This story was submitted by Ross Wilmot. He was perusing some ancient QST magazines and came across this humorous article which we have posted here.


As have so many others, over the years I have struggled with some concepts of electronic theory, thought to be unnecessarily complex. I have struggled with the concepts of electronic charges, chemical valences and ionic bonding, electrons and “holes” and electronic-hole flow.

But, alas, in my continuing search for truth, enlightenment and understanding, from the depths of Ham Radio magazine, Bill Orr, W6SAI, noted and prolific technical writer, provided the following insight, which has given me understanding and an inner peace in my everlasting search.

Mr. Orr reported in the April, 1985 issue the startling discovery by Mark Persons, which invalidates all of the existing ideological  hole theory “claptrap”. Mr. Persons has published his theory to reveal how electronic equipment actually works!

Mr. Persons wrote, “for many years, young electronic technicians have been taught the “hole” theory of electronics. This theory explains how electrons move along conductors and semiconductors. The explanation has been good enough to satisfy or keep at bay anyone who might otherwise question the theory.

However, after a number of years working in the broadcast industry, he has come to realize the “hole” theory explanation may not be correct.

Mr. Persons’ theory, which has been proven time and again by personal observation, is that electronics works on smoke. Yes, that’s right. He recently learned that every manufacturer encapsulates a certain amount of smoke in every piece of electronic component built. The smoke is what does the work.

You have probably noticed that a component will quit working when the smoke leaks out. He has documented this many times and concluded this clearly proves his theory. His theory sure beats the “hole” theory. He has never seen holes in a wire, and questions why electrons don’t pour out of the end of a wire when the wire is broken.

Mr. Orr concluded that Mr. Persons theory is RIGHT!! He stated that he has seen smoke many times, but he has never seen an electron, nor a “hole”. He acclaimed, “Hats off to Mr. Persons for his pioneer work” and concluded that his discovery should be celebrated each April in years to come from that date forward!