(formerly WV6RAD, 1961)
When I was 11 years old I noticed a large roof mounted beam antenna on one of the nearby apartment buildings on Guthrie Avenue in Los Angeles. I went up to the second story apartment knocked on the door, introduced myself and asked what the large antenna was for? A young man my age, named Howard Leight (K6PPH), asked me to come in and see him operate his Ham Radio Station. I was intrigued! Howard then told me, "if you are interested in this hobby a good way to learn about electronics would be to first build a Crystal Radio Set."
There was a hobby shop on La Cienega Blvd. and I went there and purchased a crystal radio kit for $3. Over the next few years I modified that crystal radio set many times to increase both selectivity and signal strength. When I was 12 my family moved to San Francisco where I enrolled at Aptos Junior High. Aptos had no electric shop, so I was on my own to further my interest in electronics. However, I discovered many electronic surplus stores where I was able to purchase electronic components to modify my crystal set. When I was 13 my family moved again and then I enrolled at John Burroughs Junior High, where I took Electric Shop with Richard Bell. In that class I learned both soldering technique and working safely with machines. My parents now lived in a duplex apartment and the upstairs neighbor had a 1938 Zenith Short Wave Receiver, which he allowed me to use whenever I wanted. As a short wave listener, it wasn't long before I studied and learned the Morse code. When I was 15 I entered Fairfax High School, where I took Radio Shop with Art Meyers and built my first regenerative one tube AM radio receiver. After graduation from high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy with guaranteed electronics field training. While in Naval Boot Camp I took a battery of tests to determine how best I could serve the Navy. I aced the test for Morse code and was selected for Communications Technician Radio training. While I was attending the CTR School in 1961, I finally took and passed the exams for the Novice License and I was assigned the Novice Call Sign of WV6RAD. I had little chance to use my Novice License in the Navy. After I completed my 4-year enlistment in the Navy I enrolled at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where I majored in Radio Communications Technology with Peter Lindholm. While I attended Trade Tech I upgraded to General Class with the call sign of WB6PJC. My first ham station consisted of a Knight Kit T-60 transmitter and a Heathkit AR-3 Receiver with a QF-1 Q multiplier and a 40 Meter dipole antenna on the roof. I have been a licensed ham now for over 50 years.