Photo by Isaac Babcock
Silently the signals blast out into the fading blue above a football-field-sized gap in a forest, as two men perch on a park bench, racing a satellite about to dive below the treetops. At 9:14 p.m. on a Saturday night the radio dial spins with a slow franticness, click by click, searching for a sound that may never come.
“Key it,” the man in a gray t-shirt says in a quick burst of jargon. “It’s already down by the horizon.”
That flying radio station zooming past a backdrop of stars is on a 27-degree pass and it won’t be here for long. At this station, it’s all they’ll have to try to bounce a radio signal past the curve of the Earth searching for somebody, anybody.
The storm should have been here by now, with midsummer in Florida’s ill-famed swampy sizzle usually kicking up lightning as the sun packs up for the west.
Sometimes that heat cooks up a hurricane. The generators sputter to life and the radio operators go to work saving the world.
Stan Wood, call sign WA4NFY, used to fly airplanes…..
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