Advice on AM roundtables and such

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by W7UUU, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. K6LPM

    K6LPM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Dave,
    I have similiarly been finding great enjoyment just listening to some of the more prolific AM operators and groups of AM operations out here on the west coast. Something about hearing a hetrodyne on the phone bands and seeing it pop up on my spectrum display... I am attracted to it and must make my way to the source. Much in similiar fashion a mosquito or other flying insect must follow the source of illumination into a the emf of some far off bug zapper hanging from a neighboring porch.
    I am drawn to the hetrodynes of these guys speaking in AM! Beyond the curiosity or nostalgia of the old school technologies or vintage mode of operation,
    There are other qualities that I find hard to identify much less describe. Certain qualities I often am not finding as much enjoyment and satisfaction within the other modes during much of the time I spend attending to my radio.
    I often find myself doing much more listening. Certainly more fascination with listening to the activities of the AM fraternity. Six Land is well represented and The AM crowd from Six Land is doing a great job of undoing many of the negative Six Land wackiness stereotype too. These fellow are true gentlemen through and through. I listen to many intellectual and well spoken gentlemen. Folks that can carry a conversation, that have something of substance to contribute, people that use proper grammar and who are approachable, cordial, very well mannered, and courteous. The list of qualities could carry on and on... Basically, it is a throwback to everything in my mind that I had always idealistically believed what ham radio operators we're all about.
    I don't have any old vintage gear, boat anchors or otherwise. I am certainly cautious about getting bit by the bug and getting addicted to yet another "thing" and getting more stuff or projects to collect or hoard as my family calls it! I need no more projects and havent the space to operate from with the heavy vintage iron. At least not yet, but if I am not careful I will make the room. Fortunately however, my appliance solid state gear appears to put out a fairly respectable signal. At least compared to other solid state gear I owned from the past. I noticed that the ranks aren't so exclusive of the boat anchor crowd but AM has had a recent resurgence too. The cutting edge digital wizardry of the propeller cap crowd have been showing up with their highly digital preprocessed high fidelity audio SDR flex radios. Some of these modern High Fidelity crowd actually put out a great genuine AM signal. The AM mode is also better suited to the high fidelity trend of outboard audio mixer 1000 dollar microphone types of operators that can't seem to get enough bandwidth on ssb.
    Seems that if you can produce decent audio and if you have decent manners and if you listen and listen some more and listen enough to have something intellectual or redeeming to add to the roundtable, you will be welcomed and assimilated into the group just fine. Remember when participating in the roundtable, Keep a list with all the other participants in rotation order. Note there callsign, qth and name. (Typical stuff, you already do, right?) Next to that list make enough space where you can jot down interesting statements or points you might want to reply to during each operators transmission. When it's your turn reference your notes. Show interest in what others had to say in their previous transmissions. have good conversation and well thought replies to points of interests that others in the roundtable have shared. Pay attention. Yes it is a seemingly correct stereotype that these AM conversations have very long individual transmissions. But they usually have a great amount of substance and something to actually say or talk about. It isn't the usual diatribe of talking for talking sake as many would believe but is more the art of speaking in public and having something worthwhile to sharing. Many times beyond just the radio and definitely not the same ol 59 qsl via the bureau.
    W7UUU likes this.
  2. K6LPM

    K6LPM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey I resemble that remark!
  3. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Dave, how did you fix the noise problem exactly? Just curious.

    Yeah come and join us on the AM dial. It's a whole other country.

    Personally, I think it's the way ham radio was meant to be. :)
    WD4IGX, KD2ACO, AC0OB and 2 others like this.
  4. N4NYK

    N4NYK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, it sure is. I use a TS-590S. Vintage gear is certainly great, but not a necessity:)
    KC8VWM likes this.
  5. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you look at amateur radio as a form of art and expression, AM would be a Norman Rockwell.
    KC8VWM, KA0HCP and W1TRY like this.
  6. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    YES! So then single side band would be a Van Gogh? Or maybe Escher?
  7. AG5CK

    AG5CK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just a note on the modern rigs. If you want to use one with external audio gear you can pipe it into the data port through an isolation transformer for increased audio bandwidth.

    Pay attention to phasing. Reverse the polarity and see which gives the highest positive peaks without hitting 100% negative.

    My first AM rig was a ts440 with external audio gear into the balanced modulator and a wider 455khz filter. It made very respectable AM imo. I used an al80b amplifier at 125 watts carrier.
  8. W2PHL

    W2PHL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Brilliant! ..and if I may, SSB is like paint by number.
    AD5HR and K4KYV like this.
  9. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Before breaking in, zero beat the station transmitting. There's an assumption everyone is on some multiple of 5 kc. not so. zero beat matters because some of us are listening using sync detectors and if you are off frequency, all we hear is a heterodyne as the detector locks in, but that takes long enough so that by the time the breaking station has made an attempt, the lock hasn't taken place. The result is all we hear is a heterodyne and nothing more.

    When you break in, give your call sign. Don't say "contact." That's rude.

    The reason for giving call signs at the start and end of a xmission is partly tradition but more important, so that everyone receiving knows you are about to be done. The AM way of operating with round tables and longer transmissions is one in which receiving operators frequently go about the shack doing chores, or working at a repair bench, or answering nature's call, while listening on speaker consoles. It's a more relaxed discussion method but in some cases, the transmitting station may do a fade, or be piss weak to begin with, and if the operator just lets his carrier drop, it can seem like he faded into the noise and you don't know if he finished or not.

    This kind of operating, as opposed to the PTT fast break-in method, appeals to me because it allows for a more well thought out discussion of topics. The rapid fire break-in style seems chaotic and you often wind up with doubling, or breathless bumper sticker comments with no one ever giving an ID, and suddenly everyone runs out of things to say on some subject and no one says anything or everyone talks at the same time. With the one station at a time way, there's a better development of discussion.

    Nets: Wait for the net control station to ask for check-ins. Some operators just break in any old time and to me that's rude. It's like cutting in line at the theater or grocery checkout.
    WD4IGX and K4KYV like this.
  10. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A funny story about the use of the term “contact”....after being out of ham radio for 20 years I was shopping at HRO here in Denver and asked about the use of the term “contact” which I had heard used by hams recently. The salesman I spoke to claimed he used it all the time and it was in common usage today. So I employed it one fine morning while attempting to initiate contact with two California hams having a rag chewing session operating portable on my new FT 891. WELL EXCUSE ME!! One fellow tore into me and accused me of being a CBer. He then started bad mouthing my signal and told me I was over modulating. The other fellow was quite a bit more mellow but asked if I was new to amateur radio. When I explained my story they laughed and all was well. They then told me my mike sounded better with the Tone switch on position 2.

    I never use “contact” any more!
    K6LPM and KA0HCP like this.

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