Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N8AFT, May 30, 2019.
OH, The heady aroma of tubes and wax capacitors, can't be beat...
Small town Wisconsin in the 1960's at a TV repair shop / ham shack operated by a WWII radio operator. I would have been a early grade school kid at the time. Wonderful man, he was kind and gentle with every question I had.
That encounter left me with a life long interest in electronics, which blossomed into a productive career.
Good to see you back, Lane!
The requirements for the rank of First Class Scout back in 1956 included sending and receiving code by sound, light, semaphore or wigwag. The assistant Scoutmaster of my troop was a retired Navy Quartermaster who could use these modes and more. He never had a student who couldn't learn code well enough for passing any of the BSA or USN requirements.
After I got married the relationship between myself and my father in law began to gnaw. Although married he still was a lonely man. He found solace and friendship in a group of friends after he discovered 11 meters. He lived in a condominium complex where there were no trees, no antennas allowed and everybody minded everyone else’s business. Figuring out a way to get on and stay on the air was an issue (as many of us can understand). After long consideration he ingenuously devised a way to raise a vertical antenna from the first floor laundry room, through his bedroom closet directly above, through the attic and out through a black PVC pipe that had a tractor exhaust cap on top to keep the rain out. He did this via a DC stepper motor attached to a cable that pulled a custom plate (approximately 10” wide) that had garage door rollers attached to it. The rollers were in garage door tracks that ran the same route and the antenna. He loved his radio system and brought me into it. We each had Radio Shack Apache radio’s and had a blast. He wanted more.
Having purchased and eased his way through a Heathkit Amateur Radio course, he could not wait to go beyond 11 meters into legit ham radio. THIS is when he found out his severe hearing issue, in his mind, was the giant step he couldn’t overcome.
He passed away without ever getting his ticket and it wasn’t long after that that I learned accommodations could have been made (using a light bulb) you facilitate his handicap.
It wasn’t long after that my mother-in-law approached me and said that, if I were to obtain my amateur radio license, she would give me his equipment which, by that time, consisted of a Kenwood TS820s, AT-820, HC-10 and various other devices.
Well, suffice to say that my motivation was lit and the rest, well...
1959 to 1961 SOS at Midnight, my cousin, and other kids that I looked up to were my spark. KN8RXB in 1961 at age 14. I never forgot K6ATX, and I wonder how many others remember him also.
It's those kind of mentors wove the fabric of a society that has mostly faded away now in their absence. I learned semaphore to get my badge in the mid-60's.
Again, the scoutmaster was a retired Navy chief. And I was also building Knight kits at that age. Lots of life skill mentoring in those environments.
Ditto. My parents met a ham at a PTA meeting, 1960ish. Went to his home, a block over, on a Saturday and I was hooked.
Thank you K1RQW.
In 1975 I was 12 years old and attended a Novice class. I learned the code (easily) and it's been part of my life since.
I attended a code class in 1982. There were only 2 students and a salty old CW man who I became friends with.
He owned a Hybrid Kenwood a 530 or 830, I don't recall.
I visited his home and enjoyed the spectical of a CW QSO with a ham in france on 20m.
I was an SWL at that time and raising kids and a TV repair biz. Anyway the course fizzled out due to lack of interest.
I started studying for my 5 wpm code test for my novice license in 1992. I used the Gordon West cassette tapes to practice. It didn't seem like it took me too long to learn. I passed my 13 wpm a couple of months later and the my 20 wpm a couple of years later. I did it all so that I could advance my license at the time but now it is my main mode of operation.