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Ham Radio's Technical Culture

Overview

Ham Radio's Technical Culture looks at the hobby of global, person-to-person communication by radio in mid twentieth century America, decades before the Internet. Drawing on a wealth of personal accounts found in radio magazines and newsletters and from technical manuals, trade journals, and government documents, Haring explains why hi-tech employers recruited amateur radio operators and why electronics manufacturers catered to these specialty customers. She describes radio hobbyists' position within the military...
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Overview

Ham Radio's Technical Culture looks at the hobby of global, person-to-person communication by radio in mid twentieth century America, decades before the Internet. Drawing on a wealth of personal accounts found in radio magazines and newsletters and from technical manuals, trade journals, and government documents, Haring explains why hi-tech employers recruited amateur radio operators and why electronics manufacturers catered to these specialty customers. She describes radio hobbyists' position within the military and civil defense during World War II and the Cold War as well as the effect of the hobby on family dynamics. By considering ham radio in the context of model building, photography, high-fidelity audio, and similar leisure pursuits, Haring highlights the shared experiences of technical hobbyists and shows the influence of tinkerers beyond hobby communities.

About the Author:
Kristen Haring holds degrees in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD in history of science from Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kristen Haring has written a valentine to the ham radio community....

[The book] situates radio hobbyists not only in the technological realm but within the worlds of work and home, as consumers and as contributors to civil defense." Michele Hilmes The Wilson Quarterly

"This book will help us better understand ourselves." William Klykylo (WA8FOZ) CQ Magazine

"With its detailed and interesting analysis of the interaction between technical cultures and technical identities, [this book] makes an important contribution to technology studies. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in the complicated interactions between technology, culture, and society." Sungook Hong Isis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262083553
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2006
  • Series: Inside Technology
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 1,346,579
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristen Haring is Assistant Professor of History at Auburn University. She holds degrees in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD in history of science from Harvard University. Haring's work has been recognized by the Society for the History of Technology, which awarded her the IEEE Life Members' Prize in Electrical History for portions of Ham Radio's Technical Culture. She has served on the board of directors of the Keith Haring Foundation since its creation by her brother in 1989.

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Table of Contents

Prologue     ix
Identifying with Technology, Tinkering with Technical Culture     1
The Culture of Ham Radio     19
Equipping Productive Consumers     49
Amateurs on the Job     75
Hobby Radio Embattled     95
Ham Radio at Home     119
Technical Change and Technical Culture     147
Acknowledgments     163
Notes     165
References     195
Index     215
Series List     219
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    The premise of this book is excellent. Unfortunately, the author has not done her homework. Her info comes exclusively from reading old QST magazines which she largely misunderstands. It is possible to learn more about Amateur Radio and Hams by reading almost another book on the subject. Don't waste your money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2009

    Almost a waste of paper

    The author used a nontechnical and very feminist view to paint an entire hobby as misguided and while useful in past times not particularly edifying. The history was good but colored with preconceptions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2007

    A reviewer

    'Ham Radio's Technical Culture' is a fascinating insight into a time and social structure long gone and sadly overlooked in the contemporary recitation of American history. Using amateur ''ham'' radio as her focal point, Dr. Haring gives the reader a sense of the times that we were living in: the rise of the United States as the dominant world power with the end of World War I, the explosion of industrial growth, and on a more personal and social level, the advent of 'technical cultures' from model railroads and erector sets to amateur radio, photography and cinematography. Drawing from a variety of sources that often run far afield from the conventional and otherwise traditional amateur radio press, Dr. Haring documents the rise of amateur radio as both a hobby, and for many young Americans, a source of inspiration that propelled them into the engineering fields that proved to be the key to American technological growth and dominance in the post World War II era. For all the good that it contributed to society, the amateur radio community was not without its internal 'and external' squabbles. As with any group of similar minded, yet geographically and economically diverse participants, there were many missteps and other seemingly self-destructive actions taken by and on behalf of both individuals and those claiming to represent the community as a whole. Dr. Haring's well documented research points these out without commentary or judgment. The result is a history of amateur radio both in a social and technological context from the time of its origin through the late 1960's/early 1970's, and by inference, the present day. 'Ham Radio's Technical Culture' presents a unique and hitherto unseen perspective of a bygone era and social structure whose impact remains with us to this day. The reader, be they an amateur radio operator (as this reviewer has been for 35 years) or one merely interested in learning more about the culture and society of America at that time, will find this book well worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2010

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