[AMRadio] Getting on the Air - May 2008 QST

Ellen Rugowski ellenjoanne2003 at sbcglobal.net
Mon Apr 21 06:38:43 EDT 2008

Hi Bob, K2KI & Company,

Yeah, things sure have become disappointing.  Too many hams have become Plug
& Play.  I've seldom owned new rigs. At the present time, my newest radio is
25 years old (an ICOM IC-740).  It was a non-runner, that was easy to get
going, and has a fantastic receiver.  My favorite rigs (due to the fact that
my favorite casual radio operating mode is AM), are over 50 years old.  One
of them (my Viking II), was a non-runner, that I bought for $75 last
November.  It was a pain at times (due to Hammy Hambone mods that were made
to a few things) to get it going, but it has been on the air now for almost
2 months.  It sounds great.  AND, it sure was a good feeling to take a radio
that nobody wanted (the thing hadn't been used in how many years - I had to
spend over 20 minutes just vacuuming out the dust when I brought it home),
and put it back on the air (the same thoughts hold true for my IC-740).

I'm am both baffled and saddened that so many (although not all) newbs have
been indictrinated with this black box, plug & play mentality.  It's too
complicated to load up a tube or hybrid rig - huh?!  When I was a Novice and
young General in the late 70s & through the 80s, it was pretty much a given
that unless you had the cash, you'd get something with tubes for you first
rig.  At W9YT (the Univ. of Wisconsin Ham Club, station), when I graduated
in 1987, we still used a TS-830S as the main HF station.  We had a homebrew
KW with 3-500Zs in it.  As was mentioned in a thread that's similar to this,
that's in progress on QRZ.com, loading upan amp is like loading up a tube
rig (BTW, the majority of responentson that thread are just as digusted by
that article as we are).  There's something wrong, when a new Extra asks,
"how do I make a dipole?"  That was a question on my Novice test (on Xmas
Eve Day) in 1977! Don't laugh, hams have already been asked this question. I
briefly knew a ham a year and a half ago,(via a Yahoo ham group I'm no
longer active in - the group owner's a bit of a "my opinions are the onloy
ones that count" person), who, whenever somebody mentioned some cool
portable antenna they'd built, would always ask, "gee, where can I buy one?"
It was finally pointedout to the man, that wile plug & play is OK, building
you own antenna is even better.

Ellen - AF9J

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