The Old Man
The several times I’ve read the writings of the Hiram Percy Maxim, I get the feeling I would have really liked this guy in real life. I think a lot of his writings could be republished today with some minor editing of language and figures of speech that are no longer around, and the content and arguments would easily apply to current modern day situations and problems within amateur radio. It’s amazing that as much as things change, things are still the same.
This article, Rotten Damped Spark Stuff, is a Maxim gem. Considering Maxim’s feelings at the time about damped spark, I think Maxim would have been equally vocal during the AM versus SSB and code versus no-code test battles in favor of more progressive trends and technology in amateur radio.
Something interesting to note about the article, Maxim ends it with “So long and 73’s to the gang. “[emphasis added]. Any time a boob on the two US ham moron forums wants to argue about the inappropriate use of 73’s, quote this article and tell him to go away.
If he could hear what goes on on today’s ham bands, perhaps he would want the damped spark back! They were a kinder and gentler and much more knowledgeable group in those days.
I don’t know about damped spark, but I’m sure he would advocate building stations like they had to do back then. But from his writings it’s clear they had LIDs back then, and they really bugged Hiram. Having all CW (well, Morse code over damped spark and true CW) didn’t prevent LIDs, but I would agree they had to be more knowledgable back then.
I sense he was a pragmatic fellow. I think today he would appreciate technology like SDR, considering how labor intensive building and operating a station was in those days, and DX was measured in tens and hundreds of miles.