[AMRadio] Re: AM Recognition

D. Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Tue Oct 30 09:35:02 EST 2007

>> But 15 to 20 years ago,
>> I would agree, boatancher stuff was cheap, by the curb every week, and
>> calls for please "come take it away; I can't lift it anymore" were
>> common. My best boatanchor acquisitions (price wise) came during the late
>> 80's to early 90's.
> Same for me, Pete. Through the 70s-80s, even into the 90s I hauled
> home a lot of stuff due to this factor, always looked at like I was a
> bit touched in the head for doing so. The internet/auction sites, a
> new crop of interest and new collectors playing catch up along with
> the nostalgia factor drove demand up pretty high, pretty fast.
> ~ Todd,  KA1KAQ

I found the best times for picking up "stuff" was in the early 70's at 
hamfests.  That was just past the peak of the era when AM was supposed to be 
"dead" and anything unrelated to slopbucket was considered by many to be 
worthless.  In the post incentive licensing late 60's when the saturation of 
anti-AM propaganda was at its peak, many items still carried high prices 
because owners  had not yet let go of the notion that it was capable of 
fetching higher prices than more people were willing to pay.  But by around 
1971 or 1972 the owners had largely given up on the idea and I can recall 
KW modulation transformers at flea markets with $10 price tags, and large 
transmitting triodes like 450TL's, n.i.b. for $5.00 each (they weren't the 
ideal tube for ideal for "leenyars").  Unused VT-4C/211's could be bought 
all day for 35¢ each. Parts of every description were dirt cheap because 
with the advent of slopbucket, homebrewing was being looked upon more and 
more as a dying art.  Even well-built homebrew rigs with the highest quality 
components were  looked upon as not worth their weight as scrap metal. 
No-one wanted old style round panel meters, black bakelite dials and other 
items, 19" rack panels or anything else with black wrinkle paint, large air 
variables, heavy iron, wirewound resistors, mica caps, etc.  Too much of 
the "stuff", largely WW2 surplus items, was simply being hauled to the dump 
because owners thought it wasn't worth the trouble to lug it to hamfests 
(and probably back home again).

This was the era when I would go to a medium to large hamfest and when I 
came back my car, one of those old circa-1962 Plymouths, wide as an army 
tank, long enough (including the tail fins) to take up two parking spaces, 
and with a trunk large enough to hold about as much as a modern compact 
pick-up truck, would be crammed full of  radio goodies.  I once drove all 
the way to suburban Chicago and returned with the trunk and every 
conceivable cubic inch of passenger space filled.  Even the front seat and 
front passenger leg room was filled up, leaving only enough room at the end 
of the long bench seat for me to sit and manipulate the controls of the car, 
which was almost dragging the ground.

When guys would see me hauling flea market purchases to the car, they would 
make wisecracks like "looks like somebody found himself a boat-anchor, yuk 
yuk".  To this day the term "boat-anchor" sounds derisive to me and I don't 
use it.

But now I  have the last laugh.  I pretty well  have my own private radio 
warehouse, with enough spare stuff to build one or two more homebrew AM 
kilowatts if I so desire, and to keep my present rigs running in some form 
for at  least another 50 years, while that kind of  "stuff" now goes for big 
bucks at hamfests and over e-Pay, if you can find it anywhere at any price. 
I  suspect most has long gone to the landfill, and what is  left is being 
hoarded in junkboxes and junk rooms like mine.

Actually I need to unload some of my stuff and let someone else put it to 
use, because even with the separate former one-room  school building that 
serves as my ham shack, I have about run out of storage space.

But to quote John, W5MEU (SK), "better to have it and not need it than to 
need it and not have it".

Don k4kyv 

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