Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA
(formerly WN9AVT, 1961)
I first became aware of radio around the 5th grade through a book in the library titled SOS at Midnight by Walker A. Tompkins. My interest was further stirred by one of the Hardy Boys books – The Short-Wave Mystery. These two books started my SWL career (I was ‘licensed’ by Popular Electronics as WPE9BQH). My receiver was a National NC-60 that Dad bought me in 6th grade – he must have figured something good might come of this interest. I discovered Amateur Radio via the NC-60 by listening to a Chicago-area AM net on 1805 KHz (I grew up in Northwest Indiana).
But knowing about Amateur Radio didn’t get one a license – you had to actually know an Amateur Radio operator. Fortunately this turned out to be my Social Studies teacher in 7th and 8th grade – Mr. Walters W9MNO. Through his Radio Club at school, I took and passed my Novice exam, and was licensed as WN9AVT on October 11, 1961. In May 1962, a bunch of us Novices (Howie WN9AOW, Pete WN9BAB, Ross KN9FUA, Howie KN9GHL, and Dennis KN9YWO) took the South Shore train to Chicago and we all passed our General exam.
My Novice station consisted of the NC-60 and a Heathkit DX-20. I had 40m crystals for 7170 KHz and 7193 KHz. The 7170 crystal was quite useless at night due to Radio Moscow being on 7170 KHz. The antenna was a 40m dipole between the house and garage, and I had many enjoyable QSOs in the old 40m Novice band. Although I had a crystal for the 15m Novice band, the lack of an RF stage in the NC-60 limited my ability to hear all but the loudest signals. I upgraded to Extra in the mid seventies, and took K9LA in 1977 when the FCC allowed Extra class licensees to acquire a 1x2 call.
Please visit Carl's ham page: http://mysite.verizon.net/k9la/