ARRL

QST Critter Commotion

Allen T. Poland Jr, K8AXW


Organizing 10 years of QSTs is best done with the door closed.


I needed a circuit for a project I had in mind and I knew that it was in one of my QST magazines. Once again I realized it was going to be a major undertaking to find it. My QSTs were in at least three places in the house. Once, they were stacked by the year but previous searches had left the main pile completely mixed up. Since the project I had in mind was just that, something in mind, I decided that the disorganized pile of QST magazines needed to be dealt with first. The immediate plan was to organize the magazines and then to figure out a way of keeping them organized.

I had long since restricted my QST accumulation to 10 years because of the weight and the space they required. I rounded up all of my magazines from around the house and the book shelf. I laid them out on the shop floor. Under the watchful eyes of my cat and dog I started to arrange them into 10 separate piles.

What would normally take about 15-20 minutes became more like 3 hours. When I picked up each magazine I would quite often see an article that was marked as a “hold or keeper,” or I found a circuit that I wanted to copy and file. When I finally finished I had 10 stacks of organized QSTs and was all set to put them back on the shelves.

Frenzied Fur Ball

It was then that Kitty-kitty, as all cats must do, stepped up on a pile of magazines and then proceeded to walk around on each pile. I don’t understand why cats have to do this. Sometimes I think they’re just wired up wrong.

What happened next is a source of conjecture to this day. Kitty-kitty and Dum-Dawg are two very lovable pets, but they will fight anything that walks, crawls or flies. For example, one day I saw Kitty-kitty trash two dogs at the same time so fast it was difficult to follow! Kitty-kitty and Dum-Dawg have an understanding and until now there have been no conflicts.

I have no idea why it happened, except perhaps Dum-Dawg read my expression and thought he might score some points with The Man or maybe he just suffered a ministroke. The next thing I knew these two loveable pets turned into one large fur ball full of teeth and claws, both emitting sounds similar to those from the two previously mentioned “trashed dogs.” All on top of my 10 previously organized stacks of magazines!

Naturally I raised my voice yelling something about “dirty rotten &*#@!^!$^*” which brought all hostilities to an immediate halt. Both looked at me with an expression on their faces that said, “uh-oh! Or something like that. My 10 stacks of magazines now looked like a Las Vegas two-deck shuffle gone bad.

As soon as my eyes went from them to what was now a magazine landfill, both animals bolted for the cellar steps with the cat making it to the top in just two bounds. Dum-Dawg was fighting for every step. He was down on his chest, tail between his legs, trying to pull himself up to the next step; leaving toenail marks in the carpet, whining like I used to do when I had Frankenstein nightmares. And I was hot on his tail! They both knew The Man was mad! Really mad!

Dining Room Disaster

Two milliseconds after Dum-Dawg cleared the top step the upstairs turned into what sounded like a small train wreck punctuated with a scream. When I entered the dining room my wife was hanging onto the kitchen table cloth, part of the supper dishes were on the floor and she was ashen faced. Our 4 year old was in his booster chair, his mouth was hanging open and his eyes were as big as quarters. My daughter was in the fetal position on the living room couch laughing so hard she wasn’t making any sound.

The first words my wife said was, “Are you happy now? Just look at this place!” Since my dad taught me to read sign in the woods when I was young it was quite obvious what happened. I turned to her and said, “What?”

Once again it came to mind my dad never taught me when to keep my mouth shut. She was now steady on her feet, the color had returned to her face a lot of color the veins in her neck now looked like very large purple ropes and the pupils of her eyes had all but disappeared.

In a voice that pegged my internal S-meter she said, “Your rendition of a mortally wounded elephant scared me half to death. When Kitty-kitty ran across my foot I thought it was a big rat. I jerked my foot up and about that time Dum-Dawg took my other leg out from under me! I had to grab the table to keep from falling. The cat made a 90° turn to go down the hall but Dum-Dawg hit the throw rug, which caused him and the rug to slide across the living room into the chair, which then swung around knocking the floor lamp into the drapes.” The lamp shade was on the floor and one end of the drapery rod was hanging down at a precarious angle. “And you ask what?” I never could understand why women think a disaster makes a man happy. Dad never explained that one to me either. And all of this just because I wanted to organize my magazines.

I finally got the living room straightened up. The drapery rod bracket was once again anchored into the wall and the toenail marks were buffed out of the hardwood floor. Of course supper was later than usual.

Kitty-kitty and Dum-Dawg were now out from under the bed and hoping for scraps from the table. Kitty-kitty looked as if nothing had happened but Dum-Dawg still couldn’t make eye contact.

My wife was quiet but still had some of that “I’m upset” color in her cheeks. My son was in deep thought, which seldom is a good sign. My daughter was quietly eating with her face toward her plate and I could see the effort she was using to keep from laughing hysterically again.

There was peace once again in the house. That is until my 4 year old son looked at me and said, “Dad, what’s a dirty rotten &*#@!^!$^* ?”


Allen Poland, K8AXW, an ARRL member, has been a ham for 54 years. He obtained his Conditional class license while stationed in Bad Aibling, Germany. His German call was DL4TPO and he also held the call K8FKA for several years while living in Maryland. He presently holds Amateur Extra class and First Class Radiotelephone licenses. His main interest in ham radio has been building equipment. He is now retired from the Westvaco Corporation, Luke Mill, after working 40 years as a power plant operator. You can reach him at 1335 Ludwick St, Keyser, WV 26726, k8axw@arrl.net.