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When were you first on the air, how old were you, and your first call?




 
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Author Topic: When were you first on the air, how old were you, and your first call?  (Read 88646 times)
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Bacon, WA3WDR
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« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2005, 01:16:02 AM »

Yep!  Back in the 60s, I remember EKV Chuck introducing NXZ, who then proceeded to make a transmission on CW!
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W9LBB
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« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2005, 06:02:21 PM »

Yep!  Back in the 60s, I remember EKV Chuck introducing NXZ, who then proceeded to make a transmission on CW!

Anyone around the Chicago area in the 1950s and 60s remembers the (legit) commercial station WIND (560 KHz, and still there). Every news broadcast was preceeded by someone on a hand key and code practice oscillator hammering out CQ CQ CQ !

THAT was the first code I learned!   Smiley


An update on my earlier entry...   this time, the LEGAL stuff.   Wink

In late 1963 I became WN9LGD. That ran out and there was a laps before WA9QMB (took me a while to get to 13 WPM), and we did a lot of operation at Chicago Vocational High School's club station, W9LBB. During that time (1966) upgraded to Extra for purely selfish reasons; I was still crystal controlled, and Incentive Licensing's division of 40 CW would have rendered useless my BEST DXing rock, 7006.5 KHz!

A year or so later I wound up as the Trustee of WA9YCK (City College of Chicago, Southeast Campus Radio Club).

After moving to a college in northern Wisconsin (and installing a Galaxy V in my dorm room closet!) I tried to work CW Sweepstakes with the absolute WORST CW contesting call in history, WA9QMB/9 !  Shortly thereafter, the first of the (no $20.00 fee) Vanity Call schemes kicked in. Remembering the Sweepstakes fiasco, I applied for and got K9TA (my initials). W9TA was available, but back then the W two letter guys were like Greek Gods to me and most other folks; it would have been presumptuous of me to take such an august callsign.

K9TA also turned out to be a rotten CW call; no matter HOW good your fist and careful your spacing, folks kept coming back to K9K !!!  That resulted in one of two reactions...

"Gee, how'd you get THAT funny call", or "You're a damned bootlegger! I'm calling Grand Island RIGHT NOW"!

Several years ago I got tired of it...   my old high school club call, W9LBB, had become available. That's one that just sort of ROLLS off of a Vibroplex, and besides that I decided that a call that got so many electronics techs and engineers started DESERVED to stay on the air. Besides, over the years I'd kept in touch with my old Elmer (I hate that term!!!), Bob Beattie, W9OIB (SK), who taught me basic electronics and who had administered the Novice exam to me. It made him feel good that the old callsign was still out there and active.

The call has been recognized on the air and answered by several fellow graduates of old Chicago Vocational. Wink


73's,

Mr. T., W9LBB
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nq5t
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« Reply #77 on: December 31, 2005, 10:40:35 AM »

1959 at the age of 14.  KN5VCM, with a DX-40, BC-455 and one 7198 crystal.



My how time flies when you're having fun  :-)

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w1guh
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« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2006, 12:52:50 PM »


re: Gotham antennas....

Then there was the Gotham "Tri-Band Beam".  It was three dipoles on one boom.  A friend got one...didn't work too well.
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #79 on: January 06, 2006, 02:57:21 PM »

Great thread, it's always interesting to see where folks came from.

First licensed as KA1KAQ in March of 1983 at 22, although I was first interested back in the mid 70s when I was 14-15. Actually did some operating then at W1BD’s Field Day stations with one of the 'younger' (probably 35-40) old guys acting as control op. Talk about being thrilled and petrified at the same time. Unfortunately, the local club was still controlled by a few old fudds who didn't seem too keen on newbies to the point that I signed up for a novice class they offered and arrived at the Berlin Armory to find nothing but darkness. With only enough change in my pocket for one phone call, I decided to call one of the guys supposed to teach the class, instead of calling to get a ride back home. I was sure that I'd just gotten the time wrong. He answered and said "Oh, that - well, we only had you and one other kid sign up, so we decided to cancel the class". Nice of them to call and tell me. I had a 5 mile walk home to think about it.

First QSO as KA1KAQ was a with 'another country' (Canada, ha!), I remember being nervous and sending a lot of di-di-di-di-di-di-dits. Girlfriend of the day was there and decided to wait downstairs. After what seemed like 20 minutes or so, I proudly went down to brag about my first contact, only to have her say "20 minutes? Try 2 hours!". Guess I really was nervous (and slow).  Cheesy

Had a blast working CW the first year or so and decided to climb the license ladder in order, so as to have a copy of each. Got my tech in '84, General in '85, and Advanced in '86. Then a new girlfriend/job/other life issues put the brakes on my operating for a while and I wasn't active again until the late 80s. First AM transmitter was a kw-class rig I found in an antique shop with some other stuff. Think I made my first AM contact with it to uncle Eddy, WA3PUN and some of the other guys out that way, including some 8-Lander "at the bottom of Lake Huron". Used to talk with W2WLR 'Watertown's Little Radio' whose signal made the trip over to my location loud and clear. Picked up a $40 32V-2 in the early 90s after a gridshort in the big rig (no spares) and used that until '95 when something went west and it began simulcasting on three frequencies. By then I had moved, gotten married, changed jobs a few times, gotten unmarried and so on. Other than one AM appearance to talk with WA2PJP from the Vermont EOC during a lull on the night of 9/11/2001, I haven't been on the air beyond listening on 40-75-160 AM and some SSB on the gay 6 meter band. Every time I think I'm close, something called Life interferes.
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Bacon, WA3WDR
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« Reply #80 on: June 15, 2007, 01:54:21 PM »

     at age 12 in 1968 i started to operate 80CW under dad's supervision with a DX60 and HR10B. his call was W2GOW. when he was not looking i would switch on the "HIFI" BC348, plug in an Argonne AR-54 mic, go up to 3870 or 3885 AM and work WA1HLR, W3DUQ and WB2YPE. Timtron was not impressed with my audio, Bill was cool and Bacon made fun of me (ok- i deserved it!) after two years some local hams eventually heard this and tipped off my father.
Did I do that?  Actually I'm sorry.
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W8IXY
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« Reply #81 on: June 15, 2007, 03:27:02 PM »

Hello everyone,

For me, I had been fooling with radios since before I could walk.....say what you will, but my parents confirmed that I'd fiddle with several of their radios as a 10 month old infant.  Was fiddling with crystal sets by kindergarten, built my first "plate modulated" transmitter out of an old radio by age 10.  Got my novice at age 13, in 1960, as KN8VPL.  First QSO was with a DX-20 and an S-38.  I still remember his call...VE3CTU.  Tech at 14, general at 15.  By general time I had a DX-100B and an HQ-110.  First Phone at 17, Advanced at 22.  I am still K8VPL, still love AM and 10 meters.  All, that led to a successful career as a professional radio/TV broadcaster, on both sides of the microphone. 

73
Ted  K8VPL.
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wa2dtw
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« Reply #82 on: June 15, 2007, 05:05:55 PM »

First licensed January 1959, about 6 weeks before my 12th birthday.  My novice call was WV2DTW.  Later that year upgraded to general.   Subsequent upgrades and move to "3" land, but decided to keep WA2DTW.
73
Steve
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wa2dtw
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« Reply #83 on: June 15, 2007, 05:07:05 PM »

PS- just before 12th birthday, was on 2 meter AM using an SCR-522.
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N3DRB The Derb
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« Reply #84 on: June 15, 2007, 07:16:19 PM »

1982, at 19 I guess, and I was one of the youngest hams around the scene in Baltimore. EVERYONE was older than me, usually by several decades. KA3LMJ.

I tried to get my ticket in the early 70's growing up in Bham AL but the morse code teacher  at the BARC classes ( Birmingham Amatuer Radio Club) , met at he Red Cross BUilding downtown) told everyone loudly that the last thing ham radio needed was more kids. Laughed in my face with his buddies, all 60+ year old men. Told me to call my parents to come get me, that he would not teach me code. 1977 I think. I was 14. My mom and dad thought I had done something bad and refused to take me back.

That grumpy old bastard is the reason I hate code so much. Every guy that says shit about how great CW is and how it somehow upholds the hobby, I remember that guy. I think of that cruelty, and then I think about how the #*&#^%@ couldnt keep me off the air, and couldnt keep me off of HF.

I dont think anyone on here realizes just how much sheer pleasure I get from seeing morse code die. I wish I could find that old mans grave one day so I can take a big fat piss on it. Only a heartless scumbag would tell a 14 year old kid no and publicly humiliate him in front of strangers.





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N4JOY
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« Reply #85 on: June 15, 2007, 09:45:19 PM »

Right on with the age -- I was 16 when first licensed.  I built my first HF rig at age 8... okay, it was actually a wooden box with painted dials and a meter so I could play "radio" like my ham father.  I even coiled up some wire in the box to make it look more realistic.  My father soon gave me a radio shack receiver kit -- took me less time to build that than my wooden radio!

Chris, N4JOY
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WU2D
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« Reply #86 on: June 15, 2007, 10:30:36 PM »

I saw the Boys First Book of Radio and Electronics by Morgan in our brand new middle school library so that was 7th grade. I never looked back. That must have been around 1970.

My elmer was Ed Krenceski, WB2ASK (later NR2B) my after school babysitters husband. He was a professional technician for the college, a big polish guy with a temper and you did not go near his gear for fear of annihilation. He was an SSB net guy and had his shack right next to the kitchen. He also did civil defense communications for the town in our brand new ultra-modern underground fallout shelter which he equipped with Clegg Zeus 6/2 AM and Galaxy SSB gear. He hated CW and had no use for miltary or older gear and would not dream of using AM on the low bands, although he ran a 2M AM net every week. He was an expert at phone patching on the low bands ( a lost art)and hooked me up to my folks when I was at college right from my mobile!

So he shaped me because everything he did, I did the opposite!

Mike WU2D
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W1GFH
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« Reply #87 on: June 15, 2007, 11:04:53 PM »

...the morse code teacher  at the BARC classes told everyone loudly that the last thing ham radio needed was more kids. Laughed in my face with his buddies, all 60+ year old men. Told me to call my parents to come get me, that he would not teach me code. 1977 I think.

Wow, Derb, that sux. Compared to you, I had a Disneyland experience. I SWL'ed as a kid, bought Ameco code records, but could not get the hang of 5 WPM. Couldn't find an Elmer in my hick NH town, and by the time high school came around, I got interested in other stuff. In 1976, I was working the night shift at Hewlett Packard in Waltham, MA, building PC board subassy's for their medical gear. I became pals with a co-worker, George, WA1NTA. The building had a stockroom you could go and get spare parts from. It was kept well stocked with every value cap, resistor, semiconductor, inductor, term strip, rf connector, coax, solder, etc. ever made. A lot of small items followed us home. That year the CB craze hit, and my wife bought me a CB radio for the car for xmas. George saw it and began goading me to get my ham ticket.   During supper breaks he drilled me with CW practice. For some reason, this time, CW came easy, and I quickly got to 15 wpm. There was no published test question pool at the time, you just took the ARRL license manual and studied the various topics for whatever class of license you wanted. One late winter day we went up the stairs to the FCC office at the Custom House in Boston, and at that time I passed the General and got WB1GFH. I would have liked to take a sending test, since I enjoyed sending, but they had discontinued doing that. George immediately loaned me an old Heathkit (an SB-102 I think) and I only worked CW for a number of years, hanging in the 80 and 40m cw portions.

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Ed KB1HVS
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« Reply #88 on: June 16, 2007, 02:58:01 PM »

1982, at 19 I guess, and I was one of the youngest hams around the scene in Baltimore. EVERYONE was older than me, usually by several decades. KA3LMJ.

I tried to get my ticket in the early 70's growing up in Bham AL but the morse code teacher  at the BARC classes ( Birmingham Amatuer Radio Club) , met at he Red Cross BUilding downtown) told everyone loudly that the last thing ham radio needed was more kids. Laughed in my face with his buddies, all 60+ year old men. Told me to call my parents to come get me, that he would not teach me code. 1977 I think. I was 14. My mom and dad thought I had done something bad and refused to take me back.

That grumpy old bastard is the reason I hate code so much. Every guy that says shit about how great CW is and how it somehow upholds the hobby, I remember that guy. I think of that cruelty, and then I think about how the #*&#^%@ couldnt keep me off the air, and couldnt keep me off of HF.

I dont think anyone on here realizes just how much sheer pleasure I get from seeing morse code die. I wish I could find that old mans grave one day so I can take a big fat piss on it. Only a heartless scumbag would tell a 14 year old kid no and publicly humiliate him in front of strangers.







 Ha Ha. Man that really sucks. Im surprised you stuck with it after that experience. Maybe you should fire up in the CW part of the bands (on phone) and tell them how you eally feel! Grin Grin
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W1EUJ
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« Reply #89 on: June 16, 2007, 06:00:32 PM »

Just bought a house, now i can FINALLY get onto HF, after more than a decade of waiting and working it at other peoples stations. So I'll be more than an electronic presence! AHA!

First on the air during the early fall of 1996, I think. I must have been 15. Call was N1XZB (ick!). All FM 2 meters, except during Field Day, when I ran 20 meter SSB and kicked A$$!

Nothing like your experience Derb, but I recall being a young ham, and visiting the local clubs. Got ignored alot - I think there was even one club where I think NOBODY acknowleged I was there - like a freaking ghost! I can understand a little, with there being such a large difference between what a new/young ham is interested in as opposed to a older one. BUT - You HAVE to show some hospitality for new hams! I finally found a nice club, but it was many miles away, and I had to have Pop drive me out there. I had to give it up, the REAL old man was tired after work. Soon other interests took my attention...

When I took over a radio club, I made it PRIORITY #2 to introduce any new members to everybody else, learn their background, and keep in contact with them/help them reach their goals. I occasionally failed, I'll have to admit, but it was near the top of my list.


David Goncalves
W1EUJ
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N3DRB The Derb
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« Reply #90 on: June 16, 2007, 06:13:58 PM »

I cant comment more on it. Every time I think of it I start thinking things better left unsaid.

Lets just say that it is with EXTREME DELIGHT that I have lived to have seen the day where CW has been shown the door.
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Ed-VA3ES
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« Reply #91 on: June 16, 2007, 07:22:47 PM »

I first got interested in radio, at the beginning of 1964.  I was 13 years old.   A friend had a disused CB walkie-talkie, which he gave to me.  It was a decent one, a superhet type with a reasonable front end.  With the antenna extended, I could hear all sorts of people talking all day long. Back in 1964, the CB bands were like the 2M FM bands were in the ‘70’s; packed with people and courteous.  It was an eye-opener.   Suddenly, I had this interest in radio and electronics!  I started buying every magazine and book I could find on electronics.  I read Popular Electronics and Electronics Illustrated religiously, along with the other popular magazines (Radio-TV Experimenter, etc.).   I read about ham radio in these magazines, and was totally fascinated by this!  The more I read about ham radio, the more hooked I got.

Another friend owned a multi-band short-wave radio, and whenever I visited him after school, I’d listen to the short-wave bands, fascinated by the sounds of “airplanes”, and other weird sounds. And hams!  The radio covered the 75M band, and frequently, I’d listen in to the “Green Mountain Net”.  There was one local ham,  Johnny  Miller VE2TA, who lived close by and he would just blast in!  He said he was running a  “Johnson Ranger”. I thought that rig must be the most powerful transmitter made!   Also heard the usual GMN stalwarts, including W1ZYZ, and many others!

At home, I had no radio.  One day, my mother complained about the reception of the local station, CJAD.  Now CJAD ran 50KW and could be heard everywhere.  I guess the orientation of the radio was such, that the radio’s position placed it in a null.  Being the big radio expert  (NOT!), I offered to look at the radio.  I took the back off, and found nothing amiss, (not that I would know), and decided to change the antenna, which I had decided was “too small”.  I snipped off the large flat coil antenna, and twisted on the snipped wires, about 100 feet of telephone wire.   Turned the radio on and…  well, the broadcast band was gone!  Ooops!   But in it’s stead was short wave!!!!!!!    The very first thing I heard coming out of the speaker, was “CQ 75, CQ 75…”  I had read enough about ham radio by this time to understand what I was hearing! I literally fell off my chair!   Suffice to say, that my mother didn’t get that radio back for months!
I also owned a tape recorder, and taped everything! And I mean everything. This was about 1965 by then, and you can imagine who was active on 75 then.  Everybody!  W2OY, W3PHL, W3YAM, W3DUQ  (hi Bill!), WA1EKV, and many others.  I recorded them all.  (Unfortunately, a radio studio accident in 1970 destroyed that recording, an act I will regret forever!)

I had no Elmer then, and had to study all on my own.  So, I bought all the requisite books, and studied them.   Barely knowing anything, I booked my first exam.  Mr. Mike will remember the old Department of Transport office, at Sherbrooke Street East.   The examiner was Charlie Carrier, VE2CZ. “No Fingers” Carrier they called him, because he had lost all his fingers in some long-ago accident.  Back then, you had to pass the CW test first.   Of course, I blew it big-time.

“Humph!  OK, let’s try the theory, and see what you can do.”    I didn’t.  It was miserable.  I literally didn’t know anything.  Frustrated, Charlie opened up a drawer, took out a copy of  The Radio Amateurs Handbook, slammed it on the table and told me “Take this… go home and study, and come back when you know something!”.  I wouldn’t come back for four years…  (high-school, girls, drugs, and  teen-age fun got in the way).  Meanwhile I studied electronics, built up a tiny Pierce oscillator, with a crystal I ordered from International Crystal:  3885 kc, natch!   I used that as my calibrator.   In 1966, I worked and purchased a Trio 9R59, which was identical to the Lafayette HE30.    I still own that receiver!  I hooked up the oscillator to my 40-foot long wire, and managed to “work” a friend   about ½ mile away!  I was impressed!   

Someone I knew, had a Heath AT-1 for sale, so I bought it.  Why not? I already had a crystal!   Yes, I was a boot!  On CW no less!  Managed to work one person,   Dana, WA1HUM!   Boy, I was shaking like a leaf!

In 1969. I went back, this time thoroughly prepared. I had studied various books, and spent 6 months copying W1AW bulletins at 18WPM. Boy was I ready!  I passed and chose VE2BAQ out of the available calls list.

I bought my buddy Howard, VE2AED’s DX-100, and never looked back!

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Don
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« Reply #92 on: June 17, 2007, 06:45:03 PM »

August 1959, age 17, same call as now except for the "N" in the prefix for the first 3 months.  Never held a CB call or operated any CB.  Started out as SWL.
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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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« Reply #93 on: June 17, 2007, 08:53:55 PM »

Old farts and young kids - that was our club when I was first getting into ham radio. Field day was a classic. The old guys knew about antennas and setting up the rigs and they arranged the generator (WW2 jeep trailer genny) and we operated on top of a big hill that one of the farmer hams had on his land.

We guyed ladders and strung longwires down the hill.

The high school kids were used to operate CW on 40M and 80M mostly, the old farts operated 40 and 75M SSB and we had a 20 something hippie college professor (the only person between 18 and 70 except for my elmer Ed who was in his late 40's) who had a new fangled FT-101. That was the first rice box I ever saw and he operated on the higher bands. 

Our old timers treasured the kids - we were the only hope for them that ham radio would live on.

Mike WU2D

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wa2zdy
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« Reply #94 on: June 18, 2007, 09:11:04 PM »

Can't remember if I posted here already or not.   I was WN2ZDY for 11 month starting at age 13 in Jan 1975.   General that December and Extra in Nov 77.

I was under the tutelage of an old railroad telegrapher who'd been hamming since 1912.   Considering what a pain in the ass I was, Bill Little W2OJJ had patience I didn't deserve.    And I had exactly the opposite experience Derb had and for that reason came to love CW.  And while the clubs weren't the kindest places for a kid, the Novice bands of 1975 were packed with teenagers.   It worked out well.

What an asshole you ran into and that's a real shame.
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« Reply #95 on: June 20, 2007, 08:59:45 AM »

Yeah, this thread is so long now I can't remember if I posted in it either; I think we fill out one of these about once per year.  But, Hey!  Hello to all new to the mode or net since then. Glad to have you.

So here's something similar to what was written a week or so ago.
1970 WN8FRZ, 800 S. Chestnut st, Clarksburg, WV, JN and what fun it was.
1970 WB8FRZ,  ditto, Advanced
1972 WB8FRZ, Charleston, WV. Boy, those were the days...
1974 WA3YPI, Rt. 1, box 90 (later 200) Gaines, Pa. (close to US Rt. 6, NYS border)
1997 W3RSW, Rt. 1, box 92 (later 124 Maple Lake) Bridgeport, Wv

I guess my "Elmer" was pretty much everone in the Mountaineer Ama. R. Club, Fairmont, WV. 
Clarksburg's club had been pretty much defunct at that time, at least as far as training new hams goes. Anyway several at that club loaned (DX-35) me equipment or gave stuff to me outright (ARC5, etc.)  Tore a lot of it up and rebuilt into 'ham' equipment.  W8JM was probably the most influential and gracious of the bunch. He was definitely the avuncular type, very active in many facits of hamdom, ARRL SCM, etc. Sadly, he passed away a few years later.  No CB in my background even though it came out in '57. (?)

    Had various electronics and optics courses in college, Marietta, Ohio, physics minor, petroleum engineering major but my father and I had been builders of audio and receiving equipment for many years prior. First radio was a knight kit crystal set, circa 1954, next was an Ocean Hopper. I recently downloaded PDFs of the instruction booklets for those rigs and that sure brought back a ton of memories. Solid solder, paste, big iron, joints that looked like sand piles. And, ahhh, the smell of soldering.  Nothing like it these days what with multicore so tiny you need a mag. glass.
    I could receive only one station on the crystal set, WPDX, a country music station at that time... "Cherokee Sue" was the DJ, and found out later it was the wife of the station owner.

Alluded to in an earlier posting, I started seriously listening again to AM in the early 80's, using the 'stereo' phones on a RS portable of all things. Walked all over the woods and mountains behind my farm listening to the boys. Couldn't believe what I was missing all those years. So I fired up the TR7 into a 4x1 and was 'shamed' into full plate modulation by HLR. Built up the handbook 6146 modulator, 120 watts into the reduced voltage 4x1...   got shamed again and built up decent 811 iron into an 813 and have enjoyed it ever since.   I'm currently building up a pair of 813's x 813's a la K1JJ.  Probably will use 572-B's as mod's first since changes other than more plate voltage are minimal.   Also enjoy using the 75a2a/ 32v2 combo and Junkston Ranger too.

 Well TMI, and hope no one's fallen asleep.  I should really print out the whole thread. Great Reference to who we converse with.  Ain't this fun or what?
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« Reply #96 on: June 20, 2007, 06:13:38 PM »

1959

Age 12

KN8WVI

Rock bound DX-40
Heath AR-3

15 was wide open back then. One of my first QSO's was a JA on 15. That hooked me for life.

My Elmer was my older brother W9NTO. He was KN8HDU back then. He was a lot smarter than me when it came to electronics. He had his own TV/Radio repair biz at age 14 in 1957, 1958.



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Terry, W8EJO

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« Reply #97 on: June 20, 2007, 11:38:26 PM »

K1MVP circa 1963 as a "new" General, with a DX-35 and S40B, (operator age, just turned 21).
and #2 pix 1964 with a homebrew pair of 6L6`s with an SX-99, The "good ol days"


* K1MVP ca 1963.jpg (34.79 KB, 502x492 - viewed 876 times.)

* lastscan3.jpg (35.12 KB, 520x504 - viewed 846 times.)
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« Reply #98 on: June 21, 2007, 10:04:57 AM »

This is an interesting thread.  For me I was first licensed as WN5NSC in Gulfport, MS in 1974.  Starter rig was a Johnson Valiant and a Hallicrafters SX-62A feeding a 40 meter inverted vee; completely manual T/R switching using an outboard rotary switch and I used the hummmmm from the plate transformer as my keying monitor.  After a couple of weeks I acquired an SX-101A so I no longer had to deal with a 40 meter novice band occupying about 1/8 inch of dial space.  I must admit my first "contact" as a novice was out of band.  The Valiant came with two "rocks", one in the low end of 40 meters and the other near the high end of the phone band and I used those along with the procedure in the Valiant manual to calibrate the VFO.  Of course one of the crystals had been moved so when I thought I was on 7115 I actually was just below 7100 and a helpful ham quickly (and nicely) informed me of this.  The biggest problem was trying to use the vee for the 80 meter "slow net".  I am surprised loaded to the 75 watt novice limit I could be heard by the net but it worked.  Knowing what I know today about Valiant meter shunt calibration there is no telling about my actual power input.

After a few months as a novice I traveled to the New Orleans FCC field office and got my general and moved up to an SB-102 but stayed mostly on CW.  I received the RF deck out of a Johnson Desk KW in trade for the Valiant.  I still have the SB-102 and recreating my Valiant/SX-101A novice station got me started in boat anchors in 1994.  Now some 150 pieces of vintage gear later I finally have a complete and operating Desk KW along with the Viking 500 big brother to my Valiant.

Rodger WQ9E
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Rodger WQ9E
W1UJR
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« Reply #99 on: June 21, 2007, 10:25:15 AM »

K1MVP circa 1963 as a "new" General, with a DX-35 and S40B, (operator age, just turned 21).
and #2 pix 1964 with a homebrew pair of 6L6`s with an SX-99, The "good ol days"


Hey Rene, love that "flat top" haircut, just got one myself, nothing better for summer!


My radio story began when I was 12 and received a Radio Shack DX-160 (or was it a DX-150?) shortwave receiver for Christmas. I had been building numerous Radio Shack "Science Fair" kits (remember the red plastic perfboard?) over the last few years, keeping a eye on the fancy Radio Shack shortwave radios, so the DX-160 was a dream come true! My father, who worked in road construction at the time, used to bring home large rolls of wire from blasting caps. I used this wire to construct the large antenna arrays. As I had no real input for antenna design, and the nearest Radio Shack store was over 50 miles away, I had to experiment. I was fortunate that my parents lived in the country, so I had plenty of natural antenna supports. My favorite was an old, gnarled apple tree about 150 feet from the house. The blasting cap wire was not stranded, but solid and did not have much give, it was noted for breaking and becoming chopped up by the lawnmower.

Despite the antenna problems, I did mange to become an avid SWL, and spent many late nights listening to many of the cold war powerhouse stations.
Of course, as a Johnny Novice SWL, I sent out QSL card requests to nearly every station which I heard. You can imagine my fathers’ chagrin and concern, especially as a retired military officer, when I received a letter and QSL card from Radio Moscow during the Cold War. Just a few years ago my folks sent up my old log books and QSL cards which they had stowed away. It was quite an experience to go back through my logbook and read my notes about various stations, especially interesting to see how I had used the DX-160's crude logging scale to record station presets, "3 small marks past 7.0", having little idea of mega/kilo cycles at the time.

I really wanted to become a ham, but as we lived out in the country, well before the days of the Internet, I did not know who to speak with. Then as time went on I discovered girls and cars and my radio interests went by the wayside for nearly 20 years. I was in my early 30s when my interest turned back to radio, and I purchased a Japan Radio Corp NRD-535 to listen in on shortwave. Soon after I began to pursue the dream I had 20 years earlier of becoming a ham. After picking up a license study guide at Radio Shack, I sent letters off to the various local radio clubs about license testing. The Lancaster Amateur Radio Club was the only one to answer, and we were off.

I first licensed as KB2VKJ in July 1995, and thanks to the efforts of Dick W2UJR, became Advanced license holder KG2IC in August of the same year, and Amateur Extra class in 1999. As a newly minted ham, I really wanted to learn, and thankfully many of the "old timers" were more than happy to help. I found a good mentor in W2UJR. His ham shack was something that had to be seen to be appreciated. I can still vividly recall the first time that I visited. I was still a JN, not yet having HF privileges, or the boat-anchor bug. Dick was a firm believer in open wire feed-lines, and used homemade acrylic insulators between the wires. I noticed little neon bulbs carefully secured to each feedline in the shack; he would later explain that the RF would cause the neon gas in the bulb to glow indicating RF output. I adopted the neon bulb concept in my shack, it is ideal for checking for balance on the feedlines.

My fascination with the AM side of radio also began quite early. My first real radio was old RCA tube console that had been abandoned in the basement. I managed to get this into my bedroom, and with some tinkering get it working. I would wait until my parents were asleep and then listen in to the early hours of the morning. I especially recall listening to WBZ in Boston. For some reason this AM station fascinated me, for I was amazed that I could get the news and local information for a someplace as far away as Boston, MA. Many late nights were spent listening to Larry Glick and his call in program on WBZ. That was how I first caught the magic of radio!   

I moved to Portland, Maine in January of 2001 and hence replaced the KG2IC call with a suitable old buzzard "W1" call to reflect the call district.
To honor my elmer, W2UJR, I took the "UJR" suffix.

73 Bruce W1UJR
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