|[AMRadio] The Cost of Tubes|
k4kyv at charter.net
Sat Aug 25 12:55:56 EDT 2007
With the bands totally unusable last evening due to QRN, I spent some time
looking through a Depression-era 1933 issue of R-9 magazine, and happened
across a tube ad. One item they had listed that caught my eye was a 204-A
triode for $97.50, complete with a 6-month guarantee.
One of those tubes would have been roughly the equivalent of a HF-300 or
250TH, with about the same power output capability as a single 810 or 8000.
Using an online inflation caluclator I entered that price to see what it
would be in 2007 dollarettes.
It displayed an astounding price of $1541.25!
Some of the stuff in those old magazines that makes us drool may appear in a
different light when you calculate what the real cost was after figuring in
the devaluation of the dollar over the years.
A plate modulated KW with a pair of those tubes in the final, modulated by
another pair, would have cost the equivalent of over $6000 in 2007
dollarettes, just for a new set of tubes.
We have been spoilt by more than two generations of paying a tiny fraction
of the actual cost for tubes and parts due to cheap WW2 surplus, someone
else's throw-away and new-is-always-better mentality, and the low hamfest
prices for this kind of stuff following the amateur radio "conversion" to
SSB in the early 60's.
The audiophools and e-pay haven't really caused overvaluation of the stuff.
Prices have just readjusted back closer to normal, as the post-WW2 era
continues to slip into the soon-to-be distant past.
Still, I wouldn't pay $150 "as-is" for a 65 years-old 211/VT4-C that I
could have picked up at a hamfest for 35¢ as recently as the late 70's or
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