[AMRadio] Re: Value of Homebrew RIgs

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Fri Jul 14 09:33:30 EDT 2006

On 7/13/06, Brian Carling <bcarling at cfl.rr.com> wrote:

> 1) and 2) make 3) sound like a VERY  acceptable alternative
> to me... think about that.

Well, I'm not sure that the original comments were "either use it or
throw it away" Brian, but since you want to add it to the mix I'll say

1 & 3 really aren't a lot different with respect to the gear and
anyone beyond the owner. I've personally seen gear stored in an attic
that was actually in better shape than gear left in a room of the
living quarters, near salt water for example. Hot attics aren't
generally kind to some components, but they do a pretty good job of
preserving the iron and cosmetics at least. I can replace components a
lot easier than I can bead blast and make silkscreens.

I've also seen instances where 3) resulted in 2) when the user or
collector croaked and the room was cleared out and tossed. Some items
left in the attic, garage, or other storage survived since they
weren't discovered until after the massacre had ended.

My original argument is, and always has been, that a piece of
equipment has a far better chance of surviving long term if it's used,
and somewhat understood by others. The same discussion has taken place
on the milsurplus where some say you should never even put power to an
old piece of gear. I contend that this is more likely to turn it into
nothing more than a interesting doorstop or paperweight once the
original owner is gone. A piece of ARC-5 gear looks like a black metal
shoebox to some, fancy can opener to others. No speaker, no power
cord, no idea.

The average person will recognize a wooden beehive radio from their
past experiences(grandpa's old radio) or the many references in
movies, magazines, and so on. Many more non-radio folks visit antique
shops and yards sales than hamfest too, where they are more likely to
see old wooden and plastic sets. They have some mild idea what they
are, even if they don't work, and they'll snap up something if it
catches their eye. Big black or gray boxes with knobs are just that to
most people. But when they're lit up, needles swinging or sound coming
from a speaker, they suddenly become a radio. And even if the person
doesn't want it, they can make the connection to someone who does.

I wonder how you got interested in radio, Brian? Was it from seeing
some metal boxes on a shelf somewhere, or actually seeing/hearing
radio in operation that caught your attention? For me, it was using an
old 27mhz 2-way for SAR work and then going home to dig out some old
broadcast radios from the attic to investigate further (I'm sure glad
that dad hid 'em up there where mom couldn't toss them out). I wasn't
hooked because they looked cool, that came later. It was the actual
experience of radio and how it worked. I could actually imagine these
ships, aircraft, and hams in other places transmitting that signal.

Unfortunately imagination is a lot like Common Sense these days: it's
just not as common as it once was. As a result, I don't think that a
lot of folks will have much use for this stuff in the future.
Plug-n-Play-then-Throw-Away is the prevailing mentality of the day.
These old rigs only matter to those of us with a real interest and a
bit of imagination (often required for seeing that ratty rig in a
better light before purchasing it). We already keep them mainly to
ourselves even if used on the air. At least using them on the air
exposes other hams or potential hams to the enjoyment we have. Just
look at the increase in AM over the last few years.

But at the end of the day 1), 2), or 3) are still better than a pointy
stick in the eye. (o:

~ Todd  KA1KAQ

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