[AMRadio] Getting on the Air - May 2008 QST

Joseph Bento n6dgy at kirtland.com
Mon Apr 21 00:32:28 EDT 2008

The "Getting On The Air" column by W1ZR.  Vacuum tube based equipment  
is far too dangerous to consider for a first rig,  and building your  
own equipment apparently isn't even a consideration any longer.  If it  
uses tubes, GASP!  High Voltage!  We can't have any of that!   Also,  
avoid gear older than 8 years, because you might not be able to get it  
repaired.  I hang my head in shame over what has happened to this once  
great hobby where people were somewhat technically competent.  Those  
that lacked technical skills at least learned a bit of theory to at  
least have a basic understanding of the operation of their equipment.

At 44 years old, I'm a relative youngster in ham radio.  I build and  
restore vacuum tube equipment.  I also play the guitar.  The electric  
guitar fraternity seems to embrace homebrewing far more than the  
amateur community does today.  Most good guitar amp designs are still  
vacuum tube based, including modern designs.  People regularly modify  
their amps or build clone designs.  Yes, high voltage.  You learn the  
proper precautions.  Seems rather funny that a musician might be more  
apt to work with electronics than a ham radio operator.

Modern electronics is too complicated, tubes are too dangerous - it's  
no wonder that electronics isn't even taught any longer throughout  
most of the school system.

I'm really beginning to question why I continue to support the ARRL.   
At first when I saw the cover of this issue, I had thought there would  
be all these neat projects from the Homebrewer's Challenge.  Needless  
to say, I was disappointed.  I used to treasure QST.  While I still  
save all my issues, I'm beginning to wonder why.  It certainly isn't  
the technical journal it once was.

Joe, N6DGY
Pleasant Grove, UT

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