It Seemed to Them:
Early QST Editorials

1917 January

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The Old Man knows gibberish when he hears gibberish on the bands!

TOM's dictionary includes "gink" (a person or guy) and "bug", as in "radio bug" or, more commonly, "gold bug", meaning "crazy person." And he does not talk much about "hams" -- Why is that?

This may be the first mention of the dreaded "wouff hong" and "rettysnitch", figures of ham radio lore these many years.

Rotten QRM

By "The Old Man."

[Say, fellows, here's the old man again This time he's all excited and boiling over. In fact he's so wild about some "Rotten" subject that he has fallen back to some queer dialect and shouts about "wouff hong's", "rettysnitches", and some disorder known to the trade as "ugerumf". What do all these mean? Better read the article and see. —Editor.]

This QRM business is getting my Nanny. Here it is midnight, and this msg. from the fellow whose girl has not had a letter from him for a full twenty-four hours, is still stalled. I have smoked myself into a state of funk, the floor is covered with burnt matches, I am losing a perfectly good temper, and there is no sign that this will not continue all night long. funk How long do these radio bugs sit up at night any way? Right now, as I write, there is that old gink 2AGJ up in York State fluttering along with that bird-in-the-cage-spark of his, 8Y0 is yelling his darned head off for somebody over on the Pacific Coast, apparently, 8NH is still trying her best to be ladylike in spite of a full hour of trouble, old 8AEZ is booming out QSA but QRM bad CUL, 9PC is trying to do something to 5BV, I distinctly heard 4DI say a bad word, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, no one has got anywhere.

What are we going to do about this business? It used to be that we were perfectly satisfied to listen to SLI and once in a while on Saturday night when we could stay up that late, we would listen to Arlington send time. When we heard some commercial say QRM, we had to look it up on the chart to see what it meant. Later, we began talking to the fellow over on the other side of town and then was born our amateur QRM. Sometimes, the "little boy with the spark coil," (the latter is all right, but dog gone the hide of the former) would try to call us at the same time, and we used to think we were in trouble. Still later we used to think we were bothered when we were in the middle of a "conversation" with a fellow in the next town, and some whop would butt in. It was about this era that we began to organize Radio Clubs, with high faluting ambitions about "promoting radio communication and controlling interference."

But, when we have a fellow who has not written to his girl for a full twenty-four hours, and who positively must get the msg. to her over in Illinois, it becomes a serious matter to have some one else getting gay with the ether, especially when the latter has no conception of the existence of the word "brevity."girl One thing I will say, and that is that good old 8AEZ is brief. His spark may drown out everybody in the western hemisphere when he sends, but he is brief. He says what he has to say in a few words in a few signals and he stops. He also does not go in for long technical discussions about gap speed and condenser construction while forty or fifty others of us are waiting with five or six messages each, many of which have been stuck on the pin a week. Far be it from even me, a real blown-in-the-bottle radio grouch, to find any fault or mention any names, but some of the young gentlemen who burn up valuable time every night and thereby multiply this QRM business, ought to look up in the dictionary the definition of that particular combination of letters indicated by B-R-I-E-F. I could call off a dozen of them right now, and 1 would if I thought that Editor down east would print them.

The trouble is, the young squirts don't stop to think. They start out and call somebody somewhere every three minutes. Everybody they hear, they immediately call. If they can't hear anybody, they send a QST something like this: — QST QST QST QST QST QST QST de 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT 1NUT. Any station more than fifty miles distant hearing these sigs. please send postal to Willie le Nut, Nutville. Willie repeats each word of this msg. three times. Each letter is sent so slowly it puts you to sleep. He uses up just exactly twelve valuable minutes sending out this hog-wash, and drives an old timer to the point where he radiates brush discharge from every hair on his head, These fellows ought to be limited to hours between supper time and 8:30, and any one of them slopping over ought to get a letter from every respectable amateur within his range threatening to spank him if he ever transgresses again. I know a certain some one who will put in his bid for election to the office of Chairman of the Committee on Chastisement.

Here is a sample coming in right now. Listen to this slop:— columbus co 2pp 18co all sigs charles 9vy u no hf a motor little heavier than the racine sorry sorry om qrm qrm pse qta qta k fish smell rotten yes yes wyd boston how do you get me gap bum bum rubber band qta pwf about motors. (Bad squeaks here. Sick spark coil near at hand. Wheezes terribly.) Want to hear tone like commercial? ark r r r yes ark r r r listen nw.

Here begins ten minutes of the darndest scratching, screeching, groaning, blowing off steam, blubbering that ever mortal ear heard. At its worst it goes on into ---- ---- fine fine how do u do it? ark r r r rubber band on vibrator—BANG. My friend with the one k. w. over on the other side of town explodes. He calls an 8 station. When he finishes, the scratching reduces. Then we get the long distance QRM again, cul om sk spfscity bunk allemo bish mela hash breakfast wunkey wunkey lala lala 2asj qrm bad qsl 3zw must go to bed now hw hw hw abt abt abt msg msg msg pse pse pse k k k. This is the way my log book this evening looks. It's enough to raise a blister on a wooden leg.

Here is another sample of qrm slush:— v v v v v v v v v v--------------------(Somebody sitting on his key.) v v v v v v v v v linneg se with the wlce sore feet commercial wirlih. Now what in Heaven's name would you make out this? Is it to the effect that somebody has a line on a commecial who is on the warpath for some amateur with sore feet? One cannot be sure of these matters. It might be that it is the commercial who has the sore feet, chasing some poor amateur around town probably.

Listen to this: — Yes yes jst wyd glucky wait a mt muddy wouff hong bliftsfy monkey motor. We assume from this msg that Glucky is being asked to wait a minute while Blifsky seeks a wouff hong with which to wallop a monkey the next time the latter faces toward the motor. I do not think I know just exactly what a wouff hong is. Probably some piece of apparatus used in the southern states to beat monkeys with.

It is this form of uninteresting "conversation" which clutters up the air with QRM. Of what moment js it to the rest of the world that this fellow Blifsky is going to smear somebody's monkey with a wouff hong? When anybody relapses into such mental slop as to want to operate with a thing named a "wouff hong," he ought to keep his trouble to himself and not compel all of us respectable amateurs to listen to his drool. bang To slaves and slobber a lot of foolish twaddle like this when that poor girl out in Illinois has not had a letter since yesterday, is plain wicked.

Sorry om qrm qrm 9vy few words schlipsh nuzzle his mucket faded undershirt cfrish reptg pain in neck sus gup om cul ark. This is a real relay, evidently 9VY over in Fort Wayne is mixed up in it in some way. Whose undershirt they are talking about and what schlipshing one over is, I do not know exactly, although I have a rough idea. Whether the signals faded or the undershirt faded, or what was the matter with the sus gup of the neck of the undershirt, I'll be darned if I know.

Just cast a lingering look at this:— Biirgrmp bru rotary ge ge ugerumf om with my set rettysnitch spitty tone hit in potimus? Now what do you suppose the the poor gink was trying to say when he unreeled that? You have to guess a lot in wireless, and how would you guess this? Something is wrong with this fellow's biirgrmph, his rotary also has a bad case of the ugerumf and somebody around the place must have spit on his rettysnitch because his tone was so rotten it hit him on his potimus. Sounds bad to me. Why will some people send such personal matter by wireless when the whole
country can overhear it. It isn't decent, and it makes the QRM more rotten than ever, and just think of the way it makes a perfectly good log book appear.

I spent the better part of an hour trying to make out what ailed the poor fellow's biirgrmph, but had to give it up while I listened to a child with a spark coil scratch out this at a rate of around
three words a minute:—how do s. . . . . . . . e . . . . . . . ? how be . . . . .? how do i cowp . . . . . . . cw . . . . . . v v v v v v -------------------------- . . . . . . . come in ? ? ? ark After a long wait another trouble maker with a bad cold in his head stumbled back with:—r r r r r r r r r r r ok ok please ? ? ? ark Another pause followed by the first little demon with; — r r r r r r r r qta qta qta pse rat . . . . . . ve . . . . . . . .? pse ttt . . . . . . . . qta pse repeat
ark. These brats kept this up for twenty minutes and they ended up just where they began.

What we ought to do is to organize an Anti-QRM Association. Then let us elect for Chairman the worst plug-ugly we can find in these U. S. A. Then let us chip in a little money and hire a clerk with a bad disposition who will write - letters threatening the life of everybody whom rubber the members report as causing needless QRM. If anybody gets balky, we will all join together and swear the gink is sending with a decrement greater than two-tenths, and so report to the local Radio Inspector. If the latter does not within
twenty-four hours have .the boy arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, we will all, band together and find another job for said Radio Inspector. Let us rise, fellow bugs. Rise and crush this octopus which is engulfing and overwhelming us. Eight hours a day and triple time for overtime is death and starvation to oar families. Hash for breakfast, rotten smelling fish, and QRM --- ---- ------We will have naught of it. Down with the fellow with the scratchy spark coil, down with the fellow who calls three times three, down with the fellow who calls everybody he hears and down down down with that unspeakable skunk who calls somebody and sends a long relay message repeating each word three times when the station to which he is sending is sending something himself.

There, by heck, I have that off my chest. Now you over there in Illinois, get this call. Let everybody else stand back from now on. I'm tired and sleepy and cross, and I don't care who I QRM until I get that pin cleared off.

Well, we're having problems with serious radio work (relaying traffic) because of people carrying on conversations! It's a serious matter when signals are broad and receiver selectivity is minimal.


This seems to be a QRM number. When we rolled up our editorial sleeves, and started to pick out the stuff which wa to form the January issue, it seemed to us that everything had to do with QRM. Even our old friend, "THE OLD MAN", seems to have been bitten by this QRM bug.

There is no doubt that we are fast approaching a time when something must be done about this matter. Our relay traffic has grown so enormously and much of it has become of enough importance to make it worth while to consider means of controlling unnecessary QRM. The regular interference when handling interstate relay traffic is bad enough, now that there are so many stations able to work in excess of 500 miles. But, the irregular and entirely unnecessary interference caused by thoughtless individuals is something which ought to be clamped down and held under control.

The forms of this unnecessary interference are usually, Conversation, Improper Calling, Unnecessary Repetition, Thoughtless Testing, and the Infantile Efforts of the beginner with a small spark coil. The first, Conversation, ought to be stopped by general agitation of the subject among ourselves. We can, if we want, make it bad form to indulge in the long conversations which all of us know only too well. We have the power to make it very unpleasant for any one who will not consider the general good. This power is the boycott. While it is illegal to boycott in business, it is not illegal to decline to answer a certain station's call, nor to decline to ever call that station. Once we all agreed never to work a certain station, that certain station would be pretty much out in the cold and wireless would rapidly lose its interest. Our experience makes us feel that very few fellows have the inherent temperament and desire to be unpleasant. We all seem to be a pretty fair kind. We therefore have confidence that much could be done by agitating against "Conversation" after any early hour in the evening.

Improper Calling can also be improved by emphasizing its bad form. We all recognize how often some of us call improperly, and how much time is used up by it. Unnecessary Repetition of a message comes in the same category. Some of us are simply terrible. A steady, even and moderately slow transmission makes repetition many times entirely unnecessary. Thoughtless Testing is simple viciousness. To make measurements of one's radiating current during hours of relay works is an indication of the most aggravated form of radio selfishness. When it comes to the efforts of the beginner with the spark coil, we have something more difficult to reach, because he is not one of us, usually. He never heard of our A R.R.L. nor our QST, and he uses his initials for call letters. He does not seriously regard the taking out of a Government License, and he is sometimes only temporarily interested. What to do with him, we do not yet know, and we await suggestions with much interest. In any event, let us think about this QRM matter and decide that we will agitate it in, the proper way from now on.

The League now has two typewriters and an addressing machine!

Our Growing Pains

Our A. R. R. L. and our QST are growing so fast that they hurt. To keep up with the ever increasing detail requires more and more hard work. As we look around and give our existing plant and equipment the "once over", we cannot but compare it with the situation in this same "office" a year ago. At that time, our wireless station looked like a pretty fair amateur layout. Now, the station is pushed into the background, and the place looks like a business office. We have an addressing machine, and the equipment for mailing our magazines on the first of each month, letter files and card indexes of the latest pattern, and where we once hired a broken down typewriter, we now own two. And all this machinery starts at eight o'clock Monday morning, and runs under high pressure from eight to fourteen hours a day until Saturday night. It will only be a short time before our present cramped quarters will no longer be able to contain us, and we shall have to move into one of the downtown skyscrapers. And, just think of it, this whole fabric is built upon this gradually spreading institution,the individually owned and controlled wireless station by means of which interstate communication is independent of all corporate control.

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