(formerly WN4UXJ, 1952)
My Dad was a ham before me. He got a license in 1926 from the Department of Commerce since there was no FCC back then. Dad said his spark transmitter never caused any interference with any TV or radio set that he knew of. I said there was no TV back then and hardly any radios. He was just joking, I guess. By the time I was 8 years old, I was fixing neighbor's radios.
At the tender age of 14 in 1951, Dad took me from Melbourne, FL down to the FCC office in Miami where I very nervously copied correctly a minute of code at 5WPM out of 5 minutes. Then went on to the technical test that was a snap for me.
Early in 1952, I was issued my WN4UXJ call. My call first appeared in the Callbook in 1952. My first transmitter was built on an old jukebox amplifier chassis since it already had a power supply built in. It was a crystal controlled 3710 kc. with a 6AG7 followed by a 6L6 straight out of the ARRL Handbook. My receiver was an old BC-454 aircraft receiver. I added a 6L6 to the output so I could drive a speaker but it had badly distorted audio. I forgot to put a cathode resistor bypassed by a cap in the 6L6. Fixed that and had a great receiver for 80 meters.
I was really thrilled to get my first contact but a little disappointed when the guy turned out to be living on the other side of Melbourne, FL. Real DX…..
My Elmer back then was Don Weber, W4JWG, who worked for the FAA. I remember seeing his ham station that was an ART-13 and a Hammarlund HQ-129X. I aspired to have that kind of fancy equipment someday.
I went on within a few months to get 13WPM and got my Class B license in Miami. The FCC changed the rules for what licenses could operate what bands in 1953. I called into the Knights of the Kilocycles on 75 meters for ten straight Sundays and became a member. Since up to that time, only Class A licensees could get on 20 meters and 75 meters, I became the first Class B holder to become a member. A real feather in my cap, so to speak.
I went on to college and obtained a PhD in Elect. Engr. and worked at Lockheed in Marietta, GA for 32 yrs before retiring 13 years ago. To this day, after more than 59 years as a ham with the same call, W4UXJ, radio is still just as much fun as those first few months as a Novice.