I got interested in HAM radio pretty young. I got my novice license in 1960 at age 11. Back then you had to pass the 13 WPM code test within one year to get your general, or the novice expired. Mine expired.
I got re-involved with HAM radio when they dropped the code test.
I'm not no-code. I learned CW again and took the tests for general and also took the CW test. Actually, I am the last person to take the CW test here in Shirley. I took it in Jan 2006, the last month before it was eliminated.
The HAMs at the local club got a kick out of it. They said it was appropriate that the last one to take the CW test should be named Farnsworth.
The first thing I did was apply to get K1NNJ as a call sign. In 1960 I had KN1NNJ, and sending that call in CW is etched into my brain.
A couple of months later, I went back to get my extra class. I didn't like not being able to use parts of the bands.
I started out with a Kenwood TS-570D and a Cobra Ultralite dipole up about 40 feet. This worked pretty well - I got DXCC with this rig, at the bottom of the solar cycle.
I have since graduated to a K3 with the KPA500 amp and a hundred foot tower with a 3 element Steppir on it. I also have a Zero-Five vertical with 48 radials, and a double L for 160. The dipole is at 65 feet now.
I enjoy CW and using a straight key, so I joined SKCC (Straight Key Century Club). K3UK, a member of SKCC, has a great web site where you can make skeds, in real time, with other SKCC members ( http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/ ).
I use DXLAB software to run the rig and log QSOs.