Kelly Klaas, K7SU
(formerly WN7GJE, 1966)
My novice license arrived in the mail on October 17th of 1966, about five weeks after I took the test. I was out in the field disking up corn ground on the back of an old International "M" tractor. I was 14 years old. I can remember to this day going to the mailbox and ripping open the letter from the FCC and reading my new call sign - WN7GJE. It was a HORRIBLE call but at that time it was the most beautiful thing in the world!
That night I got on the air with my brand new Eico 720 transmitter, a used National NC-98 receiver and an 80 meter inverted vee hung precariously from my dad's 60 foot TV tower. I nervously pounded out a CQ on my old Navy "flame proof" key almost secretly hoping no one would answer me. But they did. It was WA7CHQ in Salt Lake City, Utah. That's about 250 miles from my QTH. It was on 3.730 in the novice portion of 80 meters. It just as well have been 10,000 miles away. It was my very first contact as a "ham" and I was so excited.
According to my log that was the only contact I made that night as I had to get to bed to get up for school the next morning. Each night I would make two or three contacts. My goal was not so much to make a lot of contacts but to savor each one.
A year later I upgraded to general and went on the air with a Hallicrafters HT-37 transmitter and a National NC-300 receiver. Wow...I was loaded for bear.
My activity during the years went from hot to cold to luke warm and back to hot again. But I never did let my license lapse. In the late 70's I upgraded to Extra and was able to choose my call. That's when I got K7SU. It's a great call.
I operate mainly CW but occasionally pick up a mic, especially for 6 meter SSB. My favorite activity is operating my vintage Drake 2NT and Hammarlund HQ-180A with a straight key.
Hope to see you on the air soon!