What AM Is To Me

by John E. Coleman, WA5BXO

Operating AM is not about communicating using the most efficient mode of transmission or the latest technology. It is about technical understanding of what is really happening in one's transmitter. Not just the standard old definitions but down in the nitty-gritty. It is about understanding the technology of old and new. It's about understanding why one circuit is better suited for a job than another even though both have the same definition. It is about home-brew equipment and modifications. It is about fellowship and a gentleman's mannerisms. It is about fun in learning. It's a little new stuff mixed with some nostalgia and used in a mode that is pleasurable to the operator and the listener.

Sounds a lot like Ham Radio in general.

Don't misunderstand me, there is a lot more to Ham Radio than operating AM. There are so many aspects of Ham Radio that I'm sure I could not do the list justice. For this I am glad. Ham Radio has always been the seeds of electronic and communication technology. And I hope it continues to be.

Somewhere deep in my brain are the memories of the days of learning and wonderment. I can not forget the first time I saw the bottom of the Sears 1950 TV as the repairman went in with his meter and hand tools to repair the set so that I could watch Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on the next Saturday Morning. All the tubes glowing and how did it get in there (the picture and the sound) I asked myself and many others. Then later while in high school and having upgraded to general class, I was privileged to not only see some of the greatest radio transmitters to have ever been home brewed, but I was known by the men that built them on a first name basis. Walking in to the shack of K5SWK in the evening to see the 833s and 866s glowing and to hear the feedback from the modulation transformer and slight hum of the pole pegs is a memory that will always make me stop what I doing and ponder the nostalgia. Do I operate AM because I can't let go of a childhood memory? You bet I do. And I hope to stir some of those memories in others if possible and to plant some seeds of my own.

Many Thanks and 73 to those Elmers

Wayne, W5FJS
Otis, K5SWK
Tom, K5IBW
Koby, K5MZH
Jake, K5IQV
Bill, WA5DWX
Gene, WA5ATH
Gene, W5HQJ
Roy, W5MRY
Steve, K5LTK
Ronnie, K5MKB
Don, K4KYV

This is just to name a few and I know that a lot are silent keys and some have changed their calls. But I will always remember them with the calls heard first.


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21 May 1999