[AMRadio] Is AM a special case, or is it "just another mode"?

edwmullin at aol.com edwmullin at aol.com
Wed Jul 31 20:23:48 EDT 2013

 I have always been of the mind that AM was as valid a mode as SSB, Digital, or CW.?? It should NOT be a 'specialty" or LEGACY mode.? That path leads to marginalization and extinction. 

Besides, from what I can here on the bands, bandwidth isn't going to be an issue on HF, there just won't be enough ops to take up that much space! 


-----Original Message-----
From: Donald Chester <k4kyv at charter.net>
To: amradio <amradio at mailman.qth.net>
Sent: Wed, Jul 31, 2013 5:08 pm
Subject: [AMRadio] Is AM a special case, or is it "just another mode"?

A debate has flared up in some ham radio discussion circles, triggered by a 
QST editorial, whether AM should be regarded as a "legacy" or  "speciality" 
mode, or if it's "just another mode", nothing more than one more button to 
push on a transceiver. If it's the latter, then what is the purpose of these 
AM websites and mailing  lists in the first place? Why not just stay with 
e-Ham and QRZ.com?  This discussion has not been heard on the air and 
remains largely amongst what I like to call "cyber hams" whose presence is 
visible on the internet, but whom you rarely if ever hear on the radio. 
My take on the issue is that we can't afford to be "special" or 
"exceptional" in the sense that AM privileges are granted only in a 
footnote, permitting the mode to exist as an "exception" to the general 
rules, as was proposed under the now-defunct ARRL bandwidth petition, and 
presently listed in the non-binding IARU Band Plans. Were that the case, AM 
could easily be eliminated altogether with the stroke of a pen or  the click 
of a mouse, by simply erasing the footnote. AM privileges must remain firmly 
embedded in the FCC rules as one of the mainstream modes of operation. But 
to those of us who operate AM, there is more to the mode than just another 
button to push on a radio. The present day AM community includes probably 
one of the  last remaining vestiges of what has existed for close to a 
century as genuine amateur radio. Amateur radio is more than just 
"communications"  that we could just as easily carry out using a cell phone. 
Equally disconcerting is the premise that "we must adapt to the 21st 
century", a buzz-word I see of late whenever a topic like bandwidth 
limitation, or plastic radios/appliance operation vs. home-building/vintage 
AM comes up for discussion. In reality, adapting to the 21st century is a 
strong argument AGAINST bandwidth limitation, since congestion on HF has 
clearly decreased over the past 15 years or so, to the point that it's 
largely a non-issue to-day, despite the inflated numbers of licensees in the 
FCC data base. As to-day's high school kid would put it, "that bandwidth 
obsession is SOooo twentieth century". 
The QST editorial can be viewed at 
ItSeemsToUs.pdf  The trigger mechanism was the reference to the infamous 
bandwidth Docket 20777, which as originally proposed would have eliminated 
AM on all amateur frequencies below 28.5 mc/s. 
Don k4kyv 
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