So let’s talk amateur radio for a while. Especially about stuff. As in where the hell did all this stuff come from, anyway?
I semi-retired a year or two ago. I generally have my summers off and only work for special events in the theater, fill in if someone calls in sick, deal with emergencies and things like that. Which means I should have lots and lots of spare time to fiddle with radios and stuff like that, right?
This morning was the first time in probably a month or more than I had all the equipment
turned on and actually used it. Much to my surprise it actually all worked. I didn’t have anything start on fire, no smoke, no cats came leaping out from under the desk with all their fur standing on end. I didn’t even have to resort to strong language. Amazing.
I finally put a decent cable on the iambic paddle to replace the cobbled together POS I’d thrown together so I could test it when I first got it.
Then I remembered I don’t do CW in the first place. So how in the world did I end up with not one but two Vibroplex CW keys?
It’s like a lot of other stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. I just — just have it for some reason. There’s a 500 foot long spool of LMR-400 coax sitting in the basement. I just ran across a bag of 50 very good quality PL-259 connectors in a drawer the other day. Right after I’d just bought a bag of 25 of them because I needed one and didn’t think I had any. Under that bag was a VOM I don’t remember ever buying. Which is okay. Can’t have too many VOMs, right? Maybe? I mean, everybody needs six or seven volt ohm meters, right?
Eldest son stayed over night a couple of weeks ago and found a new, never used GAP Titan vertical antenna in the box under the bed in the spare room upstairs. Oh, that’s right, I picked that up about three years ago and never got around to putting it up because it was easier to just string up a dipole. Then I stumbled over a DX-Engineering vertical with the complete mounting kit and all the accessories down in the basement. All still in the boxes. Which I bought because I forgot I had the GAP antenna sitting upstairs.
Where did all this stuff come from? How did I end up with two HF amplifiers? Suppose I could sell one of them, but how the hell do you ship a delicate, 100 pound amplifier full of vacuum tubes and a power supply as big as my head?
Some of the stuff I do need. The big dummy load I use for testing, the big antenna tuner. The oscilloscope comes in damned handy sometimes.
But how did I end up with 200 Anderson Power Pole connectors?
I’m convinced people are breaking into the house late at night and instead of stealing stuff, they’re shoveling more stuff in here.
Granted, some of the stuff is genuinely useful. I picked up some LED light panels intended to replace the dome lights in cars. Got those for about $2 each and they’re great for undercounter lighting. Especially if you already have 12V power supplies running to power other equipment like I do here.
But what in the world am I going to do with all those relays I salvaged from the old boiler controllers when we installed the new heating system at work?
And where in the world did that bloody great IBM mainframe tape drive come from? Okay, so it’s really neat to watch it thread the tape through itself using puffs of air to guide the tape, but come on… I suspect eldest son snuck that into the basement when I wasn’t looking. He’s even worse than I am when it comes to snagging stuff like that.
I was looking for the cable cutter the other day, opened the drawer, and there were six laser tubes rolling around along with front surfaced mirrors and other associated stuff. Found my weight set that I used when I serviced, tested and certified scales. Don’t know why I have that either. Get rid of it? Well, what if I ever need to test a scale, hmm?
I need to get rid of some of this — this stuff.
But not my collection of M&M dispensers. No sir… And I really do need six volt ohm meters. And I’d like to hang onto that extra transceiver just in case. And, well, you never know, maybe I’ll actually use that whole drawer full of PL-259 connectors. And the laser tubes…
I’m doomed, aren’t I?
3 thoughts on “Radio Stuff. Emphasis on Stuff.”
Great article, and I can totally relate. I’ve been a ham operator since I was 14 years old and I loved it so much I turned it into an electronics career. My radio gear could fill a good sized truck! I am somewhat ahead of you in that I know what I have. I am not a collector or hoarder and use everything I have. However, if someone offers me an old radio or a meter or whatever…heck I’m not going to turn it down! When you have a moment, I invite you to swing over to my ham radio blog http://www.offgridham.com
I’m about the same way here. If someone offers me something I take a fancy to, or I can get a real deal on something I might use sometime, I’ll snap it up. Goes back to my frugal farm upbringing, I guess. Never get rid of anything that might be potentially useful.
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I’m pretty bad with books and electronics items. They’re pretty much all over the house. I’ve got a Pixia 40m kit I have to put together someday. It’s just that time pressure is a bit much in my life right now.