Norm Goodkin, K6YXH
(formerly KN6YXH, 1957)
I teach entry-level ham radio classes now, and explain to my students that most of the most important learning will come *after* they get their license and will include things that no one ever thought to put on the exam.
After building my Johnson Viking Adventurer, a 50 watt CW kit, I came to the very last part, where you hook up a light bulb as a dummy load and see if it lights up. This was way back in 1957, and I was just about to graduate from Airport Junior High School. My Elmer was Joe Ball, K6GMM (SK), our shop teacher. He shepherded a bunch of us in his Radio Shop class.
The excellent instructions explained how to make a dummy load: I carefully soldered one end of a twisted-pair onto the RCA connector, and the other end onto a 50 Watt light bulb, closely following the illustration and making sure I didn't have cold soldering joints; Mr. Ball had taught us how to solder!
I set the loading and coupling capacitors to minimum and proceded to slowly increment the loading and dipped the plate until I reached the target current. Everything was working just the way they should.... except.... the light bulb didn't light.
My father called his Scouting friend, Bill Butler, W6JX, who lived just 3 blocks from us. I talked to Bill, explained the problem, and he listened on his 75A4 while I sent T-E-S-T D-E K-N-6-Y-X-H on 40m. As he tuned across my rock-bound 7125kc signal, I heard my CW as clear as a bell - what a thrill - I was LOUD!
Bill said he'd come over and see what was going on. I remember him standing in the doorway of my bedroom/ham shack, at least 6 feet tall, filling the whole doorway, and saw a warm smile come over his face as he took in the scene. He didn't laugh, and he wasn't upset when he explained, "Well Norm, when they say twisted pair, they mean insulated wire."