I passed the tests and was assigned the call sign of WN3ANW as a Novice. At the time Novices had to upgrade within a year or go off the air. Since the 6-meter band was available to Technicians and was used to fly model planes I had a dual reason to upgrade. The goal was to achieve reliable flight of the models.
I did make numerous contacts on CW using a Heath 60 watt transmitter and Hallicrafters S-10 receiver. I was definately the shakiest fist in the East! Those Hams who worked me through those first contacts have my continuing gratitude. I'm still working CW and have grown to enjoy it. The QRP poeple are fun to work and, occasionally, I meet up with older Hams trying to get back into CW. Each contact certainly has a story behind it!
My Elmer was Cliff Carlson who was a Ham since the First World War. He worked spark gap and AM phone and had a ton of stories to tell about the hobby. He absolutely could not understand model radio control but was a great help in showing me the ropes on antennas and radio contruction. His shack had several racks of tube gear that played all day and night and smelled strongly of pipe smoke. I tried to equate the equipment to the Radars I'd worked on in service and, again, Cliff couldn't bridge the gap. Still, we spent some wonderful times together and I learned a lot about radio and the Hams that make it work. I was very fortunate that Cliff too an interest in me and gave me some history and prospective about the hobby.
About 8 months after getting licensed I passed the Tech and then built a radio system for the model planes. I've been on 6-meters with them ever since and have enjoyed the building of the control gear every bit as much as the models themselves. Cliff has been a Silent Key for over 20 years but still forms my thinking on a lot of things. His kindness and patience are still a gift and he lives on in my thoughts.
When my son Jeff was 12 years old we started sending code to each other on a practice oscillator. He really showed a talent for the code so had little trouble passing the Novice and getting licensed as WB3CXC. He also flew models with me on 6-meters after upgrading. He later began training as a commercial airline pilot and used his CW skills to identify navigation aids that had Morse code IDs. Today he is the Chief Pilot on Citations for a major defense contractor and continues to operate as Extra Class AE1O.
My wife is still giving me good council after 48 years together. When I babble on about one radio topic or another she listens politely and tries to show some interest. I can hear her saying to herself, behind a faint smile, "I told you so!"