(Formerly WN5RMQ, 1976)
I began in Amateur Radio by participating in a Novice license class that was held in the Houston area by the Twin Counties Amateur Radio Society, during the fall of 1975.
The club met on Houston's northwest side, initially in the meeting room of a Bonanza steakhouse on FM 1960, and later at various real estate sales offices and the municipal courthouse in Spring.
The purpose of the club was to help train and license new amateurs. It began by holding a class for the Novice license, and later both Novice and General license classes, covering the required radiotelegraph code and written examination elements. Sadly, the club seems to have disappeared at some point, although the Northwest ARS in Houston now serves approximately the same area.
I passed the Novice code and written examination elements near the end of 1975. My family moved at about the same time, and I made the mistake of sending the FCC a change-of-address card after my test materials had been submitted. I didn't receive the license until June, 1976!
I purchased a second-hand Heathkit Mohawk receiver, and built a single tube Novice transmitter, covering 80 and 40 meters. The crystal-controlled transmitter used a 6146, had an OA2 mercury vapor voltage regulator, and a pi network to match the plate impedance to the antenna. The plans were from an old edition of the ARRL handbook. (If anyone recognizes which edition of the handbook this came from, I'd appreciate hearing from you. A photocopy of the plans had been given to me, but I lost it). I put up a coax-fed 80 meter Inverted V, and had fun making contacts.
I passed the General class amateur exams at the FCC office in Houston in December, 1976.
Like most amateurs who enjoyed the "Novice Experience", my tenure as a Novice remains a favorite facet of my "amateur career".
-Scott McMullen W5ESE
Please visit Scott's hampage: http://www.geocities.com/scottamcmullen/WN5RMQ.html