Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Forty Years of Ham Radio

My novice key.
I don't remember a lot about forty years ago. I don't remember much about taking the Novice exam, or the name or call of the fellow kind enough to give it to me. But I do remember, in November of 1975, receiving my Novice license. I became WN8WOY. It took months for me to get on the air in June of 1976. I kept that call until the FCC  issued me WB8WOY the next fall. I've told many of the details in my Novice Story.

I do remember ham radio being a lot different forty years ago. I was using all tube type gear. Although all-solid-state gear was available, it was rather uncommon until the early to mid-80s. I remember learning about transistors and tubes at the same time. It was easier and cheaper to generate RF using tubes, something that's still true today at the higher power levels.

I remember that I didn't have a clue what I was doing with ham radio. I had read a lot of 73 Magazine articles, but that didn't prepare me for actually being on the air, or how to put up reasonably effective antennas. In retrospect, I did a lot of dumb things, and perhaps missed some opportunities. But, I was having fun, and learning as I went along.

In those days, I remember working toward the goal of getting Worked All States. I believe I collected cards for about thirty states, but came nowhere close to working them all. Today, I've earned WAS on six bands, and worked all fifty states just last weekend in a contest.

I do remember I was quite shy about transmitting, and I did a lot of listening. Perhaps my first decade was much more about listening than transmitting.

I also remember I enjoyed building things. I'm glad I still do. Here's to forty more years of building, learning and enjoying ham radio.

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