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Monday, December 26, 2022

A Blast from the Past: TR on Homebrewing (sort of)

 Theodore Roosevelt

"It is not the critic who counts; not the ham who points out how the homebrewer stumbles, or where the builder of rigs could have built them better. The credit belongs to the ham who is actually at the workbench, whose hands are scarred by solder and metal and glue; who strives valiantly; who errs, whose amp oscillates again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to build his rigs; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of homebrew  achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid operators who neither know victory nor defeat.”


  1. Nice paraphrase. Of course, in the real TR's experience, his "valiant striv[ing]" including bullying Colombia to turn over Panama to American control, and through his "corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine he set the stage for a century of American intervention in Latin American affairs. Had he thought more wisely than he "dared greatly," he could have spared the hemisphere a lot of grief. An adolescent until his death, never quite making it to maturity. BTW, it was TR who--as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and then President--turned radio regulation over to the Navy. It wasn't until the Communications Act of 1934--under the second Roosevelt--that the RF spectrum was placed fully in civilian control by the newly-created FCC.

  2. King Macbeth also wrote of ham radio:

    Impedance, and Impedance, and Impedance,
    Creeps in this petty circuit from day to day
    To the last syllable of the IF stages;
    And all our Admittance has lighted panels
    The way to dusty chassis. Out, out brief sparks!
    Radio's but a squawking shadow, a poor transceiver,
    That struts and frets his hour on the air,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of static and birdies,
    Signifying nothing. (Act V, Scene 5)


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