Howard's entire garage was his ham shack, including a Collins 75A4 and a kilowatt transmitter. When I first saw his shack, my mouth fell open and I was hooked on the hobby! He invited me to talk over the air that evening as his wife looked on. Of course, I got ‘mike fright’ and stammered around while he prompted me with some ham jargon.
After my first visit, Howard gave me a key and code practice oscillator and encouraged me to practice to attain five words per minute or more. My dad visited Howard with me several times. He and my dad became friends during my licensing process. My dad also encouraged me to study for my Novice license. I practiced and sent away for the Novice license manual and exam papers.
When I was ready, Howard agreed to proctor my exam while we sat in his ham shack amid all that wonderful equipment. I passed on my first attempt and received my Novice license from the FCC effective March 7, 1956.
I already had a Hallicrafter receiver. My Dad sprang for a Heathkit AT-1 and I set about assembling my first transmitter. What a thrill it was when I finally gave my new transmitter the ‘smoke test’ and it worked! Sure, there were a few bugs, but with Howard’s help I was able to work them out and get on the air.
As a Novice, I worked all the U.S. call areas, with most of the QSOs still being in California. At the time, running about 25 watts on CW, my idea of DX was Northern California or maybe Texas! In the later months as a Novice, I did work New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other distant states, all on 40 meters, using a dipole. I still have all of my Novice QSL cards.Howard continued to encourage me to get my General license and I passed that exam in San Diego, but I moved to Whittier in the Los Angeles area almost immediately thereafter. My General Class license was effective January 31, 1957. I have several of Howard’s letters. Howard was a SK in 2007, but his grandson, Jeff, now has the K6EDA call sign..
Ham activities took a back seat to family and career for years, but I got back on the air as K6RAH in September 2009 in Dallas, Texas. I am now an Extra Class licensee and enjoying our marvelous hobby all over again.
Richard P. “Dick” Morgan
16814 Park Hill Dr
Dallas, TX 75248