I’m not a comedian but would welcome a few suggestions better than ‘never heard that one before!’
“Well it looks like I managed to catch your attention” was the first thought that came into my head when I read your post.
I usually respond:
“Yes, I am fishing for radio waves.”
And maybe add: “And talk to others on summits around the world.”
Can’t really think of anything that I would post on a family reflector
I would suggest a phrase taken from the Viz cartoon “Rude Kid”.
“Yes, its been a good session. Would like to see in my keep net?”. Then show the enquirer your log book, but put your mask on first!
I find the best response is a simple “Yes”. That results either in a pleasant and educative conversation about what I’m fishing for and the pursuits of amateur radio and SOTA - or in the enquirer scurrying away quickly fearing that they might have stumbled across the local nutter. Either outcome suits me.
If they ask “Caught many yet?”, I respond with “You, for a start!”
I’ve often been asked what I’m doing there.
And sometimes I say, “I fish for radio waves. And when things go well, I talk to radio friends all over the world.”
Then usually the answer comes: “Why don’t you use a cell phone?”
Then I say, “Are you asking an angler why he doesn’t buy the fish in the supermarket?”
I often get asked if I’m looking for aliens!
[Rocky Mountain Salmon | Inspiration Kitchen]
How else would you make it?
I get something similar while doing satellite contacts: 'What are you tracking?"
My normal reply is Space Birds.
I used to be asked mainly by groundsmen and gamekeepers who were probably suspicious of my intentions. I’m rarely asked nowadays perhaps because the collapsed 7m pole I prefer to take lately protrudes less out of my rucksack than did my old 10m SOTAbeams pole, and may be mistaken for a walking pole. I have a pullover bag for my telescoping vertical whip (61cm collapsed) for the same reason.
However, at the summit with Yagi, vertical or inverted V and pencil and paper in hand, frequent questions from curious walkers include “Are you a marshal for a race?” or “Are you conducting a weather experiment?” [I want to quote Doc Brown from Back to the Future but think my witty cultural reference might not be understood]
Surprisingly, many here in the Black Forest have the idea that I need to receive the telemetry data of any animals that have been transmitted.
The question is often not whether - but which animals they are. - Most of them think wolves.
… and then they are very disappointed that it is only amateur radio.
You must be a VHF operator! So am I and with the yagi deployed, people often come over and ask me if I was tracking owls, wolves, lynx, or bats.
Once I was activating DM/SA-001 in the heart of the Harz National Park, some folks came over to me and requested to interfere as some other people left the trail for a picture (which is forbidden in the national park). I just harshly told them to do this themselves and wondered why I got some angry looks. After they moved on Ms ACF reminded me that the park rangers wear clothes of the same make and model as we usually do on activations.
I was hiking in the Arizona Sonoran Desert to a summit once with my telescoping “Black Widow” Crappie fishing pole (my SOTA mast) in hand, and met two hikers. They said that from a distance they thought I was carrying a shotgun, and I was hunting.
I told them that actually it was a fishing pole. They looked at me seemed very amused, as there wasn’t a body of water within 50 miles or more of us. Just cactus, rocks, and sand…
They simply smiled and said “Well…good luck with that!”, and went on their way. They pretty much figured I was delusional from the heat I think.
Maybe I should have said I was going after Sandsharks?
I will often use the classic “Yes, and you’re my first catch today !”
Not inspired by the fishing pole but the headphones, a lady once came asking if I was listening for the birds.
Last week I was on the beach with the QCX Mini and a 3.5m fishing pole, testing a dual band vertical for 17m and 20m. A lady asked if that was to get on the internet, hi.
I let her think it was, but in the meantime I worked two SOTA stations from the beach : HB9AGO/P on 17m and CT7/K9MP/P on 20m. Great fun !
“Yes, but I’m having trouble casting to the tarn/loch/lake in the valley below”.
“I will be when the tide comes in”
The same here in Germany.