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Amateur Radio Quiz: Amateur Archaeology


Times change and so does terminology. Some of the old terms were quite colorful and convey a sense of hands-on adventure in those early days of experimentation. You may not consider today’s language as evocative, but just wait a few decades to see what future generations think!

1) Which type of component was referred to as a “grid leak”?
a. Capacitor
b. Resistor
c. Inductor
d. This referred to a gassy vacuum tube

2) If you used a “basket weave” style in construction, what did you construct?
a. Transmission line
b. Coil
c. Headphone covers
d. Detector

3) What function was performed by a “slop jar”?
a. Rectification
b. Modulation
c. Storing charge from a grid-leak
d. Filtration

4. What was the earliest type of condenser?
a. Tesla coil
b. Rheostat
c. Leyden jar
d. Voltaic pile

5) What part of early stations was often constructed as a “cage”?
a. Transmitter shield
b. Antenna
c. Entire shack
d. Power supply

6) A “getter” performed what function?
a. Tuning tool
b. Gas adsorption
c. Filament rejuvenation
d. Connections to open-wire transmission line

7) What construction technique was (and still is!) called a “Western Union”?
a. Rack-and-panel enclosures
b. Breadboard and Fahnstock clips
c. Point-to-point
d. Wire splicing

8) What does “TRF” stand for?
a. Tuned Receive Feedback
b. Tuner-Rig-Feeder
c. Tuned Radio Frequency
d. Transmit-Receive Feeder

9) What type of equipment was referred to as a “rush box”?
a. Receiver
b. Transmitter
c. Amplifier
d. Modulator

10) Which of these is not a type of oscillator circuit?
a. Hartley
b. Colpitts
c. Lorentz
d. Meissner

Bonus -- What did a “tickler coil” tickle?



1) b -- Grid current through the resistor developed a self-biasing voltage.
2) b -- The basket-weave style minimized inter-turn capacitance.
3) a -- Early rectifiers used a somewhat-caustic electrolytic solution (the “slop”) in glass jars.
4) c -- A Leyden jar is a simple capacitor that stores a sizeable amount of charge at high voltage!
5) b -- A cage antenna consists of several parallel wires in a circular arrangement.
6) b -- The getter was an unpowered vacuum tube element that captured unwanted gas molecules.
7) d -- The telegraph system’s standard splicing technique.
8) c -- The TRF receiver required each amplifying stage to be tuned separately.
9) a -- The rushing sound from a regenerative receiver on the edge of oscillation gave it the name.
10) c -- All the others are different oscillator configurations.

Bonus -- In a regenerative receiver stage, a carefully adjusted tickler coil coupled some of the output signal back to the input, “tickling” it into near oscillation.




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