Monday, April 13, 2009

31 years ago

A lot of things have changed since I was a Novice, some 31 years ago.

Back then, 2 meter rigs were crystal controlled for the most part. You had to buy crystals for the repeater pairs that you wanted to operate on.

Transceivers were "the relatively new kid on the block". Most everyone I knew was still using separate receivers and transmitters.

There were several Ham Radio magazines that are no longer with us. Ham Radio, Ham Radio Horizons, 73 Magazine are all gone now.

Heathkit was alive and doing well. In fact, my first receiver was a Heathkit HR-1680 that I built all by myself.

The WARC bands didn't exist for us. The HF bands were 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 Meters - that's all she wrote!

Popping a radio into your car and going mobile was nowhere as simple as it is today.

QRP was still defined as operating with less than 100 Watts.

Except for the Novice license which was "VE'd", you had to go to an FCC location to take your exams. Today, the Novice and Advanced licenses don't really even exist anymore.

Postage was WAY cheaper; and just about everybody QSLed back then!

If you moved out of your callsign district, you had to apply for a new callsign.

Cable TV was pretty much in its beginning phase, also. There were lots of TV antennas on roofs that were TVI magnets!

Electronic devices were heavier and bigger. You could easily get a hernia if you decided that you wanted to buy an HF power amplifier.

Probably 99 and 44/100ths percent of logging was done by hand. The PC craze hadn't even been thought of yet.

The callbook was as big as a telephone book and you could subscribe to periodical updates. And there were two callbooks - DX and domestic. Not everyone had both.

Hamfests were definitely better, there were more of them; and it was all good Ham stuff. If you had described eBay to one of us back then, we probably would have thought you were crazy. The equivalent of eBay back in those days were the "Yellow Sheets".

The nearest equivalent of a cell phone back then was a 2 Meter repeater that had an autopatch connection.

The local newspaper had a Ham Radio column every Sunday; and the guy who wrote it belonged to one of the clubs I belonged to. I think his name was Bob McGarvey or something like that. He's an SK now.

Back then, we had never even heard the term HOA or CCR. About the only guys who had a tough time with antennas were guys who lived in apartments.

I could go on and on. Were things better back then? In some ways, yes; and in a lot of ways - no. Things were just different.

73 de Larry W2LJ

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