March 1935 Short Wave Craft
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
from Short Wave Craft,
published 1930 - 1936. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
I tend to be a traditionalist for most things, but don't go out
of my way to make trouble for other people who don't appreciate
the way things are and have been... as long as, per
Thomas Jefferson, "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my
leg." In other words, if your actions cause me no financial or physical
harm, I'm not likely to oppose your actions - unless they're illegal.
Many older Hams are greatly offended at the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) for having removed the Morse code requirement in
2005 for obtaining an amateur radio operator's license. They
see it as a way to
separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak; that is to say,
to maintain a barrier that keeps non-serious aspirants from gaining
entry into the ranks of the elite group of communications hobbyist
who have the mental fortitude to master code. Others see it as a
way to prevent overcrowding of increasingly scarce available bandwidth.
To be fair, though, many believe that possessing a minimum level
proficiency in the sending and receiving of Morse Code is essential
to perpetuating not just the original spirit of the hobby, but to
have at one's disposal an ability to communicate with the barest
essentials of wireless: on-off keying of a signal. Anyway, you can
see by this 1935 article that the debate has endured nearly as long
as amateur radio itself.
An Ex-Ham's Opinion of "No-Code" Test
From An Ex-Ham
Editor, Short Wave Craft:
Dr. Lee de Forest
John L. Reinartz
D. E. Replogle
E. T. Somerset
Baron Manfred von Ardenne
This is the handsome certificate that
is presented free to all members of the Short Wave League.
The full size is 7 1/4" x 9 1/2".
Get your Short Wave League button
In regard to the No Code Test for a license below 6 meter phone
or any phone "rigs," I find it is all "baloney' 'anyway. I have
never heard of such selfishness from persons professing loyalty
to the art of Radio Amateurs, by opposing such a thing when it could
not possibly harm anyone on account of the short distance you are
able to work on 5 meters. Most of those opposing the No Code below
6 Meters have no intention of working below 10 meters, anyway.
I was one of those who signed the first petition to have our
Government control the Amateurs, on account of the terrible QRM
(interference) some were causing by putting 5 kw. (5,000 watts)
on the air for "playing" purposes only, rather than "getting down
to business." At that time there was no intention on the part of
those signing the petition that there should be any examination
of any kind.
The main purpose was to stop any unnecessary interference. Certain
parties who would like to get rid of the Hams, have pulled strings
with those who have been put in charge by the President. They, not
knowing anything about wireless, were easily convinced that the
Hams should pass an examination, so the examination for the Hams
each year is being made harder. If you Hams cannot read the "handwriting
on the wall" you better quit squabbling or it won't be long before
there won't be any more Hams.
Thos. J. P. Shannon, Ex-Ham, (formerly 6QG),
6232 S. Alamo Blvd., Bell, Calif.
Why a Code Test? Says This "Amateur Operator"
Editor, Short Wave Craft:
As a reader of the Short Wave Craft magazine and also an amateur
radio operator, believe that any short-wave or radio "fan" that
desires to become an amateur radio broadcaster on the phone band
of only five or ten meters, should not be forced to pass a code
test for the reason that he does not want or care to use code. I
know what a stumbling block it was for me to pass a code test of
only ten words per minute. I don't mind any theoretical questions
on radio but when it comes to the code part, I feel tuff. Hi, Hi.
Hershel Talbot Walton, 711 Wyoming Avenue, East Liverpool, Ohio.
Code Must Stay, He Says
Editor, Short Wave Craft:
I sincerely believe, and and so do many others, that all this
argumentation on this "codeless phone license" below 6 meters is
entirely foolish. Why should anyone with a phone transmitter clutter
up a useful and already crowded band? Why shouldn't they pass a
slow code exam. and thus be eligible? Why, there's nothing to learning
code, once you set your mind upon it. And also, I believe that the
exam should be kept very stiff to prevent "hobbyists" from crowding
this band. And how could the fellows who are actually trying to
do something with radio do anything, when there are a lot of fellows
that have been "thrown together" and chewing the rag with their
friends and causing a lot of unnecessary QRM? Such Hams as these
should and must be kept off the air! Radio isn't a plaything. It's
a very serious and grave business for fellows who are sincere in
I am not a Ham yet, but I know my code throughout; plus of course
the "Q" signals. By this summer I expect to pass the exam and have
my own code transmitter.
Wishing your magazine continued success, I remain,
Alvin C. Sieger, 73 Elwood Street, New York City.
"Code Will Never Die," He Says
Editor, Short Wave Craft:
I have read all the letters in the Short Wave League page for
the past few months and the best to date was Mr. Worcester's. I
do not think the mathematical part was very important, but the few
pertinent facts he stated were. The mathematical part was pure theory
(to which I adhere closely) and is merely meeting extremes.
As my contribution to the "festivities" I will attempt to answer
herein every letter published in the July issue. My repudiations
are as follows:
When in letter No.1 J. B. F. asks as to the whereabouts of broadcasting,
if it were not for the help of amateur radio-telephony, I counter:
Where would radio-telephony be if code transmission were not developed
first. J. B. F. should remember that we first had to progress in
voice transmission, before we even thought of television.
Approaching letter No.2 which remarks about "selfish" Hams, I
will refer J. O. R. to Radio-Craft for the month of June, wherein
the author of the article on page 725 states that if a person has
enough interest and sufficient determination to master a 20 W. P.
M. speed in code, he will undoubtedly be a success in his particular
Next we overtake letter No.3. Quote:
"A good radioman should know every sound coming from a horn or
pair of receivers." The above statement is unquestionably one of
the best arguments ever published. I do not like H. R. C.'s appellation
of "gas-bag artists." Even without code test, if a man can get a
good radio telephone set on the air he is to be commended for his
Now I will backspace and refer to your editorial in the June
issue of Short Wave Craft. The part of it which remarks about the
drowning out of signals also recalls the fact that interference
and static generators will be used by enemy operators to prevent
the hearing of signals legibly. It is a well-known fact that code
can pierce interference and static more easily than can voice. Any
good operator can understand the gist of a message by just receiving
pieces of it. A little noise will make any voice conversation entirely
My last argument is one which probably has no place here, but
I am giving it anyhow.
I still think sentiment has plenty to do with the development
of amateur radio. It is for this reason that I think the "old-timers"
in radio will not let code "die." It is for this reason (sentiment)
that the old "Hams" regard the no-code advocates as "jelly-fish
If I may make a prophesy: Code will still be as much a vital
issue in radio for the next ten years as it is now, and it will
never die out entirely !
Joseph Alinksy, Jr., 104 Schuylkill Ave., Shenandoah, Penna.
Posted April 2, 2015