[AMRadio] Getting on the Air - May 2008 QST

Bob Bruno - K2KI k2ki at starc.org
Mon Apr 21 01:35:08 EDT 2008

Hi Joe, and to all the AMRadio members,

I agree. Amateur Radio has been hit too many time with the "Dummy-Down 
Stick" or "Nerf Bat".

I got my novice ticket on May 14, 1984. At 49 years old, I too am a 
newcomer to this hobby. My very first rig was a Viking II. And the rcvr 
was an HQ-129 with a 110V Dow-Key. Lotsa voltages there that can kill 
ya. Hell, you could die from a heart attack from carrying one from the 
car to the shack! But... I learned about high voltages. I learned Ohms 
Law and understood it. I had an elmer who instilled homebrewing into me 
and made me appreciate what we were doing! He taught me respect and 
reverence for these things. I love the smell of tubes!

Today, Amateur Radio has become an appliance hobby. You goes to the 
store, you pays your money and you walks out of said store with an 
"Appliance" Radio that you plugs into your 12 VDC "Appliance" Power 
Supply and "Appliance" Antenna which you just took out of the box all 
assembled and tuned. Then you makes your very first contact with another 
"Appliance" operator who just did the same thing. No tuning, WTF is an 
SWR? And, what do I do if I have one? (seriously, I heard a young 
GENERAL say that to me.)

"Load and Plate? Whuts dat?" "B+? Is that a new Vitamin Water?" "You 
actually use that big heavy monstrosity? Why?" "You know THE CW?" All of 
these things I have heard from the mouths of the new Amateur Radio Operator!

Now don't get me wrong, I am happy when I hear of another person joining 
the ranks of Amateur Radio. I am pained however when I learn that the 
same person passed his test by sheer memorization and no learning! No 
love and respect of electricity and its fundamentals. NO FREAKIN' 
CLUE!!! I am proud of my daughter Sarah who presently hold her Tech. She 
was sad when they did away with the code. She wants her General. She 
loves boatanchors. In fact, her favorite thing in the shack is the 
National NC-125! And she is coming with me to Near-Fest and is looking 
forward to meeting the AM crew (especially TimTron) Proud I am!!!

And while I am ranting... What the hell is up with Radio Shack? I 
remember I could walk in there and buy a 100uf 450VDC Electrolytic right 
off the rack and maybe a 6AU6 and a 12BY7. Plus, the guy working there 
knew what they were and what they were usually used for! Plus, the 
in drawers with the entire area measuring 3'x3'x3' and mostly LED's and 
maybe a few fuses! SAD!!!

And, you don't want to start me on the whole CW thing. I know that would 
stir up some serious Sh... err Stuff...

For crying out loud people, Learn about what makes our hobby special. 
Learn to use your brain!!! Seek out the old timer, He can open the door 
to great aspects of the hobby. All ya gots to do is walk through and 
open your eyes and ears! Regress a bit and embrace the possibilities.

Oh, I am no longer a member of the ARRL. I gave up the "privilege" a few 
years back. I remember I used to soak up every issue. Even before I 
became a ham, I would go to my elmers and he would give me a years worth 
at a time. This was when they were smaller in sized and packed with real 
content! I hate the direction they have allowed amateur Radio to be 
taken. Elitist bunch of bureaucrats! Go sit in Riley's lap. How do ya 
like me now?

Ok, I guess I am getting old and buzzardly. I apologize. I too hate to 
see where our wonderful way of life is headed!

Oh, and I too play the guit-fiddle and work on my amps. Ya wanna know 
what is on my bench at the moment?

DX-100 (Recap, retube and Timtron mods,)
SX-42 (Recap, retube and align)
NC-183 (Recap, retube, align and new paint)
BC-779-A (Just got it. Retube and maybe recap and align in it's future)
Softrock40/30 TXRX (New kit. Hey, I like the new stuff too!)

De k2ki <SK>. Flame all you want!!!

Joseph Bento wrote:
> 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.
> 73,
> Joe, N6DGY
> Pleasant Grove, UT
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