1959: Dean Straw, N6BV

1966: Brian Wood, W0DZ

1961: Richard Pumphrey, WN9DDV

1962, Walt Beverly, W4GV

1961: Rick Roznoy, K1OF

1962, Steve Meyers, W0AZ

1951: Bill Weinhardt, W9PPG

1955: Paul Johnston, W9PJ

1964: Michael Betz, WB8ZFQ.

1967: Pete Malvasi, W2PM

1962: Terry Schieler, W0FM

1969: John Kosmak, W3IK

1953: Dan Girand, W5ARB

1975: David Collingham, K3LP

1961: Jim Cain, K1TN

1957: Bill Tippett, W4ZV

1961: Bob Lightner, W4GJ

1956: Bernie Huth, W4BGH

1952: Dick Bender, W3SYY

1951: Dale Bredon, W6BGK

1963: "Sig" Signer, NV7E

1958: Jeff Lackey, K8CQ

1953: Dan Bathker, K6BLG

1961: Rick Tavan, N6XI

1956: Bill Penhallegon, W4STX

1958: John Miller, K6MM

1959/1993: Tom Carter, KC2GEP

1966: Kelly Klaas, K7SU

1976: Mary Moore, WX4MM

1970: David Kazan, AD8Y

1957: Paula Keiser, K8PK

1971: Charles Ahlgren, WB6IYM

1952: Tom Webb, W4YOK

1964: License Manual - Chapter 2, Novice

1964: Advertisements

1970: Jim Zimmerman, N6KZ

1987: Matt Cassarino, WV1K

More - Mike Branca, W3IRZ (sk)

1953: Bill Bell, KN2CZZ

1952: Ron D' Eau Claire, AC7AC

History - 1950s: The Beginning

History - 1960s: Mid-Peak

History - 1970s: Late Peak

(sample story) My Elmer

1954: Novice Logbook (Dick Zalewski, W7ZR)

1961: Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA

1953: George Marko, K2DWL

1964: How to Become a Radio Amateur

1967: ARRL Handbook

1963: Learning the Radiotelegraph Code

1955: Jack Burks, K4CNW

1979: Ann Santos, WA1S

1952: Ron Baker, WA6AZN

Welcome to the Novice Historical Society Home Page!

1952/1955: The CQ Twins (Clint, W9AV & Quent, W6RI)

1956: Mike Branca, W3IRZ

1959: Don Minkoff, NK6A

History - 1980s: Early-Decline

1990-2000: The End

1976, Rick Palm, K1CE

1978: Larry Makoski, W2LJ

1961: Gary Yantis, W0TM

1955: Al Cammarata, W3AWU

1951: Bob McDonald, W4DYF

1951: Charlie Curle, AD4F

1953: Kenny Cassidy, WN2WNC

1951: Jim Franklin, K4TMJ

1953: Rick Faust, N2RF

1973: Greg Harris, WB9MII

1957: Mickey LeBoeuf, K5ML

1957: Jim Cadien, KC7ZMV

1976: Tom Fagan, K7DF

1953: Fred Jensen, K6DGW

1957: Tony Rogozinski, W4OI

1961, Novice Roundup Award (Art Mouton, K5FNQ)

1956: Woody Pope, ex-KN5GCM

1967: Larry Rybacki, WA2ARA

1955: Gene Schonrock, W6EAJ

1955: Dave Germeyer, W3BJG

1983: Harry Weiss, KA3NZR

1970: Paul Huff, N8XMS

1976: John Yasuda, WB6PTC

1953: Alvin Burgland, W6WJ

1966: Neil Friedman, N3DF

1976: Lyle Heide, WB9VTM

1968: Leigh Klotz, Sr., N5LK

1956: Ken Barber, W2DTC

1977: Keith Darwin, N1AS

1959: Tom Wilson, K7FA

1956: Wayne Beck, K5MB

1984: Paul Conant, WQ5X

1970: Ward Silver, N0AX

1982: Christopher Horne, W4CXH

1953: Paul Signorelli, W0RW

1954: Ray Cadmus, W0PFO

1957: Norm Goodkin, K6YXH

1959: Glen Zook, K9STH

1970: Ken Brown, N6KB

1962: Fred Merkel, AK7D

1972: Rob Atkinson, K5UJ

1955: David Quagiana, K2MTW

1952: Sam Whitley, K5SW

1967: Frequency Chart

1983: William Wilson, AB0VG

1953: Jim Brown, W5ZIT

1958: Al Burnham, K6RIM

1952: Gary Borri, K9DBR

1961: Bill Husted, KQ4YA

1955: Dan Schobert, W9MFG

1976: Charles Bibb, K5ZK

1979: Bill Brown, KA6KBC

1965: Ken Widelitz, K6LA / VY2TT

1975: Tim Madden, KI4TG

1972: Steve Ewald, WV1X

1969: Mike "Jug" Jogoleff, WA6MBZ

1964: Phil Salas, AD5X

1954: John Johnston, W3BE

1968: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU

1975: Last of the Distinct Novice Callsigns (Cliff Cheng, AC6C; ex-WN6JPA)

1987: Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV

1966: Tom Morgan, AF4HL

1954: Dan Smith, K6PRK

1954: Novice Callsign History License (Dan, K6PRK's License)

1975: First of the Non-distinct Novice Callsigns (Cliff Cheng, AC6C; ex-WA6JPA)

1957: Doug Millar, K6JEY

1954: Dick Zalewski, W7ZR

1962: Steve Pink, KF1Y

1975: Cliff Cheng, AC6C

1966: Tom Napier, AI4QV

1965: Novice Code Test (Ken Widelitz, K6LA / VY2TT)

1954: Bob Brown, W4YFJ

1977: Russ Roberts, KH6JRM

1958: Jeff Wolf, K6JW

1964: John Shidler, NS5Z

1972: Rick Andersen, KE3IJ

1977: Barry Whittemore, WB1EDI

1967: Grover Cordell, WB5FSP

1959: Val Erwin, W5PUT

1953: Bob Rolfness, W7AVK

1953: Paul Danzer, N1ii

1969: Dennis Kidder, W6DQ

1971: Jonathan Kramer, W6JLK

1959: Chas Shinn, W7MAP/5

1961: Mark Nelson, AJ2K

1978: Alice King, AI4K

1965: Gary Pearce, KN4AQ

1988: James Kern, KB2FCV

1958: Jay Slough, K4ZLE

1954: L.B. Cebik, W4RNL (sk)

1997: Novice Question Pool.

1952: Steve Jensen, W6RHM

1989: Michael Tracy, KC1SX

1979: Matt Tinker, AA8P

1965: Dan Gaylord, W7IDG

1956: Chuck Counselman, W1HIS

1976: Scott McMullen, W5ESE

1961: Joe Park, WB6AGR

1955: Jack Schmidling, K9ACT

1969: Bill Continelli, W2XOY

1962: Bob Roske, N0UF

1963: Glenn Kurzenknabe, K3SWZ

1969: Phyllis Webb, WN4IIF

1956: Dan Cron, W6SBE

1954: Carl Yaffey, K8NU

1967: Ted White, N8TW

1982: Penny Cron, W6SBE

1961, Kent Gardner, WA7AHY

1970: Brad Bradfield, W5CGH

1976: Steve Melachrinos, W3HF

1994: Brian Lamb, KE4QZB

1958: Operating an Amateur Radio Station

1965: AL LaPeter, W2AS

1961: Rick Swain, KK8o

1956: Keith Synder, KE7IOW

1951: Elmer Harger, N7EL

1987: Lou Giovannetti, KB2DHG

1966: Dave Fuseler, NJ4F

1976: Marcel Livesay, N5VU

1965: Bob Jameson, N3LNP

1951: Byron Engen, W4EBA

1956: Cam Harriot, KI6WK

1965: FCC Exam Schedule

1962: Joe Trombino, W2KJ

1956: Ray Colbert, W5XE

1964: Geoff Allsup, W1OH

1977: Tom Herold, N9BUL

1951: Hank Greeb, N8XX

1959: Dean Straw, N6BV

1970: Alan Applegate, K0BG

1957: Richard Cohen, K6DBR

1971: Ronald Erickson, K0IC

1965: Jan Perkins, N6AW

1953: Charlie Lofgren, W6JJZ

1960: Art Mouton, K5FNQ

1955: Dan Marks, ex-K6IQF

1958: Mike Chernus, K6PZN

1960: Bob Silverman, WA6MRK

1951: Richard Schachter, W6HHI

1953: Joe Montgomery, W1DWJ

1958: Richard Dillman, W6AWO

1968: Bob Dunn, K5IQ

1988: Jamie Markowitz, AA6TH

1952: Jim Leighty, W6UJX

1955: Matt Wheaton, W1EMM

1957: Dick Newsome, W0HXL

1956: Slim Copeland, K4KCS

1959, 1993: Tom Carter, KC2GEP

1968: Bill Byrnes, AB9BD

1971: Jeff Angus, WA6FWI

1956: Dean Norris, K7NO

1972: Dennis Drew, W7RVR

1958: Stan Miln, K6RMR

1958: George Ison, K4ZMI

1978: Fred Soper, KC8FS

1956: John Fuller, K4HQK

1961: Riley Hollingswworth, K4ZDH


1959: Dean Straw, N6BV

R. Dean Straw, N6BV (formerly WH6DKD, 1959; KH6DKD; WA1IRG; WB4YOJ; WB6AIN)

“Sputnik is Launched!” Many folks remember such headlines from October 4, 1957. The newspapers practically screamed about how the Soviet Union had beat the USA into space by launching the first Earth-orbiting satellite. Sputnik was the first volley in the Space Race between the USSR and the USA. At that time there was a widespread outcry for better education in science (sound familiar, some 50 years later?)

When Sputnik was launched I was an 11-year old kid in Hawaii, and I was most anxious to do my part — hopefully, by becoming a rocket scientist myself. My science teacher in Junior High told me that I need math, lots of math, to become a rocket scientist, so I scanned the course list at a technical school in Honolulu for math classes.

Because I was only a Junior High student at the time, the only class I was eligible for was a summer course in “How to Become an Amateur Radio Operator.” This was basically designed to get the student a Novice class license. My parents signed me up, and I took the first step in a hobby/career that I have enjoyed for almost 50 years.

At the end of four weeks, I graduated and I waited anxiously for the mailman to bring me that precious Novice ticket with my very own call sign. It finally arrived, and I could now proudly identify myself to the world as “WH6DKD,”  Novice from Hawaii.

My father took me over to visit a ham friend of his, whose name and call sign I no longer remember, unfortunately. The ham was very nice to me and let me get on the air using his Johnson Ranger (yes, crystal controlled for me) and his National Radio HRO-50 on 40 meters. I thought I was in ham heaven with that wonderful bunch of radios.

My first contact covered the amazing distance of about 2 miles with another nearby ham in Kailua. I was shaking like a leaf, barely able to copy, and even less able to send, Morse code. I’ve come to find out that virtually everybody shakes like a leaf on his/her first contact, no matter how high or mighty they may be in the business, sports or even the broadcasting world.

After making my first QSO from someone else’s station, I longed for a station of my own. On weekends I haunted the workshop at nearby Mackay Radio, and with the Elmering of several people I built a transmitter from surplus parts. It used a pair of 6L6s, fed by a 6AG7. The plate transformer probably weighed 30 pounds all by itself. The transmitter seemed really huge for a skinny 100-pound kid (when soaking-wet) to be lugging around. Boy, was I proud of that transmitter when I fired it up and it actually managed to get a 40 W light bulb to light up!

At some time or another one of my Elmers gave me a small 1-pound spool of #24 enameled magnet wire and I threw a 50-foot piece out my second story window to a papaya tree in the back yard. Thus my “Papaya-Tree Longwire” was born. I fed this contraption with 300-ohm TV twinlead, using a pair of #47 pilot lamps as output tuning indicators.

I can’t remember where I got it, but my first receiver was a really beat-up National Radio NC-88 — this clunky radio was virtually stone deaf above 3 MHz. Later, I found that the family Telefunken receiver was far more sensitive than the NC-88, but it had no BFO to copy CW with. So, I used a piece of hookup wire as a “gimmick” capacitor wound around the tube shield for the NC-88’s BFO. This managed to couple enough BFO energy into the Telefunken’s IF strip so I could copy CW. Of course, selectivity was virtually non-existent on the broad-as-a-barn-door Telefunken, but what do you want? You do what you have to do to get on the air, right?

Anyhow, for some reason my built-like-a-rock transmitter didn’t get out too well (nor did I hear too well). Perhaps it was something to do with the fact that the average height of my skimpy antenna was only about 8 feet off the ground!

Anyhow, I contacted some locals with this rather squirrelly setup on 40 meters, at least when I wasn’t repairing my Papaya-Tree Longwire. You see, for those who don’t know this already from first-hand experience, papaya trees drop their branches/leaves very easily. They are definitely not good antenna supports. (I kept blaming my little brother for breaking my Skywire, but he was actually innocent of all charges, I think.)

Things could only go up from a Papaya-Tree Longwire, as you might imagine, but the later tales of KH6DKD and his antennas are General-class stories I’ll tell sometime later. After I upgraded to General class I got excited about chasing DX on 20 meters, leaving 40 meters for inter-island communications. But writing this has brought me to realize that the lowly Papaya-Tree Longwire started me out on the path leading to a career at ARRL writing about antennas. During and after my Novice days in Hawaii, I constantly dreamed about how to improve my signal through improving my antennas. I still do!

Here’s the earliest photo I could find, with a youthful Dean showing a neighborhood kid (the one with headphones on his head) my station. I had at that time graduated to a Johnson Ranger and a National Radio Company NC-300. I loved that old receiver. It was very sensitive, but overloaded very easily when any neighboring hams came on the band. Things like dynamic range were not big things on the minds of radio engineers in those days when the NC-88 was designed.

A love of receivers and transmitters (and yes, antennas) led to me my first job after college — working for the very same National Radio Company. I designed much of the signal path for the last of the “HRO” (Heckuva Rush Order) receivers before the company went bankrupt in 1971. (No, I don’t think it was my fault!)