David Quagiana, K2MTW
(formerly KN2MTW, 1955)
This is how my FCC Novice license leads to my teaching certificate
As a youngster in the late 1940's I was intrigued with my father's radio repair shop situated in what once was our coal bin - in the cellar on Westminster Street in the Kensington section of Buffalo New York. Frank's Radio Repair had lots of customers.
When I was about ten years old, he built a crystal radio for me. Then when television sets became popular in the early 1950's He sold his test equipment and spare tubes and quite the business. Who's going to listen to the radio anymore?
Around 1954 I started delivering the Buffalo Evening News paper. As a seventh grade student, One of my customers had a son who was in high school. One day, he invited me into his shack. Holy Cow! What's this? He explained he was a ham. His call was KN2KDT. He told me how I had to learn the Morse code and some basic electronics. We used to go to the monthly ham radio club called RAWNY - Radio Amateur's of Western New York. He would proudly stand up at the start of the meeting and announce his call - Two Kisses Dates and Troubles - leaving out the KN part. Everyone would laugh. His radio station was a Hallicrafters S-38 receiver with a one-tube crystal controlled 6L6 transmitter on 80 meters CW.
With the help of my radio repairman father and the guy on my paper route I passed the Novice test in April 1955. I received my FCC Novice license KN2MTW in May 1955. I remember calling the Buffalo NY FCC office several times before taking the test. I had never heard of the term or word NOVICE. I assumed it was a misspelling of the word NO VOICE. I was 13 years old - the license was limited to CW only - must be a spelling error. Every time I called the Buffalo NY FCC office asking about the NO VOICE test, the secretary would put me through to the FCC Engineer in charge - I guess they thought this kid was real dumb - funny but dumb!
While I was waiting for my license - my father helped me get an Allied Radio Ocean Hopper kit - that we put together. This receiver had three or four tubes and cost around fifteen dollars. When my license arrived on May 23, 1955 I purchased the one tube transmitter from my paper route friend for twenty dollars and started in ham radio.
Somehow, I got hooked with CW and in a few months passed the FCC General test. In the summer of 1955 I purchased a World Radio Laboratory (WRL) (owned by Leo Myerson, W0GFQ) Globe Scout 65A. Still delivering papers, I had my father fill out the papers and made my first installment purchase using his name. Ten dollars down and ten dollars a month for a year.
My code speed increased so much that I was able to pass the Commercial FCC Telegraph Operator's exam. The test was at 16 words per minute in code groups - five scrambled letters followed by five more scrambled letters.
The FCC Telegraph license along with a FCC Radio Telephone Operator' License qualified me for an entry position with the Buffalo New York Police Department as a Radio Telegraph Operator. The Nation wide Police Telegraph Network had 79 radiotelegraph stations in 25 states coast to coast operating 24 -7. It was still in operation during the Apollo space program and finally ‘turned-off' about 1968. I may have been the last telegraph operators to be hired in the United States.
I worked for the Buffalo Police for thirty years eventually becoming the Supervisor of Police Radio. I attended college at night for 18 years. Upon retiring I passed the New York State Public School Teacher's examination. Today, I am a New York State Permanently Certified Public School Technology teacher.
The 5 words per minute Morse Code NO VOICE license lead to a FCC General, a Commercial Telephone and Telegraph license, the Buffalo Police and a teacher's Certificate.