Ronald Erickson, K0IC
(Formerly WN0GDA, 1971)
My WN0GDA Novice license was issued November 23, 1971, and I originally operated on my parents' farm around five miles east of Essex, Iowa. I put up a World Radio Labs 80/75/40/15 meter doublet consisting of part ladder line and 18-gauge copper weld wire.
I was originally helped by the late Raymond Nelson, WA0QVS, of Essex, Iowa, who was a cousin of my father's. Raymond had had a life long interest in radio as he was in radio sales and serviceman in Shenandoah, Iowa, in the 1920s before going broke in the Great Depression. Raymond lent me his Heathkit HX-11 transmitter and Hallicrafters S108 receiver to get me started. In June 1972 Raymond died of cancer. His family in order to settle up his estate had me give back the gear after his death.
Then I purchased a R.L. Drake TR-3 and AC/4 power supply from Henry Radio in Butler, Missouri. Apparently lightning or mistuning had cause some arcing in the transmitter so I sent it off to R.L. Drake in Ohio, for repairs.
Sometime during that time frame I bought a Hallicrafters SX-99 and speaker from a Shambaugh, Iowa, ham (K0HNA?) which I used to listen to the ham bands with. I had built a 50C5 20-watt transmitter for 4-H but did not use it very much as W0VDD, Wilson Bartles, of Shenandoah, had to correctly align the diodes since they were mismarked. I also had built previously a Lafayette Explore-Air regenerative receiver which I still own and had listened on before becoming a Novice amateur radio operator. I also had built a Heathkit GR radio which I still have that is similar to the Zenith shortwave radio of the era. Using the R.L. Drake TR-3 on CW without a sidetone was interesting.
I also bought a two meter RCA Carphone which had been converted from the commercial band by the area radio whiz the late Bob Beals, K0DBW of Red Oak, Iowa. He said later if he knew I was just a Novice at the time he would never have sold it to me. I just listened until I became a General class licensee. During that time my parents allowed me to assemble two 40-foot lumber masts found in the ARRL Handbook at the time in the back yard.
I later changed it over to coaxial dipoles for 80 and 40 meters after I almost got electrocuted with the original WRL antenna in the winter of 1972/1973 with snow static during a blizzard when I handled the PL-259 I had disconnected from my Drake TR-3 when I did not use it. I had thought the electrical lines had come in contact with the antenna, so much for being a green Novice amateur radio operator.
The ham that gave me the Novice exam was the late Keith Stickleman, WA0GHQ, of Clarinda, Iowa, due to Raymond Nelson's poor health at the time upon the advice of W0SPP, Harold Book, of Shenandoah, Iowa, who was a friend of Raymond Nelson and I later worked for for a few years later on. During the time I was also Elmered by the late Leonard Foxworthy, K0POH, of Shenandoah, Iowa.
In July of 1973 after graduating from Iowa Western Community College in Clarinda, Iowa, I entered the Gateway Electronics Institute of Omaha, Nebraska, which finally got me straight with electronics and made it possible for me to get my General amateur radio license on December 07, 1973.
My first recorded QSO as a Novice was with WN0FNA on 3725 kHz on December 13, 1971 at 2303Z. To reinforce the Elmering, I attended ham clubs and/or ham groups that met in the area. The ham group I attended most was organized by K0POH in the Shenandoah, Iowa, library community room which met on Friday nights once a month. During that time I met the late Don Burrichter, W0GDR, of Shenandoah, Iowa, and chief engineer of KMA-AM. I obtained my FCC Radiotelephone Commercial Licences in 1973/1974 before graduation in July 1974.
In May 24, 1974 I obtained my Advanced class license. In July 17, 1979 I finally got my Amateur Extra class license. In 1977 I became employed for KMA-AM under the new chief engineer, W0JGN, Norman Kling, who now is retired from a career with KMA-AM. I also worked with W0CLG, Gale Totten, who is now also retired from May Broadcasting. I "retired" from KMA-AM in 1989 after being diagnosed with a genetic disease in November 1987. During the time it was reaffirmed I am legally colorblind which really limits my employ ability to most anything.
My back in 1987 began to become injured when I do too much which also limits what I can legally do probably to the point of not lifting more than 12 pounds. Because the doctors did not want to admit physical disability to that point, I was put over the edge for a SSI pension based on allegations which I think are tied in with my sleep disorder(s) in November 1998 after a venting in Iowa City, Iowa, with the Iowa Hospitals and Clinics beginning in 1995.
Since it was found out in 1990 I have a short-term memory problem, I now know why it is impossible for me to copy a few characters behind in CW which severely limits my pleasure with that mode. I have no problem writing everything down up to 20 WPM as I have a complete record of what was sent. Thanks to my computer, I am hoping to begin to let the computer to perfect my CW receiving and sending skills. Such is the saga of this Novice amateur radio operator who became an Extra class amateur operator in the the final analysis.
Ronald D. Erickson, K0IC
Southwest Iowa Amateur Radio Club
10-X #12938 :* EN20iu
ARRL Lifer since 1976
3900 Club #729
Iowa QRP Club #179
FISTS CW Club #12484
The Collins Collectors Association #AC07-12075
Courage HANDI-HAM System member