It Seemed to Them:
Early QST Editorials

1917 February

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Radio operations on this month's cover. Coat and tie, of course!


Take a QTA at our cover this time. Notice the new style. We think it is very true to life and notice down in the corner who drew it. Mr. Ferris, 8AOZ, submitted this one to us. We did not know we had such wonderful artists in our ranks. Perhaps other readers have some ideas which they would like to see on the front of QST. If you have any kind of a cover idea and closely connected to it an artistic ability, try a hand at it. We'd all appreciate it and it brightens up our QST. By the way, did you QRK the cover which Mr. Hick drew for January?

Five thousand readers and a new staff member, too.


This little family of amateur radio bugs is certainly a very happy one. From the letters we have received since the January issue, we feel that we might have to enlarge the dining room table pretty soon. Even our Editorial Rooms are beginning to show signs of living in. Observe that we said "Rooms." We have moved into another suite, as we have added one more closet, we have hopes that we might soon begin to resemble the picture which heads this dignified Department. One thing, however, is changed. We shall have to put in a third figure because there are three of us now. We thought when the third one arrived, that we might drop this typewriter business long enough to listen in on the Big Trans-continental, but we know if we stop, this copy will be late, and then there will be trouble at the printers. Our QST family reminds us of QRM. It is growing all the time, but unlike QRM, it grows too slowly to suit us. We have reached the mighty number of five thousand, but our advertisers are trying to have this doubled. And say, we could double it over night if every one of us would get one more to come in and join the family. Some of us might get two, and this would make up for those who do not get any. Every two means QST can be made that much better because it will give us that much more money to work with. We feel we have the "know-how," but we do not always have the money. Why not try and keep this in mind, all of us! Begin to­day. Two fellows, two coupons. Two dollars. Two cent stamp. The job is done.

An extreme Amateur station might cost $1,000 -- that would be some $20,000 in today's dollars.

The ARRL views Amateur Radio as an outgrowth of landline telegraphy. It's all about messages and relaying them over longer and longer distances. What lies ahead? Could we hope to talk to other countries?


Has it occurred to any of you fellows where this relay message traffic is likely to lead us? It is one of the subjects we frequently get onto around the table here at Headquarters when we talk things over. What is it all going to end in? Here we are, some five thousand amateur wireless operators, engaged in handling real traffic every night in the week. Some stations handle twenty or thirty messages in a single night. They give up four or five hours of good hard work at the key receiving and transmitting messages from every part of the country. Their operating room looks like a real telegraph office, and they work like real telegraph operators. When you see them with their sleeves rolled up, and the inevitable pipe smoldering away, and the messages coming in and going out in a steady stream, it makes you stop and think.

And all this work is independent of all financial remuneration. It is done absolutely and simply for the fun of the thing. And we are not all young men who do this. Many of us are the heads of families with sons who take their trick at the key also. Some of the stations represent investments of close to $1,000, and nothing which will improve efficiency is too expensive to buy, in the case of a surprisingly large number of it.

If the Government continues its policy of paternal encouragement to us amateurs, there is no telling where we will go. We already have receiving apparatus a long way in advance of the average commercial receiving equipment. We do not think anything at all of communicating one thousand miles with a power input of one kilowatt or under, and a wave length between two hundred and three hundred meters. Twenty or thirty of us do this thing every night in the week. We wonder if a general communicating system will develop whereby the private citizen will be able to communicate with any other private citizen a long distance away without its costing anything? We wonder if individ­ually owned and operated amateur wire­less stations will have an effect upon long­distance telephone business? If it does. we wonder what the American Telephone & Telegraph Company will think about us? We wonder if the ever increasing demand for amateur apparatus will lead the manufacturers to develop more and more sensitive apparatus until all of us easily hear Honolulu, Japan, South America and Europe? We wonder if new and valuable patents on short wave apparatus for amateur use will develop and alter the existing patent monopoly on wireless manufacturer? We wonder if the tremendous industrial advantage which our country will enjoy if the amateur is encouraged will lead foreign countries to modify their rigid suppression of the amateur wireless operator and eventually end in its being possible for us amateurs here in America to "work" amateurs in foreign countries? And last of all, we wonder if you and I some night in the future will sit in our little room and chat with another fellow in Germany or France while we listen to what is going on between a couple of fellows, one in Brazil, and the other in Honolulu? We realize this last is a pretty good "wonder" but if we advance as much in the next ten years as we have in the past ten, it will be something to confidently expect.

More on QRM, the bane of traffic handlers.


There is no use talking, we must get busy on this QRM business. Every mail brings in letters telling about the absolute stagnation of traffic on account of this nightmare known as QRM. We have discussed it here at Headquarters a great many times, and a great many good ideas have come to the surface. Our President has for some months been giving a lot of his attention to the subject and at the present time, is awaiting the setting of dates when he is to have a hearing before the authorities in Washington. We understand .that there is a possibility of introducing into the new law something which will lead to better control of QRM. This strikes us as likely to start something. It cannot be any worse than it is at the present time.

The law is explicit in saying that we must transmit on a wave not exceeding 200 meters, that we shall have a pure wave to the extent that no subsidiary wave shall have an amplitude greater than ten per cent, of the main wave, and there is a pretty square toed remark regarding a decrement not greater than two-tenths. Of course one kilowatt power input is our limit, but this is the least of our troubles because the chief QRMers use considerably less than one k. w. The big noise which bothers us if we sit up late enough is the fellow with the impure wave and the big decrement. His spark comes in any where between two hundred and five hundred me­ters, and he cannot be tuned out any more than turning over in bed will tune out the Thomas cat in the backyard. And this fellow invariably is one who is not satisfied unless he is pounding his key every blessed minute of the time. An enforcement of the law would be a good thing in his case, but the great trouble is he is anywhere from one hundred to five hundred miles from the District Radio Inspector and the latter never hears his catawauling and we, like a lot of dubs, hesitate to complain about him.

Another great thorn in our flesh is the matter of BREVITY. Our grouchy old friend, THE OLD MAN, hits the nail on the head on this subject. Too many of us spiel too much. We ring in "Say OM how is the skating up your way," or "Say OM how are things anyway," or "Say OM how are you and what is the news down your way." This sort of thing is all right if no one else wants to listen or work, but when there are twenty or thirty who want to listen or have messages to get through, it makes it very awkward to say the least. The law says something about "unnecessary signalling," and it also uses threatening language about interfering with interstate traffic. If you are trying to get something from somebody over in the next State, and you fail to be able to get it because of the fellow who wants to know how things are, is the latter not guilty of interfering with interstate traffic? It seems to us there is at least an argument here. In other words, if we organized our selves together and agreed to report cases of unnecessary infractions of the law, would it not bring about better conditions? Of course, it might be said that the other fellow can come back and say that our relaying is unnecessary. If it is, then we must accept the responsibility and we will soon learn to only transmit what is reasonably necessary. We ought to not have much trouble in proving that handling relay traffic was reasonably necessary. In any event it is less unnecessary than idle conversation.

We have a suggestion recently from one of our good stations, which, strikes us as being very much to the point. This is that we arrange to have certain of our best station owners appointed DEPUTY INSPECTORS. Clothed with this authority they would be in a position to report favorable and unfavorable conditions to the District Radio Inspector and the latter would under the law, be virtually compelled to notify the transgressor that he must "not do it again." A letter from a District Inspector warning us that we must not repeat certain practices, would be something which would be taken seriously every time. We think it would be a very good idea if our members would write in to Headquarters what they think about this plan, or any other other which beats it.

QST is the best!


QST Publishing Co. Dear Sirs:

Under separate cover I am sending you a two year renewal to QST. Your post­script on the letter you sent me, asking me what I thought of our QST, set me thinking. Herewith are what seem to me four good reasons why QST is better than any other wireless magazine I have ever taken.

1.QST is not run to advertise some company as are so many magazines today.
2.QST represents every amateur in the country. You Eastern fellows please imagine how you would feel if you were not represented by QST, and then you will know we feel about other magazines that do not give the West a look-in. ,
3. QST has the best articles on things that I have been waiting (it seems years) for other magazines to publish, but somehow they never got around to it. These articles are best, because they are simple, concise and entirely illuminating to the most ignorant "ham."
4. QST is doing more to establish a national relay league that is not a commercial proposition, than any one I know of. It has certainly covered the ground and lacks but a few details to perfect a system of trunk lines of which our Government should be proud.

We amateurs of the West are behind you and any time that you need a bigger spark, with which to send out your QST, just let me know.

Hoping QST a lasting and continued success,

I remain,

Norman M. Scofield, Sunnyvale, Cal.

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