While homeschooling my son this morning and researching something completely unrelated to ham radio, I stumbled across an old article on ham radio in Popular Mechanics. A quick search yielded lots of other articles like this:
While you probably won’t find much in the way of technical help in these articles, they are still helpful as snapshots of what ham radio has looked like over the years. For instance, the article I first stumbled upon began by quoting a ham calling CQ back in 1949: “This is K4USA — King Four Uncle Sugar Able — calling CQ, CQ, CQ. Come in for a rag chew.” That taught me something. Had I heard that on the air yesterday, I probably would have chalked up the goofy phonetics and the words “Come in” to the erosion of operating procedures in the last few decades (contemptuously attributed by many old-timers to the influx of “CB’ers” since Morse Code was dropped as a requirement for an amateur radio license). But apparently this is nothing new.
This doesn’t mean that operating procedures haven’t suffered in the last few decade; it’s pretty obvious to me that they have. Nor does it mean that we should be sloppy just because sloppiness has always been with us. But it does mean that old-timers should at least give new hams a break (no pun intended). If operating procedures aren’t what they should be, we have only ourselves to blame.
But I suppose I sound a bit cranky. My purpose in pointing to these old articles really isn’t to find things to pick on. On the contrary, I’m pretty sure that some of these old articles could be inspiring. I’m also pretty sure I won’t have time to look at them any time soon! If you find something noteworthy, you’d do me a favor by sharing it with me in a comment below.