50+ Years of Ham Radio Memories


On June 25th, 1957 I received my first amateur radio license - KN5LAD.  Now, after all these years, I'm looking forward to celebrating my 50 years in this hobby.  They have been enjoyable years and I've done a lot, learned a lot, messed up a lot, helped a lot of others to become hams and generally had a wonderful time.  I'm looking forward to the next 50 years and if they're half of much fun as the previous 50 years, then I can hardly wait to see them arrive.  Back when I was first licensed, the Novice license was only good for one year (non-renewable) and only allowed operation on CW.  There had been a time when Novices could also operate AM on 2 meters, and Oh, I wanted to get on phone, but I think that restriction had passed. I'm pulling all of these memories from the back of my skull and you know that if I'm celebrating 50 years in the hobby then I must have several more years on my odometer and "us old folks" have some problems recalling things like we did in our earlier days.  If you are an old timer and you read something which doesn't sound quite right, just remember that these are my memories, as best they have remained with me. Before my Novice year had expired, I  got a Technician and then a General Class license. I got my Advanced in 1971 and kept that until 2001 when I became an Extra.

I've worked on all bands from 160-70cm and dabbled in many modes:  AM, SSB, RTTY, CW (short dabble), ATV, FM, SSTV.  I've been involved in DX, Ragchewing, Contests, Nets, Army MARS, and lots of homebrewing (electronics, that is).   I built the first Army MARS repeater, for this area and probably all of Oklahoma, back in 1968 or 69 (can't remember too well back that far).     I built several repeaters on 2, 220, and 70 cm and still own and operate the 146.10/.70 and 444.9/444.3 repeaters in Owasso, OK.

I have RCC, WAS, WAC, DXCC certificates.   I have a sticker for 112 countries and I never did send in any more cards.  I keep threatening to send in many more cards which I've received since those I had when I originally got the 112 in 1972.   I'll sure do that..................... some day. 

NOTE:  Actually "some day" finally arrived in 2010 when I cashed in my Logbook of the World DX contacts.  Now I'm up to something like 250 or so and still have quite a few actual paper QSL cards to have checked.  I'll get that done "some day" too.

I owned and operated a ham radio store called Derrick Electronics in Broken Arrow (OK)   from 1970-1981.  I also spent 30+ years in education business teaching junior high and high school plus I was the Computer Coordinator for Tulsa Public Schools for 9 years.   I'm a member of  Tulsa Amateur Radio Club, The Electron Benders ARC, and QCWA. I guess I'm also a defunct member of the defunct Owasso Amateur Radio Club

My wife is Gloria - WA5SNU, my oldest son is Russell - KD6GGI, and my youngest son is Daniel - KF6LMF.   I've had several ham articles published in a defunct computer magazine called One Thousand (Tandy 1000 series) and in several in the now defunct 73 Magazine.  Hmmmmmm..... I'm starting to see a common thread in "defunction" so perhaps I should admit right now that I'm a defunctional personality.  Perhaps I'm just a person who "uses up" his affiliations.

I recently sat down and wrote a quick title to some of the many things I've seen and lived through in my colorful ham career.  Since that time, as I get a chance, I've tried to "flesh out" the story behind that quick memory note.  I'm getting enough stories written now so that I can begin to share them with others.  I have no aspirations of becoming a great writer and I won't be surprised if nobody spends the time to read any of these stories.  They have, however, been very therapeutic for me and they've brought back some very happy memories that I had long-since forgotten.

I've been contacted, on several occasions, by ham club newsletter editors, asking if they could use something from my website in their newsletters.  The answer is "yes, by all means" but I would appreciate you letting me know (k5lad@arrl.net) and if you would, please show a reference to the URL where you found it.  A copy of the complete article would also be nice, either via email file or snail mail (address in QRZ.com).

I'll continue to add to the pages as I write additional parts.  If you choose to read any of these, I'll try to add a few each month or so and you can check back and see if I mentioned something about you that you wish had not been told.  I'll try to make a note of an approximate time period when these things happened.  These are at the mercy of my memory so if I miss one..... or miss one by a mile, you'll understand why.

Thanks for reading even this far.

Jim Pickett - K5LAD  (Ham Radio 1957----



Vol. I -                            1          

First CW contact (1957)

The Bug (1957)

The Uh-Oh Antenna (1957)

First Club Meeting, Are You Ready For the Test? (1957)

Vol. II -                           2   

First Field Day (1958)

Taking the General Class Test (1957)

Sand Springs Amateur Radio Club (1956-1959) 

Vol. III -                          3      

Miles of Antenna Wire (1957)

Acres of Wire (1957)

Bargain Coax (1957)

Burstein-Applebee Was a Wonderful Place (1957) 

Vol. IV -                          4

My First Receiver – Heath AR-3 (1957)

Nice to Have Friends in High Places (1957)

The Birthday Hole (1961)

RTTY Experiences (1960) 

Vol. V -                           5

My College Station Receiver (1959)

My Favorite Antenna (1965)

My Secret Hamshack Telephone (1961) 

Vol. VI -                          6    

My Participation in Pirate Radio

Other college electronics activities 

Vol. VII -                          7

Early Memories of Two Meters 

Vol. VIII -                         8

Special contact – Special antenna – My Cuban CW contact on 20 (1958)

My First Transmitter Was a Globe Chief 90 (1957)

Going On Phone – Building an AM Plate Modulator (1958)

My 11 meter activity (1958) 

Vol. IX -                           9

Does History Repeat Itself? 

Vol. X -                          10

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends 

Vol. XI -                         11

It’s Only Paper but it Sure Made Me Happy 

Vol. XII -                        12

How I Work DX and DX Contests 

Vol. XIII -                       13  

Picking the Frequencies – When and Why? 

Vol. XIV -                      14

A Shocking Novice Deed – only now being told 

Vol. XV -                       15   

Hey, That’s a Bright Idea

Vol. XVI -                     16   

Many Truck Lines Were Filled with Big Dummies 

Vol. XVII -                    17  

Hams From My Past 

Vol. XVIII -                   18 

Who’s That Knocking……………. A Woodpecker? 

Vol. XIX -                      19

Equipment Frequency Accuracies and the 100 Kc Crystal Calibrator 

Vol. XX -                      20

Eh????  What Did You Say??? 

Vol. XXI -                     21

My First Tower and How I Got It 

Vol. XXII -                  22  

I wanna git me one of them thar Hopper tubes 

Vol. XXIII -                23 

My Memories of Early Day SSB 

Vol. XXIV -                  24  

Stop That Transmitting --- IMMEDIATELY!!! 

Vol. XXV -                    25

DX Building HF Amplifiers 

Vol. XXVI -                   26

How to get a new radio past your wife   

Vol. XXVII -                 27

How Old Did You Say You Were?

Vol. XXVIII -                28

Not the Same Old Grind 

Vol. XXIX -                  29  

The Pickle Jar 

Vol. XXX -                  30

Don’t Hold Your Breath That Long – You’re Turning Blue  

This Update Should Be Crystal Clear 

Vol. XXXI -                 31

The Story of Old Bill 

Training is So Important  

Vol. XXXII -                32

An Accidental Contact 

Vol. XXXIII -               33

Multiple Switchable Antennas -- All via a Single Piece of Coax 

Vol. XXXIV -              34

I Waited Long Enough and My Diddles Have Returned

Vol. XXXV -               35 

AC/DC Comments Spanning Several Decades 

Vol. XXXVI -              36

The Lofty Lookie 

Vol. XXXVII -               37

Early Day Ham-handled Messages (pre-Internet) 

Vol. XXXVIII -               38

Working DX With the Panadapter 

Vol. XXXIX -                39

"No Lids, No Kids, No Space Cadets" 

Vol. XL         40

Careful, Fred………… Here Come the Bloodhounds (Sniff-It)

Vol. XLI           41

Antennas Seem To Work Better When They're Higher In the Air

Vol. XLII          42

The Secret to Working DX is Antennas Placement

Vol. XLIII             43

Interesting Terminology On a Classic Transceiver 

Vol. XLIV             44

If the Words Get Stuck In Your Throat................  

Vol. XLV              45

A Capsule Course In Working DX on CW  

Vol. XLVI             46

Working DX Intelligently  new.gif (143 bytes)

Vol. XLVII            47

Policing the Police  new.gif (143 bytes)

Vol. XLVIII           48

Look, It's the Lone Ranger   new.gif (143 bytes)

Vol. XLIX            49

Stability new.gif (143 bytes)

Vol. L                   50



K5LAD QSL Cards        Ham call letter tags


Page visited 1403 times arrowblu_top.gif (2913 bytes) Return to the Home Page