What made you choose AM?

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N6YW, Aug 15, 2019.

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  1. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sheesh. I KNOW it's more efficient. I'm saying I don't CARE about that. What part of that don't you understand?

    And the only time here I've EVER heard the bands crowded has been during contests and field day.
  2. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I miss Liz. She was a good friend. She gave me the Bauer.
  3. W2VW

    W2VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank-you Billy for supporting free speech.

    And thanks for moderating here.

  4. W8KHK

    W8KHK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bandwidth is a renewable resource. It will never be ""used up". But if we don't capitalize on it, then it lays fallow, like an un-planted farmer's field. We should use it and allow everyone to enjoy the great sound of wide-band Angel Music when the bands are not congested.

    Perhaps some newbie SWL will fall in love with the sound of an AM round table discussion on amateur radio before he or she ever learns to tune in a single sideband signal. And that would be just dandy, folks!
  5. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can tell you that AM was largely responsible for my getting interested in ham radio. I had a Radio Shack "Astronaut 6" multiband reciver, SW but no BFO, and used to listen to SWBC stations. But, believe it or not, an article in World Book Encyclopedia had nearly killed my getting interested in amateur radio. The article said something like, "hams have a language all their own..." and went on about a few Q signals and such. Now to an overly literal precocious nine or so year old at the time, this didn't sound like what I now know it meant, "like any specialized field it has its own buzzwords and lingo" but rather I took it to mean one actually had to learn an entirely new and different language, like Esperanto or something, to make amateur radio contacts!" No kidding - I really did. And that killed my interest for a couple of years, until I chanced on a couple of guys on 75M AM talking about transmitter design. I still remember a single sentence for some odd reason, "you say you never use pentodes as drivers..." Then someone told me about the trick if setting an AM portable beside the SW receiver and tuning it to use the LO as a sort of BFO to receive SSB, which sort of worked sometimes. That is, it worked enough to make it understandable if one could tune it slowly enough which was VERY touchy, but I heard enough to know that, in my opinion, the World Book article was flat wrong. :D Then I found 2m repeaters on the lower end of the VHF Hi band and listened to a lot of that, then through a family connection finally met someone who was a ham and helped me get started. I was 13 when I got my Novice ticket (and General, had turned 14 by the time I got my Advanced) in 1977.
  6. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Whenever space shuttle audio proponents talk, with rigs that sound like audio passed through a door buzzer, they like to toss the term "spectrum conservation" around. This term was used frequently over past decades in ARRL propaganda. It has overtones of serious preservation and compassion for the seemingly fragile RF ecosystem, as if once an AM transmission is over, its occupied space vanishes never to be available ever again. I like to compare a modern day ham band with a grocery store parking lot that's at most 40 or 50 percent full. The CW operators represent bicycles or motorcycles taking little space. An AM station might be a pickup pulling a trailer taking two spaces back to back. When it pulls out the spaces are there for someone else, and all the while there are still plenty of other spaces.

    "Spectrum conservation" has a point these days, when it comes to the noise floor and the real offenders are seen with waterfall displays. These are not hams, or even people, but are the always on, unintentional emitters that spew out hash all across medium wave and HF. Square wave powered lamps are one example.
  7. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's an interesting angle:

    In QST for Feb 1966, pages 9-10, there's an editorial about "Fewer Newcomers".

    After having a steady stream of over 33,000 new licenses issued per year for over a decade, the number of newcomers in 1964 and 1965 dropped to about 20,000. Various reasons were explored....

    Incentive licensing? Not likely; it had only started being discussed, and didn't affect Novices or Technicians.

    CB? Probably a real issue, but 11 meter CB had existed since 1958.

    Changes to by-mail exams, particularly the Conditional? Probably a reason for Conditionals, but not Novices or Technicians. (The "Conditional distance" had been increased from 75 to 175 miles "air line" and the number of FCC exam points increased, leaving very little of CONUS as "Conditional territory".)

    License fees? Possible, but Novice licenses were free and the others cost $4 for a 5 year term.

    Sunspot cycle and crowding? Maybe, but the previous sunspot minima hadn't had that much effect on the number of newcomers.

    Prosperity? Possible - US amateur radio grew like mad during the 1930s, when economic times were at their worst (!).

    And then this:

    A correspondent pointed out that people who discovered "the short waves" (not just SWLs but those who happened upon a receiver with HF capability) either didn't have a BFO in their receivers or didn't know how to use it for SSB if they did.

    The correspondent hypothesized that, in the past, more than a few newcomers had discovered Amateur Radio by hearing AM QSOs on the HF bands.....but that as SSB had displaced AM in the early 1960s, that avenue of publicity had largely disappeared.

    Seems quite possible. I distinctly remember that, during the repeater boom of the 1970s-80s, more than a few local newcomers discovered Amateur Radio by hearing repeaters on their "scanners".

    QST for Feb, 1966 - "It Seems To Us". Worth a read.


    Edited to add:

    One of the reasons I became a radio amateur in 1967 was because I heard AMers on 75 with the simple 2 tube regenerative receiver I'd built from junk parts.

    Living in Upper Darby, PA at the time (home of B&W), the most consistent AM signal was Bill, W3DUQ. How well I could hear him was my indicator of whether changes to my antenna and receiver were improvements or not. I discovered that we shared the same birthday - he was 10 years older to the day.

    Thirty years later, I finally worked W3DUQ on 75. Never got to meet Bill, though....I thought there would always be time for that.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  8. W2BTK

    W2BTK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was on the CB radio and I got tired of it. Now I do proper AM and talk to licensed folks.
  9. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    The article on amateur radio in the 1952 edition of World Book was equally poorly written, and probably killed more than one young person's potential interest. It featured a photo of a ham operating a station, copied from the cover of a pre-WWII issue of Radio News, and gave a brief history that was somewhat accurate but with some poor choices of terminology. The last paragraph, two sentences in all, was the killer: "...Radio amateurs interested in broadcasting (sic) are organized in the (ARRL) with headquarters in West Hartford, Conn. During World War II, amateur broadcasting was forbidden by the government." Although written mostly in the present tense, ending the article with that final sentence leaves the impression that the era of amateur radio ended with the war, since it mentions nothing about its resumption once the war was over.
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  10. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Uncle Willy" has been gone five years as of November, isn't that something? He was a gifted storyteller on the radio with us, discussing a broad range of topics with intellect, humor, and the skill to listen and build on what others were sharing in the QSO. Bill, in his younger years, was nearly killed by a nearby lightning strike. When he recovered, he realized his sensory perception had changed, and that he believed he was sometimes in touch with other dimensions that most of us cannot access.

    Our hobby is populated by logic-driven, technical types for whom such "other world" musings made little sense. Bill had a way of conveying what he was picking up that could convince people to at least consider the existence of something unexplainable and unsupported by the types of evidence we are limited at developing on the topic.

    Relating this to the discussion of the allure of AM, I always felt that the signal's carrier contained a lot of information, disproving some of the arguments "for" SSB that devalued the presence of the carrier as not being essential to the communications. As Bill would develop whatever topic we were spending time talking about in the roundtable, I could "hear" him thinking, as his chair squeaked; the change in room acoustics as he slightly moved around, and the subtlety of pauses between sentences that added weight or signaled to listeners that there was more to follow.

    If you're tuned in Bill from The Beyond, yeah, we are thinking about you quite vividly.

    Yeah, AM. It's really fulfilling.

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