The Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shack
Not a transient was stirring. The beam front-to-back
Ratio was perfect, and we were all set
To pull in all the DX we could get.
Mom was on CW, I was on phone,
The children were logging, the dog had a bone
(And was practicing code in the corner, alone.)
The tubes were nestled all snug in their sockets,
And we had DXCC right in our pockets.
I was working Antarctica on meteor scatter,
When right in my ear there arose a great clatter:
I tore off the headphones, and heard, clear and free,
“QRZed, QRZed, here's NP8TRD!”
NP8TRD? I struck my brow with a slap,
And frantically searched for my ARRL map.
It's not here – by golly, I've found a new land!
I quickly got back on the twenty-meter band.
“NP8TRD, come back again, please!”
I strained for every watt I could squeeze
From my barefoot old rig, with its dust and its grime.
“NP8TRD, come back one more time!”
Then I heard NP8TRD loud and plain,
He was asking me to turn down the gain,
Saying, “Where do you think I am, in Maine?
Relax, old man, take a strain off your sticks.
I guess you didn't copy, I'm air-mobile-six.
In fact, if my beam heading's right, and no goof,
I'm sitting right here on top of your roof.”
I ran, stumbling over a harmonic's bike,
Spilling my coffee and dropping the mike.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But NP8TRD, North Pole 8 Tiny Rein Deer.
“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen.
To the top of the porch, now, go easy, squad –
We don't want to destroy his cubical quad!”
With tiny hooves they ran, straight and true.
“Steady as she goes – now park by the flue.”
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down NP8TRD came with a bound.
He was dressed all in furs from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
I drew a bit closer, and as I got bolder,
A rubber ducky peeked over his shoulder.
He saw me there, staring, looked up and said, “Hey,
I couldn't hit ORCA's repeater today,
But I guess the North Pole's just too far away!”
Then he reached for the bundle of toys in his sack,
(He looked like an auction hound, on the way back).
His eyes how they twinkled, in the lights from the tree,
His nose was lit up like a hot LED.
He said, “You know the worst part of this day?
I'll be duping my logs 'til the middle of May!”
Then suddenly he grew silent, for he had work to do.
He filled all the stockings, and when he was through,
I had a hot new transceiver, and a linear, too!
Then, laying a finger aside of his nose
And saying, “73's!”, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, and turned on the rig,
And away they all flew, without brushing a twig.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Let's QSO next year, if conditions are right.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!”, I heard from afar,
“Thanks for the contact, dididit dahdidah!”
Then nothing was left but the vanishing sled,
And “NP8TRD, QRZed, QRZed.”
©2014 Peter Strauss KO6R