My biggest thrill today is working field day, QRP (5W), CW, and battery power…I think it’s because, well maybe for 24 hours, I can jump back (mentally) to those days in 1959 and feel like I did as a novice…just one more time.
Please share with your fellow hams a story of your Novice year(s). The story should mainly focus on your Novice period. A story can be a photo or a few lines of text to a full blown story of several pages.
Like so many of you, my fondest memories in ham radio are those early days as a novice struggling with a low power rig to make a contact. Hams today just shake their head and say, “how could you possibly enjoy CW….that’s work, not fun”. But the excitement and thrill of someone finally responding to my call, that weak little signal, rock bound at that, was beyond words. Another novice at that time and good friend (KN5WSC Roy), would team up either at my house or his and stay on the air all night (Friday night of course due to school) pounding away with the Heathkit AT-1 (both had the same type transmitter) and being amazed as the West Coast would boom in on 40 meters. Roy and I would compete with our AT-1’s on 40 meters almost daily. The most amusing contact in those days occurred one morning on 40 meters (~7am) just before leaving for school (junior high). Roy had called CQ on his favorite frequency (xtal) 7.166 khz…and there was a response from KH6IJ (if memory serves me correctly). But no Roy…how could he miss that? Did he give up and run to school? I immediately called KH6IJ on my “rock” of 7.175 and he replied and we had a nice QSO. I still to this day like to rub it in…how Roy let the big one get away. You have to remember I had the AT-1 (20 watts on a good day) but a very low dipole...maybe 15’ on one end and 20’ on the other, fed with 75 ohm twisted lead. I used a BC-348L for a receiver and with such a modest station was able to have a great time. I upgrade about 4-5 months after becoming a novice but continued to work CW…and still do to this day. Those were the most enjoyable days however, even 50 years later I say that.
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