from Tom, K1KI (ex-WB6KIL):

"When I was in high school I lived in southern California. A few friends and I got our licenses together in junior high school and mamaged to upgrade to General a year or two later. WN6KIL became WB6KIL. My first QSO, by the way, was on 2M AM with a newly constructed HeathKit Twoer - and was with Brian Beezley, K6STI, (of ham radio software fame) who lived in the next town."

"We created a radio club called the Claremont Ham Club (if I remember the name correctly) and it was really just a few of us who attended Claremont High School at the time. Chris/WB6EUZ and I were the most active, but we also had Dave/WB6KIM, Brian/WB6KOS, John/WB6LCS now AB6FH, Charlie/WB6KZE, and Bob/WB6LCT now KU7G working at ARRL HQ.I spent a lot of time doing traffic handling, then county hunting, and started operating in state QSO parties, CD parties, and DX contests. At the time there was no California QSO Party so we decied to start it up. I don't think we did anything more than write the rules after looking at how others were set up, notifying QST and CQ, and then dealing with the incoming logs. We had some certificates printed up as well."

"We ran it for two years, maybe three, and sometime after we graduated from high school in 1968 I handed it off to someone in the Sacramento area. It might have been John but I don't recall - I thought the person's callsign at the time was WA6xxx (WA6A??). During high school I also went to a few meetings of the SCDXC in downtown LA and that's where I met people like WA6GLD (now SK) and N6AR. I operated at Bill Adam's QTH in Twentynine Palms (W6ANN, now W6BA) where I learned a lot about multi-op contesting."

"It was a good environment for learning about ham radio - having a few close friends of the same age and interests doing the same thing was a key."

73 Tom