Adullam Camp stuck out into the Desert. I named it this of the original Adullam, where King David collected all the discontented as you may read in the Good Book. I was no King David, but there was a lot of discontented in that camp! The Authorities never saw joke. The Desert you will recall is the natural haunt of devils; the Good Book also says that. Moreover we were but a mile or so from their unlucky airfield of Heliopolis, so we were nice and handy for their surplus Gremlins. Most of you will have experienced the piece equipment that is for ever going wrong, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. The RAF were firm believers in the Gremlin as the cause. We had one notorious example, which could have been that been tat or even the local equivalents:- Afreets, Djinns or whatever.

One day I was visiting the United Stores and behold, on a shelf very nice new transceiver of US origin. The man in charge denied knowledge of it and swore it was not there the day before. The Lab reported it as ok so I shoved it into one of the cars we ran. When this was done I collected my number one who had worked in Egypt for years and invited, him to find a nice quiet spot 20 miles away so that test back to base.

We crossed the town, went past the Coptic Churches, past t he ruins of Old Cairo past the big Marconi Station and finished up in a very rural spot at the side of the Nile. All very peaceful. We settled few feet from the rivers’ edge in a reach where big Black and White Kingfishers were catching tiddlers and paid us little attention, It was hot and the river was at its lowest just before the floods. The transceiver which had been working all the way there promptly packed and I began to fiddle with it with no success.

Three Egyptian lads were mending the track with broken up stones and dirt in the potholes. Why they did it then, when the road would be under water for weeks in the near future, nobody knows. That however is Egypt.
I continued to wrestle with the set without success, and the road menders came opposite us. Soon they piled their tools, hammers and shovels, and came across for a look at us. A loud discussion in Arabic soon followed. Luckily my number one was a fluent speaker of that tongue. I was not sure  what I heard so I queried it to him, “Fred, did I hear them say  “Let us kill them with a Shakush, whatever that might be, and take their money”. “The word Shakush means hammer and you should learn it Major, it is a useful word.” ‘Yes, indeed I will, but I thought a hammer is metraqua?”. ‘Not in Egypt, probably Palestine”.

The party moved back to the piled tools and collected a hammer. Two safety catches came off our (forbidden by Cairo Area Orders) Remington .38 Automatics
The spokesman approached, “You give me money Captain, we poor men. Mr Abdul, him, Musa, him Zaaki”. “God will provide O Abdul”
He began his move and the first gun went off a few inches from his forehead, pointing skywards. The bold Abdul went over on his back and his mates took to their heels. When he discovered that he was not dead he followed, and when last seen, had overtaken them. The Slave of God was evidently a better runner than either the prophet or the patriarch.

I should have been warned. That wretched transceiver played up  every time it could, often in most unwholesome situations. Finally it were caused me miles of detours in Palestine to avoid. the Irgun and I decided Joke. to get rid of it. How? As it came, on somebody else’s shelf with it’s bad luck intact I  never enquired as to its health.

Eric Vast – August 1985.

Return to the index of Vital Spark articles.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa