I first received my novice call in 1961. I was a member of the Carmi Township High School (Carmi, Illinois) radio club. Ken Hurt was the instructor and sponsor. [see photo, right: WN9DDV is far right.] W9IIU, Bill Baker, (a local radio personality on WROY 1460 KC) had a general class and I attempted to upgrade. I did fine on the code but did not grasp the theory. The novice license expired. I keep my interest in radio and in the 1970's passed the Novice, Tech, and General in rapid succession and got back on the air. When I got the ticket back, I requested my old call sign. The FCC was preparing to do away with giving old call signs back, but I got in under the wire. I have kept the call wn9ddv all my amateur radio career.
As a novice, I used an HE-10 Lafayette receiver and a Knight Kit T-50 transmitter and had many QSOs and got my code speed up to around 18 WPM. Antenna was a random wire about 75 feet long. The Pi network of the Knight worked well with the random wire.