With all apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, I modified his famous poem a bit.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the station
All the anodes were glowing, at full dissipation;
The broadcast was streaming throughout the night air,
In hopes that the world would not only listen, but hear;
The staff were all gone, at home with their gifts;
Except for just me on the overnight shift;
I stared at the meters all normal and right,
And just grabbed a coffee to help pass the night,
When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter,
VSWR trips and plate overloads that really did matter.
Up from my seat I flew like a flash,
To keep the station from becoming just ash.
I looked out the window to check for fires,
And the moon shone a light on the towers and wires,
I noticed some motion and looked up with fear,
But it was only a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I finally realized it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles he travels they say,
But he never saw that curtain array.
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
Untangle yourselves and this full laden sleigh,
So we can deliver these toys without more delay!”
As the reindeer untangled the mess in the blink of an eye,
I worried the sleigh would fall out of the sky,
But up to the roof-top the reindeer they flew,
With the full laden sleigh, and St. Nicholas too!
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
No funding to fix the old roof in the past,
So poor old St. Nick dropped in on his…...
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his leggings,
And his clothes were all torn from hitting the rigging;
A bundle of spares he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
The color was unnatural but he stood with composure,
It does funny things, that RF exposure.
A broken insulator he held tight in his teeth,
The corona ring encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a belly so round,
And Copperweld hanging from head to the ground.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
The antenna was fixed without any dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled the parts lockers; then turned with a jerk,
He cleared the alarms but was still filled with gloom,
But giving a nod, the broadcast resumed!
He sprang to his sleigh, his radio blasting,
And I could confirm, we were once again broadcasting.
Then I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, but please fix your lights!”
Gerhard Straub, P.E., is director, Broadcast Technologies Division, International Broadcasting Bureau, Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Mr. Straub is not the only one whose muse has been moved by Clement Clark Moore. For more holiday fun, read Jim Withers’ take, “Twas the Night at the Site.”