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Author Topic: 1959 Edition of "The Radio Handbook" (William Orr, W6SAI Editor)  (Read 10765 times)
AA4HA
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« on: May 05, 2010, 02:29:56 PM »

I have been reading through the 1959 edition of "The Radio Handbook" (15th edition) and it is quite interesting. For those folks who wanted to see what a license study guide was like sixty years ago I have a PDF copy.

It is a 61 megabyte file that I keep up on my file storage area (dropsite). If someone wants a copy shoot me an email and I will send you an email for you to gain access to the document.

For me it clarifies the Conditional Class license as a sorta-general class license for folks who lived more than 125 miles away from an FCC test location. At the time the novice and technician class licenses were considered as a new innovation with the testing administered by volunteers. At the time the technician class license only had bands above 220 MHz and the 6 meter band, the 2 meter band was not available for techs.

The electrical theory jumps right into Kirchhoff, filter design, klystrons, transistors and elementary computers.

I had never seen a schematic for a one transistor blocking oscillator, that is really cool. Loftin-White DC amplifiers are quite unique. There are some great projects for those of us who think that TUBES ROCK!

Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
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Free space loss (dB) = 32.4 + 20 × log10d + 20 × log10 f
N2EY
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 06:25:50 PM »

I have been reading through the 1959 edition of "The Radio Handbook" (15th edition) and it is quite interesting. For those folks who wanted to see what a license study guide was like sixty years ago I have a PDF copy.

....

For me it clarifies the Conditional Class license as a sorta-general class license for folks who lived more than 125 miles away from an FCC test location. At the time the novice and technician class licenses were considered as a new innovation with the testing administered by volunteers. At the time the technician class license only had bands above 220 MHz and the 6 meter band, the 2 meter band was not available for techs.

I think the book had some out-of-date info in it.

The Conditional was the same as the General except that it was taken by-mail. Before 1951, the Conditional was called Class C and the General was Class B. It was meant for those hams who lived far from FCC exam points.

The 125 mile "Conditional distance" was changed to 75 miles in 1954. This meant that a considerable amount of CONUS was "Conditional territory" - and a lot of hams got that license. From Feb 1953 to Nov 1968, Generals, Conditionals, Advanceds and Extras had full privileges, too. 

Originally, a ham with a Class C or Conditional license who moved to within 125 miles of an FCC exam point had 90 days to retest at an FCC exam session or lose the license. But in 1952 the restest-if-you-move requirement was dropped, so after that date Conditionals could be found anywhere.

In 1964 the Conditional distance was increased to 175 miles, which meant that almost all of CONUS was too close to qualify for it. In the 1970s the Conditional was eliminated by renewing all Conditionals as Generals.

The Novice and Technician classes were created in 1951, so were still pretty new in 1959. The Tech originally only allowed operation on 220 and up, and in the early 1950s there was practically no manufactured ham gear for the bands above 220. So those early Techs had to either homebrew or convert surplus just to get on the air.

But over the next few years Techs got 6 meters (April 12, 1955 was the effective date). 2 meters for Techs came later, in several steps (first 145-147, then 145-148, and finally the whole band).

Since the Radio Handbook was primarily a technical book, it's not surprising that some of the rules changes didn't make it into the book.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K6LHA
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2010, 12:29:50 PM »

It is nice to make that huge a file available to others, but it is 51 years old and ICs hadn't hit the market yet, let alone useable transistors.  Bill Orr's old handbooks are shunned by the ARRL acolytes.  The rest of the discussion is technical in nature, outdated, and belong in another forum IMHO.

"Blocking oscillators" were cool in 1940 ("cool was not in the jargon then) since they used a single triode and special-characteristic transformers to help make short pulses for radar sets and assorted things.  General Electric had 24 of them in a 1950-designed 24-channel radio relay terminal.

Klystrons are still in use in TV transmitters as high-power amplifiers but the little ones used for radar receiver LOs are long gone.  More magnetrons exist in microwave ovens than were ever made for radar transmitters...thanks to Raytheon who coined "RadaRange" and sold that to Amana (thinking perhaps that microwave cooking wouldn't catch on).

However, to start a new forum on OLD rules of licensing doesn't benefit anyone NEW to amateur radio...except the pseudo-historians who want to look good on the Internet.

73. Len K6LHA
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K4DPK
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 06:24:41 PM »

I remember the CK-722, the first transistor I got my hands on.  Made a couple of neat little circuits, AF amps, RF keying monitors, etc.

But transistors in those days scared the heck out a lot of the radio repair techs, and that, coupled with TV coming into full bloom, soon spelled the end for the typical radio repair shop.

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
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K4DPK
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 06:29:56 PM »

K6LHA said "However, to start a new forum on OLD rules of licensing doesn't benefit anyone NEW to amateur radio...except the pseudo-historians who want to look good on the Internet."
*********

Why would you want to say something like that?

If you new folks aren't interested in a post, why read it? 

If you don't benefit from history, learning may not be "your thing".

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
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N2EY
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 07:33:35 PM »

I remember the CK-722, the first transistor I got my hands on.  Made a couple of neat little circuits, AF amps, RF keying monitors, etc.


You probably know this already, Phil, but in case not, there's a neat online museum dedicated to that transistor:

http://www.ck722museum.com/

History, projects, sources, and more.

Fun fact: The CK-722 hit the market in early 1953, more than 5 years before the book mentioned above.

But transistors in those days scared the heck out a lot of the radio repair techs, and that, coupled with TV coming into full bloom, soon spelled the end for the typical radio repair shop.

I suspect that TV came first in that sequence - depended on where one was located. But yes, new technology brought many change. Still, tube TVs were being made well into the 1970s.

Of course that was back when "consumer" electronics were still made in the USA in great quantities.

Some years back, NR5Q did a series of articles about what it was like to run a radio repair shop/store in a small town in the years after WW2 and into the 1950s. First hand account. Running such a small business involved a lot of different skills and saw a lot of changes. I think the articles were in "Electric Radio".

Hams adopted transistors early on; the pages of QST, CQ, and other magazines had transistor projects in the early 1950s. My 1957 ARRL Handbook has a "semiconductor devices" chapter devoted mostly to transistors. But they were mostly used for special purposes and accessories because, for a typical amateur home station, those early transistors didn't offer many real advantages.

In mobile, portable, and test applications, however, even those early transistors had lots of amateur-radio uses. And some pioneering hams used them for receivers and low-power transmitters. The cover story in QST for May, 1956 is an all-transistor receiver covering the ham bands from 80 through 15 meters. But the Philco surface-barrier transistors used in some stages cost $6 each! (They were made right here in Philadelphia, btw).

OSCAR 1, the first Amateur Radio satellite, was of course all-solid-state. 

There were also some cautionary tales involving amateur use of transistors. For example, in the early 1960s EF Johnson developed a revolutionary SSB transceiver called the Avenger. It was all-solid-state except for the final and driver tubes, had dual VFOs and many other features. But it cost something like $2000 to manufacture at a time when a KWM-2 was $1100 or so, and only about a dozen prototypes were made. EFJ lost a bundle on the Avenger, and it soured them on SSB and transceivers at precisely the time they should have gotten into the game.

The National HRO-500 was another example. Looked great, had good numbers - but in a competitive situation, like a multi-multi DX contest station, it simply folded up from overload. In such situations, much older tube receivers costing much less would hear things loud-and-clear that the '500 couldn't tell were there.

All those problems were eventually overcome in newer designs, of course. What's really great is that today we have so many choices.

btw, in this month's QST there's an article about one of the winners of the Homebrew Challenge II. It's a 5-to-50 watt amplifer to boost the output of a QRP rig. The challenge specified 40 meters but the amp can be used on any amateur HF band by changing the output filter. Total cost using all new parts (not including power supply) is $28.36. Typical amateur radio ingenuity in action, of course. With a little scrounging, could probably cut the price in half or more.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 03:28:33 AM by James Miccolis » Logged
K6LHA
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2010, 12:25:37 PM »

K6LHA said "However, to start a new forum on OLD rules of licensing doesn't benefit anyone NEW to amateur radio...except the pseudo-historians who want to look good on the Internet."
*********
Why would you want to say something like that?

Because it is TRUE.    Grin
............................
K4DPK: If you new folks aren't interested in a post, why read it? 

Why did you read my post and quote it?

FWI: I've been doing HF communications since early February 1953.  I've been aware and informed of radio-electronics since that beginning in professional ranks for over a half century now.  How do you qualify new?    Cheesy
.................................
K4DPK: If you don't benefit from history, learning may not be "your thing".

When I took Army Basic Training we didn't use muskets or wear three-corner hats
in 1952.

The first HF transmitter I keyed on was a 1 KW left-over from WWII yet I had the ability to QSY a 15 KW transmitter running 4 TTY circuits time multiplexed in FSK to San Francisco, CA, from Tokyo, Japan.

I was already aware and informed of a lot of things back then.  I'm really not all that interested in how Spark transmitters and coherer "receivers" fit into the USA amateur radio licensing scheme to be as of 1910.  This is the year 2010 and a lot of history has happened.

Neither am I, and I think the FCC also, interested in reading a continuous line of PR glorifying the rather ancient history of the ARRL repeated every year in annual Handbooks.  There are enough sources of objective history of the entirety of electronics available besides this website or in a suburb of Hartford, CT.
.......................
The nice thing about history is that it already happened.  It was probably recorded somewhere in some fashion.  There's a reference then, some fact or factoid available for a pseudo-historian to write up "accurately" AS IF THEY HAD BEEN THERE.  In other words, there exist a humungous storage of fish stories on the Internet, hardly ever authenticated (but the ARRL is always inviolate of having to be so) that they can be taken to be "experts" in "history of radio."

On the subject of licensing the FCC has far more resources on ALL radio matters, including its past decisions (good or bad), than even the most ardent of pseudo-historian amateurs.  The FCC also has to serve the people of the USA, sometimes newcomers, not just those of us who are older than the FCC itself.

Engarde?

K6LHA

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