By Dave, N4KZ
I’ve been kicking around the ham bands since the late 1960s when I was in high school and like many active hams, I’ve had some really interesting, even odd on-air experiences. But one incident in particular from a couple of years ago made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I’ve thought about it often since.
If you watch any of the numerous TV shows on cable these days about the paranormal, you know about EVPs — Electronic Voice Phenomena. Supposedly, they are the recorded voices of ghosts attempting to communicate with the living. What I experienced on 75-meter SSB one night was downright spooky. And sounded much like an EVP.
First, a little background. I was a high-school freshman when I got my ticket in the late 1960s. After college, broadcast work took me to Michigan and the FCC assigned me the callsign WB8TOB.
On many occasions in the mid-1970s, I worked George Goldstone, W8AP (SK), locally on 10-meter ground wave. One Sunday afternoon, I called CQ and W8AP answered. I just blurted out off the top of my head:
“W8 Associated Press,” this is “Whiskey Bravo 8 Tired Old Broadcaster.”
Henceforth, my new phonetics stuck. I was known as WB8 Tired Old Broadcaster. And since I worked as a newsman at a Detroit radio station, it fit. Except the old part — I was in my 20s at the time.
In December 1979, I went to the Detroit FCC office and upgraded my advanced ticket to extra. In January 1980, I received my new call — KJ8S. Two years later, a new job took me back home to Kentucky and yet another call, WE4K. And then in 1996, I used the new vanity call program to secure my present-day call of N4KZ.
About two years ago, I was talking on the air with Mark, N4ME, in Tallahassee. We got our tickets together in the ’60s and still have a weekly schedule on 75-meter SSB.
One night Mark and I were in mid-QSO and as I paused briefly between transmissions, I heard something that stopped me cold. Very faintly on frequency, just barely above the noise level I heard a male voice slowly whisper the words “Tired Old Broadcaster.”
Keep in mind I hadn’t held the WB8TOB callsign for 30 years. Immediately, I froze. Just who tuning randomly across the band would have recognized that N4KZ had been WB8TOB 30 years earlier and known about the Tired Old Broadcaster phonetics?
I asked the person who’d just whispered Tired Old Broadcaster on frequency to identify. No reply.
I called out the names and calls of several friends from my Michigan days but no one answered. A few days later, I emailed three of them. To a man, all denied knowing what I was talking about.
So, what or who did I hear? Beats me. Maybe it was nothing more than an innocent prank by someone. Or maybe it was more. To this day, I still have no answers.
YET ANOTHER STORY BELOW
Not exactly the same thing but I experienced something strange regarding a page on QRZ.com. A friend of mine wanted to know what his deceased father’s callsign was so we did some checking and came across his QRZ.com page. At the bottom of the page is the most recent page revision date. It showed a revision 3 years after his death. That seemed peculiar but I didn’t think anything of it assuming QRZ may have made some global changes to their system and that showed up as a revision of pages. I contacted the QRZ administrator who said that was not the case. The only way a new revision date would come up was if the operator or someone with access to his page went in and made a change. I was assured by my friend that nobody has access to this and there are no family members that have any interest in the hobby. It then came out that his father died under unusual circumstances with many of his family and friends feeling he may have faked his own death as his body was never recovered.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist but sounds like, at the very least, a good start for a screenplay.
Ever watch the movie “Frequency” with Dennis Quad? I have the DVD. With the DVD are a series of bonus videos. One short video is on Long Delayed Echoes and how a SWL sent in a letter to a radio station stating that he enjoyed a certain show on a certain time & date. The radio satation wrote back and said, “Yes we did broadcast such a show but it was broadcasted 10 years ago!”
And Finally — Read this interesting story:
Claim: A broadcast by Houston’s KLEE-TV was received by viewers in England three years after the station had gone off the air.