No idea what the title says? Take your time (hint).
We live in a digital age and there isn’t much electronic equipment left which is completely analog. Last week I started to wonder why I still love analog equipment. I still record and play cassette tapes. I still have and use two Walkmans. One receiver and three transceivers are (almost) completely analog. I like to tinker with mechanical, analog wrist watches. I’m still attracted to radios with an analog scale. I shoot film with my Pentax K1000 and Yashica Mat 124G, although this happens less and less as time goes by. What’s so nice about analog stuff?
Seeing a mechanical watch work, or tuning in on a signal with an old fashioned VFO, has something all those modern bits and bytes can’t provide. No menus to worry about, for every function there’s button or pot. Balancing preselect, load and plate by hand is plain fun. You don’t care about a little drift. Crackly pots are part of the deal, and a good reason to do some maintenance. And when we’re at it, we replace some old 6164B’s, or a few HV caps. Building and repairing is part of the hobby.
In spite of all modern digital stuff, analog equipment can still hold its ground. Not so long ago, the receiver of my FT-901 was in Sherwood Engineering’s top 10. Not bad for something designed during the eighties! Film outperformed digital in some respects, with dynamic range being the most important one. And let’s not forget repairability – schematics are easy to understand, parts are never to small to work with, and finding / fixing problems is generally easy. If I open up a modern transceiver, the miniaturization dazzles me. I’m not afraid of working with SMD, but I can’t say I like it. One wrong move and you create more problems than you solve.
An analog signal has an infinite resolution. Why bother sampling them down to a (sometimes much) lower resolution? Just for the fun of it? What’s in for me? A good explanation can be found in the movie down below.
Digital is here to stay. As time goes by, we will forget all that old, analog equipment. We love our MP3 players, the DSP in our receivers, and these infinite possibilities to change the characteristics of receivers, audio and images. Still I won’t trade my transceivers or antennas for D-Star, Echolink or other TCP/IP dependent technologies. My hobby is less about communication than playing with radio waves. No Internet provider needed. The wires I need all end in the back of my garden.