K6DGWQSL: TO HOME ADDRESS . SASE APPRECIATED
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Originally licensed (KN6DGW) in 1953. Continuously active except for 4 yr period while serving in the USAF in SE Asia. Additional calls held: KL7ETK, WA5SNP, HS1FJ. Retired from communications/computer engineering in Jan 2000 ... currently active on VHF/UHF FM and on HF, mainly in contests and mainly on CW. Clubs: Sierra Foothils ARC, Northern California Cactus Radio Association (K6SRA - part of Cactus Intertie), Northern California Contest Club, RAMS (W6HIR), SOC, FISTS, and CWops.
Like many, I had an Elmer, only his name wasn't "Elmer," it was Art Lux, W6RMK. In 1953, my neighbor Paul, and I were walking down one of the streets in our neighborhood in So. Central Los Angeles (South Gate), and we saw an antenna in the back yard of one of the houses. Both being 13 and not yet fully schooled in social skills, we just went up and knocked on the door, and the nice lady who answered told us that it "belonged to her husband and he'd be home around 5:30." We returned at 5:30 (remember, no social skills), and Art showed us his rig ... an HQ-120, a Meissner Signal Shifter, and a home brew pair of 250TH's modulated by a pair of TZ40's in a wooden rack. The antenna was a 10 meter Plumber's Delight with a prop pitch rotator.
Art began teaching us the code and coaching us out of the ARRL License Manual, and when the time came, drove us down to the Federal Building in Los Angeles, and we got our novice licenses. At first, Paul and I shared a station, and Art was first contact for each of us, and his son Paul (W6CZA), home from college for the holidays, was our second. In due time, Art drove us down again and we upgraded to General, and again, Art was our first AM phone contact. After the required time had elapsed, I went down and passed the Extra. I could drive by this time, but, despite planning my route carefully with my Dad, I was so concerned about getting lost in downtown LA and missing the test that I arrived several hours early. The FCC Examiner was doing the 2nd Class Telegraph at the time, suggested I sit for it, and I actually passed. This ultimately led to a job during my senior year in HS as a relief operator at a coastal marine station.
College, a few years in combat, and a good life in engineering followed, and we're now retired on our 5 acres where we've been for 33+ years. Neither Andrea nor any of our kids have shown any interest in my radio habit although my wife's needlepoint habit is about as expensive as mine. We've always had an "equal hobby allowance" policy, so this really benefits me! We have three grandsons here in town, and since they carry "the magic of wireless" around in their cargo shorts, they don't seem to be attracted to ham radio either.
I do wonder, fairly regularly: What would I do if two 13 year olds showed up on my doorstep and asked about the tower and antenna out behind the house? Would I be another W6RMK, show them my radios, and help them get a license? It hasn't happened, but if it did, I sure hope the answer would be "Yes." Thank God for people like Art. My hobby has sustained me through some pretty tough times. The good news is that I did get the chance to thank him before he died.
W6RMK is now held by Art's grandson Jim. The photo was taken in May 2008 aboard the MS Oosterdam. Our kids gave us an Alaskan cruise for our 40th [anniversary, not kid].