> I am curious as to how this evolution happened,
> if indeed that did happen.
It happens. Language and culture evolve, and the
CW subculture in Amateur Radio is not immune. Look
at how spoken English has evolved in the same 50
years. Happens in any subculture with that has
vitality and is alive.
I think that it may owe in part to the habit that
CW operators abbreviate almost everything for
efficiency. I don't think it's owing to keyers;
I send the dit-dididit-dit thing every time I send
No problem on a keyer; it works very well.
Someone told me at one time there was an QST
editorial (or something from ARRL) that stipulated
that amateurs heard doing the shave-and-a-haircut
thing would -not- be considered for membership in
the A-1 Operator's Club (guess that rules me
out!). So that may have had a stifling effect.
> However, back when I was a Novice and banging
> away on my key on the 40 meter Novice bands,
> almost everyone I had a QSO with was around my
> age (17) and almost definitely under 20. I
> would say that the peak of the normal age curve
> was probably in the 14 to 17 age range.
I think this has been a long term change. I was
licensed as a 14 year-old late in 1975, and was
active as a Novice in the second half of 1976.
Almost everyone I had a QSO with was much older
than I was; mostly middle-aged adults. So even
then, teenage hams were a rarity.
If you are interested in participating in a little
QRP contest that celebrates the "shave-and-a-haircut"
legacy (and aren't worried about your prospects of
being nominated into the A-1 Operator's Club),
look into participating in the QRP Barbershop
Contest. Information is at:http://www.dit-dididit-dit.com/barbershop_contest.htm