My 50 cents on jargon and abbreviations


A “linear” is not a piece of radio gear, An AMPLIFIER IS! “Linear” is the STATE of the amplifier 


W8LGZ – in the “Strays” section on Eham.net.

I am one of those people who easily get locked up in other peoples choice of words. Maybe I am a bit conservative in that matter. W8LGZ and I are probably quite alike in that matter.

Maybe it is because I’m still fairly new to amateur radio that I don’t mind other radio amateurs calling their amplifier a “linear”. I have to admit that when I first heard this I did notice the obviously wrong use of the term. But I have actually not given this phrase too much thought, despite my care for correct terminology.

It didn’t bother me. But why should it, really? In my opinion, this is a kind of slang that is established in the radio community, rather than just a term used wrong. Think about it: What is a VHF anyway? Or a handheld? And how can a single transceiver be a rig? And coax is strictly not a cable either.

Using the correct terminology is the best way to avoid confusion. And correct use of terminology is an attribute of professionalism. My students learn this. But then again, every community or group have their own slang, and amateur radio is probably the one that uses slang the most of all.

In the end, I do agree with W8LGZ. I say linear amplifier, simply because many things can be linear. Pure and correct use of terminology is pleasantly easy to deal with. But be sure not to let a “linear” keep you awake. You might not get any sleep at all. But of course, the best DX happens in the night, right? 🙂

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