I was doing some cleaning around the house the other day and came across a QSL card of the very first contact I made. It was June 6th, 1989 and I was pounding out CQ with my Bencher BY-1 Iambic paddle. I had a script all made up with a step by step CW QSO contact information. As I very well remember things did not go as planned. I now know I just was experiencing what any new green CW op would experience. I was listening to the code that was being sent and writing it down on paper but then I missed a letter and started to concentrate on the missed letter. This meant I missed even more code and was lost in no time. I had to do I mental reset and carry on. At some points, I fell into the bad habit of counting dits and dahs and not hearing the rhythm again it was panic setting in. When it came time to send I wanted to for some reason send just a bit faster than I was receiving well that did not work out too well when I was receiving and the code was coming back at me just a bit faster! While on the subject of sending I did find myself messing up letters and having to send words again. Then frustration set in which made it worse, but I did complete the QSO. As stressful as it may have seemed I was thrilled and could not wait for my next contact.
At that time my station setup was the Icom IC-745 it was second hand but I loved it and had served me for many years. My antenna was the Crushcraft R4 vertical antenna which for my location was the best solution. I did not own the house I was living in so a tower and beam were out of the question. Also, the lot was small so no room for ground radial. The R4 answered my needs as it did not need ground radials and had a very small footprint. As stated earlier I had the Bencher BY-1 key.
Can any of you remember your first contact and the gear you were using at the time?