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The Young Squirt's Fourth Epistle to the Old Man
December 1935 QST Article

December 1935 QST

December 1935 QST Cover - RF CafeTable of Contents

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from QST, published December 1915 - present (visit ARRL for info). All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

ARRL 2013 Field Day: June 22-23! - RF Cafe"Throwing the works to my bottle." Any idea what that means? Neither did I, and no source could be found for it. I assume it means cranking out max legal PEP in your power amplifier vacuum tube. "You went out just like a Swedish match in a Kansas hurricane..." Ever heard that saying? Neither had I. Evidently Swedish matches had a reputation for easily going out. I never knew the Swedes made such fantastic matches. Clearly, the tech jargon in 1935 was a bit different than today. This story from a 1935 issue of QST magazine will introduce you to many new terms with a fairly short read. The guy in the story looks a lot like the Ham in the 2013 Field Day patch (sans specs). 

The Young Squirt's Fourth Epistle to the Old Man

Well, you old mossbacked greybeard, I ain't been hearing much from you of late, and I about decided that you ain't finding nothing rotten to yell about. Guess the game is too fast for you. Putting that infernal old Betsy up in the attic along with all the other relics must have put the skids under you. I hope so. I bet you ain't even got up a stick.

The Young Squirt's Fourth Epistle to the Old Man, December 1935 QST - RF CafeThey ain't nothing wrong with radio now, I guess. The only thing that ever was wrong was giving space in QST to those snorts and bellows of yours. That Wouff Hong you sent Eddie Warner hasn't been down off the wall since 1921. That's a pretty good sign, ain't it, old Methuselum? Since you quit blowing the pole transformer every Saturday night and making sparks hop across inside my Audiotron, the game has became jake for me, and if you never get back on the air again, that will be too soon. You went out just like a Swedish match in a Kansas hurricane as soon as CW come along, and that is one reason CW is such an improvement.

I been thinking about you ever since the other night. There was something mighty gosh-darned suspicious that has been worrying me, and the more I think about it the madder I get until I could bite a plug out of a nine-foot rattlesnake. You never was able to pull the wool over my eyes none, you old petrified fossil.

One of these Old Timers dropped in the other night while I was throwing the works to my bottle. The glow from my plate, which showed it was working good, causes this Pelican to get off a few wise yelps about power output. According to him, the only fellows who know anything about getting the high-powered snorts out of a jug were graduated from spark. This didn't get no rise out of me because I had a squeak box with an E. I. Co. electrolytic interrupter, as you well remember, but his next remark made me sore enough to kick the step-ins off of a tree full of wildcats. He ups and says that since the old timers are coming back in the game it is getting better, and that all it needs to be a hunnered percent is for the Old Man to get back in so there will be law and order. Just as soon as he said that, everything turns red in front of me and I bit the wrong end off my El Ropo, which didn't help to calm me down none.

When that happens, I says, I am going to move to Siberia. This oily lamp raises his eyebrows and says that would be the right place for mosquitos who use bug keys on red-hot plates. I inferred by that he was talking about me, since I had been holding my dot lever closed while doing some testing, which made my signals sound commercial. I began right away to feel heat radiating out of every pore, and quick as a 28-megacycle oscillation I yelled back you are a visitor around here otherwise I would lose no time in telling you the right place for you to go, and at this he grates out a laugh, and his eyebrows wiggled up and down just like yours did when I used to get off a rejoiner you couldn't think up no reply to.

How come, he says, you are using no filter on this haywire? Do you think just because the Old Man is not arrund close that you can get by with that? I let out a yell, I was so mad. Who do you think you are, I screamed, I can comb the burrs out of that old dingfritter's foliage any time he comes around. Oh, yeah, son? he grunts, wiggling his eyebrows up and down rapid, them are large words for a little gnat like you. The Old Man would waste no time immersing your hide in some good hot transformer oil.

At this I hauled off and kicked the top shelf out of the rig. You are talking so big, take off that overcoat and that muffler you got wrapped around yore gills so I can have more area to plaster, you desiccated sardine, I yelled. He laughed sarcastic. You forget I am a visitor, he said. One well-directed Rettysnitch takes all the sap out of little horseflies like you, and I am going to watch you pretty close from now on.

At this point I began to roll around on the floor to calm myself, meanwhile kicking a pair of 866' s over the transom and putting both feet through a couple of meters.

Your ilk, he said, getting up, are just the sort that gum up the air, and if you are hankering after trouble, just go on the air again without a filter, son. With that be moves toward the door. And another thing, he adds, don't say anything against the Old Man.

I snatched up a book, which was the nearest thing in reach, and threw it at him so hard I slid under the bed and got all tangled up in some wire. He ducked and I heard him grunt as he picked it up: "Wireless Course in Twenty Lessons," he grated. You ain't changed none. And then he was gone before I could get untangled and give him the piece of my mind that I had been holding in reserve. But here's the point:

That old fossil could have passed for you, he was so dad-ratted onery. If he had taken off that muffler I could have then noted whether he had yore foliage. What I want to know is, was it you? If it was, just remember that you will have to grow up some more before you can get the best of me in an argument, and this Sherlock Holmes stuff ain't going to get you nowhere. I can put it over you like a tent, just like I did this time.





Posted July 9, 2021
(updated from original post on 6/18/2013)

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