Re: the controversy over the January 1994 QST article "The Nearly Perfect Amplifier", by this author--and the subsequent critique of the "The Nearly Perfect Amplifier" in the September 1994 issue of QST:

In 1988, 1989 and 1990, I wrote some articles that were published in QST. {October 1988, January 1989, March 1989 April 1989, January 1990, September 1990, October 1990, November 1990, and December 1990.} In the Fall of 1993, I received a letter from QST asking me if I would like to write another article. I telephoned Paul Pagel. I told him that QST readers often ask me which brand of amplifier is best. I proposed an article on what to look for when shopping for an amplifier. Such information could also be helpful for designing a relatively trouble-free homebrew amplifier. Paul said that this topic sounded interesting. He asked me to send him a manuscript. I wrote the article and gave it the title "The Almost Perfect Amplifier." QST's technical review group recommended the article for publication. Al Brogdon was assigned the job of editing. The title was changed to "The Nearly Perfect Amplifier." QST Editor Mark Wilson's normal limit for articles is four pages. After copyediting, the article was five pages. Al couldn't see a practical way to additionally shorten the article, so he gave it to Mark. After reading the five page version, Mark reportedly told Al that shortening the article was not practical. The five page article went to the printer. Several months after publication, Mark sent word to me via Al that he was being pressured by advertisers who were upset with my article. He said that he was going to have to give them some space in QST to present their complaints.

The first indication I had that something extraordinary was about to happen was when I received a phone call in late August from Fred Maia, of the W5YI REPORT. He said that he just heard there was a most unusual critique of a QST author in the latest QST, and the author was reportedly AG6K. He wondered if I had any comments for his next newsletter. I couldn't comment because my copy of the Sept. 1994 QST had not arrived. A few days later, it did. Fred was right. the critique was indeed unusual. On page 71, four pages of letters from six complainants were published. This didn't sound like the work of the Paul Pagel I knew. It wasn't. Paul Pagel told me that, even though his name was on the September "Technical Correspondence" column, he had no part in it. The name at the top of the column should have been Mark Wilson.

When I read the complainants' letters, I noticed that:

To my knowledge, QST had never before presented a one-sided argument for the purpose of attacking a QST author. What seemed even more odd was that this attack was coordinated by an Official ARRL Technical Advisor--Fred Telewski, WA7TZY. Mr. Telewski took issue with parts of my article that he either misread, misquoted, or misinterpreted. To prove himself correct on one point, he misquoted Eimac's technical literature. I read on. Something struck me as rather odd. Mr. Telewski claims to have electrical engineering degrees. However, his comments about choke ripple filters were not the sort of comments one would expect from a person who has a basic understanding of Alternating Current Theory. Other amplifier builders that I spoke with also found Telewski's lack of knowledge about power supply ripple filters to be remarkable.

I wrote a rebuttal letter to the Sept. 1994 QST critique. After I mailed the rebuttal to the list of recipients, Tom Rauch, W8JI, MFJ/Ameritron Co.'s "recognized expert" (see Mr. Rauch's list of 'recognized experts': Sept. 1994 QST, page 71, column 3) responded promptly. Tom threatened to file a libel lawsuit against me and the ARRL if my rebuttal letter was published in QST. I recalled the old adage: "The tenderest nerve is behind the bull's-eye." Mr. Rauch said he was sending a copy of the letter to Paul Pagel. Since everything I said in regards to Mr. Rauch in the rebuttal is factual, if not charitable, there was no foundation for a libel suit. It appeared that Mr. Rauch was threatening drastic measures to keep Mr. Measures' rebuttal away from QST readers.

In October 1994, I received a telephone call from Paul Pagel. He said that Fred Telewski had telephoned him in regards to my rebuttal. However, Paul had no knowledge of any rebuttal because he had not received the copy of it that I mailed to him at QST. For some unexplained reason, Paul's copy of the rebuttal was not delivered to his desk at QST. After inquiring around the office, Paul said his copy of the rebuttal letter mysteriously turned up. No explanation for the lengthy in-house delay in mail delivery was proffered.

I telephoned Paul in late December 1994 to find out what he thought of some of the letters he had received from QST readers in regard to the September "Technical Correspondence" column. Paul said that he had not received any letters--either pro or con. This was curious because I know a number of people--in addition to Tom Rauch--who wrote to Paul. Why weren't ARRL members' letters being delivered to Paul Pagel? I asked Paul if any part of my rebuttal letter would be published in QST magazine. He said: No. The six complainants got 5500 words of space. I get 0 words of rebuttal space. I remember when QST had a policy of presenting both sides of technical issues--precisely what ARRL members should expect from an organization that claims to be: Of, by and for amateur radio.

I recall a telephone conversation I once had with a QST staffer in regards to a 3700 word article I wrote on the TS-830S transceiver. The article described some easily-fixed, common problems and simplified alignment procedures for this venerable old radio. I submitted the article to QST. The staffer said that the article had been rejected. He said that Kenwood wants hams to purchase their newest model instead of fixing up their older radios. He asked for my permission to distribute free copies of my article privately. I said sure. This was sad. Here was an article that would be useful to a lot of ordinary folks of modest means, but it couldn't be published in what is touted as their magazine because some rich folks in Japan wanted to get richer. The QST staffer told me that he was worried about QST's credibility. He said he remembered a time when the TS-830S article would have been published--but that was under different management who "had the b___s to stand up to advertisers."......Now I understand why Consumer Reports magazine has no advertising.

If not for the relentless efforts of fellow QST author, Jack Najork, W5FG, Mark Wilson would probably have gotten away with what appears to have all the marks of a cover-up. W5FG is truly a Ferocious Guy! Jack had to write more than 40 letters to pry a reply out of Publisher David "It's your League" Sumner. Most of Jack Najork's letters went to ARRL Directors---a title that Jack finds amusing. There were two "Directors" who initially took an interest in this controversy. However, both pulled in their horns as if they had been Directed to do so by "a higher source"--as they say in the Kosher hotdog ads. It wasn't until Jack tried to buy $1200 worth of QST advertising space to have his 500 word Letter to the Editor published, that Editor Mark Wilson started to take Jack seriously. Mark refused Jack's 500 word ad and offered Jack 175 words of space in QST--hardly generous compared to the 5500 words of QST space provided to the six "Contributor"/critics. However, Mark's recent refusal of one QST ad for a nonheterosexual ham club subsequently cost the ARRL membership $25,000--and QST had to publish the ad. If not for the W5YI REPORT, QST readers would probably have never found out what really happened to THEIR $25,000. Mark may have been on thinner ice than he realized. Jack was going to hire the same law firm that obtained the $25,000 settlement from QST.

Of the numerous letters and phone calls I've received about this controversy, the most irate respondants were QST authors. I know some QST authors who say they will write no more articles for QST. Would you?

If you write a letter about this controversy to the powers-that-be at QST, please send me a copy of your letter via e-mail or postal mail. I would like to publish your letter here if it's okay with you. If you write to Mark Wilson, AA2Z, you might to ask him how Low VHF-Q Parasitic Suppressor Retrofit-Kit s/n 1252 [6/29/90] worked out in his once-squirrelly Alpha 77 amplifier. This amplifier had destroyed a number of 8877 tubes during the years when it was in use at W1AW. When he phoned in his order for the retrofit-kit, Mark told me that he purchased the troublesome Alpha at an in-house auction for League employees. He said that he thought he knew why the amplifier had a habit of destroying 8877s--because he read my article about parasitic oscillation in the Oct. 1988 QST.

The ARRL Contract: In the Fall of 1993 ,I received a letter from the ARRL asking me if I would be interested in writing for the 1995 Handbook. The letter said that they were serious about correcting long time problems in the Handbook. This was good news. For many years, the Handbook had been out of date and it contained erronious information. For instance, the Handbook had the Wrong formulae for Pi-L tank circuits. Fixing the Handbook seemed like a noble enterprise--so I signed a contract to write about high power HF amplifiers. The pay was the same as writing for QST--$65 per published page. I was told that the copy-editor for what I wrote would be Bob Schetgen, KU7G, the Editor of the 1995 Handbook. I began writing. Roughly every month I sent Schetgen a copy of the current manuscript. About five weeks before the due date on the contract (and a few months after "The Nearly Perfect Amplifier" appeared in QST), Shetgen phoned me. He said to stop writing and send in what I had written. I thought this was strange. Why had the ARRL broken the contract? I sent in the manuscript. During the next two weeks, I heard nothing from Schetgen--so I telephoned him to find out what was going on. I asked him what he thought of the manuscript. He said had not opened the envelope. End of conversation. About a week later, I received a letter from QST Associate Technical Editor, Joel P. Kleinman, N1BKE, informing me that the ARRL had reason to believe that what I wrote in the manuscript was not proven to be accurate--clearly a euphemism for we think that you don't know what you're talking about. I telephoned Kleinman and asked him who said so?. Surprise! -- there were now two new copy-editors--and neiiher one was an ARRL employee. He said that the two copy-editors looked over my manuscript and did not agree with what I wrote. Kleinman told me that one of the new copy-editors was Dick Ehrhorn**--[the manufacturer of Alpha amplifiers]. Klineman said he could not tell me who the other person was--(apparently because the ARRL had an agreement with C. Tom Rauch, Jr., W8JI, not to disclose his identity to me). End of conversation. Why didn't copy-editor #2 want me to know his name? // I telephoned Schetgen again. I told him that if the ARRL did not believe what I wrote about amplifiers, perhaps it would be best if we cancelled the contract. Schetgen agreed immediately. Dick Ehrhorn took over the job of writing about amplifiers for the 1995 Handbook.

**Richard W. "Dick" Ehrhorn, W4ETO:
The news that Dick Ehrhorn had somehow managed to become my copy-editor, without my knowledge,was hardly good.

Dick Ehrhorn wrote me a handwritten letter in late summer of 1990 requesting information on our telephone RFI filters and low VHF-Q parasitic suppressor retrofit-kits. A curious question: Why would the owner of a large, affluent company hand-write a letter about a subject that pertained to a possible design-flaw in his products?

Since I had just finished writing "Parasitics Revisited" for the September and October 1990 issues of QST, I sent Dick Ehrhorn a copy of the manuscript along with my reply letter. I did not tell Ehrhorn where the gold-sputter damaged amplifier-tubes came from that were used in the photographs for "Parasitics Revisited." Most of these tubes had been removed from Alpha amplifiers. [According to Eimac, gold-sputtering is caused by VHF/UHF parasitic oscillations.]

Ehrhorn wrote me another handwritten letter. He assured me that Alpha amplifiers never have parasitic oscillation problems. Ehrhorn went on to explain why he is certain that Alphas never oscillate. He said that whenever a tube goes bad in an Alpha, he returns it to Eimac and Eimac replaces it every time without question. According to Ehrhorn, his company, Ehrhorn Technological Operations, had sent in around six dozen defective 8877s during the previous year, and Eimac replaced every one without charge, and without question. Ehrhorn said that if these tube failures were ETO's fault, Eimac would not have replaced the tubes--hence, Alphas do not have parasitic oscillation problems. Hmmmm. I telephoned Eimac. An Eimac-engineer said that even though Eimac engineers know about gold-sputtering damage, Eimac's warranty dept. does not. When a returned, under-warranty tube shows any kind of internal leakage, it is simply tossed into a scrap bucket and replaced. I told the Eimac engineer that it was nuts to replace tubes that were damaged by an unstable amplifier design. He agreed. He said that Eimac's warranty dept. does NOT talk to the engineering dept.

The Concerned ARRL Director:
In April of 1995 I received a letter from one of the ARRL Directors regarding a letter he wrote to the President of the ARRL. The Director was concerned about the September 1994 critique in QST.:

QUOTING (******* indicates redacted text)

February 2, 1995


George Wilson, W4OYI (the then President of the ARRL)

I just received an info copy of correspondence to you from Jack Najork, W5FG concerning Rich Measures' article "The Nearly Perfect Amplifier" which appeared in January, 1994 QST. At the time, I too felt that the mass of deliberate criticism of Measures' original article (9/94 QST) bordered on unethical journalism. I have just re-read both the original article and the rebuttals by Telewski et al, and while some of Measures' statements cannot be fully substantiated, that is not really the point. I agree with Najork that closer scrutiny by the publication review committee should have been made prior to publication. If those members on that committee are technically unqualified with regard to vacuum tube HF power amplifiers, then that should have been the time to ask the "hit team" to review, not after the fact with the September rebuttal.

However, I believe Measures' work contains a lot of good points. Having probably built as many home brew amplifiers in the last 45 years as all of those "experts" combined, I know a little about the subject. Several years ago, KD9Q and myself suffered the same identical problem on separate occasions as Measures describes. This is where UHF/VHF parasitics destroy a tube. We both lost perfectly good 8877s due to internal flashover within the tube itself most probably caused by an improper load (wrong antenna) being switched to the amplifier. In my case I had a guest operator who inadvertently switched in a 15M Yagi while operating on 20M. There was a loud "bang", and the 8877 along with the bias circuitry, RF plate choke, and both meters were destroyed. I didn't need a network analyzer as is suggested by Telewski to understand the problem! The wrong antenna presented the tube with an unrealistic plate impedance prompting the parasitic VHF or UHF oscillation. KD9Q's amplifier, which was commercially built, experienced a similar situation.

My amplifier was basically my copy of a similar unit published in Eimac's Application Notes. It uses Jennings vacuum variables for both tune and load, and with a Jennings vacuum output relay sequenced with a slower frame type relay for the input.

After we both lost expensive 8877s, I installed Measures parasitic suppression kit in both amplifiers. I am happy to say that the problem has never recurred to either of us. For Telewski to categorically state that it is only the external circuitry is at fault is nonsense. The loop which causes the oscillation includes the tube itself as well as all surrounding external circuitry.

With one of my amplifiers I use 1000 volt PlV avalanche diodes without equalizing resistors or capacitors in a bridge HV supply consisting of 7 each per leg. This represents a total of 7 KV PlV. The transformer is a hipersil from Peter DahI rated at 3500 V @ lA ICAS. The oil-filled filter capacitors are a combined 18 mfd at 5 KV. The supply delivers 4200 volts under load to a single 4-1000A in grounded grid. I have never experienced any rectifier problems with this power supply. In the rebuttal, several of the experts go to great length to say it can't work.

As far as filament inrush current is concerned, for years I simply applied full voltage to a pair 3-5OOZs at turn on. From that experience I have a box full of shorted grid to filament pullouts! The rebuttal by Telewski and Rauch discounts this phenomena as rare in amateur applications. Since the late 70s,l have used a stepping sequence which slowly (3 seconds) allows the tubes to receive filament power. I have never had a subsequent failure. (Knock on wood!)

All in all, I feel the September 1994 rebuttal was vindictive. I hope that there was not a 'secret agenda" underlying the rebuttal. In the interest of journalistic fairness, I believe that Najork's request for an apology is in order. I also believe that Measures' rebuttal should be printed in QST.


*** ******, ****


After the Feb. 1996 QST semi-apology, I wrote to the concerned Director and asked him some questions. He said that he was"out of line" for writing to me in the first place. He told me that he could not talk to me any more. He appeared to be frightened.

=============================== read the 500 word letter that Jack Najork tried to have published in the QST advertisement section -- at Jack's expense....This is the ad that QST Editor Mark Wilson rejected. read the article on the TS-830S...