(formerly WN6FYD, 1960)
I was a seasoned CW intercept operator when I decided to get my ham license in 1960. Since 1948 I had spent my career in the Army Security Agency copying code. I was only involved in copying but I had taken a course in sending at Ft. Monmouth NJ. Despite these years of being comfortable around the code I entered the FCC examination with trepidation. From entering the room aty San Francisco to take the exam it seemed that the examiner's mission was to fail the applicants. But my basic experience kicked in and I proudly earned a Novice call WN6FYD. I still hold that call except for changing the N to an A, WA6FYD. As an Extra Class operator I hold onto that hard-earned call sign
I really enjoyed the early novice operating, especially when higher-class amateurs would come to the novice bands to give us a little practice. They did not realize that I had 12 years of experience and they would ask me several times if I got their last transmissions. I would always say, "Yes, but I could barely keep up with your speed.!" That spurred them on and we would soon reach high speeds.
My equipment was a 1 tube transmitter with a chrystal switch which I could quickly move to various chrystals. My receiver was surplus Navy receiver which forever reeked of the cigarette smoke the Navy ops had smoked.
DX was contacting Nevada or Texas from my California QTH.