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Author Topic: "The old days"  (Read 2650 times)
W8JX
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2018, 06:24:57 PM »

Well, the equipment sucked compared to what we have now.  There was less to do and explore than the modes and activities we have now. The good old days are now.  I was licensed in 71

It depends at how you look at it. Some of those 35 to 45+ year old rigs are still being used today and you can fix them pretty easy generally too. How many of today's rigs will be viable 25+ years from now and you will find parts to fix them. More complex they are, the more to go wrong. 
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WW7KE
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2018, 07:19:12 PM »

I don't know what the old days were like..  I've only been a ham since 87

Well, the equipment sucked compared to what we have now.  There was less to do and explore than the modes and activities we have now. The good old days are now.  I was licensed in 71

Agreed, and I got my Novice ticket in 1970 so I'm just as much of a geezer as some of these guys. 

There's nothing we did back in Ye Goode Olde Days that we can't do now -- and do it better.  But there is so much that we have now that would have been next to impossible even with the top-of-the-line Drake or Collins gear of yore.  You need a computer for digital modes and the internet for modern log submissions and QSLs, but that's about it. 

Maybe it's the physical QSL cards, the "glow" (and higher electric bills) of vacuum tubes, and the lack of a need for a PC that is making these guys wax nostalgic.  90% of hams in those days ran CW and SSB on the lowbands, and/or FM on VHF/UHF.  Exciting, huh?  Those are the good old days that some folks long for?  We do much more now. 

The other 10% were the true experimenters and pioneers, and what were they doing?  Developing things like FM repeaters, SSTV, amateur television, satellites, and, yes, digital modes.  I also remember lots of old-timers of the day complaining about all that, even bitching about SSB long after it became the standard HF phone mode.  "Dang quack-quack junk!  Real hams use AM!"  Wink

Those who want to mess with the old boat-anchors are certainly invited to do so, but they still couldn't do as much as a modern rig.  And when you account for inflation, they cost much more when new than the average rig today.  Plus, with tubes and large electrolytic caps becoming more scarce, they're becoming a maintenance nightmare. 

But to each his/her own.  There's room for everybody.  I'll continue running modern digital modes using my nice, small Yaesu FT-450D, which can do far more than that monster Collins S-Line was capable of, 50 years ago.  It lacks a bit in audio quality, but that's about it.

Now get off my lawn! Grin
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He speaks fluent PSK31, in FT8...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
WW7KE
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2018, 07:24:18 PM »

Well, the equipment sucked compared to what we have now.  There was less to do and explore than the modes and activities we have now. The good old days are now.  I was licensed in 71

It depends at how you look at it. Some of those 35 to 45+ year old rigs are still being used today and you can fix them pretty easy generally too. How many of today's rigs will be viable 25+ years from now and you will find parts to fix them. More complex they are, the more to go wrong. 

Talk about a double-edged sword.  Parts are getting hard to find for those old classic rigs, and if a modern rig fails, it's probably a throwaway (especially the cheap Chinese stuff) due to custom chips, with proprietary firmware installed in some cases.  Of course, those custom chips don't fail anywhere near as often (if ever) as the old vacuum tubes and electrolytic caps did.  They have to be reliable because they're next to impossible to replace without expensive SMT soldering equipment.  The manufacturers would probably prefer to not have to do that as much as possible.
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He speaks fluent PSK31, in FT8...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
WW7KE
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2018, 07:33:38 PM »


Ah! But we "old timers" have fond memories that will go to the grave with us. … sigh … Hi.

Tube radios and xtal control CW novice, those were the days...

Oh, yeah!  Couple those with receivers that had to be turned on and warmed up for an hour to get them to stop drifting, and that was one helluva Novice experience.  We enjoyed it because we were young and inexperienced, and in awe that the silly things worked at all.  Plus it was all we had.  Not many Novices had top-line Drake, Collins, or Heathkit receivers, and course we were limited to 75 watts DC input (for you dang young'uns, that was roughly 45-60 watts RF out, depending on how efficient the PA was and how well it was tuned up) and crystal control.  Roll Eyes

I don't miss those days for even one second.
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He speaks fluent PSK31, in FT8...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
K3UIM
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2018, 08:59:30 PM »

I guess it isn't so much "missing the old days" as it is "remembering" all the new and wonderful happenings. Every hobby has the same affect on the newbees, no matter their age.

A friend showed me a Fairmont(?) crystal set and explained how it worked. Frankly, I thought he was fibbing and asked him to listen to it. He said I could borrow it and if I liked it, he'd sell it to me for 75 cents. (I think.)

I took it home, hooked a wire to the "ground" terminal and wound it around my bedroom under the carpet, out of sight. I then hooked another wire from the "Antenna" to my bed springs. Uh … a bed spring is …. oh, never mind. HI.

For about a week I bet I got about 2 hours sleep every night. HI. Judas Priest! I got stations as far away as Idaho. Wheeling (WWVA) was a very popular station for me! (Back then it was called "hillbilly music". Needless to say, I spent a weeks' allowance on it!!

Eventually it hooked to a home-brewed 1 tube audio amp. In 1948 WMGW started in my home town and it was the only station receivable. … sigh …
{Let's pause for just a moment to blot up the tear drops!} Hi.

Charlie, K3UIM
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G3RZP
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2018, 12:55:58 AM »

W8JX said
Quote
How many of today's rigs will be viable 25+ years from now and you will find parts to fix them.

Especially as replacement analogue integrated circuits  get harder to find and in some cases are definitely 'unobtainium'. Meantime, it is easier to find the parts to keep a 1936 HRO going (provided you don't use the original 'doghouse' PSU!) than some of the rigs from the early 1980s and later.....There are plenty of boat anchor users still having QSOs with WW2 military gear.....

What I do find puzzling is where so much of the older gear has gone. I suspect a lot got sent to garbage collection......
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VK6HP
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2018, 02:39:42 AM »

Quite right - there's no need for single mindedness.  Many of us enjoy our state-of-the-art radios and LDMOS amplifiers one day, and "messing" with our classic rigs and tube amplifiers the next. I will say that, as the proud owner of a Collins S-line combination that works as well as the day it left the factory (owing to extensive "messing" by me), there's a great satisfaction in getting excellent audio reports and unsolicited comments on the clean signal from those watching their SDR bandscopes.  

I'll also add that you won't match that with an FT450D - it's one of the dirtiest SSB transmitters ever to afflict the ham bands.  Even the ARRL numbers (below), which are relative to PEP output and therefore 6 dB better than the usual convention of referencing to the tones, are absolute shockers.

Third-order intermodulation distortion:
(IMD) 3rd/5th/7th/9th order (10 m, worst case):
HF, 100 W PEP, –25/–27/–45/–50 dB;
50 MHz, 100 W PEP, –20/-30/–39/–45 dB.


Frankly, I would not put that radio on the air. Bring on the 32S-3. Or the SDR exciter with pre-distortion.

73, Peter.




Those who want to mess with the old boat-anchors are certainly invited to do so, but they still couldn't do as much as a modern rig.  And when you account for inflation, they cost much more when new than the average rig today.  Plus, with tubes and large electrolytic caps becoming more scarce, they're becoming a maintenance nightmare.  

But to each his/her own.  There's room for everybody.  I'll continue running modern digital modes using my nice, small Yaesu FT-450D, which can do far more than that monster Collins S-Line was capable of, 50 years ago.  It lacks a bit in audio quality, but that's about it.

Now get off my lawn! Grin
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 02:48:32 AM by VK6HP » Logged
W8JX
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2018, 03:16:54 AM »

Oh, yeah!  Couple those with receivers that had to be turned on and warmed up for an hour to get them to stop drifting, and that was one helluva Novice experience.  We enjoyed it because we were young and inexperienced, and in awe that the silly things worked at all.  Plus it was all we had.  Not many Novices had top-line Drake, Collins, or Heathkit receivers, and course we were limited to 75 watts DC input (for you dang young'uns, that was roughly 45-60 watts RF out, depending on how efficient the PA was and how well it was tuned up) and crystal control.  Roll Eyes

I don't miss those days for even one second.

I had a HW-16 and it was pretty stable and did not need more than a 20 or 30 min warm up. I had a collection of xtals for it I used to polish/grind them to try to raise frequency a few khz or paint them with pencil lead to lower them a bit. Using xtal control added to challenge and sense of accomplishment. I do miss my HW-16 though, wish I had kept it on shelve. Sold it about 30 years ago. Still have my HW101 in storage. I logged a lot of hours on it on and off from 70's thru later 80's. 
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K5DH
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2018, 06:20:16 AM »

Tube radios and xtal control CW novice, those were the days...

I'm a relative newcomer to the hobby (only licensed and active for 41 years).  For me, "the good old days" is the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Although novices were allowed to use a VFO when I got my ticket, I started out with a rockbound transmitter and a crummy receiver, and I slogged it out on the crowded 80m and 40m Novice sub-bands, fighting the shortwave broadcasters on 40m at night.  In that way, my Novice experience was much the same as that of "the ancient ones".  It was hard work, but man, what fun!  Once in a while, I pull out my Novice logbook and have a stroll down Nostalgia Lane. 

Today, my main station is a full-up Elecraft K-Line.  Not quite "state of the art", but darned close to it.  But right next to that sits my homebrew crystal-controlled 6AG7-807 CW rig with plug-in coils for 80/40/30 meters, mated with a Drake R-4B receiver.  No need for the rockbound Novice days to end!  Admittedly, I'm running a lot more than 75 Watts input (I'm getting 65 Watts output!) but the thrill is still there. 
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KB2CRK
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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2018, 07:32:46 AM »

Well, the equipment sucked compared to what we have now.  There was less to do and explore than the modes and activities we have now. The good old days are now.  I was licensed in 71

It depends at how you look at it. Some of those 35 to 45+ year old rigs are still being used today and you can fix them pretty easy generally too. How many of today's rigs will be viable 25+ years from now and you will find parts to fix them. More complex they are, the more to go wrong. 

I still run a Heathkit HW101 as my main HF rig with a Kenwood TS570Dg as a back up and for mobile use.
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W4JCK
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2018, 07:58:35 AM »

I have discovered a fact about myself; I'm an old fogie! … sigh …

How many times in the years starting in 1962 have I, upon spotting a ham license plate on a car or in the cars' rear window, given a "hi" beep on the horn and received an ear to ear smile and wave from the driver? Ah! So many!

Since returning to ham radio, 25 years later, Duh! It's like the brotherhood has been dissolved and nobody even noticed.

I suspect the fraternity would cease to be, (except for us old fogies), if the code was brought back, but jeeze Louise, shouldn't hams at least have been issued a secret handshake or something?? HI.

There! Now I feel better!

Charlie, K3UIM


I get it Charlie and have the same general  "sense" of things.  It's not about the equipment or the modes, but the overall feeling of community - being a part of something that was, for a long time, unique. 
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W8JX
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2018, 08:19:26 AM »

I still run a Heathkit HW101 as my main HF rig with a Kenwood TS570Dg as a back up and for mobile use.

My biggest "problem" with 101 was the selectivity when QRM was heavy. I was going to upgrade filter but never got around to it. Had a lot of QSO's on that rig.
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N8AUC
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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2018, 08:32:15 AM »

I have discovered a fact about myself; I'm an old fogie! … sigh …
I'm trying to skip old fogie, and go straight for curmudgeon. It's a career goal, so to speak.
A few friends and I did come to a realization a while ago though. To quote my friend, 'Remember
those old farts we used to make fun of back in the 70's? Well, now WE are THEM!"

How many times in the years starting in 1962 have I, upon spotting a ham license plate on a car or in the cars' rear window, given a "hi" beep on the horn and received an ear to ear smile and wave from the driver? Ah! So many!
Did that a few times. Actually managed to get a guy to meet me on 146.52 simplex like that once.
We talked for about 40 miles driving down the interstate, until he reached his desired exit.
Wouldn't even think about doing that now.


Since returning to ham radio, 25 years later, Duh! It's like the brotherhood has been dissolved and nobody even noticed.

I suspect the fraternity would cease to be, (except for us old fogies), if the code was brought back, but jeeze Louise, shouldn't hams at least have been issued a secret handshake or something?? HI.

There! Now I feel better!

The brotherhood and fraternity is still there. But it takes a bit more work to cultivate it these days.
We don't need to bring back the code though. But that doesn't stop me from operating CW. It's still a blast!

73 de N8AUC
Eric

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W8JX
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« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2018, 08:35:33 AM »


The brotherhood and fraternity is still there. But it takes a bit more work to cultivate it these days.


Maybe with old-timers but the brotherhood is nearly dead otherwise.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2018, 08:53:28 AM »

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the Hit Parade
Guys like us, we had it made
Those were the days.
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