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Rethinking Vacuum Tubes

Artisan Vacuum Tubes and the Great Radio Controversy

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The above photo features a home-made vacuum tube. Image courtesy of hackaday.com

Not too long ago, I watched a video about ham radio that was produced by the YouTuber who goes by the name “Devon Stack.” Mr. Stack has a channel called “Black Pilled.” Stack’s video about ham radio discussed the ins and outs of this creaky old technology, and frankly, despite this video offering valuable information, I still felt disinclined to watch it from start to finish — unless driven by some sense of duty. I felt quite bored with Stack’s video about old ham radio technology because it was quite factual and dry, plus, it had very limited visual appeal. Despite having a subject matter that was markedly technical and dry, this video still pointed to an interesting issue; namely, the prospect of utilizing ham radio technology as a back-up plan if — or when — the internet either becomes unusable due to infrastructure related problems, or if the internet gets deliberately shut down.

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The image above is a screen capture of Devon Stack’s YouTube video about ham radio. A link to the Black Pilled video about ham radio can be found below.

Ham radio is definitely not a new thing, in fact, a simple Wikipedia.org search shows that the first ham radio club started in 1908 at Colombia University. The original Colombia University radio club was called Clubradio hobby, and radio broadcasting in general, did not become very popular until the 1920s.

By the 1950s and 1960s, the number of ham radio operators across the world was in the millions, and people from all over the world were able to communicate with one another via ham radios. Despite seeing high levels of popularity in the middle years of the 20th century, ham radio has been a dying hobby for decades. So, why has ham radio been slowly going gently into that good night for the last few decades? The answer to the previous question seems to hinge on new technologies emerging. Despite ham radio functioning as a chew-toy for the high-the Wireless Telegraphof Columbia University, and this easily found online record that lists the earliest ham radio club seems quite believable; however, the hamIQ and left-brained, this great old hobby has seen better days because the internet now serves the same social functions previously filled by long-distance radio communications.

Despite suffering from old age, having a thick coating of dust, and being covered in liver spots, the ham radio technology is now worth re-considering as an alternative to conventional communications through the internet. So, why is ham radio now worth reevaluating? Vacuum- tube-based ham radio now seems to be worth a second look because this yesteryear-tech has the potential to become a back-up to the world wide web. Ham radio is an attractive option to supplement, or perhaps replace, present-day internet communications because, unlike the internet, a ham-radio-based communication network does not rely on any centralized and capital-intensive infrastructure; therefore, a decentralized, simple, and inexpensive ham radio network is going to be hard for a totalitarian state to censor, sabotage, or shut down.

A decentralized network of ham radios also has the ability to offer long-distance communications that span continents and cross oceans. Given the ham radio technology’s low cost, long reach, and decentralization, it should come as no great shock that plans to ban this equipment have already been quietly set in motion.

An example of ham radio’s long reach can be illustrated by the fact that one of the neighborhood kids I grew-up with had a dad who was an avid ham radio enthusiast; thing is, my friend’s dad regularly boasted about his weekly chats with his ham radio buddy who just happened to be a climate scientist stationed at the McMurdo research base. For those of you who have not heard of the McMurdo Station; it is located in Antarctica.

Indeed, there is continuing growth of “Alt-Tech” that typically takes the form of new social media network proprietors who are willing to provide political dissidents with uncensored and anonymous platforms where they can voice their opinions. In the realm of alt-tech, places like BitChute.com and Minds.com may serve as examples of places where the principles of free speech and anonymity are being put into action; none the less, despite the promising possibilities offered by the growth of various online alt-tech platforms, the very real prospect of an ever-less free internet still lurks in the woods.

Although many people living in America might presently feel that their internet freedoms are reasonably secure, troubling incidents like Russia making moves to ban virtual personal networks back in 2017 still assemble causes for concern. Other troubling incidents relating to the issue of internet freedom of speech include the arrests of 789 people just in the city of London alone over the course of 2015. The 789 people previously mentioned were arrested for the heinous crime making wrong-think posts on Facebook.

Let us also not forget that WordPress.com has pulled websites that ZOG dislikes, and GoDaddy.com has also yanked the domains for white nationalist websites, so yes, it does make sense for white nationalist mustache-twisters to begin constructing a decentralized communication network based on ham radios that could serve as a back-up to a forthcoming closed-off, heavily censored, and China-inspired version of our beloved internet.

Yes, Devon Stack’s video about ham radio did furnish some rather interesting information, but the most intriguing piece of information I gleaned from watching his video did not come from the actual video itself, but instead, the most interesting take-away came from the carnival side show of real-time comments brought to the public courtesy of Stack’s live-stream listeners. The live-stream comments that caught my eye above all others came from a few listeners who were discussing their plans to begin making their own in-house vacuum tubes.

The idea of making vacuum tubes at the community level is worth considering because vacuum- tube-based ham radios can be easily built, serviced, and repaired for a very low cost, and having the capability to procure all of the needed replacement parts for simple vacuum tube radios in- house makes the task of shutting-down a decentralized network of vacuum-tube-based ham radios difficult to say the least.

An added bonus that comes with the ability to make vacuum tubes in modest workshops is to also have the tooling needed to manufacture artisan “Edison” lightbulbs. Basic Edison light bulbs can easily be created by using the same equipment, and many of the same components, used to make vacuum tubes. So, think of having local access to inexpensive and easily repaired lightbulbs as a perk that would arise along with the process of establishing a cottage industry of artisan vacuum tube manufacturing.

Interestingly, there is already a thriving market for artisan lightbulbs on places like Etsy.com It seems that many people have recently come to love the aesthetics of old Edison lightbulbs, and taking advantage of their softer lighting is now an established method of choice for creating intimate and cozy atmospheres in homes and public spaces. A 2017 article featured on pacificstandard.com lamented the fact that the number of Edison lightbulbs that can be counted while walking the sidewalk of a city block is now a solid numerical indicator of just how far the disease of gentrification and the creep of whiteness has advanced within an urban enclave. Fortunately, making in-house lightbulbs is a whole lot faster and easier than making vacuum tubes that are inspired by consuming distilled spirits of questionable quality and origin or by listening to old tunes belted-out by the likes of Steve Earl and the Kentucky Headhunters.

Unlike vacuum tubes, all of the internal components needed to make lightbulbs can be sourced and manufactured on a local level, and the filaments in Edison-style lightbulbs can easily be made from small cuttings of bamboo stalks that have been cooked in well-sealed and airtight containers included in pottery kiln firings5. Once made, a typical bamboo-filamented Edison light bulb offers its users around 1200 hours of illumination.