Jonathan Kramer, Esq., W6JLK
(Formerly WN6FDE, 1971)
I always knew I was going to be involved with RF and radio communications.
My graduation project from elementary school (Clover Avenue School, Los
Angeles) was to build a crystal radio (using a 1N34 diode) and to present a
short lecture on the history of radio frequency communications, starting
with Marconi. Yeah, I was hooked on waves.
At what is now Palms Middle School in West Los Angeles, the electronics shop
had a ham station and a CB radio. The ham station wasn't used, but the CB
was. My first two-way! My father licensed our family as KDK-1107. This
would have been sometime around 1969 or 1970. I would have been around 15 at
From Palms Middle School, I graduated to Hamilton High School in Los
Angeles. Jack Brown, SK, was the legendary electronics teacher and ham in
charge of the school's station K6CXI. It was there that the cool kids were
part of the radio club. People like Lance Semer WA6LTM, and Mark Abrams
(WA6DPB) who would later go on to have his name attached to a landmark U.S.
Supreme Court case. Mark and Lance, who were a year ahead of me, urged me
to study for my Novice ticket, and they gave me my Novice test under the
watchful eyes of Mr. Brown.
I passed, and was issued the call WN6FDE, which Mark immediately dubbed"Whale Blubber Six Fat Dumb Enormous." Of course his call suffix was also
phonically said as "Dumb Polish Bastard", and Lance's was "Little Trouble
Mark loaned me a 6L6 single tube transmitter and a handful of rocks to get
on 40 meter novice band. I used a Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver. Manual
cutover between transmitter and receiver. A simple 40 meter dipole antenna
sitting on the shingle roof of my family's home (with lots of hot spots from
the screwy VSWR). I was in heaven.
Mr. Brown asked me to edit "K6CXI Calling", the radio club's newsletter. I
think it had exactly one issue in its long run.
Soon thereafter, while still at Hamilton High, I upgraded to General Class.
I recall going to the old Federal Building in Downtown L.A. to the FCC's
exam room on the 13th Floor. Having passed the 13 WPM receiving test with
exactly 65 characters in a row correct, I nearly failed the CW sending test,
but the examiner must have felt sorry for me after the third attempt. I gave
away my "N" for a "B" to become WB6FDE. I was bummed at getting a "B"
instead of the cool "A". A brand new Yaseu FTDX560 was my parents' gift for
passing my General exam. My gift to them was TVI.
Oops, I've gone beyond my Novice days. To see the rest of my story, which
has remained very closely tied to RF communications, please feel free to
Jonathan Kramer, W6JLK (Extra)
Formerly KD6MR (Advanced), KP6AY (Advanced/Secondary of WB6FDE), WB6FDE
(General/Advanced), WN6FDE (Novice), KDK-1107 (CB)