CQ from Maine


bow&arrow shooting the line

aiming for an oak branch out of sight (beyond the pine with ladder).


The antenna work shown in an entry below this one did not work either.  It needs to go higher, so R. is using the bow and arrow method.  He’s used it before.  And I wrote about that experience for Maine Metaphor.  It went like this….


When he was unemployed, he hankered for a shortwave radio. It would engage his mind and fill his time while he looked for work. From salvage on his previous job he had some old radio tubes and was able to trade them for a vacuum tube Halicrafters receiver in mint condition. He set it under the eaves on a low table, made from a shutter someone had given us, across from my desk. Night after night I heard the strange squealings and squawkings, the rapid da dits; voices and languages invisibly thronging the air from over the vast worldscape. Otherwise, in the starry night out my window, I had thought the mighty culture of human beings asleep in the dark.

But first he had to string his antenna.

He stopped at the local sporting goods store for an arrow, some bowstring and fishing line. He needed these things to hunt and gather signals out of the air. In the backyard is a white pine so high he cannot see the top of it while standing in the yard. Sunshine lights the trunk’s tall girthy sides with long patches of white. It is massive and bright, surrounded by boughs clean into heaven.

The bow is bent and strung. The arrow’s shaft is wrapped in identifying red tape—in case it lands in the woods among foliage. He takes a spool of fishing line and attaches an end of it to the arrow. Upward is the path to the ionosphere where he will find his quarry.

His feet in work boots are planted, his grip firm on the bow. The feathered shaft is taut in the bowstring, and drawn.

(You tilt your head, face the sky—hard clear blue. Maybe you feel the gaze of your wife, who stands by. She’s taking mental notes on the way you look with your curved bow: arrow pointed, fierce and ardent toward the sky.)

Nothing is now more engaging than this. He aims for the boughs, he lets fly.

The red-wrapped arrow goes. With a treetop so immense and remote, the arrow is in the sky. It arcs over a furry lower branch. It falls, bouncing lightly off a few boughs, to the ground.

He moves to gather the fishing line doubled over the bough, hanging down and blown in a slight breeze. The branch is firmly hooked. He attaches the copper wire to this line and pulls it into air. He walks down to the massive trunk of the pine and secures the fishing line to it with an eyebolt. The wire is now pointed toward invisible and unfamiliar stars, light years beyond the hard bright blue above us. All he needs is to attach the shining copper to a cable sticking from the house. It will route the quarry to his transceiver on its way to ground.

(You’ll be ready to get on the air, to climb up on signals or send out your voice.)

aiming for signals

oak on the opposite side of the yard

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