Mike Betz, WB8ZFQ
(formerly WN8OMS, 1964)
My interest in ham radio began in 1962 when some one gave me an old short wave radio. I enjoyed listing to international broadcasts and became WPE8GDY in March 1963. Being in high school I didn't have much of an income. Some how I managed to save my coins to buy a Lafayette HE-40. It was then that I discovered these guys talking to each other all over the country. I learned about ham radio and started studying for my ticket. Using 78-RPM records I learned Morse code. I got my Novice license, WN8OMS, in November 1964 while a high school senior.
The HE-40 was too broad for CW signals. Even though it has a BFO it really wasn't intended to be a communications receiver. This problem was fixed by using a Heathkit HD-11 Q-Multiplier. The Q-Multiplier adjusted the band pass by peaking one selected signal. This feature made many a poor receiver usable as a communication receiver especially for CW.
My transmitter was a Knight T-60. Novices in those days were limited to a maximum power of 75-watts, employing crystal control. The T-60 was an inexpensive rig that met these requirements and was therefore very popular.
My first contact was with WN9NDS, Rich in Indiana. Later I made some on air ham pals and we communicated regularly. By spring of 1965 I upgraded to Technician class and purchased a Heathkit "Twoer" for voice communications.
A year after graduating high school I was drafted into the Army during the Viet Nam War. I attended Army communications schools and maintained Air Defense Link communication for a Nike Hercules missile unit in Germany. Later, at Fort Knox, I worked on the VHF FM transceivers used in amour vehicles and jeeps. I was proud to wear the signal corps insignia. After the service I upgraded my ticket to Advance class and became WB8ZFQ.
Many of us old time ham operators get the urge to reconstruct our novice station. All my original equipment was gone. It was a challenge to gather the gear from hamfests, eBay, and flea markets. In 2006 I enjoyed restoring my novice station of 1964. It brought back fond memories from forty-plus years ago.
My interest in radio/electronics has enabled me to stay employed in the electronics field all these many years. I look forward to retiring in a few years and spending more time hamming.
Mike Betz - WB8ZFQ