[AMRadio] AMRadio Digest, Vol 127, Issue 4

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Sun Aug 3 15:02:12 EDT 2014

Yes, I am aware of a certain "AM is just another mode" element within the AM
community.  However, except for casual operators who primarily operate other
modes but like to occasionally push the AM button on their transceiver, I
think most of the active hard-core AMers  agree that there is something
exceptional about AM that draws us to it, beyond just another button to push
or mode switch setting to select.

You hit on one reason why I find myself working less and less CW lately.
Very rarely do you run into a homebrew rig anymore, and few are interested
in conversing about anything radio-related of a technical nature.
Increasingly, just exchange names, QTH and signal reports (often bogus 599s
after asking for multiple repeats ), followed by brand name and model number
of the radio (as if I could be expected to keep track of  them all), and
then the inevitable  TKS FER QSO OM CUL 73 QRZ? I find myself averaging
about ten QSOs of that variety for every real conversation that actually
interests me, radio or non-radio related. No doubt a computer is used  to
receive and send much of to-day's CW , by ops incapable of copying by ear. I
am told CW readers don't fare so well with code sent with a mechanical bug
or hand key; maybe that's the reason for fewer OTA ragchews.

Now don't get me wrong; I always welcome a newcomer to AM and  do what I can
help him get his radio set up to sound good and get the modulation right,
but it makes me less prone to operate outside the AM Ghetto (oops... I mean
WINDOW), when I call CQ and 90% of the replies are by someone trying out AM
for the very first time out of curiosity after hearing my CQ. I make it a
point to be friendly, helpful and never condescending; occasionally one of
these ops will like what he hears and decide to hang out on AM regularly,
maybe even ending up building his own rig or resurrecting a piece of vintage
equipment.  Some top-shelf AM signals are generated with transceiver +
leen-yar, when the AM mode isn't such an afterthought that a quality signal
can't be generated no matter what. YMMV. But I hope amateur AM doesn't end
up going the way CW has in recent years, and it's nice to occasionally
converse with a veteran AMer outside the popular window frequencies.

You may be right about radio in another 50 or 100 years. I don't hear that
many younger hams on HF regardless of mode. The last great surge of
newcomers in their teens and twenties came on the scene in the late 60s and
early 70s, making up many of the well-known Tall Ships, who are now in their
early sixties. The generations to follow are rather sparse. The AM community
(members of all ages) makes up one of the few remaining vestiges of genuine
amateur radio to be heard on the bands to-day.

Don k4kyv

-----Original Message-----

From: Rob Atkinson <ranchorobbo at gmail.com>
I will or course work someone operating a plastic radio on AM--I currently
operate a plastic radio on AM after all--but if they are new to AM, I will
inform them that no, they are not "done with AM" as certain a know-it-all on
eHam will say (every chance he gets) but rather, there is much much more
than the plastic radio/leenyar paradigm, and anyone who tells them they can
sit back now and just operate is in my opinion, doing them and AM, an

I mentioned CW above.  Sadly, CW is in the grip of this technology bigotry
for few CW ops bother to operate vintage gear, and CW is a
mode that even more than AM, is the original vintage mode.   What
happened?  What happened is what is now festering in the AM community, the
idea that pushing a mode button on a plastic radio is enough, and the old
ways can be left behind.  We now have CW ops who don't know how to run a
separate transmitter and receiver, don't know how to achieve QSK without a
plastic radio, and have no idea how to tune a class C final.  They think
homebrewing is making a balun and restoration is getting an old bug cleaned
up and polished.  Instead of doing real radio they pass their time arguing
on line about which plastic fad box is better, sounding like a bunch of
appliance consumers in an audio forum.  And I'm speaking of hams who have
been licensed for 20+ years, not noobs.  It is exceedingly sad to see what
has become of the CW community.  Is this what we want for AM?  I surely hope

This is why I will go to my grave exhorting AM operators to not let the old
ways be forgotten--we are actually the last pool of knowledge for the old CW
marine radiotelegraph ops are aging with no one to pass their knowledge on
to, and the same is true for the broadcast professionals as those two fields
are driven by economic factors.  As a hobby, we are not so we are obliged to
keep the old knowledge alive.
Sure radio will probably be entirely gone in 50 to 100 years but I see no
reason why the practice of maintaining and running vintage gear can't be
continued.  After all, the old gear is dong fine after 70 some odd years and
there's no reason why it won't be doing fine years from now when today's
highly expensive plastic fad radios are in landfills.



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