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Flagstaff Rich
Flagstaff Rich
3/6/2013 11:10:35 AM
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Newbie
Re: It's not just AM
My parents gave me a transistor radio circa 1961 and it really broadened my horizons.  One big discovery was WLAC in Nashville, TN, where I first heard real rock-n-roll.  They did not play the Pat Boone covers!


In an effort to hear WLAC better I put a wire up in a tree and coupled it to the loopstick with a few turns of wire to ground.  I quickly discovered shortwave signals peppered through the AM band where they mixed with harmonics of my HFO.  That inspired me to build a Heathkit GR-91 and I was off and running.

Shortwave listening is still easy to do, but the fun broadcasters are mostly gone; these days it is nearly all religious stations.  I miss my old friends like RSA and HCJB - nothing left but yellowing SWL cards.

I do speak Morse and know many others who do, but I worry abut the next generation.

-Rich

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jbike
jbike
3/2/2013 7:15:13 AM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: It's not just AM


I also could not agree more. A good friend at work encouraged me to pick up ham radio a few years ago. The technology is fascinating and unlike other disciplines the information concerning how it all works is readily available.   I was and still am amazed at variety of modulation techniques and digital modes available to the amateur operator.  The ham bands are spread out enough, and the power is high enough, that you can talk or listen to virtually anyplace in the world if you have a decent antenna, and know what band and communication mode to use. My point is that everyone of us could benefit from a hobby, such as amateur radio, that is capable of bringing the fun and creativity back into our profession.   The amateur radio experience has reminded me of the importance that the "fun factor" plays in motivating creative innovation. 


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SunitaT0
SunitaT0
2/28/2013 4:46:46 AM
User Rank
Master
Re: It's not just AM
 It taught me a lot about tuning, antennas, noise, and more.

@Bill, that is the best part about AM. Its easy to build AM radios and listen to AM stations. I remember we used to take out the speaker from the landline-phones and connect some diode to the back of it and connect it to some antenna to listen to the local radio station. It would be unfortunate if AM becomes totally extinct. 

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SunitaT0
SunitaT0
2/28/2013 4:43:07 AM
User Rank
Master
Re: It's not just AM
 Remember in the movie Independence Day they got the word out using Morse Code over some forgotten frequency? When that day comes will anybody still know how to do that?

@eafpres, I totally remember each and every scene from that classic movie. I think we should preserve such technologies and have experts in all such technolgies so that when time comes we can use those technolgies. 

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SunitaT0
SunitaT0
2/28/2013 4:39:05 AM
User Rank
Master
AM radio is in endanger like newspaper....
 How many people these days think of turning to their radio -- especially AM -- to find out what's going on, day-to-day or in a crisis?

@Bill, thanks for the post. I Agree with you, not many people these days tune into AM radio. Either they are using FM radios or they are getting the latest udpates from Internet through twitter/Facebook etc. But people in rural areas still rely on AM to get latest udpates or to get some entertainment. I am sure in future FM/internet will totally replace AM.

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janine.love
janine.love
2/27/2013 3:19:05 PM
User Rank
Teacher
Re: It's not just AM
Thanks for this Bill! All the more reason to teach middle school and high school students how to build a radio. And, encourage more young ham radio operators. It's on my to do list. Although, I'd qualify as a new ham rather than a young one!!

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
2/27/2013 1:26:58 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: It's not just AM
Ah - someone got my movie reference....

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eafpres1
eafpres1
2/27/2013 12:56:19 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: It's not just AM
Glad you mentioned the remote chance of attack by space aliens.  Remember in the movie Independence Day they got the word out using Morse Code over some forgotten frequency?  When that day comes will anybody still know how to do that?

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
2/27/2013 12:46:53 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: It's not just AM
Bill - when I was a kid, I listened to SW a lot. Now, I agree - it's part of a bygone era. Except in the case of natural disasters (similar to situations you discussed in your blog) or perhaps attack by space aliens (in which case, call in the brass-pounding ditty boppers), its usage is dwindling.

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Bill_Jaffa
Bill_Jaffa
2/27/2013 11:47:31 AM
User Rank
Blogger
It's not just AM
I didn't mention it, but there's also shortwave radio--which is AM but at frequencies which can propagate world-wide, and has many similar attrributes and technology impact. It taught me a lot about tuning, antennas, noise, and more. But is SW radio still a factor? I doubt it, except in limited situations such as countries without web access or with government-restricted communcations.

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