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Surfin': Remember the Transistor

09/08/2009

I got into radio as transistors were getting a foothold in ham radio. Whereas the first ham radios I owned (and built from Heathkits) were run by tubes, the accessories I built from QST how-to articles were run by transistors.

In the second half of the last century, transistors took over and replaced all the functions of the tubes in our ham radios -- except for the final amplifiers in our transmitters. Eventually, transistors even took over the final amplifier function. Then came the IC, which did to the transistor what the transistor did to the tube, but I won't get into that now. Instead, I will get into Jack Ward's online Transistor Museum that bills itself as "dedicated to preserving the history of the greatest invention of the 20th Century."

Visiting the Transistor Museum's index page reminds me of walking into the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the quantity and quality of its contents are overwhelming and you have a difficult time trying to decide what to see first. In addition to tons of text and images, there are links to audio files where the makers and shakers of transistor history tell their stories in their own words. Also, Jack Ward's own books, History of Transistors, Volume 1, The First Germanium Hobbyist Transistors and History of Crystal Diodes, Volume 1, 1950s Germanium Radio Detectors are online at the museum for your reading pleasure.

Thank you Woody Woodward, K3VSA, for suggesting this week's featured Web site.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, wishes he still had his first transistor radio. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.

 

Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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