David Kazdan,MD, Ph.D., AD8Y
(Formerly WN8HKS, 1970)
I had a wonderful time as a Novice licensee. I was 10. My father, Philip Kazdan, had gotten interested in amateur radio through one of his patients, and he and I studied for our exam together. The Novice exam was given by a licensed ham only then. Michel Roy (now K9GU) gave us the exam at his home in the spring of 1970, and I remember marveling at the gorgeous handmade cabinet he had done for his homebrew electronic keyer. Dad and I received our certificates, mine WN8HKS and Dad's WN8HKT. Dad had bought a Drake 2-B receiver and he coached me through wiring an Ameco AC-1 transmitter, 15 watts on 40 meters. That went to a dipole between trees with a knifeswitched T-R arrangement. We both logged contacts all over the United States but I don't recall any out of the country. Two teachers at my school were licensed, Robert Morgan, K8RBV, and Jim Woehrmann, W8MEX, and they were both very supportive of it all. My novice did lapse but I passed the General as WB8QYM a few years later, then left high school as an Amateur Extra. The FCC wasn't changing calls then but restarted it later, so I swapped for AD8Y freshman year of college. Dad obtained his Amateur Extra in one sitting in 1993 and is holder of N8OVY. So--I've been licensed for nearly 38 years already and have enjoyed ham radio very much!
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Another item--Dad prepared for his General exam a few years before we did the Novice together. I don't think he ever took the test, but he had qualified on Morse at 15 WPM in the Army Air Force during WWII and started again with that. That patient who got him started was a recording engineer and quite serious about it all. He loaned Dad a two-LP set of Nikola Tesla's biography at 20 WPM, and I remember Dad sitting at our dining room table with his then-new stereo writing this out night after night. I shudder to think of it now! He still seems to know an awful lot about Tesla.
Fist notice of licensure was usually a box of sample QSL cards from a Texas outfit, The Little Print Shop if I recall correctly. They must have figured out Freedom of Information laws early and got daily mailing lists from the FCC.
Cleveland hams may remember Dixon's Radio Key, an incredible trove of war surplus parts and junk. We never had anything like New York City's stores, but Dixon's and Research Electronics downtown (now on Broadway, not far away) mostly filled needs. Poly-Paks was a good mail order place then.
Ham radio took me on to an electrical engineering major in college, so I am genuinely grateful to the community of hams for all their patience with a child on the air, and to the ARRL and other publishers for all the written reference material.