A History of the
Novice Class
Amateur Radio License,
1951 - 2000
1951, The Beginning
Early-1950s
Mid-1950s
Late-1950s
Early-1960s
Mid-1960s
Late-1960s
Early-1970s
Mid-1970s
Late-1970s
1980s
1990s-2000
Submit Your Novice Story
---Our Novice Stories---
1951 - 1955
1956 - 1960
1961 - 1965
1966 - 1970
1971 - 1975
1976 - 1980
1981 - 1990
1991 - 2000

The Novice License: 1951 - 2000
An Overview

For most hams, the year(s) they spent as a Novice gave them the most fun they had in ham radio.  They discovered our hobby.  Everything was new and exciting!   Other hams went out of their way to help and teach them.   This website provides a space for hams to celebrate that joy by sharing American Novice stories, 1951 to 2000.

Many American hams were first licensed as a Novice from 1951 to the 2000. Almost every Novice will tell you, her/his Novice year(s) were their happiest in ham radio. This is when we discovered ham radio and were excited by it. This is when we had the thrill of making our first contact and getting our first QSL card. Most everybody was real nice to us as a Novice. They went out of their way to help and teach us. In 2000, the FCC stopped issuing new Novices.

Those holding Novices may continue to renew. However few actually renewed. The rate of non-renewal of Novice is the highest amongst all license class. Even though there are Novice holders still on the FCC database, almost none are on the air. In 2007, the FCC reallocated the under-used novice bands. The Novice has become a musuem piece.

The Novice license served an essential function as a learner's permit. Even with all the encouragement available for a new ham, most new hams are intimated by the technology. They need a period of time to learn. These days in our hyperactive society, everyone is in a rush. Consumerism is the rule. Most people want an applicance they can operate and are unconcerned about how it works. They want a walkie talkie that is easy to use. They have no patience to get on CW at 5 words per minute.

The Novice Historical Society was founded to preserve the Novice experience which we consider as an important aspect of the history of amateur radio in the U.S. We invite former American Novices to share a story of the joy of their Novice year to be posted on this website. Some of the material from this website has gone/will go into the QCWA Journal's Novice History Series written by Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., WW6CC (formerly WN6JPA, 1975). The series started in 2008 and is expected to run until approximately 2013.

A story can be on any Novice experience you had: how you discovered ham radio, nervousness sending Morse code during your test, eager anticipation waiting for the license to come, (mis)adventures building/assemblying your first rig and antenna, your first QSO, your most memorable QSO, operating field day for the first time, hams who were generous to you..... Do send us, to the email address below, a photo of yourself as a Novice or some other Novice artifact, if you have one. If you have a link to your personal ham radio webpage send that along too. Please read the "Submit a Novice Story" page on this website before sending us a novice story.

73s, Cliff Cheng, PhD, AC6C
Originally licensed as WN6JPA, 1975Formerly - WA6JPA, KI6CM, WW6CC

Email Address: (click - Submit a Novice Story to the upper left)