[AMRadio] AM vs SSB: Cost

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Tue May 1 16:02:25 EDT 2007

Good comments and first hand reports on pricing and deals.

My feeling is that AM is cheaper to get into from a builder's
perspective, since SSB gear isn't too builder-friendly in comparison.
AM is more forgiving and less complex in design, while it gives a much
more pleasant audio result.

Used commercial SSB gear can be bought dirt cheap now, probably
cheaper overall than commercial AM gear. Partly because the market has
been saturated with cheap Japanese gear over the years, and partly
because of the resurgence in AM interest. The focus with SSB (and the
ARRL, it seems) is on owning new equipment that you can't
realistically service, and upgrading it every few years. This was the
reason actually given to me by the ARRL New England director some
years ago at a hamfest when I asked him why there weren't more
articles about building and servicing in QST. No one can fix today's
gear, so there's no point in dealing with the electronics side of
amateur radio anymore.

And, while the latest/greatest Yaecomwood box will cost you dearly,
there are old tubes rigs that will cost even more when fully restored.

To me, AM is the best all-around bargain. It's better from a building
and maintenance perspective, more interactive, sounds better, and
allows the enjoyment of new and old gear alike. Tube-type SSB gear can
be fun too, but as others have noted, there is a lot less patience in
the world of SSB for a signal that wanders a bit.

I've also found AMers to be pretty interesting folks too, but that's
another topic.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ

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