N6DDF writes "When I was growing up as a kid, there it was. As tall as it was ominous. 100’ of steel pointed toward the sky and at the top one of the biggest antenna’s I’d ever seen. Though at age eight I didn't have a lot of experience to draw upon, but to say the least it was very interesting. Rumor had it that the man who lived there was a FBI agent. Now it didn’t take long for the stories to fill the neighborhood. A quite man, kept to himself, always neatly dressed and would offer a smile to those who braved a glance in his direction. On a dare one day I asked him point blank “Excuse me sir, what are all those antenna’s for?” His response was simple. “I’m a ham radio operator son” Cool, what’s that, and I was off on a thirty five year journey that hasn't ended yet. I was invited in his house, viewed as a hero for years in the neighborhood for just getting off my bike. In the back of the house, in a converted bedroom there it was. The shack. In beautiful 1960’s fashion a complete wrap around counter with enough Collins gear set in panels he must have had a back up for everything. In the corner a large gunmetal gray RTTY machine complete with perforated yellow tape hanging out of the reader. It was magnificent. "How much did all this cost?" I asked. His response was a staggeriong twnety thousand dollars. My jaw hit the floor. Boy, does the FBI pay well I thought. As odd as it sound that shack made such an impression I’ve been involved in radios, and electronics to some extent ever since. Well today I have my own shack. Simple but sweet, I enjoy it. My roof is littered with antennas. My SUV has a funny looking radio in it and a really large cell phone antenna on the front windshield. My neighborhood is filled with kids all in grade school. I’m a social person, some even say I have a sense of humor. I just don’t get it. In the 9 years I’ve lived in this house no one has ever asked my about my antennas. No neighbors, no kids. I have a 9 year old not one of her friends has ever asked me about all the radios in next to the computer. What’s worse to some extent, my friends never ask either. Do you know what it’s like at a dinner party not to be asked to fire up the gear and let’s go talk to someone. I set out on a mission several months ago to talk about ham radio to a couple of buddies I have lunch with several times a week. I drop a story in here and there. “Hey I talked to a guy in Middle East last night.” Germany, France and Sweden. It didn't matter they just were not biting until a couple of days ago. My friend said “hey I want see those antennas and hear you work someone on the radio.” That was enough for me. Off we went in the middle of the day, look out 10meters. I have never heard the band so quite. Back and forth on 10M, down to 20m across 17m back to 10m, nothing. After a half an hour he looked at me asked, “How much all this stuff cost?” I came up with the only appropraite response I could think of, “about $200 dollars.”"