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The death of the American ham radio industry

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4ZD, Jul 24, 2019.

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  1. KD8TUT

    KD8TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sadly I don't really see the relevance of your comments.

    I just addressed how development of technological products happens in the current economic system.

    It wasn't a political comment. It was a factual one.
  2. N9LYA

    N9LYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ham Radio: Death by self destruction from within..
    KB9OAK likes this.
  3. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep, that darned CW is killing King Spark and ham radio. :rolleyes:
  4. KB9OAK

    KB9OAK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Infighting kills anything.
    N9LYA and AB2YC like this.
  5. KB9OAK

    KB9OAK Ham Member QRZ Page

    WZ7U likes this.
  6. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Without bickering, some folks wouldn't have anything to post. :D
    WD4IGX, N9LYA, KB9OAK and 1 other person like this.
  7. VK6ZGO

    VK6ZGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know how to bias a transistor, (we had to know how to derive the formulas) but in practice, I've forgotten most of it, & rather than revise stuff I learnt 30 odd years back, would probably cheat & look up a similar design.
    The Antenna Book is full of Antenna Theory-- It would be a quarter the size if it just had antenna projects to "put up".
    As an OF, I can hardly think of anything more boring to do!
    People played various games, such as chess, before computer based games appeared.
    I have never seem any evidence amongst those people of an interest in anything but the their game of choice, & I sorely doubt that "gamers" are any different!
    W4ZD and AG5DB like this.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle - if we were lucky!
    K7JEM likes this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes they would!
  10. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, part of the USA, anyway.

    There were actually two different "visions" for the USA back in the 1800s - and remnants of those ideas still resound today.

    One vision was the USA as "the Innovator" in technology, industry, social organization, education, etc. A very "urban" vision.

    The other vision was the USA as "the Supplier" in agriculture, mining, ranching, etc. A very "rural" vision.

    At the time of the Civil War, the North was more about "the Innovator" and the South was more about "the Supplier".

    But it has almost always been that way.

    Go back 85 years to the design of the National HRO receiver. Today, it looks pretty basic and straightforward, but consider what technology was involved back then....

    - the famous PW dial drive with integrated multi-section variable capacitor. There's a lot of engineering in that one component - some of the parts are castings, some are machined, some are stamped out. Much care was given to maximize mechanical stability and ruggedness, and to insure maximum electrical stability and Q. A skilled machinist with a shop full of tools might be able to make something like the PW dial drive/capacitor assembly, but it would take many hours and enormous expertise. (National actually sold the PW and NPW drives as components for many years).

    - The plug-in coil assemblies, designed for maximum Q, stability, and ruggedness.

    - The IF transformers, particularly the crystal filter.

    - The tubes. Yes, amateurs have actually homebrewed vacuum tubes, but the required equipment to make good ones is rather daunting.

    - Components such as resistors, capacitors, transformers, chokes, sockets, switches, etc. All made by specialists - although, originally, amateurs homebrewed all of them. Resistors can be made from pencil graphite; capacitors from aluminum foil and paper, chokes and transformers can be wound at home, etc.

    All of the above involved all sorts of specialities, some of which aren't obvious. For example, materials science and engineering, to produce everything from Bakelite to Plexiglas/Perspex to the waxes and dopes used on coils and transformers. Steatite isn't an easy material to fabricate. And much more.

    Most amateurs of the 1930s/40s only dreamed of owning an HRO; what they actually used was usually much less state-of-the-art.

    And this trend has continued ever since. What we've seen through the decades has been a constant redefinition of what is a "component". 60+ years ago, it was common for homebrewers and manufacturers to buy audio phase shift networks, crystal and mechanical filters as components. A permeability-tuned oscillator (PTO) is more mechanical and materials engineering than electrical (exactly what core material do you use to provide maximum Q and thermal stability? How do you wind the coil to get a linear readout?) By the 1970s, both analog and digital ICs were common, each with dozens or hundreds of components inside. Now we have DDS synthesizers on chips....and much more.

    IOW, it has always taken a village.

    And consider this:

    By the late 1930s, manufactured receivers were displacing homebrew in many if not most amateur stations. The trend towards buying rather than building accelerated enormously after WW2, with surplus, kits and manufactured gear at lower prices than were ever dreamed of just 10-20 years earlier (in terms of constant dollars). The term "appliance operator" is over 60 years old.

    Whenever an "old timer" laments the lack of homebrewing today, or goes on and on about how THEY used to build transmitters out of old TV sets and such....ask them how far beyond a simple MOPA transmitter they ever got.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    W4ZD likes this.

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