[AMRadio] In Defence of Old Buzzard Transmissions

Rob Atkinson ranchorobbo at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 21:12:03 EDT 2015

When I first started regularly operating AM, I don't think I realized
what has to happen to get from receive to transmit with separate
transmitters and receivers.  When I go from receive to transmit with
the 3-400 rig, the following events take place when I flip the toggle
switch to transmit (having expelled all foot switches from the

The T/R sequencer sends 24 v. to relays that key on the VFO, flip the
big T/R antenna relay to the transmitter and switch all receivers and
rx antenna preamps to ground.
about 2/10s of a second later the sequencer sends 24 v. to a pilot
relay in the rig that switches on 120 v. to a bigger relay coil and it
closes and energizes the final plate supply primary and driver to put
the transmitter on the air.

If the final comes on, then about 2/10 second later, h.v. comes on for
the rig's modulator.

Then I can start talking, although if the other fellow has a strapping
signal with good audio, I'd rather keep listening.

On going to receive the reverse of everything happens.

All of the above is probably standard procedure and common knowledge
for most operators.  It also explains why once I get into transmit I
am willing to stay there for a while.  Not interested in flipping
through all that and back again to make a 5 second transmission on a
regular basis.

Perhaps more important, the orderly group round robin method of
participation has some benefits.   If done right, everyone knows each
other's call signs and where they fit in the sequence because some
sort of legal ID is at the start and end of every transmission.
Everyone is afforded the time to take notes and think of deliberate
thoughtful comment by the time it is their turn.  The AM mode with its
carrier allows for pauses.  When people are engaged in thoughtful,
sedate conversation, there are pauses.  This is normal.   This
conversation is usually congenial and less likely to include knee-jerk
responses that escalate into arguments.

I'm not wild about the fast make and break method because it can spin
into chaos with doubling, little IDing, and an almost random direction
to the conversation.  Maybe it is okay in the daytime when everyone is
not too distant and all participants know each other well.

Some of this preference may depend on the operator's personality.  I
usually take notes and I have things to say.  If I were a man of few
words, I might like the fast break-in QSOs.  One thing that is
irritating is when a ham with a weak signal lets his carrier drop with
no indication that he deliberately ended this transmission.   If he is
piss weak you might not even know.

I have gotten to where if I get any flack about a long transmission I
ignore it.  The other operator can go somewhere else and start a QSO
to his liking.  Everything in my station is built to handle continuous
duty no time limit.  I didn't do all that work to make 5 second
transmissions.  This is one reason I avoid the high bands.  The folks
up there seem to operate as if they are on a FM repeater.  Not my cup
of tea.  The one exception to all this is nets.

Unrelated note:
Someone paid $737 for a B&W 5100!!



On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 3:01 PM, Donald Chester <k4kyv at charter.net> wrote:
> Some people like short, quick exchanges, while others prefer the round-table
> type of QSO. In roundtables the transmissions can get lengthy, so it can be
> difficult to maintain the thread of a conversation, particularly with more
> than a couple of  stations in the QSO.
> To me, it depends.  If I just want to rag chew with no urgent topic at hand,
> the round-table is fine, but when discussing a specific topic that requires
> exchanging pertinent information with another person, such as instructions
> on how to  do something, the quick-exchange works better.  In any case, I
> prefer to keep the group small, 3 or 4 participants, maximum.  "When the
> group  grows to four, that's the time to hit the door"...   time to branch
> off  to another frequency and start a new QSO, thus increasing AM presence
> in the band. Something I find particularly annoying, however, is for
> someone to break into a QSO, knowing their signal is piss-weak, and then
> proceed to make a filibuster transmission...  "The weaker they are, the
> longer they talk."
> Some of us have been repeatedly admonished for making excessively long
> transmissions.  However, there is one situation where the old-buzzard
> transmission is the way to go, and I don't mind four or more others in the
> QSO (as long as everyone in the group is delivering a readable signal to
> everyone else). When band conditions are good and everyone in the  group has
> solid copy, I like to carry on a casual conversation while working on a
> project at the bench, or as the other night, doing some household chore like
> snapping green beans, something that occupies both hands, without demanding
> full undivided mental effort while working.  That way, one can get in some
> useful bench time between transmissions, and when it's one's time to
> transmit, that provides a pleasant break from tasks like soldering and
> wiring up a circuit, digging for something in the junk box,  or drilling,
> filing, sawing and other metal work.  It's very  difficult to do those tasks
> while carrying on a quick-exchange type of QSO.
> OTOH, this  seldom works with problem-solving tasks like studying a
> schematic or trying to troubleshoot a malfunction.
> You can usually tell that's what I'm doing, when someone turns it over to
> me, and it takes 15 seconds or more before I start transmitting.
> Don k4kyv

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