MORSE CODE

Back in 1960 I saved up many weeks for an AR88D communications receiver from Henry's Radio in London I think it was 50 a lot of money in them days. We lived in a Ladies Hairdressers Shop and on return from school Mum said there is a big crate in the back yard been delivered and it is heavy.. After putting on a plug and making sure it was set to 240 Volts I switched on and lots of lights came on... After reading the Manual also supplied I fixed up a wire in the loft and listened to all these unusual buzzes, bangs and whistles..... The Voice of America came blasting in.... Then one day I heard a voice speaking in a local dialect and seemed to appear all over the bands and it was a local Radio Amateur G3FKP on TOP BAND 160 metres... After a few weeks I plucked up courage to go and see him one Sunday morning... His shack was in the front room just a AR88LF receiver and a magic black box with meters on it.... I was made very welcome and soon Frank taught me how to design a Franklin Oscillator a very stable frequency source for a VFO.... Frank also had a Morse Key which he sometimes made contacts with as well as the normal Sunday local AM skeds.... Well soon I found that Frank could hear stations I could not so it became clear on opening up the AR88D base and RF covers this equipment had been struck by lightening or RF the first aerial switch wafer was missing.... This was soon repaired after a lot of care and then I could hear distant stations... I built a TX and started to practice morse on it with the output into a dummy load however Frank came back to us one day and we had a morse contact.... At that time a Station in Blackburn 5 miles away 3 times a week sent Slow Morse lessons at 5, 8 and 12 wpm and that was Ken G3NCZ later to be a good pal to all the young Amateurs in that area.... After about 2 years I had got up to about 15 wpm and Frank said its time to get my Morse Certificate... I was sat in a room at Liver Buildings Liverpool next to a smart Naval chap in uniform that made me look stupid in just a suit and I could hear Morse coming out of a small room that must have been at least 25 wpm and I could not understand it and thought on no I am going to fail... My turn a small very nice chap made me welcome and said have a trial and set up the key to suit me... Then this slower morse came from his key and I set down on paper all he had sent then it was my turn to send to him.... Then as I left he said in a sort of non-committal way that I would hear through the Post that I had "PASSED" but would not say anything else so I said thanks and di di dah di dah... The very next day in an Official letter with all sorts of stampings on said I had passed at 12 wpm... Then I passed the RAE at Blackburn Technical College and sent off for my License so G3RFL was born on 10th AUG 1962 signed by a mister M.E.Long No 3060... The first time you fly solo on the air waves has a certain buzz you cannot explain in words... I worked all over the World on every band... Even at work in Blackburn did a demonstration to some young kids how a simple RF signal generator can go at least 3 miles across town to Cliff G4CJ by just keying in Morse two screwdrivers and an aerial thrown out through the window... Later I rewired the whole of the AR88D and replaced all the CAPS and realigned it then tuned around and found THE VOICE OF AMERICA giving out the news that John Lennon had been shot....... I soon after took up Amateur Television on 405 lines flying spot scanner then built a Camera with help from circuits in the BATC news letter.......... Morse code still has its uses and should never be removed from Amateur Radio............ G3RFL