By:Sarah (Sally) Folsom (W8NTV)
Applying for a vanity call part 1
My son, Larkin (NC4AU), mentioned to me earlier this summer that he planned to earn his ham radio license and suggested that I should consider doing the same. I took my Technician exam in August, the same day that my son passed his Extra exam.
The thought of pursuing ham radio reminded me of my uncle, Lynn Faulkner, who was an avid ham. As a young child in the 50s and 60s I remember seeing my uncle sitting in a small room off of his living room. The entire room was filled with metal boxes with knobs and displays on them. They looked very important to me as I would watch him sitting in front of them speaking into a microphone. He spent a lot of his time in that room, early in the morning before going to work as the principal at the local high school and in the evening after he returned. He told me that he was talking to people all over the country which was an impressive feat to me.
His house was located at the highest point in the town on a mountain in West Virginia. Much of his front yard was consumed by a very large tower that his neighbors may not have appreciated! Now I realize that he may have chosen that spot to have the best signal.
Since he was a principal and my aunt was a teacher, they did not work in the summer. Each summer they would pack up the travel trailer and take extended cross-country trips. Every trailer they owned always had a dedicated space for his ham equipment. After they retired and began to spend winters in Florida living in a small travel trailer, he still utilized a lot of space just for his ham equipment.
Larkin spent time researching Uncle Lynn’s history and found that he first got on the air in 1916. During his service in the U.S. Navy, he was a radar and electronics officer. He also completed West Virginia University with a degree in electronics engineering. His passion for ham radio never waned, but no other family members ever became interested in it. When I was studying for my Technician license, I read about vanity signs, but did not think much about it. Larkin talked about obtaining a license based on family heritage and I knew that was something I wanted to do to honor my uncle. Unfortunately, he passed while I was pregnant with Larkin and so they never go to know each other, but I know he would be pleased that his family is continuing the tradition.
His call sign was located in the Radio Amateur Call Book and subsequently verified in the database as available. Based on his callsign I needed to obtain my General license which I did in October on the same day that my grandson, Skye, passed his Technician license exam. The application to change my callsign to W8NTV was submitted to the FCC website and about three weeks later I received notification that I had been assigned the new callsign.
Did I mention that my uncle’s house was at the intersection of two roads which formed a triangle? The back of his house faced the apex of the triangle and the front faced his neighbor’s house on the right side of his lot. This is where he placed the huge metal tower. On the left side of his lot, he faced the Dairy Queen which was right next door. That was the other great reason for visiting him!
Sarah (Sally) Folsom (W8NTV)