The Legendary Mr. Charles Finkleman

I was first licensed as Novice WN2LQF in the early 60s.  I was just a kid from a family that had plenty of love, plenty of ethics, but not much money.  No problem!  Broken TV sets were easy to come by back then and 6L6 tubes made great PA tubes.   I spent some time as Technician WB2LQF after my Novice term because I had no way to get to New York City for the General Class exam.   I was not handicapped or seriously ill so I could not apply for the Conditional license back then. 

Eventually, I had enough birthdays behind me and my parents finally agreed to let me take a Shortline bus trip with by best friend, Walter, down to NYC to take the General Class exam in the summer of 1964.   

 I remember that day so well.  I took the bus down to the FCC Field Office on Washington Street in New York City's Greenwich Village.  There I met the infamous, scary looking, black haired, bespectacled, pipe-smoking examiner, Mr. Finkelman.  Somehow, I managed to pass the 13 wpm General Class code exam and guessed at enough answers to pass the written also.  I was elated!  My reward was to go directly to Flushing Meadows where the 1964 World's Fair was underway.  My celebration dinner was steak, baked potato, and roasted corn-on-the-cob and it was the best meal of my young life.  I can still remember that unbroken line of welded-together 55 gallon half-drums with the aromatic hot coals glowing long after sundown.  What a day that was!

On May 12, 2012 I was surfing 40 meters looking for a  CW ragchew QSO and I met Vito from Bay Shore,  Long Island, WA2PJF.  Vito and I had a great old fashioned CW 'chew for well over an hour.   At some point, we discovered we had earned our Novice tickets the same year and both graduated to Technician Class before we became Generals.  Even more astounding, we discovered we had both taken our General Class exams with the legendary Mr. Finkelman in 1964!   I had been wondering what his first name was, and VIto informed me it was "Charles."  

The one mystery Vito and I were unable to solve was why he (Vito) got a WA2 callsign and I got a WB2 callsign.  Our licensing windows seemed to line up well.  I had always figured I drew a WB2 because I did not go directly from Novice to General.  Vito didn't either so that blows that theory.  

A week or so after our memorable QSO, I got a thick envelope in the mail.  To my utter surprise and great pleasure, Vito had sent to me (among other tidbits) pictures of Mr. Charles Finkelman! 

 Enjoy them as I did!