Monday, May 30, 2016

Five Seconds of Fame

My ham radio sister, Alison, WA1YKL, spotted me in a video from last week's Hamvention. Coincidentally, the video was shot by the fellow who won last year's Special Achievement Award. I appear for about five seconds starting at the 1:00:46 mark.

Source: Intermix
Wearing TRYB212 dress, Aquazzura sandals and Ranjana Khan earrings.

Justin Kirk
Justin Kirk in television's Angels in America (2003).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bits and Pisces

I received my Special Achievement Award twice at Hamvention. First time was at the awards dinner Saturday evening and the second time was on Sunday in the main arena in front of thousands of people who were waiting for the prize drawing to commence (photo above).

∞ ∞ ∞ 

The site of the awards dinner was Dayton's Carillon Historical Park, specifically in the Park's museum, the Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship. It is a beautiful site for an awards dinner and includes a full-size carousel that you can see me riding in yesterday's post.

There were about 80 people at the dinner including the other award winners and their guests, past award winners, folks from the award's sponsor Dayton Amateur Radio Association) and representatives from the ARRL. I knew about one third of the guests, either by reputation or by personal contact. The rest were strangers to me.

I was overwhelmed by everyone's friendliness and attentiveness. Strangers, both male and female, went out of their way to meet me and chat and in one case, invite me to their home, as I described here yesterday.

My award was the first to be presented and my acceptance speech went well. I spoke for about five minutes describing how I got into ham radio by mistake. My speech was very radio-centric, so I won't bore you with the details, however, it was well-received; the audience laughed when they were supposed to laugh and I received a standing ovation. The icing on the cake was when the other three award winners referred to my acceptance speech in their acceptance speeches!

∞ ∞ ∞ 

Sorry, but there were no video or audio recordings at the awards dinner. Folks took a lot of photos, but I only have a handful of iPhone shots.

∞ ∞ ∞ 

Throughout the weekend, about 20 readers of this blog visited me at Hamvention. Two were femulating, while the rest were in male mode. I have met most of them at past Hamventions, but some were new encounters, although I have been in touch with some of the "newbies" for years via e-mail.

In addition to visits from Femulate readers, countless civilian hams, mostly strangers, came by to congratulate me for the award.

Civilians, ham and non-ham alike, bought my presentation even those who were aware of my male roots. The pronouns were always correct and the gents treated me like a lady holding doors open for me and clearing the way for me through the throngs filling the convention halls.

∞ ∞ ∞ 

For you radio readers, I will mention that I made one purchase at Hamvention: an Elad FDM-S2 receiver.

∞ ∞ ∞ 

Before I close with the following anecdote, I want to add that I think I covered most of the highlights. If you have any questions, please ask and if I think of anything that I forgot, I will cover it in a future post.

It was a remarkable weekend and I had the time of my life. Sadly, the weekend flew by and seems like a blur to me now. I wish I could do it all over again!

∞ ∞ ∞ 

Back at work on Tuesday, a woman in my group who works from home e-mailed me to ask about my vacation. I told her I went to Hamvention and took home the Special Achievement Award.

Ten minutes later, she e-mailed me that she had never heard of it, so she looked up the Hamvention website and saw the write-up about the award.


If she saw the write-up, she must have seen my photo next to it. But she did not mention the photo, so I assumed she was being polite and did not want to embarrass me.

She is a good friend who I have known for years and I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable, so I e-mailed her back, "I guess the cat is out of the bag."

Her response was vague, so I asked her if she saw my photo.

"No, I didn't see your picture. I saw the photos of the other winners and I was looking for yours, but I did not see it," she replied, "Let me look again."

Fifteen minutes later, she wrote, "OMG!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t find you. I was staring at this beautiful lady and didn’t see you! Duh! YOU are the beautiful lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !! I was staring at your photo for like 10 minutes… Damn, your presentation is amazing!"

And so it goes!

Source: ShopBop
Wearing Free People.

West Point cadets
West Point cadets femulating on stage circa 1915.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Women

When I first started going to Hamvention back in the late 1970's, there were very few female attendees. But since then, I have seen more and more women attending Hamvention each year (and I have done my part by attending as a woman since 2010).

The women I have encountered at Hamvention have embraced me as a member of their gender even those who are familiar with my roots.

∞ ∞ ∞

A woman I had never met before and who is the wife of a prominent ham, came up to me after the awards dinner ceremonies. She introduced herself and then asked me if I prefer being called "Stan" or "Stana."

Once that was settled, she went on and on praising me profusely saying what an inspiration I was and how brave I was to do what I do. Then she added that the women at her table were very impressed with my makeup and wanted to know if I gave lessons. And then she invited me to her home. She lives 20 minutes from me, so I accepted the invitation and wait for her to get back to me to confirm a date.

∞ ∞ ∞

One female ham I have known for many years and who is very familiar with my roots, lives in Connecticut, but I usually only see her in Ohio at Hamvention. She staffs a booth near my booth and we always meet up at one booth or the other to chat and catch up, as was the case Friday morning, when she stopped by my booth. After talking for about ten minutes, she had to go, but before she left, she said, "By the way, you look beautiful!"

I was speechless, but managed to squeak out a "thank you."

Then she added, "I really mean that!"

∞ ∞ ∞

Now that I had been accepted as a member of the women's club, I decided to join the Young Ladies Radio League (YLRL), which bills itself as "an organization for women with amateur radio licenses and like radio itself, extends to women all over the world."

So I moseyed over to the YLRL booth, where I was greeted as an old girlfriend and encouraged to complete their membership application. The three women staffing the booth couldn't have been nicer and willingly accepted me as a member of their organization ― even one of the women who must have been familiar with my roots because she congratulated me for my award having seen my photo and bio in the Hamvention program.

∞ ∞ ∞

With all the recent malarkey about bathrooms, I was a little nervous about using the women's restrooms during my trip, but I threw caution to the wind and used the facilities that corresponded with my presentation. No one called me on it and some of the women I encountered in the restrooms, smiled and/or greeted me with a "Hello," so I guess they felt I belonged.

∞ ∞ ∞

The booth across the aisle from my booth always hires two or three 20-something women ("booth babes") to hand out stickers and literature during the convention. They always seem surprised that my booth has a 60-something booth babe (me), but they seem to accept me into their club. They were very friendly and were willing to chat about the biggest booth babe pitfall ― wearing high heels. For what it's worth, I was still wearing my heels long after those young whippersnappers switched to flats!

Source: Intermix
Wearing Caroline Constas.

Twelfth Night
An all-male cast performed Twelfth Night on stage in Buffalo, NY, 2015.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dinner With My Peeps

Every year, two leading edge ham radio groups get together and have a dinner on Friday of Hamvention weekend. AMSAT is one group; they are at the forefront of ham radio communications via satellites. TAPR is the other group; they are on the forefront of ham radio digital communications and I am a director of TAPR, as well as its secretary and newsletter editor.

These two groups are my peeps and represent some of the makers and shakers of ham radio. These are the people I look up to and are in awe of for all they have done for ham radio over the years. As I said in my bio, "My fondest memories of ham radio are rubbing elbows and making friends with the makers and shakers of our hobby who show up at Hamvention every year."

I have attended this dinner every year for over 25 years and since 2010, I have attended as a woman. When I attended as a guy, I mixed in with the other dinner attendees chatting and joking about ham radio and other gizmos.

That changed when I began attending as a woman. Presenting as a woman to a predominately male group who had known me previously as a guy was very daunting and I did not mix well. It got a little better over the years, but usually I would buy a drink when I arrived, stake out a table for me and my friends and be seated to wait for the speakers to speak and food to be served.

This year was typical. I sat down and saved a couple of seats. Folks filled up the other seats. One asked me if I was a ham or the wife of a ham. I said that I have been a ham for almost 40 years. When I told him my callsign, he reacted as if he was familiar with my callsign, but he looked a little confused and couldn't place me... well, you know why.

Anyway, this year, the speakers and food were very good and around 9:30 PM, 150 people were ready to call it a night when the president of TAPR returned to the dais one more time. He asked me to stand up, congratulated me for winning the Special Achievement Award and urged the audience to give me a round of applause.

Not only did 150 of my peeps applaud, but they all got up and gave me a standing ovation. It was a very emotional moment; my eyes began to tear up and I almost lost it, but I smiled and said thank you over and over again.

What a moment! I will cherish it forever.

Source: Polo
Wearing Polo.

Joe E. Brown
Joe E. Brown (right) in the 1944 film Shut My Mouth.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When did you make the gender switch?

This year, my Hamvention experience was amazing and filled with so many memories! Where do I begin?

In case you just tuned in, Hamvention is the largest ham radio convention this side of the Arctic Circle and I have been a regular attendee since 1979. Also, I am a well-known writer in the ham radio world having penned among other things, five books and over 1,200 articles.

Since 2010, I have been attending Hamvention as a woman. Although it was scary the first time going in, I quickly realized that most of the attendees did not recognize me as that well-known writer. Rather, they assumed I was a middle-aged woman, probably the wife of a ham, helping out at one of the booths at the convention.

Aha moments only occurred when someone examined my name badge and recognized my call sign. Those moments were few and far between and I was basically invisible at Hamvention. As a result, I passed successfully.

This year was very different.

The folks who run Hamvention chose me (as Stan) to be the recipient of their prestigious Special Achievement Award. I had to decide quickly who would go to Hamvention to accept the honor.

I thought about it for about 30 seconds ― that invisible middle-aged woman who has been attending Hamvention for the past six years would make the trip to Dayton to pick up the award.

So I emailed the Hamvention folks my biography and a current photo to display on their website and print in the convention program, which means that anyone who looked at the website or program would see that the winner of the award was that well-known writer, but now he is a she!

Some people thought that the Hamvention folks had erred using an unknown woman's photo with Stan's write-up and that is my fault. I stuck with Stan because (1) the people who nominated me for the award nominated "Stan" not "Stana" and (2) Stan not Stana, was responsible for the bulk of the accomplishments I was being honored for. As a result, there was some confusion among the civilians attending Hamvention. The following anecdote is an example of their disorientation.

Throughout the Hamvention, I kept running into a husband and wife in my hotel, who I recognized from past Hamventions, but could not remember who they were. So whenever I saw them, I would just wave or say "Hi" and leave it at that.

Saturday evening, as I exited the hotel dressed to the nines to attend the awards dinner, the husband was outside smoking. I said "Hi" and continued to walk to my car, when I heard the husband say, "Stan, when did you make the gender switch?"

I turned around. He did not seem angry, upset or transphobic, but rather curious, so I politely answered his question.

"I've been reading your articles for years and I had no idea!" he added.

And that was atypical. A few people asked me what name did I prefer, but most people accepted me as I was without asking me to explain myself.

And it does not get much better than that!

Source: Express
Wearing Express.

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
A chorus of gurls in the 1944 film When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I just returned home

I just returned home from my trip to Dayton, Ohio, to attend the Hamvention. I had a wonderful time and have a lot to tell you, which I will do during the next few days. 

Source: Harper's Bazaar
Wearing Lands' End.

Edda Edda
Edda Edda, professional femulator in Weimar Germany

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Stana is away.

Source: JustFab
Wearing JustFab.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carl
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo with Shirley MacLaine
on television's Where Do We Go From Here (1977)

Friday, May 20, 2016


Stana is away.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Intermix blouse, Etienne Deroeux pants and Alexander White sandals.

Berlin 1921
Crossdressers at the 1921 International Congress for Sex Reform on the Basis of Sexology, Berlin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016