Originally published in the November 1982 C&E.
As longtime readers may recall, it was fourteen months ago that we reported the first visit to Norman of Bill Blast, MC of the famous Blast Off DX Net, and his encounter with the legendary Q.R. Zedd. How time flies when you’re having fun.
Blast left Oklahoma a broken man in August of 1981, readers may recall, when he was bested in a duel for an XZ contact by Zedd, whose bolt of rf melted the Blast DXmobile in the process. Many readers first became aware of Zedd’s presence in central Oklahoma with that report.
Well, Blast was back again recently, and we are happy to report that stories of his demise have been exaggerated. He drove through Norman in a semi-trailer DX van, a converted Trailways bus for the head and a =rational C5A fuselage for the radio room.
“My plan,” Blast told a group of Norman amateurs lucky enough to visit him in his mobile rig, “is to drive to St. Maarten and operate the CQ Worldwide with W5NUT and his pals, then hit another six or eight islands between early November and Christmas, and be back in the Pacific Northwest in time for New Year’s, when as usual I will have 25 new ones on my net to start off the year right.”
Asked how he planned to get his mobile rig to St. Maarten and the other islands, Blast said he would drive every mile of the way. Informed that there is ocean between Florida and most of the islands he had mentioned, Blast explained that he had recently perfected an underwater tractor drive and high-fidelity periscope that would allow him to drive through most ocean areas.
“Of course I wouldn’t risk the mid-Pacific trench,” Blast said. “But I ought to be able to make it to islands in the Caribe without difficulty. By the way, does Zedd have any DXing plans this autumn?”
As if on signal, the door opened and the great Q.R. Zedd strolled into the trailer. He was curiously devoid of ham gear, but his nubile, blond, 19-year-old QSL secretary, Tondelayo Schwartz, was close behind his with a two-meter rig, a KWM-380, a 450 machine and an EME antenna array cunningly stowed inside a darling pink backpack. Her Candies clattering, Tondelayo made straight for a leather couch in Blast’s trailer and dropped onto it.
“Whew!” the darling girl sighed. “That stuff is sort of heavy!”
“Don’t complain, Tondelayo,” Zedd told her sternly. “It’s not like you had had to carry it all that far”.
“I know,” Tondelayo said. “It’s only a hoot and a holler in her from the ranch.”
“Little exercise keeps you in shape,” Zedd added.
“You’re such a darlin’ man,” Tondelayo said with great feeling. “You ALWAYS think about my welfare.”
“Go stand outside,” Zedd told her. “Bill and I plan to have some man-talk.”
“Yes, sir,” Tondelayo murmured, and hurried outside again into the evening.
“You hadn’t ought to send her out like that,” Blast told Zedd through the smoke of his cheroot.
“It won’t hurt her,” Zedd replied. “It ain’t raining that hard, and she’s got an umbrella.”
“If you were a gentleman, Q.R., you’d make an honest woman of her.”
Zedd looked up, hawklike. “Honest woman? Listen! That girl is already as honest as the day is long! I’ve never heard of her faking a QSL or anything like that! Why, just the other day I heard her miss some CW, copying along about 75 words a minute, and she didn’t blame QRM or anything, she just said she missed it. How honest can you get?”
“I don’t think you caught my drift,” Blast said.
“I guess not,” Zedd admitted. “Let’s talk DX.”
“I guess you worked that Vietnam station a week or two ago?’
“Only on eight bands,” Zedd said.
“How was the signal here from the latest NASA deep space probe?”
“Oh, not too bad. Of course I had an advantage, having designed the equipment in my spare time.”
“Let me take you into the back van and show you my mobile station,” Blast suggested.
Zedd stifled a yawn. “Thanks, Bill, but that appliance-operator stuff always bores me.”
Blast’s face reddened, showing that the great one had scored at last. ‘Listen! That so-called appliance back there is a totally homebrew setup capable of running 300 watts into the linear on any of thirty bands.”
“Izzat so?” Zedd asked, stuffing shag tobacco into his meerschaum, “You must have used that new chip I designed for Motorola.”
“I’m driving from here to St. Maarten,” Blast said, abruptly changing the subject. “I plan to hit quite a few islands.”
“I hope they don’t hit back,” Zedd said. “Yuk yuk yuk.”
“Last week I worked –“
“Yep, heard that. Took you three calls, didn’t it?”
“In the last VHF contest –”
“You did real good, Bill. Beat me fair and square. Of course I was using a handi with a dead battery in it.”
“Battery? You mean we were allowed to use a power source besides rubbing your shoe soles across the wool carpet?”
Zedd scratched a match and lit his pipe. The van instantly filled with acrid smoke. Blast’s alarm system went off and two fire trucks appeared within moments. Blast tried to explain that it was all a mistake, and got a shot of hydrant water in the face for his trouble. Zedd, Tondelayo in his wake, vanished into the night. “I’m going to get him,” Blast snarled as he received treatment in the emergency room. “Some way. Some day.
I’m going to get him. There is only room at the top for one, and as long as a few deluded souls think he is a greater DXer than I, I will know no peace.”
When last reported, Blast was motoring across northern Florida, and was expected to be nearing St. Maarten by press time. Zedd, meanwhile, said he planned to sit out the contest.
“Tondelayo and me plan to visit my momma,” the great man revealed.
Whether the visit to Momma Zedd’s place near Mena, Ark., portended possible bells of the kind Bill Blast had suggested, only time will tell.