Re: Persistence seems lacking...

Shirley Dulcey KE1L

Distortion, in particular the kind of distortion that tubes produce, is part of what we think of as the characteristic sound of an electric guitar. Guitar amplifiers are not designed for minimum distortion, and they are often pushed to and beyond their limits to get that tube distortion to happen. A common way of handling guitars for a large venue is to use a small tube amplifier, put a microphone in front of it to capture the result, and then put that through a clean stack of solid state amplifiers to fill the space.

In addition to distortion from the amplifier, guitar players use a variety of effects boxes to distort their sound in other ways. Those effects happen before the amplifier, so whatever the amp does to the signal is stacked on top of the distortion from the boxes.

Tubes are still a cost-effective way to get a kilowatt or more of RF output, especially if you buy one of the many used linear amplifiers that are available. (I know - off-topic for QRP!) Other than that, their primary appeal in ham radio is nostalgia. They have the appeal of being technology that you can almost understand and imagine making at home. It would take a fair amount of specialized gear but you COULD make your own rudimentary vacuum tubes. Making your own transistors would be far more challenging, and making sophisticated integrated circuits is far beyond what any individual could do.

On Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 9:19 AM Braden Glett <bradenglett@...> wrote:
"PS is anything still driven by valves?"

Yes - plumbing. Other than that, you should probably have the hobby of working on guitar amplifiers rather than radio! :) Amps still use tubes for that nice, warm sound, real or imagined.

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