Matt Tinker, AA8P
(formerly KA9ENR, 1979)
It was 1961, and I was eleven years old, and my dad and I built a small Knight Kit receiver. I was hooked on radio, for a number of years I was and active SWL, and really enjoyed the amateur bands. I wanted to get my license, but baseball, tennis, cars and girls really got in the way.
It wasn't until January of 1979, (married with two children), that I saw an ad in the local newspaper in Connersville, Indiana about a Amateur Radio training course starting that coming Saturday. At that moment, I finally decided it was time to realize my childhood dream and become a Ham. I attended the first class, and that was the beginning of my Ham career. The class was eight weeks long, and at the end we were given the Novice Test.
It was a few weeks later that the license arrived in the mail, and I was KA9ENR. That night after work I rushed home and fired up the old HW101 on 40 meters and sent CQ for the first time. Wow, to my amazement I was answered by W3GIL Gil in Pennsylvania. That first CW contact was one I will never forget, I was nervous, and Gil was a great operator, and made me feel right at home. We talked for over forty minutes, and he finally had to get going, so we sent 73's. I continued to call CQ and was rewarded with a number of contacts that evening in May 1979.
I really enjoyed the Novice bands, and before I made General some three months later, I had a good start toward WAS, and had a few DX contacts under my belt. In fact the first DX contact was a very special one for me. On a warm evening in June 79, I was listening on 15 meters and heard a fairly weak signal. It was A35PF in Tonga. I called him, and to my real surprise I heard my call sign being sent in return. I was so nervous that I forgot my own call sign for a minute. I worked Paul, and the rest is history.
If it wasn't for the Novice license and working CW I would have never been able to get the Extra class ticket in 1980. Those were really fun days, and I think todays new Hams miss a lot not having to learn the CW and operate in the old Novice bands. The pace was slower in 1979, and the Novice Ticket allowed us the opportunity to learn Amateur Radio "ON THE AIR". I'll never forget that small Novice station on the back porch, with little or no heat in the winter, and darn warm in the summer. Great fun, and wonderful times. I have moved a number of times since then, and the station is bigger has more power, and the antennas are really better, but that dipole, HW101, and a small tuner are still my favorites.
Matt Tinker AA8P
(ex: Novice Call KA9ENR