It Seemed to Them:
Early QST Editorials

1916 May

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The top feature this month is the first in a classic series of "Rotten" essays, by the Old Man and others. In "Rotten Sending", TOM (Hiram Percy Maxim) bewails the trends that some of us still comment on, over 90 years later.

The "instruments" are what we would call the "rig" -- the receiver and transmitter and associated equipment.

Rotten Sending

By the Old Man.

I have been sitting by my instruments late into the night and saying nothing, but have done a pile of thinking. I hear pretty much all the boys have to say to each other, and hear these test messages and greetings and inquiries about the condition of somebody's health, and whether or not it will be convenient to come up next week, and a lot of different kinds of sending have passed through my phones. I want to break my periodical silence and bust forth once more in the columns of QST, which I am coming to enjoy more and more.

A while back I remember it was the fashion among some of the smart ones to spell out everything and never use figures. YOU was always spelled out, NIGHT was always spelled right, and never wrong, and the sign in was all blurred together so as to sound like some of the bum commercial operators.

This fashion had its day. Now, we have swung to the other phase of the cycle. Now, it is the fashion to abbreviate and mis­spell every word that can be abbreviated or misspelled. HAVE is now HV. NOW is now NW. NIGHT is now NITE. ABOUT is now ABT. HERE is now HR. I tried to get one the other night which had every single word butchered. I could not get the sense with certainty, but had to guess at a lot and I will make it a ten to one shot, that the fellow doing the receiving did a lot of guessing too. It is bad enough to guess any way, when you have to, but to do guessing just for the sake of guessing, always seems to me to be putting a premium on making mistakes. Radio communication requires enough guessing as it is. I am not in favor of taking these chances, but I suppose it is because of the gray hairs on the top of my head, most of which have been brought about by mis­takes made as a result of a wrong guess.

The fashion also at the present time runs to a kind of drawling out of dots and stringing on queer kinds of dashes. I know one of our best relay stations, one which is heard all over the eastern part of the coun­try, who has formed the habit of dragging out his sign in so badly that it certainly must be copied wrong by a lot of people. I can take twenty-five a minute from any one of the Navy stations, or WHB, but I cannot take twelve a minute from this young man. And he is some punkins too.

Once in a while a station comes along who seems to think it good business to make a dot sound like a dot, and a dash sound like a dash. An attempt evidently is also made to give rhythm and cadence to the sending. It comes in strong and steady and clear and fast, and you know just what to expect in the way of steadi­ness and speed, and say, believe me friend, it is great stuff taking it down. I know one amateur whose spark I believe I could read at thirty if he would handle it the way he handles twenty. You can get it through QRM and QRN and the baby crying down stairs, and the 'phone ringing and the trolley passing, and it sounds like music. And it isn't it queer, this station never sends out a signal unnecessarily. You would think he was paying for his juice, the way he economizes with it.

Now, don't get the idea that a grouch is on the air tonight. I am just dashing this off along ahout time to go to bed, after listening to an especially choice selection of rotten sending. OUL OM GM SK.

The Editor (presumably Clarence Tuska) remarks on the 6-month anniversary of QST.

Note that Amateur Radio was "amateur wireless telegraphy".

For six issues, the Editor has worked hard. He has succeeded in producing "QST", As you all know, this magazine is the only periodical devoted entirely to amateur wireless telegraphy. It contains an atmosphere which can be found in none of our contemporary papers, and we feel that every amateur should become a reader. At the present time, only a small portion of the Licensed stations see "QST". We want "QST" to be read by EVERY amateur and you should feel it your duty to introduce "QST" to all your wireless friends. If you help the publishers to obtain the circulation which "QST" deserves, you will be helping yourself, for with every increase in circulation will come a few more pages in our publication. You want "QST" to grow. Will you not give a few minutes today and get one subscriber?

A list of memberships by State totals up to 1,006 ARRL members!

The accompanying list shows the distribution of the Membership of The American Radio Relay League in the various states. We find every state in the Union excepting Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming, is represented in the League. As it will be noted, several states have the scant membership of two or three and we hope before long these states will be in a position to say that they are among the leaders rather than at the foot. It is peculiar to note that the Trunk Lines proposed in the February "QST" escape altogether two states which were not repre­sented by a single member. In the other two cases, the Trunk Line extends through the state and we trust the operators of radio stations along these lines will send in their names for membership.

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