 1996, (and who truly is a ham after reading his work 😉 and shared it with the group.

‘Twas the night before Christmas,  
And all through two-meters,  
Not a signal was keying up  
Any repeaters.

The antennas reached up  
From the tower, quite high,  
To catch the weak signals  
That bounced from the sky.

The children, Technicians,  
Took their HT’s to bed,  
And dreamed of the day  
They’d be Extras, instead.

Mom put on her headphones,  
I plugged in the key,  
And we tuned 40 meters  
For that rare ZK3.

When the meter was pegged  
By a signal with power.  
It smoked a small diode,  
And, I swear, shook the tower.

Mom yanked off her phones,  
And with all she could muster  
Logged a spot of the signal  
On the DX PacketCluster,

While I ran to the window  
And peered up at the sky,  
To see what could generate  
RF that high.

It was way in the distance,  
But the moon made it gleam –  
A flying sleigh,  
With an eight element beam,

And a little old driver  
Who looked slightly mean,  
So I though for a moment  
That it might be Wayne Green.

But no, it was Santa,  
The Santa of Hams,  
On a mission this Christmas  
To clean up the bands.

He circled the tower,  
Then stopped in his track,  
And he slid down the coax  
Right into the shack.

While Mom and I hid  
Behind stacks of CQ, 
This Santa of hamming  
Knew just what to do.

He cleared off the shack desk  
Of paper and parts,  
And filled out all my late  
QSLs, for a start.

He ran copper braid,  
Took a steel rod and pounded  
It into the earth  
Till the station was grounded.

He tightened loose fittings,  
Resoldered connections,  
Cranked down modulation,  
Installed lightning protection.

He neutralized tubes  
In my linear amp…  
(Never worked right before –  
Now it works like a champ).

A new low-pass filter  
Cleaned up the TV.  
He corrected the settings  
In my TNC.

He repaired the computer  
That wouldn’t compute,  
And he backed up the hard drive  
And got it to boot.

Then, he reached really deep  
In the bag that he brought,  
And he pulled out a big box.  
“A new rig?” I thought!

“A new Kenwood? An Icom?  
A Yaesu, for me?
An Elecraft, TEN-TEC
Or Flex, could it be!”  
(If he thought I’d been bad  
It might be QRP!)

Yes! The Ultimate station!  
How could I deserve this?  
Could it be all those weekends
I worked Public Service?

He hooked it all up  
And in record time, quickly  
Worked 100 countries,  
All down on 160.

I should have been happy.  
It was my call he sent.  
But the cards and the postage
Will cost a month’s rent!

He made final adjustments,  
And left a card by the key: 
“To Gary, from Santa Claus. 
Seventy-Three.”

Then he grabbed his HT, 
Looked me straight in the eye, 
Punched a code on the pad, 
And was gone – no good bye.

I ran back to the station, 
And the pile up was big. 
But a card from St. Nick  
Would be worth my new rig.

Oh, too late, for his final
Came over the air.  
It was copied all over. 
It was heard everywhere.

The Ham’s Santa exclaimed
What an old ham expects: 
“Merry Christmas to all, 
And to all, good DX.”