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What Is It?
February 1943 QST

February 1943 QST

RF Cafe - February 1943 QST  CoverTable 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.

If subjects pertaining to electronics - particularly vacuum tubes - are like music to your ears, then this poem entitled "What Is It?," from the February 1943 edition of QST magazine, should suit you just fine. The rhyming words are supplied by author Frank Judd; you just need to supply the harmony. You might recognize paraphrasing of other familiar works such as Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride." Poems like this one were actually quite common back in the day. In fact if you look through the list of articles that I have posted from vintage QSTs, you will find about a dozen.

Here are a few other electronics-themed poems: A Radioman's Nightmare, The Day Before Christmas, Sonnet of a Ham, Unpopular Electronics, Ode to a New Rig, Power Supply, More "Tower" to You, Requiem, Pre-Radio, What Is It?, Ravin

What Is It?

By Frank E. Judd

What Is It?, February 1943 QST - RF CafeWhat is the thing that's in a tube

That people call the mu?

It is a silly-sounding word -

What does the blamed thing do?

Well, listen, child, and you shall hear

How simple such things are,

And you may then astonish

The people near and far.

A grid can make a current flow,

Or stop it, if you please;

It only needs a voltage

To accelerate or cease.

This current flow is to the plate,

And from the tube's cathode.

'Tis so in multielement

Or simplified diode.

Now, positive potential,

When placed upon a plate,

Can also make a current flow

But at a lesser rate.

Compared with what the grid can do

Its pull is pretty lame.

The grid can make a bigger flow

With current just the same.

Divide the oomph that grid can show

By what the plate can do:

You will derive that magic thing

That people call the mu.

And when you've found out all that stuff,

Without or with assistance,

The next thing that they'll ask you

Is, "What is plate resistance?"

Well, that is just as easy,

Believe it true or not.

When there's a current to the plate

There's voltage on the spot.

And when you've done that little thing

At school or in your patio,

You'll find that volt and current change

Are at a certain ratio.

And when you have determined

That ratio or rate,

Know then that you have found the

Resistance of the plate.

Now, there is still another thing

I mention with reluctance.

It is a sixty-dollar word -

They call it transconductance.

It is the ratio of the change

In current to the plate

Divided by the voltage change

Back at the grid, they state.

Now do not be alarmed by this;

Just place yourself above it.

And if they ask you this in Quiz

Why, just think nothing of it!



Posted May 21, 2024
(updated from original post on 12/6/2012)

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