Sam Whitley, K5SW
(formerly WN5WAX, 1952; K5SW)
My Novice experience began in the fall of '51. An announcement over the high school’s PA system said the HS Biology teacher Dale Reins W5VJU would conduct code/theory classes in the evening for those interested. I opted for it-learned my code, studied theory as well as building my 1st XMTR,a 6L6 Xtal Osc.(I still have & use that rig,since rebuilt to better chassis on 40 mtrs today).
The nearest exam point was in Tulsa, 60 miles away. I rode the MKT railroad passenger train to Tulsa, walked the 1/2 mile to the basement of the Post Office.
In May of '52 my ticket arrived (Wn5WAX). Locally I found a WW2 surplus BC-342-N receiver. I had one XTAL (3.728) & put up a dipole fed w/72 ohm "twin-lead". Not knowing better I cut the dipole for 40 mtrs & had no more room to make longer I built up a antenna tuner with a "one turn link & bulb" to see my power out. The power supply for the 6L6 rig XFMR came from a 1938 Philco Table model radio (orig. xfmr is still in use). My key was a McElroy Teardrop.
I was a Junior in HS at that time. I would take a nap some evenings & get back up around mid-night & work 'til 2AM, back to bed, & off to school later. On 3.728 in the Novice "Snake-Pit" I worked 33 states from Oklahoma as a Novice.
I consider my Novice experience one of my "Greatest Enjoyment Periods" of my 56 years in Ham Radio. BTW, my Elmer KC5TL ex W5VJU is still alive. One other note-I'm a 2nd generation Ham-Uncle was W5ALI '31-'74. It was in '46 right after hams could get back on air that he quickly built up a ten meter AM rig that I talked to another 11 yr old NJ hams son that I was "hooked on Ham Radio", but lay dormant until the fall '51 announcement on HS PA system.
WN5WAX--then W5WAX--now K5SW, however I picked back up my W5WAX call in '98 my xyl & I formed a club & I got W5WAX back for it. When using vintage gear I use W5WAX. Lots of vintage still in use here, along with many keys.