Zedd Does Field Day in His Usual Style

Originally published in the August 1984 C&E.

As everyone knows, the ARRL awarded 1,000 bonus points to every operator who worked Oklahoma’s own Q. R./ Zedd, A5A, during the recent Field Day event.

A lot of us thought it was weird for a couple of reasons. For one thing, working the holder of the country’s only 1×1 callsign is high enough honor in itself. For another, as is well known, when Zedd enters a contest he works all stations, so the bonus points for 1984 went to everybody with a working rig in operation that day.

Zedd, the world’s greatest DXer, set up shop with momma, Constance Wilhemina Zedd, and his nubile, blond, 20-year-old QSL secretary, Tondelayo Schwartz, in a gully on Honor Roll Ranch, just a hoot and a holler south of Norman. The great man decided to rough it this year and operate QRP.

What a sight it was! There in the gully, in the shade of a cottonwood once held sacred by local indians and now sure to be a permanent shrine revered by the DXers of the world, was Zedd himself, seated in a folding metal chair at a simple card table purchased especially for the occasion at the local Target store. On the table were an FT-7 borrowed from the author, a small power supply from the same source, a mike, a keyer, battery-operated clock, logbooks and pencils, and generous can of bug spray. Straps led to a grounding rod, and coax was strung out to the modest antenna set up by Tondelayo for the operation, a TH7DXX on a portable tower at 100 feet.

The generator purred along in the deeper section of the gully about fifty yards away.

Nearby was a brightly colored pop-up tent containing a few amenities, including cots, sleeping bags, a portable refrigerator, two or three kegs of Strohs, a color TV, and a case of Jack Daniels. A glance into the frig revealed sliced ham, bread, potato salad and baked beans, pheasant under glass, a nice supply of caviar and chili, some mixers for the bourbon, Twinkies, honey buns, frozen pizzas, Hostess cupcakes and 10 or 12 pecan pies.

For cooking, Momma Zedd had the microwave humming in Zedd’s 66-foot mobile home, parked downstream under some scrub oak.

Right from the start it was a fun contest. At the appointed hour, Zedd keyed his mike and announced his name, pouring the FT-7’s bodacious 20-watt DC input into the fray. Of course several thousand stations came back instantly, and Zedd began bashing them off as Tondelayo, in a pink bikini with gold strap sandals, worked diligently beside his on the logging. Momma Zedd, knowing her turn at CW would come soon, took the opportunity to unfold a deck chair beside the portable 10,000-gallon above-ground pool she had brought in for the occasion, and was soon engrossed in back issues of Collector 6 Emitter while sunning herself in a black strapless that once got her arrested on the beach at St. Tropez.

Right away there was a nice DX opening on 15 meters, and Zedd got interested in that.

“I hate to leave that pileup calling me on twenty,” he said, switching the rig over and starting to rotate the beam, “but I figure I can work this band ten, fifteen minutes and then get back to the bunch calling me on twenty, and they’ll have been so busy yelling, and the frequency cops cussing and all, they won’t realize I was ever gone from there.”

He keyed the mike again. “Here I am, boys, come and get me. QRZ?”

It was a lot of fun. In the first bunch came most of Europe, with some Asia stations coming in longpath. After five or six minutes we sneaked a look over the great one’s shoulder and made some notes of the stations he had worked. The top of the page went like this;
1901 OH3DBI 5-9 5-9
1901 3V8MN 5-9 5-9
1901 LZ6PDX 5-9 5-9
1901 J31SKL 5-9 5-9
1901 SM2AAC 5-9 5-9
1902 YA1OPP 5-9 5-9
1902 JT1NNB 5-9 5-9
1902 A51PN 5-9 5-9
1902 VP8SQQ 5-9 5-9
1902 ZA2MMM 5-9 5-9
1902 9U5RR 5-9 5-9
1902 W5NUT 3-3 5-9
1902 HV1HWS 5-9 5-9
“Obviously nothing much on,” Zedd muttered, switching back to 20. “But you might as well give everybody a break in a contest.”

On 20 meters, he worked mainly what he called “locals,” those within 3,500 miles. About 4:30 local time in the afternoon, he turned it over to Momma, who went to work with the key.

“It’s really hard,” she murmured after a few hundred contacts, “holding it down to thirty words so these folks can work me.” But she stayed right in there.

There is no final tabulation of how many stations Zedd and his momma worked. Zedd sent his logs to the ARRL as check logs only. He said, “There’s no sense spoiling the competitive fun for the younger boys, you know what I mean, son?”

We did. In the proper spirit of reverence, we returned home the next day with the FT-7, which we are having bronzed.