I was first licensed in 1963 as WN5FZW. My novice exam was given by Ed, W5ILR (sk). After graduating from Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas in 1966, I moved to Kentucky to teach high school in Hopkinsville, KY. After doing more graduate work, I moved to Bowling Green, KY to finish an M.A. I studied and got my CW speed up to the required 12 wpm. In 1969, I drove from Bowling Green to Atlanta, GA., to the BIG FCC OFFICE to take the General exam. The CW test was given first in a large group, (passed, whew!), and then the written exam. A month later, received that wonderful card from the FCC, "passed General," was assigned WB4OJC. My first Collins S Line came from R.L Howard now WC5E, Howard Radio in Abilene, Texas. He said, "Instead of trading 3 times, just get the best to start and you will save money in long run." I still follow that advice.
Right after becoming a General in 1969, I joined a 20 meter morning group on 14340. Abe, W5XB (sk), quickly started calling me "Orange Juice Charlie" as I was drinking orange juice on the air one morning. I become the most junior member with K7GRU (sk) -Rial, W2HU (sk) -Blair, W9IBC (sk)-Dayton, W0HYY-Curt, W0MZQ (sk) -Paul, K9QJV (sk)- Lewis, W1GMA, (sk) -"Doc,", W6BJ (sk) -Deano, WA5LEE, (sk) -John, WB8HVK (sk) -Less, WA5UDL (sk) -Bobby, W5AMN (sk), -Wayne and others, like "Gypsy Bill, "whose calls I don't remember at the moment. After 30+ years, Abe was the longest lasting member of 14340.
All these great men listed above made contributions to my growth as a ham, and a man, but Abe was more. He was a friend and mentor in many ways. Professionally, he was an oil man, but personally, he never met a stranger, was always glad to see me, and always had a good word. It is an honor to have the call of man I admired so !
When I learned his call was available, I wanted to have it issued to me as a way to honor Abe, and all he stood for as a ham and as man.
All of these men were cut out of the "the old cloth," and I miss their wisdom, knowledge, humor, and comments on "the world today." I often wonder what Abe would say about politics today, or Rial who was crusty but always "on target," or Paul who was always growing his manufacturing company--he knew "how to do business." I miss hearing Lewis say on Saturday morning, "This afternoon, Rose and I are MAKING Pasta," or Dayton who would say, "The bell rang, got a customer," or Curt happily mobiling down the road in a new Oldsmobile. Blair was retired Admiral and knew "naval defense," and spoke of it like a statesman. Wayne always had a great joke and called himself, "the pickle pump saleman."
For those of us active now, whether Dxers, contesters, rag chewers, or innovators.we do stand on the shoulders of giants who have gone before us.
Thanks for taking the time to read my "ham history."
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