In some communication problems, it is a good assumption that the channel consists of an additive white Gaussian noise forward link and an essentially noiseless feedback link. In this paper, we study channels where no bandwidth constraint is placed on the transmitted signals. Such channels arise in space communications. It is known that the availability of the feedback link cannot increase the channel capacity of the noisy forward link, but it can considerably reduce the coding effort required to achieve a given level of performance. We present a coding scheme that exploits the feedback to achieve considerable reductions in coding and decoding complexity and delay over what would be needed for comparable performance with the best known (simplex) codes for the one-way channel. Our scheme, which was motivated by the Robbins-Monro stochastic approximation technique, can also be used over channels where the additive noise is not Gaussian but is still independent from instant to instant. An extension of the scheme for channels with limited signal bandwidth is presented in a companion paper (Part II).