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Amateur radio in the USSR

Радиолюбительство в СССР

About a year ago I wrote a post “On the pages of the magazine Young Technician”. In the text, I noted that “the journal was really good.” Thus I ran on to some funny tips from the magazine, tips, characteristic of the Soviet wretched life. I mean the classic Soviet tips: “how out of useless shit to do useful shit that can in everyday life to replace the needed thing to buy is impossible.” Later I published the same material (in a slightly adapted form) on its channel Zen. In this and other such publications to post comments still come to different readers. Of course, one part of them with the author of “disagree strongly”. Their General thesis is: “the examples in this magazine, we learned to work with their hands, and now young people are only playing games, but in gadgets, looking at cats”. Well, the fact that these “creators with their hands” was created mostly poor stuff, which to be proud as it is a shame, I said nothing. Equally silent, I do not compare “then” and “now”, and compare “then in the USSR and then in the West.” Equally I don’t want to say that creativity in society is always in the minority. But this is about the same percentage. So now the creators of their own hands, no less, just to create easier – no need to look hard materials and tools for their work. Nothing has changed, just fans of Soviet modernity are not interested. But perhaps if we talk about the conventional “Amateur radio”, in the Soviet times, of course people who were willing to tin-brazing, was more than now.

The term “radio Amateur” I am using the surge. In a narrow sense is a person who enjoys communication sessions with remote subscribers by means of special equipment. Well as a girl with staged photography in the beginning of this post. But I mean the phenomenon, or rather the whole movement in the USSR with their hands to create various useful radio-electronic devices.

Alexander Mitta is a famous teenage movie “dot, Dot, comma”, filmed in 1972. I love this movie, by the way (and then I sometimes ask what movies I like and somehow believe that I love movies like “the Avenger”).

Радиолюбительство в СССР
A scene from the movie “dot, Dot, comma” (1972)

In the film, “dot, Dot, comma” Mature sophomore motherfucker overgrown Tenants Alex falls in love with a smart girl Eugene Karetnikova from your class, and under its influence begin to get involved in physics, and eventually electrical engineering. Alex learned to understand diagrams, devices, soldering them, and in the end, it’s his ability to bring victory to his team for a special winter relay race, the culmination of which was a job to solder the radio to catch the “lighthouse” and put on speakerphone.

Радиолюбительство в СССР
A scene from the movie “dot, Dot, comma” (1972). Alex Residents solder some crap.

Such as Alex Residents in the Soviet time was a lot. Collected not only radios. In the second half of the ’70s – early’ 80s, many collected light (or color?) music, bass amps, etc.

Now there are also people who are engaged in manual production of different kinds of electronic devices. However, I think such a stir, as in Soviet times, no longer. Why?

The answer is obvious. Well, who comes up with the idea to collect the amplifier? What does it do? Go to the store and buy any. Right here at once. Amplifier you can choose for every taste and budget – from a few thousand to tens of thousands of rubles. For example, a two-channel amp with 50 watts per channel and a range of 20Hz–30kHz, it is possible to buy thousand for five to seven. It’s very cheap. And besides, the choice is very large.

In Brezhnev’s Soviet Union reinforcements were ambushed. Them in Moscow was not so much to a lot. And the prices were just a horse. I remember his first stereocilin “Electron 104-stereo” with 15 watts per channel I bought in the early 80s for 240 rubles. 240 fucking Soviet rubles! This is how it looked:

Радиолюбительство в СССР
In the photo: Soviet amplifier “Electron 104-stereo”. (Murom plant RIP, edition 1977.)

True, he was still with two columns (rather miserable). Such a cute little “print” of Soviet design. Its removable metal cover was pasted film “under the tree”, which was the Soviet dream of many owners to make repairs in his kitchen. We ran this amp with two guitars and a microphone and was cut at full power. Hoo as plowshare! When I’m at home it was connected to a tape recorder with the Beatles, put the speakers in the window and did a full volume that could be heard in the next street. Overall, not the best amp, but loud. However, the price – I was able to buy only because I was 16 years old and I was presented the respective funds. And then where would I get 240 rubles in 16 years?

Was still a separate amplifier in the bass guitar. The exact name I can’t remember but it was something like that:

Радиолюбительство в СССР
Photo: the Amplifier “trembita-101” (Lviv plant. Lenin, 1973.).

He, too, had my own column of gigantic proportions. And also this stuff cost 200 rubles. That is, for a group of three guitars in the most miserable version required at least two amplifiers, with a total value of five hundred rubles. And on good it was necessary on every guitar for usiku and separately for the microphones. About the reels do not even mention (what a school group in the good Soviet times ozvuchivali drums?). That is, prices were, again, horse. Yes, and good amplifiers in the good tube times, even in Moscow was not enough.

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Immediately foresee objections and links to various beautiful pictures with Soviet usikami. Citizens who go immediately to the forest. I’m talking about Brezhnev and Andropov times. And beautiful lion’s share of the Soviet amplifiers is already after 1985, began to appear. Fortunately, Gorbachev realized that the Soviet economy full kirdyk and to somehow prolong the agony was still to take out loans in the West. For these loans and navypuskali in the late 80s a lot of electronic Goodies that scoops today proudly displaying in the photo.

I myself, when he came from the army in 1986, I bought a tape deck and a booster for her:

Радиолюбительство в СССР

And then regretted. Because I wait another year or so, and for the same money (also the account went on hundreds of rubles) could buy much more cool device. A lot of good appeared in the late 80s (Thank Gorbachev and Western credits!). But in my school and doarmeyskoy years was way worse. Amplifiers were few, and the prices are very much bite for the young Soviet generation.

So judge for yourself: other exit, except how to start soldering yourself amps, simply did not exist. But if the amplifier still could still purchase in the store, then light (or still the same color?) music in the Soviet store was impossible to buy even hypothetically. There’s no options – just the soldering himself.

Question: but if the amplifier in the sale was at a price of one hundred rubles and above, which in ordinary Soviet schoolboy was not, which was won by the student, by embracing the self-soldering? And won, actually, very much.

Of course, today, other citizens played out a fantasy and they are very enthusiastic tell me what the lowest prices were in the Soviet Union for goods for Soviet citizens. Mistake, citizens, or even pure lies. The fact that in the USSR all goods were divided into three categories: 1) necessities, 2) the products are in high demand and 3), goods “luxury”. To the 1st group consisted of basic products (bread, meat, dairy, eggs, grocery, dress type shirts, shorts and sweats). Here, this group of goods prices are really low. And the pricing on the 2-nd and 3-th group of goods may be different. In the 2nd group could be the goods with the low price. Let’s say, the doctor’s sausage. And it could be very expensive.

And group 3 is very expensive items with a very large difference between the cost price and the selling price. “Luxury goods,” it’s not I called them – they called it officially. To this category belonged the cars, crystal, furniture-type wall and sideboards and all the goods that are somehow treated electronics (TVs, stereos, amplifiers, many players, cameras, etc., etc.). They were, again, not just expensive, but very expensive. Even so, the majority of them still fall into the 2nd category – “products of high demand” that is the notorious deficit

But the radio cost was relatively cheap.

Радиолюбительство в СССР

Not all of course. For example, chips were quite expensive. But the circuitry for the amplifier is not needed, and relevant they have become closer to the mid-80s. And what you need for the amp, the most expensive, it’s probably the transistors. But you can buy. In the sense that the student could save them a tug. However, due to Soviet territory to buy all the parts for the amp of course was impossible. Well, it was not in stores for some parts. But to steal somewhere, or barter for anything, was possible. Thus, assembled DIY amplifier although looked ugly, but cost much cheaper than that sold in the shop. And there were craftsmen who made such things as factory products are superior.

So a massive passion for electrical engineering and electronics of the USSR had a severe household background just before most fans could not provide for themselves what they wanted to have (korotkovolnovoi radios, amplifiers, s/chasers, etc.).

Now the motivation is gone. Well, there is no need to collect the amplifier . The choice in the shops, especially in online stores is huge. And the prices for many of the budget models is very low. So why poison yourself boards, and then breathe molten rosin? Here it is if anyone this case involved, in fact only a very great love for this activity. Because on the one hand, it certainly is really exciting: take a sheet with a diagram of the device, and after some time to do it and enable it. Mesmerizing. Today however any such master has a number of tools and parts, one the contemplation of which the Soviet radio Amateur would have ended instantly.

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But there is another circumstance. As I said, some aces in the Soviet era could at home or at work to make such devices that turned out better than factory. For example, I was in the radio engineering troops of air defense. I myself am never a big AC e-it was not. Of course, if you need to unsolder, solder is I can. Scheme to read. But in order to build some kind of amplifier is certainly not to me. However, we had a lot of spices. Them from the hardships and privations of service were released, so they officers did the instrument (all the same amps, with/the light show, etc.). And hull are doing that are right out of the store.

But why this kind of wizard, could assemble such devices manually? Yes, because the technology was still simple enough.

The amplifier can be assembled in the home. But the microprocessor you’ll get. Do not collect the video card. And the motherboard to etch at home – the process is not for the faint of heart. On the other hand, it’s easy to buy need a motherboard, CPU cooler, case with PSU, memory modules, SSD (or the old fashioned way, HD), a video card the same, and so, in detail. Put it all where it should be, screw the neat screws or snapped the latches. All. The computer is ready. Something like a children’s designer. Only the full product, no different from the factory version. But creative there is no no. And therefore, there is no interest. The only thing that you should be able to choose all the components depending on your budget.

Радиолюбительство в СССР
On the photo: motherboard Intel.

Well, any smartphone even so not be able to collect. It is sold fully ready. A home like this to collect? Well, it’s at least weird.

That is, work two things. Secondly, the increasing complexity and miniaturization processes in the production of electronic devices. But, first-the disappearance of the main needs of the Soviet people anything to make. A main requirement of Soviet mastering was the desire to supply themselves with some necessary things that were impossible or very expensive to buy in the Soviet shop.

Why are you going to do with his hands some thing simpler and way cheaper to buy in the store? Thus, today, the case involved solely for the sake of a hobby.

Although, of course, there are individuals who cause a surprise with their determination to prove that the earth is flat.

Here the reader (https://andrey-fos.livejournal.com/profile” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow”>Радиолюбительство в СССРandrey_fos) sent me a clipping (clickable):

Радиолюбительство в СССР
In this article, a rural lover says that in his home for more than 20 years kept the Soviet led. But lover they could not use, because the brightness of the Soviet LEDs were insufficient for any of its purposes. Put, I think he’s lying. Probably just rested from the factory – because of the Soviet time, these LEDs were jewel – and why they needed him and he didn’t know. In the Soviet Union so often were – if you had the opportunity to steal something, stealing, and only then decide what.

In General, there is a problem – diodes, but they are dim. And how solves the problem of this Amateur? He buys a new led, for example, ordering them to the online store? No, the Soviet “handyman” this will not go down. He begins to wank. Drills out the old glowing elements of the old Soviet of the LEDs on the inserts a new (still bought), pours epoxy resin. In short, sports on all cylinders. Then describes this process and sends to the log. Epochal and ends his article with: “This option is finalized <finalization, shit! – approx.author> may be relevant if the cost of upgrading aesthetics, the LEDs cheaper than buying new.” And new, note, are from 5 to 10 rubles apiece. With different colors. But to drill, paste, solder, fill the crank for cheaper.

Радиолюбительство в СССРPhoto: the LEDs in the online store Chip & Dip.

And I am absolutely sure that the aforesaid A. Butov from the village of Kurba, Yaroslavl region, whenever possible, likes to speculate about what made the hands better purchase. And in General, as well, that in the USSR people were able “to do with your hands”, and “today I can’t.” Thus he makes – Yes, with his own hands, no one disputes – some barn instead of for a penny to buy the same, but quality thing. And all just to say: “I stand by the Soviet led”. 20 years people kept them, and then guessed. But it is not treated. However, if a person wants to kill his time is his own business. Because he knows that at any moment buy whatever he wants. Even for such “improvements” he bought parts in the store and not made them from old rods for fountain pens.

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