Alan Applegate, K0BG
(Formerly WN0BHE, 1970)
Spurred on by my brother Evan, KØHYG (sk), I was first licensed as a novice effective April 14th, 1970 as WNØBHE. It wasn't until the 25th of April that I actually received the license in the mail. The wait seemed a lot longer than it really was.
At the time, the bands were in fairly good shape, with 15 open most of the day. Although I could use my 40 meter dipole on 15 meters, 90% of my work was on 40, and mostly in the evenings due to work and family duties. It didn't take long to realize an old S40B and a DX40 wasn't going to cut the mustard as the bands started heating up. Regardless, I plugged along and managed to work WAS and WAC within a few weeks. Most of the 40 openings were into South America, and it only took about 2 months to work every country south of Panama.
I passed my General in October, 1970, and in the interim got my code speed to a solid 20 wpm. Once I received my General, I upgraded to an NCX3 which allowed me to use 20 meter CW, and of course phone. I passed the Advanced in January of 1971.
I changed jobs in October of 1971, and started traveling the wild, wooly west. To stay safe I installed a used HW32, 20 meter Heath monobander in my company car, and I was bitten by the mobile bug. After a transfer to Denver, in 1973, I found myself working for CW Electronics, the only amateur radio dealer in the state. I took a Wednesday morning off in February 1976, to take the Extra exam, which I passed. During the 6 block walk back to CW Electronics, I don't think my feet ever touched the ground. I was delighted when my KØBG call came in the mail about 20 days later. Here it is 30 plus years later, and I still enjoy CW work. Not like I did back in my novice days, however.
On the current state of affairs; no CW requirement, and the lack of a novice class license? We're all remiss. Perhaps there are those who blame the ARRL (I've been a member since January 1970), or the FCC, or big business. The real truth is, it was complacency, and every single one of us is guilty!
Alan Applegate, KØBG