In the movie “Christmas Story”, the father character played by Darren McGavin, receives an unknown package in the mail. The infamous leg-lamp, which he called a special award, was apparently some sort of bowling trophy, which he wasn’t quite sure about.

Operating the VHF Contest this weekend, mostly on 6 meters, reminded me of my special award. In 1996, we had an addition put on my last house, and I finally was able to have a real ham shack. I put up a 48 foot tower, and in the late 90s, had a 4 element 6 meter yagi, along with a 2 meter yagi. In the year 2000, I actually had a decent station to work the January VHF Contest. XARC was not putting in an effort anymore after we secured the Rochester Cup, and I may have been contributing my points to the Rochester VHF Group. It was nothing special, but a good effort for me. 8466 points, 166 Q’s, 51 grids, on 6 and 2 meters only. Overall, 3rd place in WNY for low power. Places 1 and 2 had more bands, so I guess I probably focused more effort in 6 meters.

Anyway, some months later, an envelope arrived in the mail from the ARRL. I had no idea what it was, maybe renewal time or something. I was surprised to see I had earned a certificate “1st Place WNY – 6 Meter Single Operator, Low Power” in the January VHF Contest for the year 2000.

Another unexpected special award showed up again this week. Another ARRL envelope, and it was a certificate and a lapel pin commemorating my 50 years as an ARRL member. I recalled getting a pin for my 40 year mark, but I figured maybe the ARRL was saving money. I became an ARRL member in 1971, but in the early 80s I maybe have lapsed briefly once or twice. So I wasn’t sure when the actual 50 years occurred. The certificate indicated 2023.

These special awards aren’t exactly leg-lamps, but probably less annoying to the XYL.

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