Topband: 79th Anniversary of my 1st Ham License

Paul Elliott paab at
Wed Jan 20 01:35:24 EST 2016

My first ham license was dated January 19, 1937. I was 14 years old, a
sophomore in high school in Kingsville, Texas.  Parts from defunct Atwater
Kent AM receivers (all radios in those days were AM-no FM yet) to build a
two tube (types 57 and 56) regenerative receiver and a TNT (type 45 tube)
transmitter-all 40 meters. Key was a broken off piece of hacksaw blade
mounted on a piece of 1x4 pine board.  The Brandes earphones had external
connectors with the full plate voltage (about 100 vdc) of the receiver on
them.  Antenna was a piece of wire going out the window to a tree-highest
point about 15 feet. The ratio of QSOs to stations called was not very
great-but it was not zero.

My first ever DX contact was in August 1937 with VK2SS on 40m CW.  A WAG is
that I probably was running about 5 watts-was using a dial lamp to measure
(?) input current.  His QSL is in its own special frame hanging on my wall. 

QTH for the past 25 years has been a 120x120 foot lot, electrically quite
noisy, in Hobbs NM.  Two wire transmitting antennas.. An inverted L, about
3/8 wavelength on 160m, fed against what radials I could put down. Feedline
is 100 feet or so of 1" hardline. Using a homebrew tuner in the shack this
antenna is used on all 9 HF bands. The other is a 60 foot slanted dipole,
with open wire feedline and its own tuner.  It is used on 40m thru 10m.
Receiving antennas are two Ewes and a 100 foot wire two feet off the ground
next to a concrete block fence.  This piece of wire is a surprisingly good
receiving antenna sometimes.

About 20 years ago I started working on a WAS on 160 m.  After that I
started chasing DX.  Most of my operation is on CW but will use phone when

Presently have 186 countries confirmed on 160 m, have 325 on160m thru 10m.

Time and life have taken their toll. It used to be CW at 35-40wpm.
Declining finger dexterity limits me to about 25 wpm while transmitting.
Time constants in the brain limit receiving to about the same range as
sending. At higher speeds I can still hear letters clearly-but they don't
melt together to make words.  Really simple, though-a man goes with what he

My thanks to those on this forum who have been very kind to me over the
years.  Your kindness and expertise are not forgotten.

73  Paul W5DM


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