The date was mid-January 1989. I had turned 52 the previous autumn and well into my fourth year recovering from a stroke. Barb, KC7BSY, had gone to Dallas, Texas to be with one of our daughters while she gave birth to her second. The birth had occurred and Barb was preparing to return to Oregon. But before she could set the plan into motion a winter storm arrived. Dallas was paralized, and departure was delayed another fourteen days. That was not good news, so I was casting about for a distraction. That was when a local ham radio club. The club was offering classes that would enable folks such as myself an opportunity to earn my Novice radio license. In spite of the required effort to learn to copy Morse code at the basic speed of five-words-per-minute, I signed up for the challenge at a local middle school.
At the end of two weeks I had passed all the requirements. In those days there was no Internet or email. I waited impatiently for my call sign to arrive via the postman, which turned out to be KB7HBJ. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Actually, I passed the Novice requirements ahead of the scheduled time and then sat in on the Technician class and passed it as well. Then I applied for a call sign change. A couple of weeks later, after Barb’s return, I became N7NET. I was a full-fledged ham radio operator, Technician class, with CW privileges only, and with no radio. The call sign KB7HBJ remains attached to N7NET, silent to this day.
I credit ham radio for helping me make a near total recovery from that unfortunate stroke.