Ham Radio and me in College
Once that was over, Dad decided it wasn't going to happen again. He called IBM and they proposed a punchcard accounting system to handle invoicing and inventory. He was just about to sign the contract when he asked the IBM rep:
"So this system will tell me exactly how much of each item I have in the warehouse?"
The IBM rep said, "No, sir. It will only tell you what's supposed to be there.."
Dad signed the contract and, in due time the gear was delivered. Giant grey boxes. A bunch of 'em:
Once that decision was made, I thought I needed to be an electrical engineer to be hired by IBM after college. I scouted around for engineering schools. I reasoned that I already had a leg up since, because of Ham Radio, I already knew how to solder. Sigh...
I wanted to stay in the South so I applied to Georgia Tech and Tulane University in New Orleans and was accepted at both. I picked Georgia Tech because....
They had the best fight song!
Click HERE to hear it!
When I got on the plane (a Delta Convair 440):
I was a real stud:
Me in my "Rat cap" on my first day at Georgia Tech
Though I was the only member of the fraternity with a Ham license (one of my pledge brothers told us he was a Ham but he was shown to be a liar), I had little support when I asked to put a ham station in the fraternity house. But then, as now, I was a pretty persuasive person so I got the go-ahead.
A digression (it has, ultimately, to do with Ham Radio. Trust me):
One afternoon I was so engaged when the dorm counseler opened the door unexpectedly.
The knife, making two more revolutions, zipped past his body and stuck in the hall wall opposite the door. I don't know which of us was more frightened. Well, yes I do; he was. I didn't soil my khakis...
After he cleaned himself up, the dorm counseler turned me in to the Associate Dean of Students. The Dean's name (believe it or not) was Dean James Dull (yes, "Dull"; I am not making this up!) He was the college-level equivalent of the high school Vice Principal:
As a freshmen in college I rarely had $6.00, much less $600.00. I didn't want to tell my folks so I worked out a payment plan for the door with Dean Dull.
Here's the Ham Radio connection: My plan was to make the door into an operating table for my ham gear in the fraternity house. Y'just buy a leg kit, screw the legs into the knife-scarred side of the door and you have sturdy 3' x 7' table. Sure, it does have a stencilled "106" on the top, but what the heck.
If you read my explanation about callsigns (licenses) section, you know that, in those days, ham licenses were assigned to geographical areas. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas were in the "5" area; my callsign was K5AZL and you'd be able to tell from the "5" that I was in one of those "5" states. Georgia was in the "4"th call area so I was required to get a new license to operate for a protracted time from Georgia. I applied and was assigned W4GKF which I hold to this day.
I don't remember operating much, but it was fun to have it there.
I graduated on a Saturday in June, 1961 and went to work for IBM two days later.
Read on for me '60s Ham Radio experiences..