My next contact with radio communications was as a radio operator with the Connecticut Air national guard. Early in 1956 I was sent TDY to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS for training as a ground radio operator. One of the instructors, who was a Ham, told us all about Amateur Radio and encouraged us to get a license. I was definitely interested and he arranged an appointment for me with the FCC in New Orleans for the day after our course was to be completed. I didn’t expect any problem with the FCC General exam since the Ground radio operators course required 16 WPM sending and receiving Morse code. We were also instructed in radio theory subjects. Unfortunately, we did so well with the course that it was completed a week early and since I could not afford to hang around for a week, I missed the FCC exam.
That was 1956. When I returned home I was looking for a job and planning to move so Ham Radio fell by the wayside… In 1957, I moved to Glendale California and went to work for the Phone company. In 1962 my interest was again peaked, this time by a coworker. I studied with the local Ham club and in September 1962 I passed the exam for the Novice license (WN6BOW) and the Technician license (WB6BOW) at the same time. After 6 years my Morse was pretty rusty so I didn’t go directly for the General license. Besides the Tech would allow voice operation which I preferred to code. Because I had an old mimeograph machine I was selected to print the monthly newsletter for the Crescenta Valley Radio Club.
My first rigs were a Knight Kit R-55 receiver and T-60 transmitter for HF code and a modified Motorola motorcycle FM unit for VHF voice. My first HF antenna was an inverted V. My first contact was with a station in Marysville, CA and I am sure I still have the QSL around here some place mixed in with thousands and thousands of QSLs collected over the years. As I remember, the Novice license was only good for a year. So when it expired I continued on VHF FM with the Tech license for awhile. But I soon got the bug to talk to stations farther away then just my local area. So in early 1964 I passed the General Class license test and kept my Tech callsign WB6BOW.
That pretty much takes care of my novice years. But a quick reprise on the rest of my Ham career. In 1969 I moved to Tombstone, AZ and became WA7NEV. Some where along the line but not sure exactly when, while living in Arizona. I passed the Advanced license exam. In 1979 I joined the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department and spent the next 18 years living and traveling overseas. I lived 6 years in Africa (Ghana and Kenya) and 12 years in Asia (Phillipines, Pakistan and India).. While living, working or visiting 106 countries, most of them many times, I was privileged to operate from many of them from either my own station or as a guest operator. While overseas my home callsign was changed to KB7NK
I am now 74 years old and retired and back living in Tombstone, AZ. I am no longer active on HF although KB7NK is still valid and I do have an FM rig installed in my travel trailer. I certainly enjoyed my years as a Ham and feel that it also contributed greatly to my 40 year career in Communications and computers.
73, Rod Hallen KB7NK
EX: 5Z4BH VK1HR D68RH 9G1RT C5AZ 5T5AZ TL8AZ EL2AE TU4BB KB7NK/5N0 3D2RH ZL0AGS VK2EFI WA7NEV WN6BOW WB6BOW KB7NK/VS6 KB7NK/DU1 KB7NK/AH2