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Having wanted to be a ham since I was a young child, it wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I decided to study for my first license. After some quick studying and not enough code practice, I thought that I might have a chance to pass the exam, I drove from Bellingham to the Federal Building in Seattle (where the tests used to be administered) and took the no code novice test. It was easy, so I could then take the code test for a tech license. The 5 words per minute of dits and dahs were flying past faster than I could copy them, but I did my best and got a few characters down. To my surprise, despite the scramble of a very few letters that I had copied, I was able to just barely pass the multiple choice test with some good guesses and a lot of luck. That gave me standing to take the written tech test which I passed easily.

A few weeks later I received my license in the mail. November seven Bravo Whiskey X-ray. A technician call sign! N7 beeswax? I was thrilled. I went out and bought myself a used Kenwood HF rig. I was living on a farm with no electricity, but I found a car battery that I could use to power the Kenwood. My first QSL was a CW contact with Australia! What FUN!!!

Inspired, I studied hard for the 13 words per minute code test and made the drive to Seattle for the second seties of exams for my general or advanced ticket.. My code was still very shaky and they changed the way they tested! Instead of multiple choice, it was a fill in the blank test!

The words flew by even faster than before. I desperately attempted to extract meaning from the rapid sounds going by. Once again left with a jumble of characters on my paper, I felt defeated by the code. But once again, it turned out that I had just enough information to fill in the blanks and barely pass. I took the written test for the general and advanced license and easily passed. Yes, I had the opportunity to upgrade my call sign, but I was happy with what I had originally been given.

So it was as an advanced class ham that I always thought that some day I might study hard and eventually be able to pass the 20 word per minute code test for my extra class license. But then the clouds parted and sunshine poured down upon me: A no code extra class license was now possible. I studied harder than I had ever studied before. The test was easy, but I made a careless mistake and missed one answer. Oh well! I did it!!!

I was an EMT and a member of Bellingham Mountain Rescue and I had a 2 meter hand held. One day taking a group of students on a backpack trip on the Olympic coast, my handheld jumped out of my pocket and into the salty surf. I pulled it out as quickly as I could, but without my tools to open it up and without enough fresh water, but the time I got back home, all the circuit boards were completely corroded. Oh woe was me!

I was so discouraged, I didn't get another handheld until just recently. It's nice to be back.

7385108 Last modified: 2016-06-15 12:43:14, 3060 bytes

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