December 1935 QST
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
QST, published December 1915 - present (visit ARRL
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"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.
They 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.
THE YOUNG SQUIRT
Posted July 9, 2021
(updated from original post on 6/18/2013)