(formerly WN6GSN, 1968)
I received my Novice license WN6GSN in 1968, when I was 13. I started as a shortwave broadcast SWL in 1965 and had confirmed over 100 countries, but I was shocked when my next-door neighbor, from whom I caught the SWL bug, surprised me when he said that he had passed his Novice license. I immediately bought the Ameco book and morse code LP and took my exam a couple of months later.
I built my first transmitter, an Ameco AC-1. I used a light bulb to tune-up and had to QSY a couple of times by using Ajax or pencil lead on the crystal. My receiver was my old SWL receiver, which had no BFO. I had to listen to CW as “thumps” to decode. I finally saved-up enough to buy a used Hammerlund HQ-110 to solve that problem. My next-door neighbor never made a single QSO and let his license lapse.
A local club, the Palisades Amateur Radio Club (PARC), fully accepted me and other Novices and helped us understand why amateur radio is such a great hobby. Many of the other Novices I met back then are still friends and stay in touch, even though I have lived in Munich since 1977.
The Novice license is clearly what allowed me to begin in amateur radio. This start defined my career in the high-tech area, got me to Dayton Hamventions, where in 1975 I met my future wife from Munich, as well as allowed me to continue to develop my areas of interest in amateur radio over the years.
Mitch DJØQN / K7DX