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Author Topic: Novice Historical Society  (Read 2519 times)
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k4kyv
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Don
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« on: July 04, 2011, 03:26:06 PM »

Welcome to the website of the Novice Historical Society. Earlier versions of this website were started in the mid-2000s when Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C noticed he was having the same conversation over and over again with his fellow hams, gee what a great time I had when I was a Novice. Cliff had a great time as a Novice too when he started as WN6JPA in 1975. He was not in scouting, but instead his elmer Ted Ryan, WB6JXY (sk) taught him good values through amateur radio in the electric shop at John Burroughs Jr. High School in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. In these conversations Cliff had, hams consistently said the year(s) they spent as a Novice gave them the most fun they had in ham radio. They discovered our hobby. Everything was new and exciting! Other hams went out of their way to help and teach them. Cliff set-up an early version of this website in the mid-2000s so he and his friends could record the stories for history and to teach newcomers what ham radio is about. Hams trained in the Novice era's great traditions are passing away. This history needs to be preserved.

http://www.novicehistory.org/
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
Licensed since 1959 and not happy to be back on AM...    Never got off AM in the first place.

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W3GMS
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 04:26:54 PM »

Don,

That is a great website.  Thanks for passing it along.

My novice days were full of excitement as well.  I still have all my old novice QSL cards and going through them bring back many fine memories.  I know some Ham's skipped the Novice Class of license, but I would have not missed those Novice days for anything.  I did skip the technician class so for me it was Novice, General then incentive licensing at which time I upgraded to Advance and then Extra when they still had the 20 WPM code exam.  A very fun ride!

Joe, W3GMS
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K5UJ
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 05:14:29 PM »

When that thing was new I got a spam kind of email inviting me to contribute a reminiscence.  I wrote back privately telling him I didn't think anyone would want to remember their novice days explaining that mine stank--I had poor equipment and lousy antennas because I was a novice and didn't know what I was doing etc.  Without my permission, he posted my semi-rant publicly on that website, has ignored my communications in the past and continues to send me this spam email about his stupid novice glory days website.   Well I guess i was wrong--most folks are misty eyed over their novice days but I am angry still, about his use of my private correspondence and his lack of response to me.  That was a few years ago and I gave up but maybe I should try contacting him again.  He didn't even get my novice callsign right.
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 05:23:45 PM »

My Novice participation was roughly 330 days. I remember it like I remember my first date  Huh
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k4kyv
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2011, 06:02:30 PM »

I took my Novice exam in June '59. I built a homebrew 30 watt transmitter while waiting for the ticket to arrive, which happened in August. Operated on 3714 kc/s (the only xtal I had) for 3 months until I upgraded to General in November. Upgraded ticket came exactly one month after I took the General exam at the FCC quarterly exam point.

My novice receiver was a converted 1930s broadcast receiver that had a couple of short wave bands and a long wave band.  I removed the power supply components from the chassis and rebuilt the PS as a separate unit, and built a homebrew BFO in the space on the receiver chassis where the power supply had been.

The novice ticket allowed many hams to get on the air, who otherwise would never have achieved the 13 wpm code speed with nothing but a key and tone oscillator. It created a boom in the amateur radio population during the 50s.

By the late 50s and early 60s, there was concern that amateur radio was growing too fast, with no prospects on the horizon for additional operating frequencies. Incentive licensing was largely a reaction to that concern. It worked; after IL passed, amateur radio growth slowed to a trickle.
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
Licensed since 1959 and not happy to be back on AM...    Never got off AM in the first place.

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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2011, 07:27:51 PM »

after IL passed,

Sorry to hear that; it was a nice state.
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w3jn
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 11:22:07 PM »

When that thing was new I got a spam kind of email inviting me to contribute a reminiscence.  I wrote back privately telling him I didn't think anyone would want to remember their novice days explaining that mine stank--I had poor equipment and lousy antennas because I was a novice and didn't know what I was doing etc.  

Amen.  I hated CW, was struggling with a HW-7 (couldn't afford anything better) that I never managed any contacts with.  I have NO good memories of being a novice at all.  I couldn't wait to upgrade.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 10:00:53 AM »

Novice in 1968.
I learned a lot and like you Johnny, I didn't have the best equipment.
My receiver was an S-38C to start. I ended up making a copy of the Heath Q multiplier for it.
The difference was night n' day. I actually made a good number of contacts with that and a Handbook 6DQ6 transmitter.
Within months I aquired the Viking Bud and began my strapping endeavors!!
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K1JJ
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 11:33:56 AM »

Novice time was a great time in 1964. A tremendous challenge. Things like calling CQ on 3716 for three days with a shorted Gotham vertical -  wihout a single answer....    

Calling CQ with a DX-20   * without a receiver *  for a week  just to get a fix - cuz I couldn't afford a RX at the time.

Putting up a 20M dipole and working European DX on CW as a boot until my ham uncle one mile away busts me.

Using paper route money to buy 170' of ChannelMaster telescoping mast - actually attempting to put it up in one piece.

Plastering my wall with "Brownie" sample QSL cards [and fake comments] to look cool until I got real ones.


My Novice theme song:  "If I only had a brain."

T

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kg8lb
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 05:55:21 PM »

 CW was a ball ! The main reason to upgrade was to get the added CW band segments. The infatuation with phone is fading fast . But CW was always magic.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 06:01:18 PM »

CW was a ball ! The main reason to upgrade was to get the added CW band segments. The infatuation with phone is fading fast . But CW was always magic.

And it was great for hams that had/have squeaky voices.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2011, 06:20:51 PM »

CW was a ball ! The main reason to upgrade was to get the added CW band segments. The infatuation with phone is fading fast . But CW was always magic.

And it was great for hams that had/have squeaky voices.

 As well as not having to listen to the squeaky voices . Then there are the people who think their voices are so special thay need 10KW and 25 KC to do it justice . Not so with CW  Grin
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2011, 07:41:16 PM »

I find it amusing that I don't see any of the hams, who say the novice year was the best year of their ham life:  1. getting rid of all their gear that has VFOs, 2.  getting rid of anything that runs more than 75 watts, 3.  getting rid of anything that has anything to do with phone, and 4.  confining themselves to 50 kc backwater segments in 80, 40, 15 and 10 (and 2 meters IIRC) where they can send rockbound CQs and tune the sub-band band listening for replies.   I mean, if they really think being a novice was so WONDERFUL
no one is stopping them from living the dream all over again.  Cheesy

Me, when my ticket came with WB5KUJ on it, I felt like I had gotten out of jail.
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2011, 07:43:03 PM »

I was only a novice for a few months (late winter '75) before upgrading to general.  The good news was I got a response to my very first CQ (on 40 meters), the bad news was it was a station telling me I was out of the novice band Sad  

The Johnson Valiant my parents bought me for Christmas came with two crystals in it and I used them and the procedure in the manual to calibrate the VFO with the help of my trusty SX-62 receiver.   Note to self:  sometimes people grind crystals to a new frequency WITHOUT bothering to note that on the outside of the crystal Smiley  Using this mislabeled crystal will create calibration problems.

After one week with the SX-62 I upgraded to a SX-101 and discovered the fun of 15 meters.  My second CQ on that band netted a contact with a VQ9 (Seychelles).  

After a couple of months of this I received a general and acquired a Heathkit SB-102 with sticking relays which made VOX unusable and is probably the reason I have never felt the need for VOX.  Even with the SB-102 I stayed mostly on CW and had fun with DX on 20 meters.  Many years later in 1994 I received tenure at the university and put together a decent DX/contest setup and fairly quickly grew bored with this version of radio.   I decided to recreate my novice station hoping to also recapture some of the fun of those days.   I never used my original Valiant on AM but the one I bought in 1994 has spent more time on AM than CW.  Unlike my original setup I do use a relay now for T/R.  In novice land going from transmit to receive involved killing the HV on the Valiant, switching the antenna to the receiver, and flipping the SX-62 from standby to receive, 14 year olds are pretty fast!  Back in those days the hum from the plate transformer was my keying monitor.
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Rodger WQ9E
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2011, 08:04:19 PM »

 I have a lot of novice transmitters. In fact MOST of my transmitters are novice limit and I still use crystals often . However I actually only kept my novice for 1 month and the General for about 2 months. No great love for the ticket per-se, just good memories of the early contacts, not so much the gear itself. The novice ticket however did give me cause to get up to the 20WPM and earn the Extra ticket in just a few months total.

  People expressing the joy of the novice days are quite welcome to enjoy what ever gear and mode their ticket allows. No need to get rid of the new gear in order to still use and appreciate the simpler gear. In fact , when the gear does start to leave I will dump the more modern, high powered , VFO stuff long before I let go of the earlier, basic gear.

  I am very thankful my roots were CW not CB  Wink
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2011, 08:12:59 PM »

<<<Unlike my original setup I do use a relay now for T/R.>>>

I forgot about TR switching  Smiley

I used a DPDT knife switch on a ceramic base which I may still have around here somewhere, but I used it with coaxial cable, which shows you how much I knew at the time.  Fortunately on 40 and 80 it didn't matter much, but eventually I figured out that I could get away with separate tx and rx antennas and experienced the life changing bliss of full QSK.
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2011, 09:12:24 PM »

I did the same thing. Thought I had my act together until someone showed me a coax TR relay!




I used a DPDT knife switch on a ceramic base which I may still have around here somewhere, but I used it with coaxial cable, which shows you how much I knew at the time.  Fortunately on 40 and 80 it didn't matter much, but eventually I figured out that I could get away with separate tx and rx antennas and experienced the life changing bliss of full QSK.
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2011, 09:47:56 PM »

I second the statement by KG8LB about my roots being CW not CB. I got licensed in June, 1972 as WN4AUX, with An Ameco AC-1 with 40m coil and a Drake 2-A. The AC-1 got lost over the years:-(. I built a 6AG7/807 transmitter that put out 40-45 watts on 40m. This transmitter was used at technical college(post-high school). Dipoles at both locations. I am so glad I failed the Tech in 1971 so I could get started the right way. I upgraded to General in June, 1973(had to wait until August, 1973 to get the license which gave me WA4AUX, a call which was re-issued. I got my present call in 1999. I wanted the oldest call in 4-land. I knew W4AAA(now SK)who was at one time W4MOI. His parents were W4AAA and W4AAB in the 1950's(1960's?). There is a contest club that has W4AAA now. Other rigs I used were a borrowed Heath HW-16 which let me get on 15, then borrowed an Eico 723,later bought a WRL Globe Scout 65A, which I used on AM/CW in 1973 until I went slopbucket for a while.I just loved 40m CW. I worked 32 states and Canada with the AC-1 with 7 watts out.I had fun, but my mother and sister were glad I got off code:-). The feeling when someone came back to me when I first got on the air from school was unforgettable. Key fright.
                                                         Joe W4AAB
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2011, 09:54:05 PM »

Being a Novice was a drag except for personal friendships that have endured but I doubt a license class had anything to do with it.

The best thing about my Novice days was a girl named Gloria, and some time in the reeds at the beach..... Grin Kiss
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k4kyv
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2011, 11:11:54 PM »

I find it amusing that I don't see any of the hams, who say the novice year was the best year of their ham life:  1. getting rid of all their gear that has VFOs, 2.  getting rid of anything that runs more than 75 watts, 3.  getting rid of anything that has anything to do with phone, and 4.  confining themselves to 50 kc backwater segments in 80, 40, 15 and 10 (and 2 meters IIRC) where they can send rockbound CQs and tune the sub-band band listening for replies.   I mean, if they really think being a novice was so WONDERFUL
no one is stopping them from living the dream all over again.  Cheesy

Some of the hams most vehemently opposed to expanding the 40m phone band down to 7100 or below explain that they want to preserve the old 40m novice band for "slow-speed CW", even though remaining novices have General class CW privileges and the entire segment from roughly 7060 to 7125 is very lightly used. Most CW ops crowd down into the space below 7060 even during CW QuaRMtests, and just one small group is trying to promote somewhere around 7115 kc/s for members of their CW club.
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Don, K4KYV                                       AMI#5
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2011, 05:48:18 AM »


Some of the hams most vehemently opposed to expanding the 40m phone band down to 7100 or below explain that they want to preserve the old 40m novice band for "slow-speed CW",

I guess they are not warm to the idea of making all the bands similar to 160 by eliminating mode base segments.  Even though it seems to work okay on 160.
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2011, 06:56:59 AM »

a walkie-talkie lured me in ham radio - back in the day "skip" was all over the channel 11 but no one heard me - my father knew some ham radio people and ike- w2rgu and kitty-k2she took me under their wings - the hook was set! - never had so much fun at 4 am tapping away on 80 and 40 - tapping these days at that time are fun too - jus' a little different!
greg, n1exi
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2011, 08:03:09 AM »

Quote
a walkie-talkie lured me in ham radio - back in the day "skip" was all over the channel 11...

Same here Greg except Lafayette WTs came on channel 14 (27.125). I had mine apart driving a 12 inch speaker relay switched with an amplified D104 and a groundplane. It actually worked.
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Steve - K4HX
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2011, 08:20:40 AM »

You guys got into ham radio through CB? That's it, I can't talk to you anymore.
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kg8lb
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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2011, 08:27:05 AM »

Not a walkie talkie here . It was the Brumburger morse code set . Got it for Christmas 1957 . It had the International Code embossed on the top . You could use click mode ,buzz mode or the very thoughtful light bulb mode. The light bulb no doubt made those around you a lot happier than the buzzer. They really used up the D cell batteries quickly.


The best thing about my Novice days was a girl named Gloria, and some time in the reeds at the beach..... Grin Kiss

    Lucky thing no one ever caught you lurking in the reeds, spying on that sweet young thing  Grin

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