Around 1954 I started delivering the Buffalo Evening News paper. As a seventh grade student, One of my customers had a son who was in high school. One day, he invited me into his shack. Holy Cow! What's this? He explained he was a ham. His call was KN2KDT. He told me how I had to learn the Morse code and some basic electronics. We used to go to the monthly ham radio club called RAWNY - Radio Amateur's of Western New York. He would proudly stand up at the start of the meeting and announce his call - Two Kisses Dates and Troubles - leaving out the KN part. Everyone would laugh. His radio station was a Hallicrafters S-38 receiver with a one-tube crystal controlled 6L6 transmitter on 80 meters CW.
With the help of my radio repairman father and the guy on my paper route I passed the Novice test in April 1955. I received my FCC Novice license KN2MTW in May 1955. I remember calling the Buffalo NY FCC office several times before taking the test. I had never heard of the term or word NOVICE. I assumed it was a misspelling of the word NO VOICE. I was 13 years old - the license was limited to CW only - must be a spelling error. Every time I called the Buffalo NY FCC office asking about the NO VOICE test, the secretary would put me through to the FCC Engineer in charge - I guess they thought this kid was real dumb - funny but dumb!
While I was waiting for my license - my father helped me get an Allied Radio Ocean Hopper kit - that we put together. This receiver had three or four tubes and cost around fifteen dollars. When my license arrived on May 23, 1955 I purchased the one tube transmitter from my paper route friend for twenty dollars and started in ham radio.
Somehow, I got hooked with CW and in a few months passed the FCC General test. In the summer of 1955 I purchased a World Radio Laboratory (WRL) (owned by Leo Myerson, W0GFQ) Globe Scout 65A. Still delivering papers, I had my father fill out the papers and made my first installment purchase using his name. Ten dollars down and ten dollars a month for a year.
My code speed increased so much that I was able to pass the Commercial FCC Telegraph Operator's exam. The test was at 16 words per minute in code groups - five scrambled letters followed by five more scrambled letters.
The FCC Telegraph license along with a FCC Radio Telephone Operator' License qualified me for an entry position with the Buffalo New York Police Department as a Radio Telegraph Operator. The Nation wide Police Telegraph Network had 79 radiotelegraph stations in 25 states coast to coast operating 24 -7. It was still in operation during the Apollo space program and finally ‘turned-off' about 1968. I may have been the last telegraph operators to be hired in the United States.
I worked for the Buffalo Police for thirty years eventually becoming the Supervisor of Police Radio. I attended college at night for 18 years. Upon retiring I passed the New York State Public School Teacher's examination. Today, I am a New York State Permanently Certified Public School Technology teacher.
The 5 words per minute Morse Code NO VOICE license lead to a FCC General, a Commercial Telephone and Telegraph license, the Buffalo Police and a teacher's Certificate.