My interest in amateur radio began back in the late 40's, I was around 8 years old and my best friends father was Don Leahy, W2TKY. When I would go over to visit my friend, I was amazed that you could talk all over the world on a home built radio. It wasn't long before I was going over to my friend's house even when I knew he wasn't home, just so I could get invited in to watch his father operate his station. My friend and I also belonged to the boy scouts and one day on our way home from a scout meeting I spotted an array of antennas on a house. I knew by the antennas that this was another ham's house, I knocked on the door and a gentleman answered and I told him that I was very interested in amateur radio and could I see his station. The man Introduced him-self as Fred Halik W2PFI, and was glad I stopped, he showed me his station, he also told me that he was the president of the Rochester Amateur Radio Association and if I was interested he would be glad to take me to the club. There were such great things as code practice equipment that could be loaned to beginners such as myself. I joined the club. After much studying and a lot of listening to and practicing the Morse Code at 5 words a minute, I was finally ready for my Novice test. A general class ham could administer the code and theory test that consisted of the morse code sent and received at 5 words a minute and a multiple choice answer quiz. Fred sent away to the FCC for the test and he gave me the code and theory test at his house. The test then went back to the FCC for grading and a few weeks later I was KN2RHS ,a federally licensed amateur radio operator in 1955. With the help of my friend's father and a few other club members I was soon on the air with my first novice station. Back then the novice license was granted for only one year, then you needed to up-grade to general class. The novice year allowed you the time to increase your code speed to 13 words a minute and your theory knowledge of electronics, as well as operating procedures in order to pass the general class exam. Here is what my first station looked like.
As time went by, my station took on a more improved look as well as a little more capability. I had purchased a Thordason 100 and it let me run the 75 Watts that novices could run as full power on CW. To change bands, you had to change out the plug in tank coils. It was a good idea to turn off the power when changing those coils, I soon found out,"OUCH". My receiver back then was a S53 Hallacrafter, not the best for CW reception but I was able to make many contacts never-the-less.