Larry Makoski, W2LJ
(formerly KA2DOH, 1978)
I was bitten by the Amateur Radio bug in High School. Mr. Benson, the electronics teacher ran the high school Amateur Radio club. I wanted so badly to get my license; but at the time, Morse Code was an obstacle for me. I just couldn't learn it; and the Ameco LP I was using wasn't much help. Being 16 at the time; and not having enough "stick-to-it"-ivness (discipline) didn't help either!
Fast forward a few years to 1978. I was out of college and had my first job. I had time to kill in the evenings with no concerns about homework or college studies. An article in the local newspaper advertised for an Amateur Radio class that was being taught in a nearby town's high school as part of an Adult Education program. The spark had reignited into a bona fide blaze. And this time I wanted that ticket even more badly than I did in High School. I was nothing but determined!
About six weeks later, with the generous help of Ed O'Donnell K2YJE, I had devoured the theory. And with the help of code cassette tapes from the ARRL, I had mastered the code, too! On the big night of our exam, we were given a "practice" code test to help ease our jittered nerves. The psychology worked as the entire class passed the "practice" exam with flying colors!
Six to eight weeks later in December of 1978, that precious piece of paper came from the FCC. My call was KA2DOH. Even though I got my license in 1978, my first contact didn't come until January 29, 1979. I had to first build that all important Novice station which consisted of a Drake 2-NT transmitter and a Heathkit HR-1680 receiver, which I had built all by myself. The antenna was a simple random wire. That station brought many hours of joy; and more importantly, many hours of experience and learning that you just can't seem to get quite as easily today.
I've never forgotten that Novice course that got me over the hump and got me licensed. Throughout the years, I have taught many Novice and Technician classes as a way of giving back a little of the tremendous gift that was given to me.
73 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!