Friday, December 26, 2008

DXing, Shortware, and KAAY

Gazmik has left a new comment on your post "Comment":

"The thrill of hearing a signal from far away has never gone away. I wonder how many others have tuned across the AM radio dial at night to see what they might hear?"

It wasn't just the AM dial. I had a Hallicrafters receiver of my grandfathers (WA0MIZ) that I used to scan across the shortwave spectrum late at night. There was nothing quite like sitting there with nothing but the glow of the radio dials and the vacuum tubes and the warm sound of the tube amplifier. If there was anything that I wish that I had to remember my grandfather, it would be that Hallicrafters receiver.

He worked with groups such as Handiham and was constantly helping young people get into amateur radio. So that receiver went to somebody that needed it.

I didn't have the patience to get good at Morse Code, so I never went any farther than my novice license. I did get my First Class commercial license. But my interests turned to computers and data communications, so I even let that lapse.

But there are still the memories of those "adventurous" days of exploring the radio spectrum. Now with computers and the internet, communicating with people and listening to radio stations half way around the world doesn't seem to be such a big deal.
I don't remember any of the DJ staff being involved in ham radio. The engineering department was a different story. At most of the stations the engineers were from another planet. They hated rock and roll and what the stations were becoming. KAAY was different. Several of the engineers participated in our KAAY Komando Basketball team and seemed to be fully on board with that we were doing on the air. There was a crank telephone with a direct line to the transmitter. You could reach down and crank the phone and talk to the engineer on duty.

The comment on the internet diminishing "DXing" is very interesting. I have often wondered what KAAY would have been like, with computer production and the internet.
It could have been like the advent of FM. Ownership of KAAY was very slow to move into FM. This might have been because Pat Walsh was not pushing hard enough.

Today we see radio, tv and especially newspapers not very effective moving into the digital age. I have pointed out previously several radio personalities who have made the premium side of their website becoming very profitable. It flies in the face of the experts who claim people will not pay for internet sites. The secret is that the content must be of value to the consumer. Newspapers especially are so tied to their business model they can not see the future. Ad revenue is declining, major papers are for sale and the New York Times has already sold off their broadcast properties to try and keep the paper afloat.

The "Google Search" is the DXing of today. The boxes don't glow with vacuum tubes, but you can still buy some very expensive tube amplifiers if that's what melts your butter. AM top forty radio is gone, probably never to return. Today, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can have their own online radio station. Internet radio is a whole new animal with a few companies making stand alone internet radios.

The future is in the hands of those who will grasp current technology and figure out how to make a buck.


Anonymous said...

Gazmik, the three classes of Ham radio no longer require Mose Code (CW) testing...get on the bus and let's QSO!

Bud, KC4HGH, somewhere near Mobile, AL

David Lewis said...

Bud, Don't get us started on the Morse vs No-Morse argument again, Ha Ha!
Gazmik, - it's way too easy, but come on and get your ticket and join the QSO. BTW, I keep an old Callbook handy, and see your grandfather listed right there in Ruthven, Iowa.

73, Dave, WA4FXT