Our Stories
Bill Weinhardt W9PPG
Dale Bredon W6BGK 
Bob McDonald W4DYF
Charlie Curle AD4F
Jim Franklin K4TMJ 
Elmer Harger N7EL
Byron Engen W4EBA
Hank Greeb N8XX
Gene Gertler, AD2I
Richard Schachter W6HII
Dick Bender W3SYY
Tom Webb W4YOK 
Ron D' Eau Claire AC7AC
Ron Baker WA6AZN
Sam Whitley K5SW 
Gary Borri K9DBR
Steve Jensen W6RHM
Jim Leighty W6UJX
Dan Girand W5ARB
Dan Bathker K6BLG
Bill Bell KN2CZZ 
George Marko K2DWL  
Kenny Cassidy WN2WNC
Rick Faust N2RF
Fred Jensen K6DGW
Alvin Burgland W6WJ
Paul Signorelli W0RW
Jim Brown W5ZIT
Bob Rolfness W7AVK
Paul Danzer N1II
Charlie Lofgren W6JJZ
Joe Montgomery W1DWJ
Dick Dabney K6BZZ
Ray Cadmus W0PFO
John Johnston W3BE
Dan Smith K6PRK
Dick Zalewski W7ZR
Bob Brown W4YFJ
L.B. Cebik W4RNL (sk) 
Carl Yaffey K8NU 
Gary Liljegren W4GAL 
 Paul Johnston W9PJ
Jack Burks K4CNW
Al Cammarata W3AWU
Gene Schonrock W6EAJ
Dave Germeyer W3BJG 
David Quagiana K2MTW
Dan Schobert W9MFG
Jack Schmidling K9ACT
Dan Marks ex-K6IQF
Matt Wheaton W1EMM 
1951 - 1955
1956 - 1960
1961 - 1965
1966 - 1970
1971 - 1975
1976 - 1980
1981 - 1990
1991 - 2000

Paul Johnston, W9PJ
(formerly WN9OPD, 1955)

I received my Novice Ticket in February of 1955. I moved from Minneapolis, MN to Maywood, IL in 1954. While attending Proviso HS, I ate lunch with some guys who were hams and some who were preparing to be. I decided to go for my Novice ticket too. I borrowed an old ARC5 receiver to listen to 80 CW and some 78 RPM code practice records that got me ready for the test. The code was always easy for me, I had to work a little harder on the theory. I acquired an SX-42 receiver and my dad drove me down to Allied Radio to buy a Viking Adventurer kit. I saw a used Stancor ST-202A with an 812A final and decided to buy that instead. I put up a Windom antenna and ran it from a tree in the parkway to a mast I built on the roof of our garage. My first contact was a W2 in New Jersey. I remember calling my mother from school almost every day to see if I received any new QSL cards. I still have all of my Novice QSL cards. I ended up working 47 of 48 states, Delaware was the lone holdout, and all continents except Asia. I worked about 35-40 countries as a Novice. The DX really improved when I built a rotary dipole for 15 meters. I graduated to a MonKey electronic keyer and got my 25 WPM code proficiency sticker as a Novice. It was a great time to get into amateur radio. I joined a radio club, the Chicago Suburban Radio Association, and people were really nice to us kids. People used to stop by whenever they saw an antenna to meet and introduce themselves. I have been active for 53 years and still love the hobby. I don't think I ever surpassed the thrill of radio I experienced as a Novice, even with all sorts of modern gear and old gear I have collected. Kind of like a kid with a cane pole and a stringer of fish, compared to someone with fancy tackle and a creel.
You can see my current station and picture at QRZ.com.

Paul Johnston, W9PJ ex WN9OPD