For various reasons I've never been interested in VHF and UHF ham radio. I know I'm shortchanging myself and missing out on an aspect of ham radio that's a favorite of many. And I mean no disrespect towards hams who enjoy those bands. Maybe one day I will too?
But my very first ham radio was a VHF rig that I obtained before I even had a license. Kind of ironic, isn't it? I don't remember my exact age, maybe 12, but I found it at an antique store that my parents had forced me to...I mean...had taken me to and I was shocked to see a bonafide ham radio for sale. It was a Heathkit Sixer that was for sale for the pricely sum of $10. The lady had no idea if it worked or where it came from. She seemed kind of shocked that anyone wanted it. I walked out carrying it after beating her down to $8. I guess I was cheap even back then!
The radio actually worked. I had that thing apart a dozen times, shocked the fool out of myself at least 3 times, and much to my dad's frustration, never seemed to be able to put it together again without his help. Not having any sort of an antenna, a roll of magnetic wire strung across the garage floor served as my aerial, or rather, my floorial. About a 3/4 turn of the tuning knob was all it took to scan through the entire 6 meter spectrum, which I did for hours on end. Nothing. Never heard anything.
Eventually I realized that I'd thrown away my $8, earned by mowing a month's worth of grass ($10, with $2 left over after buying the radio) and I lost interest. The radio sat gathering even more dust. Until one day when I turned it on again, twisted the knob, and realized that I'd just passed a signal. I quickly turned back but nothing was there. For an agonizingly long period of time I kept tuning back and forth about a 1/4 turn and finally, YES, a real person talking plain as day! I could hear him very well but I couldn't hear the other station he was talking to at all, but it turned out that the fellow who I could hear lived in the same subdivision. My floorial antenna worked! Sort of.
That was the only time I ever heard anyone on that radio, but that one instance of hearing someone rekindled my interest in ham radio and I began studying every night to get my novice license (which I kept renewing for the next 35 years even though I was inactive).
I visited home on leave from the Air Force in the late 80's to find out that my folks had hosted a garage sale. My Sixer was gone. "How much did you get for it?", I asked. "Ten dollars", my dad said. "Isn't that what you paid for it?", he asked.
"No, I guess I made $2 on the deal", I said. Actually I was a little ticked that they'd sold it without acking and I quickly inquired about the rest of my ham gear that had been in their attic. Fortunately it was still there, and I still have all of it today.
Maybe I'm keeping it for spite?