It was a very primitive setup, but somehow I managed to hear and work a few stations, on 7183 Kc, which was my only crystal. It was very thrilling for me at the time. I enjoyed ham radio a lot more in those days because it was all new, and because there was something very exciting about actually talking to someone in Nebraska! I considered them "DX" if they were 2 states or more away. If I could work 3 states away, I was working RARE DX! It was always my dream to work California, and I actually did - TWICE! I can still remember the sense of accomplishment to actually get all the way across the country with my little station! I put on those headphones, and it was like I stepped into an entirely different world!!!
And when I wasn't trying to make a contact, I was SWL'ing, listening to really incredible DX, like BBC in London, Radio Moscow, Deutsche Welle, and South American stations where I couldn't understand them, but they played a lot of Rhumba and Cha-Cha music, which we certainly didn't hear in Illinois! Nothing like it today. What an exciting time for a teenager! Guys just buy a $$$ transceiver, and they don't know how hard it used to be to get on the air, when you actually had to construct your own station.
I remember one stupid woman called me one day from 40 miles away, saying that I owed her a washing machine! I had no idea what the hell she was talking about? Well, it seemed her washing machine had burned out, and the repairman told her that it had been burned out "by some ham radio operator and his dangerous transmitter." So, she started searching for the nearest ham. She couldn't find any close to her, so she started branching out and asking around. And somehow, someone knew I was a ham, and I lived 40 miles away. So, she decided I was the one who had burned out her washing machine motor! And she demanded I buy her a new washer! Wow! 40 miles away with 6 watts, and I did all that? I'm surprised I didn't burn out passing railroad locomotives FIRST. That was when I first learned to tell someone they were crazy, and hang up on them! Not something a 15 year old did to an adult back then, but I learned fast.