On my recent trip back to Ohio, I found myself short of time to see everyone that I wanted to see. I knew I would be traveling by an old friends house in Castalia, Ohio (literally) on my trips over to Norwalk from Marblehead. I have always liked the "back roads" when it comes to traveling. It might take me a few more minutes to reach my destination but the drive is always more pleasant. With that in mind, I dropped a note to Dan, W8CAR letting him know I would be in the neighborhood a few times during my vacation. Dan invited me to drop a call when in the area and I did just that. On one of my trips through "Duck Town", I gave Dan a quick call and he invited me to come on over.
It was great to see Dan and also spend some time with him catching up. Dan is one of those hams who I have looked up to for many years and he has never hesitated to give me advice or help me when I needed a bit of direction. I would often times work Dan during HF, UHF, and VHF contests. Dan is a great DX'er and Contester. It was really fun to talk "shop" with Dan for a few hours, hang out in his shack, and simply talking radio.
Even though I live over 3 thousand miles away from Dan nowadays, I still catch Dan on the radio! That's what I love about this hobby. I also catch several members of Northern Ohio DX Association and the North Coast Contesters. Living farther away just makes our contacts a bit less frequent and non-existent on some bands (like 2 meters and 432, which I really miss). But I'm always looking for Dan as he puts in a great signal into Alaska on a regular basis. I get excited when I hear W8CAR come bouncing out of my speaker on CW or if Dan says "HI" while operating K8AZ during contests.
Contacts with Dan and any of my long time friends back east are worth more points than I can ever get in any contest. And to them I say, "Thanks for your friendship and keep those antennas pointed toward Alaska!"