In 1958, during the international
geophysical year, my father bought a Halicrafters receiver and began listening
to the reports coming out of Antarctica and around the world. He began studying
for his Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) license. Determined that he would get his
General ticket, he did not even test for the Novice code test when he went to
the FCC testing session. He didnít pass the test, because of the code, and
vowed that he would not try again.
But during those months of study,
dad had gotten his second grader son interested in listening to code and trying
to learn CW (continuous wave, what many call the Morse Code). I didnít get my
license at that time, but a few years later (just after graduating from medical
school) I decided to get my ticket. I went into the FCC testing session in 1982
ready for my general ticket (but ready to get a novice one if needed) and
walked out with the general. A couple months later, my call came in the mail:
I bought a Century 21 (TenTec) 40 watt 40 meter CW rig and strung up
a dipole. I didnít know another soul in Covington, Kentucky who was a ham, and
didnít meet any on the air. I played with the rig for a couple years, kids came
along, we moved, and I never put the radio back up. I was in Germany with the
USAF during the peak of the last solar cycle and never thought of ham radio.
(Except once, when I walked into the MARS station and announced that I was a
ham and could they use me as much of our base was on its way to Desert Storm -
They looked at me like I was some sort of amoebae - and I didnít look back on
my way out the door.)
I carried that Century 21 with me
through 5 moves, and finally in the spring of 1994, moving to Dayton, OH, I
gave it away to a neighborhood ham who donated it to a local school. About 6
months after moving to Dayton, a friend invited me to the Hamvention. I bought an ICOM 2 meter handheld, got to know the
friendly folks that frequent the Xenia, OH repeater (XWARN) and got more and more interested in
Before long I upgraded to Advanced and then finally to Amateur Extra. A couple years later, I used the vanity call sign system to become WS8G in honor of my "Elmer" Frank Beafore, WS8B.
made it a family thing, and a way for us all to communicate, and my family members all got their no-code tech licenses. This winter (2001), William is working on his Morse code. Diane already has hers and both may be looking to the General written test soon.