I learned the code while still in elementary school from a set of WW II US Navy training records on old 78 RPM records. I was about 10 years old or so. I then taught others in my Boy Scout troop the code which really helped my speed. At age 13, in December 1954, I took and passed my Novice exam. At the time I had never met another ham. It took the FCC a couple of months before my ticket arrived in the mail. I was issued the call WN1FUA.
I had built a small single tube transmitter with a 6V6 final with parts I salvaged from a Philco all band radio that my parents had listened to before TV. I'll never forget, I had to purchase only the RFC and an 80 meter novice band crystal for 3715 KHz. Total cost $4.78!! My parents bought me a used S20R Hallicrafters receiver that was originally built in 1939 and I was on the air. There were thousands of CQs and few answers to my 5 watts to a wire wrapped around the house, but somehow I managed to work 7 states and upgrade to General class within the required period of one year.
In the 50s, a Novice license was only good for a year and was not renewable. Following graduation from high school in 1959, I attended business school in Boston for two years and while there I had a job with DeMambro Radio where I sold ham gear -- I was in heaven. In 1963, I received a letter from Washington, and it seems somebody figured it was time for me to be in the Army. I spent two winters in Korea as a courier and was able to operated from HL9US, a club station for US troops.
Following the military in 1966, I went to work for the telephone company in Roanoke, VA and traded my upgraded call, W1FUA to W4GEQ as require at the time. I was very active in Virginia from 1967 to 1974 working contests and chasing DX. By this time I had a family and was very involved with my job and started spending less time with my radio. I upgraded to Extra Class in 1976 and requested my present call N4DB. The "N" block of callsigns had just been opened and anyone with an extra class license could request any available callsign, so I requested my initials.
By 1978, I was totally burned out and had lost all desire to operated ham radio. AT&T asked me if I would take a promotion and transfer to Columbus in 1987. It wasn't until 1994 that I once again became active on the bands. In 1995, I put up a 48 foot tower with a large HF beam and a few wires. I bought all new equipment and again started chasing DX. I have been quite active on CW, SSB and RTTY on all HF bands from 160 meters thru 10 and have DXCC on all HF bands and all 3 modes.
At the end of the F2 sunspot cycle during the winter of 2001-2002, I got on 6 meters for the first time and was lucky enough to work 67 countries on that band. I regret not having discovered the magic band as it is know sooner. Although we are at a low period of sunspots I still spend a lot of time on six. I completed WAS there and am patiently waiting for the return of higher sunspot numbers with the goal of adding 6 meter DXCC to my list of accomplishments.