By K5PO, on the scene
MARKINGTON, New Mexico — Roger Matthews, a Markington-area amateur radio operator is fed up with the directors of the CQ WW SSB Contest and claims he’s “Not going to listen to nobody telling him he’s wrong no more.”
His lavishly-equipped radio “shack” is a bounty of fine microphones, including his prized 24k gold gilded Astatic D-104 and his staple mic, the Electro Voice RE-20. From there the finest XLR cables lead to an armada of equalizing equipment and vintage valve processing rack gear. The massaged signal then heads into a painstakingly-restored Gates BC-5B broadcast transmitter modified by Matthews himself for 160m operation. “I figure it puts out about five kilowatts. And I use every bit,” says a prideful Matthews.
The true curiosity in Matthew’s shack lies in what you don’t find: A single receiver or speaker anywhere, because Matthews never listens.
Matthews, a licensed radio operator since 1986, says he sees the hobby a little differently than most. “All these guys, they are just sitting around chatting all day. Nets, contests, ragchews… all this back and forth crap. Don’t they get tired of just sitting and listening so much? I know I would!”
Matthews sat down and gave me a demonstration of his CQ calling skills, and I had to admit he was very good — perhaps the best CQ I’ve ever heard. His well-honed delivery brought me to recall what seemed to be the same CQ firing up on top of a QSO I was recently having on 160m SSB. If I recall, we tried to tell the OM multiple times that the frequency was in use, to no apparent success. It was like he wasn’t listening at all!
This past October, Matthews decided to try something different. He’d heard from a buddy that the CQ WW DX SSB contest was coming up, and he wanted to enter. That weekend, he fired up his lovely Gates and claimed to have called CQ over 267,000 times. He was all over the cluster, often listed under his frequent alias Lima 1 Delta.
When he didn’t see his name at the top of the CQ contest results page, he was furious. “It’s called the damn CQ contest!” shouted Matthews. “I guarantee I called CQ thousands of times more that these goobers with their receivers! How can I lose? I never even stopped to listen!”