Youthful indiscretions in radio

A well-known and highly regarded QRPer – let’s just call him “SG” – recently posted something among his Google+ friends that I identified with immediately:

As a not-yet-licensed ham impatient with the FCC’s red tape and slow mail delivery he got on the air on 40m CW with a callsign pulled from a copy of the Callbook. Guilt set in, followed by worry.

Boy, I’ve been down that road.

My own story of being a radio outlaw took place when I was a Novice. A DXpedition began about the time I was ready to upgrade to General…but I’d not yet taken the test. This DXpedition was to Upper Volta and only operated phone. Of course I didn’t have phone or 20m privileges as a Novice. But I do have a very old QSL on the wall from Upper Volta. 20m, SSB.

Beginning our life of crime at such young ages, it’s a wonder SG and I didn’t end up as true radio criminals, building radios in support some illicit endeavor. As far as I know, SG and I have been on the straight & narrow since those felonious days.



  2 comments for “Youthful indiscretions in radio

  1. February 1, 2012 at 7:07 am

    My experience as a pirate:

    I was WN2ADH as a novice in the late 60s/early 70s or so. I passed my general and assumed I was going to be WA2ADH, which was available. I made about 50 QSOs in the 20m CW general band (actually more like the 20M PSK band today, since my lowest crystal was 7.035 to triple up to the 15m novice band, so I was probably on 14.070) including my first Alaska and Hawaii QSOs.

    I was pretty surprised a month or so later when my general ticket came in the mail with the call sign WB2EKK! I called the FCC and they informed me that since I had not attached a copy of my WN2ADH license, they didn’t know I had a call already so I just got the next never-issued call in sequence…

    Just checked – the call WA2ADH appears to not be assigned – with some people entering their old log books into LotW, if it was assgined, that person might be getting a few odd confirmations.

  2. February 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Hi John, I’m sure you’re not the only one that made QSO’s without the “right” permit. I did long time ago, although not on the amateurbands. But you already did read about it. 73, Bas

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