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Welcome to the website of the Novice Historical Society. Earlier versions of this website were started in the mid-2000s when Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C noticed he was having the same conversation over and over again with his fellow hams, gee what a great time I had when I was a Novice. Cliff had a great time as a Novice too when he started as WN6JPA in 1975. He was not in scouting, but instead his elmer Ted Ryan, WB6JXY (sk) taught him good values through amateur radio in the electric shop at John Burroughs Jr. High School in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
In these conversations Cliff had, hams consistently said the year(s) they spent as a Novice gave them the most fun they had in ham radio. They discovered our hobby. Everything was new and exciting! Other hams went out of their way to help and teach them. Cliff set-up an early version of this website in the mid-2000s so he and his friends could record the stories for history and to teach newcomers what ham radio is about. Hams trained in the Novice eraÂ’s great traditions are passing away. This history needs to be preserved. The standards of ham radio have been reduced so that people can pass by memorizing the entry-level Technician question pool for a few hours. Not only do they become a Â“ham radio operatorÂ” and do not know how to operate a ham radio, they tend not to be socialized into the culture of ham radio. Learning about the history of ham radio can help a newcomer understand the culture of ham radio. We (the hams who have contributed their stories and photos) hope by reading these stories newcomers can understand the context that memorizing a test can not give. We also hope to revitalize appreciation in ham radio by those who have been hams for some years.
The Novice license served an essential function as a learner's permit. Even with all the encouragement available for a new ham, most new hams are intimidated by the technology. They need a period of time to learn and the novice license with the aid of their elmer (mentor) gave it to them.
The Novice Historical Society was founded to preserve the Novice experience which we consider as an important aspect of the history of amateur radio in the U.S. We invite former American Novices to share a story of the joy of their Novice year to be posted on this website. Some of the material from this website has gone/will go into the QCWA Journal's Novice History Series written by Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C (formerly WN6JPA, 1975). The series started in 2008.
A story can be on any Novice experience you had: how you discovered ham radio, nervousness sending Morse code during your test, eager anticipation waiting for the license to come, (mis)adventures building/assembling your first rig and antenna, your first QSO, your most memorable QSO, operating field day for the first time, hams who were generous to you..... Do send us, to the email address below, a photo of yourself as a Novice or some other Novice artifact, if you have one. If you have a link to your personal ham radio webpage send that along too. Please read the "Submit a Novice Story" page on this website before sending us a novice story.
Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C
Originally licensed as WN6JPA, 1975
Formerly - WA6JPA, KI6CM, WW6CC