George Marko, K2DWL
My first home rig was the Eldico TR-75 TV and the Hallicrafter S-40B and the antenna was a 40 foot long wire feed with approximately 20 ft. of rubber insulated 18 ga. wire and a trusty knife switch for the changeover.
My first contacts made were from Bayonne Tech school station as the Eldico TR-75TV that I had built from Kit form didn't work on first fire up. With the help of a TV service man and fellow ham we found the RF choke in the final stage to be open. At that time school was in summer recess and I was left to the local amateurs for help. My novice days were limited .
As soon as I went back to school in September I went for my general class license and passed it on the first try. The school equipment was all military surplus and the most exotic piece was the BC-610 which was in an area by itself and you had to be a General Class to use it . The teacher , Mr Mack ,was often found working the ham bands in the mornings before school .
The most intimidating thing of going to the FCC in NYC was not the test itself but Mr. Finkelman, the FCC engineer in charge of giving the tests. He wore dark horn rimmed glasses and walked the isle as the code test was given and it seemed as though he was going to flunk you by the way he looked at you . It was just the way he looked that got you nervous and you would miss a letter or number . In those days there were no multiple choice questions on the code exam . You had to copy 1 minute solid otherwise you failed the test .
If you missed a letter that started the next sequence of solid copy and they would send 10 minutes of code. It was also a time when we went every weekend to NYC and Radio Row just to browse the surplus and look candy eyed at all the commercial transmitters and receivers on the market . You were like a kid in a candy factory !