Originally published in the June 1985 issue of C&E.
As faithful readers recall, we reported last month that the world’s greatest DXer, Q. R. Zedd, A5A, was upset about growing reports of illegally high power outputs by some of his fellow radio amateurs around the globe.
Zedd shocked his area friends by announcing that he was considering QRP operation as an example to all.
At the hour of this writing, the great man was tuning his new QRP transmitters and laying plans for his first venture into low-power operations. A report on this historic event will be forthcoming in a future issue of C&E.
This month, however, we must update the deserving on Zedd’s master plan for making sure no other amateurs run illegal power –ever again.
A handful of us were privileged to be on hand one balmy evening in May when Zedd, operating out of his hamshack at Honor Roll Ranch, just a hoot and a holler south of undertook to quiet the airwaves and enforce law and order on the bands.
As readers of this publication well Zedd had already published his personal the world, stating his beliefs about illegally high power.
Those who might have missed the article in C&E and Zedd’s own monthly newsletter, The Great Man’s Ideas, here are highlights from his observations and suggestions:
1. It is up to the amateur community to police itself in terms of forcing all operators to transmit within the stated legal guidelines.
2. Illegal power sucks.
3. Bandits on the airwaves have had their way long enough.
4. It’s time for the good guys to take matters into their own hands.
On the night in question, Zedd assured us that he believed everyone had had long enough to ponder his message, and take appropriate action to monitor their rf output power, and to reduce it if it was too high.
“I’m sure everybody will cooperate,” the great man told us. “But maybe we ought to just tune a couple of the bands to be sure.”
He started on 75. One of the first problems he encountered was a bunch of people in Kansas, or maybe Nebraska, chewing the rag about the high cost of medical care and jellybeans. About every other transmission, some gargle-voice broke into the roundrobin QSO, demanding that everybody move.
“We’ve been on this frequency every night at this time since 1954,” one of the Cornhuskers shot back. “Move someplace else.”
“It’s a free country, lid,” shot back the gargle, “Nobody owns the frequency. Where did you get your license? At the county fair fish pond?”
The net signals had been coming in about 5 and 9, but the next transmission pegged the meters on Zedd’s receivers:
“WELL, BOYS, I GUESS THIS NERD IS JUST GOING TO KEEP ON HASSLING US. I GUESS WHAT WE ALL BETTER DO IS TURN ON THE LINEARS BEFORE WE GET INTO THE NIGHTLY BIBLE DISCUSSION.”
A carrier came on, breaking one of Zedd’s loudspeakers.
“This,” Zedd sighed, “is the sort of thing I feel compelled to police.”
He flipped a couple of switches, touched up the plates, and keyed his mike.
“Boys,” he said calmly, “this is A5A, Zedd, down in the Wishbone Country. I’m sure you know I take a dim view of impoliteness and illegal power. Now, I respectfully urge you boys to turn down your linears a little and try to get along. What say? Over.”
There was a vast silence on the frequency for about sixty seconds.
Then a voice came back, about 5 and 6, with some flutter:
“A5A, this is (deleted). Thank you, sir, for reminding us of our obligations to amateur radio and the community. — Everyone on the net, please QSY up ten. Up ten, please. — To the gentleman asking for the frequency, thank you for calling your concerns to our attention, sir. The frequency is all yours. Over.”
The gargly voice was about 3 and 3: “It’s okay, OM. Please feel no need to QSY. I am going QRT. Thank you and 73.”
Zedd smiled and keyed his mike: “A5A.”
“A modest pileup responded. One voice slightly dominated: “Thank you, sir. It has been an honor.” “You see?” Zedd asked us with another pleased smile. .Cooperation. Integrity. Ethics. The milk of human kindness. An awareness of the rules and regulations, and a spirit of friendship. That’s all we need. Gawd! I am so glad I got involved in this enforcement effort! I am so great!”
Humming a few bars from the 1812, he tuned to 20 meters.
And that was when things turned nasty.
Next month: Zedd Strikes Back.