Amateur Radio is a great hobby and it has been an important part of my life for over 57 years. I first learned of it by reading SOS Radio Patrol while in grade school. Later I was building and flying model airplanes when I consulted my neighbor, a ham, about radio control. He basically said that I should study to be a ham first. He demonstrated his home brew,10M, AM mobile transmitter and converter on the car radio. He then took me inside and introduced me to morse code. To make sure I stuck with it he gave me an old 78 code practice record and a license manual. Don was an engineer with RCA and on assignment to our local Air Force base. In March 1958 he administered the Novice class exam.
In May of 1958 my Novice ticket arrived with the call sign KN7EAM. I fired up my 6L6, 3 watt rig I built on a cigar box. Great fun for an 8th grader. The FCC traveled to Spokane from Seattle to administer license exams twice a year. Our high school math and physics teacher, H.Tex Clark K7ASO, was also the radio club advisor. In October of 1958 he rounded up several of us novice hams attending the new Shadle Park High School including Alan Kaul W6RCL (then KN7EHW), Bob Stone KN7ELG, Mike Vaughn KN7BTR, Craig Jungers KN7EXJ and hauled us to the Federal Court House to take the General Class exam. We had been studying and I believe we all passed. I barely made it through the 13 WPM code test. I looked at my scribbled page and tried to make heads or tales of it. Something about an airplane. What a mess. The examiner leaned over my shoulder, scratched a few lines and gave me a passing grade. Now K7EAM.
A few locals challenged each other to get an Amateur Extra Class ticket although there was no real incentive for upgrading. For sure I had to get my code speed up to pass the 20 WPM test. Listening to ARRL code practice became a daily ritual. I also recorded several sessions so I could practice when time allowed. We joined many others at the local Community College to take the exams in front of the FCC. I used a keyer on the air so I packed along my Eico 717 electronic (tube) keyer (still works great). The FCC welcomed it and others used it as well. I passed the exams. My Extra class ticket was dated May 24, 1968. In 1977 the FCC allowed Extra class licensees to chose a 1X2 call sign.
Now that I am retired I am on the air almost daily chasing DX. CW and RTTY contests are a lot of fun but I don't like to sit in the chair for hours on end. Four to 8 hours of 1 to 2 hour stints is long enough for me. For seveal years I ran QRP in the CW contests. I was amazed by the number of dx qso's made with my 5 watts including QRP DXCC. I live on a postage stamp for a lot but am lucky enough to have a 3 element SteppIR and an inverted "L" with a homebrew remote tuner. These antennas allowed me to be listed on the Top of the Honor Roll (349/340) and achieve 8BDXCC.
I hope to meet you on the air.
73 and Good DX,
6925999 Last modified: 2015-12-13 23:11:24, 3008 bytes
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