From Palms Middle School, I graduated to Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Jack Brown, SK, was the legendary electronics teacher and ham in charge of the school's station K6CXI. It was there that the cool kids were part of the radio club. People like Lance Semer WA6LTM, and Mark Abrams (WA6DPB) who would later go on to have his name attached to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. Mark and Lance, who were a year ahead of me, urged me to study for my Novice ticket, and they gave me my Novice test under the watchful eyes of Mr. Brown.
I passed, and was issued the call WN6FDE, which Mark immediately dubbed"Whale Blubber Six Fat Dumb Enormous." Of course his call suffix was also phonically said as "Dumb Polish Bastard", and Lance's was "Little Trouble Maker."
Mark loaned me a 6L6 single tube transmitter and a handful of rocks to get on 40 meter novice band. I used a Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver. Manual cutover between transmitter and receiver. A simple 40 meter dipole antenna sitting on the shingle roof of my family's home (with lots of hot spots from the screwy VSWR). I was in heaven.
Mr. Brown asked me to edit "K6CXI Calling", the radio club's newsletter. I think it had exactly one issue in its long run.
Soon thereafter, while still at Hamilton High, I upgraded to General Class. I recall going to the old Federal Building in Downtown L.A. to the FCC's exam room on the 13th Floor. Having passed the 13 WPM receiving test with exactly 65 characters in a row correct, I nearly failed the CW sending test, but the examiner must have felt sorry for me after the third attempt. I gave away my "N" for a "B" to become WB6FDE. I was bummed at getting a "B" instead of the cool "A". A brand new Yaseu FTDX560 was my parents' gift for passing my General exam. My gift to them was TVI.
Oops, I've gone beyond my Novice days. To see the rest of my story, which has remained very closely tied to RF communications, please feel free to visit http://telecomlawfirm.com/people/jlk.php
Jonathan Kramer, W6JLK (Extra)
Formerly KD6MR (Advanced), KP6AY (Advanced/Secondary of WB6FDE), WB6FDE
(General/Advanced), WN6FDE (Novice), KDK-1107 (CB)