December = Memory Lane
December 27th, 2009 by kmack

December 7th is a special day to me. It is of course, a memorial to the Pearl Harbor attack, but it always reminds me of the day my novice license arrived in the mail! I had taken my test with Don, my Elmer, and waited what seemed like an eternity for the paper license to arrive in the mail so I could make that first QSO! Mowing lawns, working at a small restaurant washing dishes and other odd jobs helped me make enough money to put together my first station. A Globe Scout 65 watt xmtr and a Hallicrafters SX-140 receiver with a custom ceramic knife switch for the antenna. No QSK for me, just a knife switch to switch the antenna between the xmtr and rcvr! Once in a while, I’d forget to throw that switch, and wonder why I couldn’t hear the other station any more. hi hi

Memory Lane...The First Rig

Memory Lane...The First Rig

Magic days… many memories and lots of fun!

I taught my mom how to turn the rig on and she had instructions to turn it on so it would be warmed up and stable by the time I got off the school bus! What a neat day it was when I got home and found my rig turned on and the license propped up next to the key! YAHOO… 80m, 40m and 15m novice rocks and I was hooked. The magic of amateur radio had addicted another young-un! It is still magic for me 45 years later!  The gear has changed, we have new bands and modes, but the magic is still there. Shooting electrons and communication through mid-air is still fun. How about you?

What’s your story? How was your first day on the air? What was your first rig? Leave a comment and let’s remember those glorious days…

4 Responses  
  • N4NSS - Kyle writes:
    December 28th, 20099:44 amat

    I became a Ham as WA9USD in 1966. I was on Christmas leave from Navy CT-R school that year when my license came the day before I had to drive back to Pensacola, Florida. My first set was a Knight Kit T60 with the R-55 receiver. The antenna was a 130-foot wire switched between the receiver and transmitter by an alligator clip attached to a screwdriver. The screwdriver was stuck into the center hole of the coax connectors in each rig. I will NEVER forget those first few contacts. My next duty station was at Skaggs Island, California near Napa. I was fortunate to have the base ham shack W6KMW to myself. Well, almost, my roommate Mike liked to dabble with RTTY. I fixed the Hygain TH6-DXX and used the homemade 40 meter vertical. The T-60 was brought to me when my Mom came to visit and the receiver was a Drake TR-3. My General ticket was earned by sweating out the FCC testing in San Francisco. My new Vibroplex Bug sure got a work out! Yes, the magic of radio is still there……QRP and long live CW!

  • Larry W2LJ writes:
    December 28th, 200910:43 amat


    My first station was a Drake 2NT and a Heathkit receiver. I used a ceramic knife swtich, also, to transition between transmit and receive. Those were fun days.

    Larry W2LJ

  • John AE5X writes:
    December 28th, 20099:23 pmat

    My first rig wasn’t even wireless – it was one of those Radio Shack experimenter’s boards where you could connect wires & components in various ways to make a SW radio, an oscillator, etc. So I made an intercom and stretched the wires from my bedroom window to the window of the house next door where a young gal named Rita lived. We were both 11. It was all fun till her mom found out – then I decided to go wireless!

  • John - N0EVH writes:
    January 3rd, 20108:58 pmat

    I became a ham in the summer of 1963 right after graduating high school. Xmitter was HB from junk TV sets and the receiver was a Heathkit HR-10. My entire Novice life was crammed into that summer because going off to college meant no time for ham radio. First contact on 40 meters with a ham in Texas from my QTH in Missouri. I was so nervous that could hardly read my writing on the notepad. Antenna coax ran out of the bedroom window to the front yard to a borrowed vertical antenna. Wow, what excitement. Like you say we now have excellent gear and improved technology, but when I hear my call coming back correctly during a Morse QSO from another ham today it is a reminder of that first QSO in 1963. Working fellow polar bears from the field with portable equipment really adds to the fun for me. Kelly you are only in my logbook one time, we need to improve on that!

    73 John N0EVH

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