[AMRadio] Re: Average Age etc..

Geoff/W5OMR ars.w5omr at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 13:39:44 EDT 2007

A.R.S. - WA5AM wrote:
> Geoff,
> Don't forget Mr. Lum/K5AYD still on just about every day and late
> night from Cache, OK.  Lum is, or will be 87 this year, born in 1920.
> WWII vet, etc.  BTW, I think Perry IS on this list, however he hasn't
> posted anything yet.
> This thread really makes me feel like a youngster.  I'll be 50 in a
> few months, and now it won't bother me so much...

Well, I hadn't forgotten about Lum, but certainly he's worthy of 
How many more of the Channel 90 bunch, other than Jim/K5BAI are 70+?

50, eh?  Well, you've only got -a- year on me, Brian :-)

I'll be 49 (I can hear the scuffaws, and the throat clearings, now!) in 
December of this year.

And, you know.. in this thread, I need to tell this story, about the 
last time the FCC was at Brooks AFB...

I had gotten my Novice from (and I can't believe I don't remember his 
name - but I can see his face, and know where he and his wife live) the 
guy who was giving Ham Radio Classes, via the San Antonio Radio Club.  
He was an Advanced, and his wife was a General.  After the first class 
(once a week, and thanks, Dad, for sending me!) I went home and got out 
my old J-38 on a peice of 1x6 that I built as a Cub Scout project, when 
I was 8 years old.  Hmmm... seems to me that's also the time I was 
introduced to threaded screws, vs using nails on lumber.  You think it 
was in preservation of the J-38? HA)  Got Dad interested in helping me 
build the code practice oscillator, and started going through what I 
remembered from learning the code some 18 years prior.  After the next 
'class', I told the code instructor I wanted to take the Novice test.  
We set up for the following Friday night, I went over, he and his wife 
administered the test, and I PASSED!  I missed 'one' question on the CW 
test (5wpm) and 2 on the written test, and that was only because a 
couple of rules had changed on the frequency allocations less than a 
year prior.  I don't remember exactly, but it was something to do with 
the novice sub-band on 15m, I think (at least that was -one- of the 
questions, and I didn't care about 15m... I wanted to work 40m CW, just 
like my ol' man!) 

So, the wait was on.  And, it was 3 weeks to the day, on Friday, when I 
got the ticket from the FCC - KA5THB.  In the mean time, I had gone out 
and created an operating position.  National NCX-3, borrowed/handed down 
from Dad (then W5OMR -R.I.P.).  After a frustrating night of calling CQ 
and not getting any answers on the 40m Novice frequency of 7.110, I 
started tuning around... and listened to someone called 'ME'!  I got him 
at a comfortable tone, and answered.  It was W5OMR (at a different 
location), but when he came back, he wasn't the perfect 800Hz he had 
been, before.  That's when we discovered that the National NCX-3 didn't 
have a 'shift' for CW.  So, my solution to that was, use a different 
receiver and a TR relay.  Out comes the Heathkit Twins... Commanche and 
Cheyanne, mobile radio.  We're in business.

That was February of 1984.  That Fall, in September of 1984, was the 
last time the FCC came to San Antonio.  I took the General test, CW and 
Written.  Nervous as I could be, we were seated in a -huge- auditorium, 
with no good way to write on a table or desk-top, and the CW test was 
given via 2 big speakers on the stage.  Echo, reverberation, acoustical 
bouncing, etc... I managed to miss -1- too many, BUT, I *ACED* the 
written test. 

Back then, going from Novice to Technician, meant passing merely the 
General Written Test.  Got that.  General Class?  No.. I missed 1 too 
many questions on the 13wpm test.  Drat.  When I got home, dad asked 
"Well, is it this? (with a hand stuck out for a congratulatory 
hand-shake) or This?" (and he doubled up his fist, with the same hand).
I said... 'somewhere inbetween'.  He looked confused and I explained 
what happened.  After consternation, he finally said "well, at least 
you're moving up".  :-)

Indeed!  the follow January, the Austin Radio Club had their very first 
VE session.  Brian Battles, N5BB, Dave Wall/NV5I signed my Certificate 
of Successful Completion Exam, for having passed the 20wpm code test.  I 
only -went- there for the code test.  They handed me the advanced test 
material (which I had never looked at prior) and got half of those 
right, simply by -guessing-.  Got the upgrade to General, by passing the 
20wpm code test.  To this day, I've never taken the 'official' 13wpm 
test again. 

I kept KA5THB, from Novice, to Technician, to Advanced (1988, I believe 
with Danny/then N5CED now KE5ZS), to Extra (with Randy, then WA1GZV and 
Jerry, then KG5EJ (sk)) in 1992, and didn't change calls until the two 
year grace period expired on upgrading calls for W5OMR (who went SK on 
me, in September of 1988).

Enough outta me... I need to get something accomplished today.


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