What Is It?February 1943 QST Article

 February 1943 QST Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from ARRL's QST, published December 1915 - present. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
If subjects pertaining to electronics - particularly vacuum tubes - are like music to your ears, then this poem titled "What Is It?," from the February 1943 edition of QST, should suit you just fine. The rhyming words are supplied by author Frank Judd; you just need to supply the harmony. Poems like this one were actually quite common back in the day.
In fact if you look through the list of articles that I have posted from vintage QSTs, you will find half a dozen or more.

What Is It?

BY Frank E. Judd

What is the thing that's in a tube
That people call the mu?
It is a silly-sounding word -
What does the blamed thing do?

Well, listen, child, and you shall hear
How simple such things are,
And you may then astonish
The people near and far.

A grid can make a current flow,
Or stop it, if you please;
It only needs a voltage
To accelerate or cease.

This current flow is to the plate,
And from the tube's cathode.
'Tis so in multielement
Or simplified diode.

Now, positive potential,
When placed upon a plate,
Can also make a current flow
But at a lesser rate.

Compared with what the grid can do
Its pull is pretty lame.
The grid can make a bigger flow
With current just the same.

Divide the oomph that grid can show
By what the plate can do:
You will derive that magic thing
That people call the mu.

And when you've found out all that stuff,
Without or with assistance,
The next thing that they'll ask you
Is, "What is plate resistance?"

Well, that is just as easy,
Believe it true or not.
When there's a current to the plate
There's voltage on the spot.

And when you've done that little thing
At school or in your patio,
You'll find that volt and current change
Are at a certain ratio.

And when you have determined
That ratio or rate,
Know then that you have found the
Resistance of the plate.

Now, there is still another thing
I mention with reluctance.
It is a sixty-dollar word -
They call it transconductance.

It is the ratio of the change
In current to the plate
Divided by the voltage change
Back at the grid, they state.

Now do not be alarmed by this;
Just place yourself above it.
And if they ask you this in Quiz
Why, just think nothing of it!

Posted  12/6/2012