Reading the Novice history article in the latest QCWA Journal sure brought back some memories. In the early Fall of 1951, one of my friends named Jim Harrell and I took the bus from Raleigh, NC to Winston-Salem, NC, to the Federal building there to take our Novice written and 5 WPM code tests. We both passed, and I was issued call sign WN4TMJ and my buddy got WN4TMV and we figured out that I got the "earlier" call because my last name started with F and his with H. We were both 15 years old at the time.
My first CW QSO on 3720 Kc was using my father's rig, de-tuned for Novice power output, which as I recall used a pair of 807s in the final amplifier. My father was W4FRH and had been a ham since the mid-thirties. I then built a 6L6 xmtr and rescued an RME-45 receiver to set up my own shack in my bedroom, using a dipole antenna strung from one corner of our house to a tall tree in the woods behind our house. This was a necessity since my father had built a VFO for his rig, and we Novices were restricted to crystals for frequency control. Besides, I wanted my own rig that I had put together. My friend Jim, WN4TMV, and I remained close for a while and helped another friend who lived out in the country south of Raleigh get his own Novice license as WN4UJI later in the year, but when my family moved from Raleigh to Greensboro, I lost track of him.
I was away from ham radio for many years, while I put in some 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, then after retiring from active duty, teaching Math and Computer Science for 15 years, but last year I got a Technician license in February as KE7KSH and then my General in April. I am now studying for upgrade to Extra class and just last weekend was in northern Arizona at a camp site helping out with field day with my one year old Yaesu FT-897 on battery power, working 20 meter phone. And I am also working on my CW receive speed, because I still like CW as much as I did in 1951-52. My current call sign K4TMJ is as close as I could get to my original novice call sign (without the N).
James Franklin, K4TMJ