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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: K0OD on January 08, 2012, 08:35:28 AM



Title: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 08, 2012, 08:35:28 AM
Find myself getting nostalgic over the best boat anchors, like the still-impressive 1939 HRO5. Some on Eham get aroused by the mention of 70s Drake stuff. My cheapie TS-430 from 1982 is a simple uncluttered delight to use... occasionally.

Many old radios are still fun and they do some things impressively well. So sometimes I wonder how much ham equipment has really improved over the years... over the decades. One could debate whether S-meters have improved overall. There was no learning curve on most tube radios. New radios are generally far better than old ones. But some aspects have benefited more than others.

Has any feature progressed more than frequency accuracy? That costly HRO, with its plug-in coils and optional crystal calibration oscillator could put you within a kHz or two of a band-edge. On other frequencies you only had a chart to guide you to a guess-timate. I was surprised to determine that the digital readout of my TS-430 was off about 0.25 kHz. My 1992 TS-850 is accurate to about 0.15 kHz.  (perhaps there's been some deterioration over time)

My Flex with its scope can determine frequency within 1/4 of a Hz! I think K3s are almost as good. If you look at Frequency Measuring Test results over the decades the progress is remarkable. Modern radios are more than a thousand times more precise than the once-astounding 1 kc Collins readout. Heck, the latest radios are more accurate than radios from just 5 years ago. FMT scores quantify that.

What's your vote for most-improved radio feature?


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: ONAIR on January 08, 2012, 10:02:31 AM
Find myself getting nostalgic over the best boat anchors, like the still-impressive 1939 HRO5. I think cave men were living when that came out. Some here get aroused by the mention of 70s Drake stuff. My bottom-of-the-line TS-430 from 1982 is a delight to use... occasionally. Sometimes I wonder how much radio has really improved over the years... over the decades.

Has any feature improved more than frequency accuracy? That costly HRO, with its plug-in coils and optional crystal calibration oscillator could put you within a kHz or two of a band-edge. On other frequencies you only had a CHART to guide you to a guess-timate. I was surprised to determine that the digital readout of my TS-430 was off about .25 kHz. My 1992 TS-850 is accurate to about 1/8th a kHz.  (perhaps there's been some deterioration over time)

My Flex with its scope can determine frequency within 1/4 of a Hz! I think K3s are almost as good. If you look at Frequency Measuring Test results over the decades the progress is remarkable. Modern radios are more than a thousand times more precise than the once-astounding 1 KC Collins readout. Heck, the latest radios are more accurate than radios from just 5 years ago. FMT scores quantify that.

What's your vote for most-improved radio feature?

  Digital readouts, lower weights, and and compact size!  DSP is fun too.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 08, 2012, 11:01:48 AM
Auto notch.....


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 08, 2012, 06:47:55 PM
The complexity!  Now I don't feel guilty when I can't fix the damn thing when it breaks!  Either send it back or trash it!  Simple.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W7ETA on January 08, 2012, 08:36:05 PM
Amen, Auto notch.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: KH6AQ on January 09, 2012, 05:50:58 AM
DSP noise reduction and filtering for CW operation are great advances.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K1CJS on January 09, 2012, 06:23:39 AM
I have a Yaesu FT101-EE.  It's more complicated to tune properly (although it's easy enough once you get the hang of it) while the newer radios are more forgiving if the tuning is a bit off.

On the other hand, I wouldn't trade the 101 in for anything.  It's too much fun to use!


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 09, 2012, 06:49:18 AM
Quote
DSP noise reduction
I talking about improvements that help function, not those that jack sales. The marketing beauty of DSP is that with each new model ads can imply: "This time we got it right!"

No one thinks about drift anymore. Do our latest models drift at all?  contrast this from a Collins 75A4 spec sheet:

"Warm-up drift is less than 300 cycles after 15 minutes of operation. Temperature stability is less than 1200 cycles drift from 0 to +/- 60 degrees C. Dial accuracy is 300 cycles after calibration."


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: KA5IPF on January 09, 2012, 10:52:50 AM
Sure they all drift. The TCXO determines how much. On 20m the standard specs for a radio are +/-10PPM. That translates to +/- 140 Hz after a 30 min warmup. The high stability ones are usually 0.5PPM or +/-7Hz.

The drift will not be reflected in the display like in the older radios (Kenwood TS820) as the displayed frequency is determined by the processor which is displays whatever frequency the software tells it to. It depends on the TCXO being correct. The numbers won't change but the frequency will as the TCXO drifts around. The 820 mentioned had a frequency counter for a display and as the frequency drifted so did the frequency displayed.

The "fly in the ointment" as they say is the accuracy of the TCXO. If it's exactly on design frequency so will you be. I've never seen this happen as alignment spec's usually call for +/-20Hz. If your radio uses a Cesium or Rubidium Standard for a reference oscillator you will be on frequency otherwise you're in the neighborhood.

What I see as the greatest advance is the ability of the mfg's to offer more and more features for the same dollars. A mid-range radio in the 80's was around $1k, same today. Don't even try to compare the 2 for features.

Clif


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 09, 2012, 12:15:45 PM
Better RX intermodulation performance: better rx filters, and depending, maybe better reciprocal mixing.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 09, 2012, 10:28:57 PM
Quote
Sure they all drift.

I wondered how much my Flex-5000 drifts. My test tonight showed it has NO discernible drift! I even turned it and its computer off for 15 minutes and back on. The Flex scope showed it remained on the same frequency... 5.000.000 Mhz. Amid one or two tenths of a Hz of Doppler shift, it was impossible to detect any change in the Flex's frequency. The Flex TCXO is rated at 0.5 PPM but it's far better than that. Roughly 1000 times better than a 75A4.

BTW, I see that the optional K3 TCXO is rated at 0.5 ppm.

I'm basing my test on the Flex-5000's built-in scope, not the readout. Shouldn't that be accurate for measuring drift?

 


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: KA5IPF on January 10, 2012, 05:54:40 PM
Nope, that's checking itself. Same TCXO provides stability for both. It's kinda like me checking the 10mHz output on the back of my freq counter on the same counter, it's looking at itself, zero error.

It's a 2 part deal. How much it moves over time and where it actually is. 2 different things. Try setting up on WWV and getting a reference point on your 'scope. IE the beep or whatever you want. Turn it off leave it off a while and turn it back on. If your reference point isn't the same it's your radio moving, not WWV


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 10, 2012, 07:29:35 PM
I am measuring WWV on 5 megs. I've used the scope with no external reference oscillator to do pretty well in Frequency Measuring Contests a couple of times. Wave display slows as I tune onto WWV and goes flat (plus/minus Doppler) if I'm precisely on it. 

I left the radio on WWV all day today and now see drift of about a one or two tenths of a Hz. I think my method is valid but such little drift seems too good to be true.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N3OX on January 10, 2012, 07:46:57 PM
Some combination of my sound card and my FT-857D drift maybe 10Hz in 15 minutes on 2m with respect to WA1ZMS/B which is frequency locked to a claimed 1 part per billion using a GPS-locked frequency source.

You can see it here (along with the doppler shifted scatter off a whole bunch of airplanes):

http://n3ox.net/files/WA1ZMS_0042Z_082309.jpg

That's a little better than 0.1ppm drift in 15 minutes.

But that's still  not conclusive because my rig and sound card could be drifting in opposite directions ;D




Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 11, 2012, 05:39:50 AM
Amen, Auto notch.

You have to be kidding!  Autonotches are terrible compared to a manual IF notch.

Best feature-additional bands on an HF rig, like 6 and 2m!  Second best improved feature-receiver dynamic range.

73s John AA5JG

Well the auto Notch I have on 2 Kenwood rigs here works flawlessly.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N6AJR on January 11, 2012, 02:10:08 PM
most improvement  here has been in the equipment operator :)


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: KA5IPF on January 11, 2012, 07:07:48 PM
most improvement  here has been in the equipment operator :)

Make that "appliance" operator but that I'm not sure about. The hams I was around in the 50's built all their own gear or converted surplus military ARC5's etc. I actually knew one that had a new Drake 2B Receiver, talk about a high roller. Never knew any doctors or lawyers so never saw Collins... What frequency you on? Same one you are! Keep talking. Calling a net the net control said "net on me", never heard a specific frequency except as a general starting idea. After that it was wherever the net control was. Didn't hear a lot of cussing either. FCC got touchy about that.

Rant off.

Clif


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 12, 2012, 02:39:20 AM
I find autonotch useful at times on SSB. IF notch is better and useful on CW if you need it.

Not worried about frequency readout - nearest 100 Hz is good enough for most amateur operation especially at HF. Note I said readout, not drift.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 12, 2012, 04:45:50 AM
Amen, Auto notch.

You have to be kidding!  Autonotches are terrible compared to a manual IF notch.

Best feature-additional bands on an HF rig, like 6 and 2m!  Second best improved feature-receiver dynamic range.

73s John AA5JG

Well the auto Notch I have on 2 Kenwood rigs here works flawlessly.

Yes, but they don't work on CW, and they are only at the AF level, so you might not hear the carrier, but your receiver does and it is still pumping the AGC.  Try the manual notch on a Kenwood TS850, Yaesu FT450, or Icom 740 sometime. You will never go back to autonotch.

73s John AA5JG

Well I also AWALYS use a narrow CW filter and preamp on and off as needed as well so I rarely have a problem with AGC pumping. BTW I owned a 850 for a bit many years ago and still own a 830 with manual notch and still prefer auto notch hands down.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 12, 2012, 07:54:26 AM
When I started this thread I wondered what modern feature would have most blown the socks off a ham or engineer from long ago. I thought about the panadaptor but they were invented in the 30s... indeed the name came from the Panadaptor Corp in the mid-1930s. But the new ones really are great tech, and useful. 

Auto-notch??? Jeesh!  Reminds me of Mel Brooks calling Liquid Prell Shampoo the greatest invention. The others break if you drop them on your bathroom floor, he explained.

I almost never use my automatic notch filter.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AG on January 12, 2012, 09:43:28 AM
Solid State.  Yes I do appreciate the glowing of the tubes in my old rigs.  I have many times considered replicating my first transmitter.  2 tubes, crystal control, 40W dummy load to tune it up.  I still might do it some day.

But I spend enough time each day waiting for my computer to boot up or to finish something I set it doing.  I often talk to the coop hires, while waiting for one piece of equipment or another to finish something, about waiting for the tubes to warm up.  All of the advanced technology and we still wait on the machines.  At least the tube rigs kept you warm.

But still, I can go home tonight and crank on my new solid state rig and be on the air instantly.

Unless I use my Orion whihc seems to need time to boot up

Its all fun.  73, JP, K8AG



Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W4KVW on January 12, 2012, 02:53:45 PM
"REAL TIME" BAND SCOPE built INTO the radio hands down! Sure saves spinning that VFO knob & on a QUIET band lets you see the band & if ANY activity too check out! The DX Cluster gives you an IDEA "SOMETIMES" but NOT always where you are!

Clayton
W4KVW


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N9DG on January 14, 2012, 07:14:37 AM
PC based SDR technology with the the display hardware SEPARATED from RF I/O hardware. It is what really makes the panadapter concept work well because it makes point and click tunning economically doable. Can only wonder if such technology was economical back when panadapters were first developed, if they would have been a lot more common a lot sooner.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 14, 2012, 08:29:58 AM
Panadaptors seemed to drop out of fashion in the early 1950s for some reason. Probably because rx architectures of those days didn't allow a very wide span.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 14, 2012, 10:17:54 AM
My only post here was meant to be facetious, however I would like to cast my serious vote.

I think SDR (Software Defined Radio) to be the most jaw dropping innovation yet.  I realize that SDR has only started to show its potential but I believe that in the not too distant future we will be calling the so called high-end radios we now use, "boat anchors!"

SDR is the future of radio communications.  One day in the not too distant future a ham shack will consist of nothing more than a box hidden away and a computer.

And I also believe that this will be not only be accepted but considered "normal" and the norm.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 15, 2012, 04:50:54 AM
>SDR is the future of radio communications.  One day in the not too distant future a ham shack will consist of nothing more than a box hidden away and a computer.

And I also believe that this will be not only be accepted but considered "normal" and the norm.<

And then amateur radio will only consist of 'appliance operators'. Be hard to see any difference to CB.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 15, 2012, 06:07:27 AM
I almost never use my automatic notch filter.

Must not do much 40 meters were either foreign broadcasting above 7200 or AM QSO's  below that can be a issue at times. AutoNotch deals with this nicely.   


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 15, 2012, 06:44:32 AM
Quote
Must not do much 40 meters...

I have a Flex-5000A. Work mostly CW, and 60 meters sideband where I would use its new Tracking Notch Filter which can manually stick several <<<RF>>>notches on interference... permanently if desired. The TNF works on CW too. Flex has an auto notch too.

Anyone who likes a traditional auto notch will love Flex's new tracking notch. You really have to see it in action to understand the benefits.
Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t17ipMS8gAk


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W2NAP on January 16, 2012, 02:46:24 AM
My only post here was meant to be facetious, however I would like to cast my serious vote.

I think SDR (Software Defined Radio) to be the most jaw dropping innovation yet.  I realize that SDR has only started to show its potential but I believe that in the not too distant future we will be calling the so called high-end radios we now use, "boat anchors!"

SDR is the future of radio communications.  One day in the not too distant future a ham shack will consist of nothing more than a box hidden away and a computer.

And I also believe that this will be not only be accepted but considered "normal" and the norm.

not for me! last thing I want is my PC being my radio. 


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 16, 2012, 08:38:00 AM
Quote
And then amateur radio will only consist of 'appliance operators'. Be hard to see any difference to CB.

Absolutely correct!  But, to put things in perspective, we have mostly appliance operators now!  Realistically, it is extremely difficult if not impossible for most hams to service their own gear.  Modifications are also next to impossible. How many posts have you seen on eHam.com on "how do I connect my transceiver to an amplifier?  Or how long to I cut a dipole? 

Modern day hams are reduced to building only peripherals or simple QRP gear.  I recall the much maligned Wayne Greene touting the advantages of the "one box" transceiver when most hams used separate transmitters, receivers and outboard switching circuits. 

While Wayne and I used to go round and round about some of his "ridiculous perceptions and ideas", he eventually was proven right on many of his futuristic ideas.

I saw and heard the same thing about AM vs. SSB.

Now we come to SDR and the same discussions/arguments are returning.

Quote
not for me! last thing I want is my PC being my radio.

Not to worry!  You'll get used to it!  LOL.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N5RWJ on January 16, 2012, 12:23:22 PM
Well, servicing your radio, is all most becoming pulling and replacing boards. As for SDR it's becoming Thiswww.sdr-cube.com (http://www.sdr-cube.com) just add a larger display and mouse, for home use, or unplug it and take to the field. this type may be the future?


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 16, 2012, 02:17:34 PM
"last thing I want is my PC being my radio." 

Could not agree more. Would not want a radio that cannot function without a PC.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 16, 2012, 08:53:18 PM
Quote
Could not agree more. Would not want a radio that cannot function without a PC. 


I couldn't agree more!  But do you really think that communications gear will continue as we presently know it?  Pick up an old ARRL Handbook and look at the huge 6' rack mounted transmitters and then follow history to this day and age where we have really small transceivers that outperform the 6' rack transmitters to an unbelievable degree.

With that being said, go back and do the same with the computer.  It has evolved the same way only much faster and continues to evolve at an unbelievable rate.  It's only logical that the two will marry and communications gear, including ham gear, will resemble a brick and everything.....transmit, receive, SWR monitoring....will be done with a mouse, keyboard and screen.

The SDR equipment we see today is just the result of "heavy petting" between the two and the rest will be here shortly.




Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: W8JX on January 17, 2012, 04:57:58 AM
Quote
Could not agree more. Would not want a radio that cannot function without a PC. 


I couldn't agree more!  But do you really think that communications gear will continue as we presently know it?  Pick up an old ARRL Handbook and look at the huge 6' rack mounted transmitters and then follow history to this day and age where we have really small transceivers that outperform the 6' rack transmitters to an unbelievable degree.

With that being said, go back and do the same with the computer.  It has evolved the same way only much faster and continues to evolve at an unbelievable rate.  It's only logical that the two will marry and communications gear, including ham gear, will resemble a brick and everything.....transmit, receive, SWR monitoring....will be done with a mouse, keyboard and screen.

The SDR equipment we see today is just the result of "heavy petting" between the two and the rest will be here shortly.

Once a radio requires a marriage to a external PC just to function it kinda stops being a radio and becomes a computer device. SDR has its purpose but I feel its future is when it is built into radio in firmware. Rigs like 590 and K3 are small steps in this direction but progress is being made.  Using a PC to do it in software may look impressive but it is just a bandaid fix in my book and another path for possible RFI problems. And, it also in effect REDUCES the energy efficiency of a rig in that you have to power up another device that could easily use up to several hundred watts itself in addition to radio just to have a QSO and then hope your PC does not lock up or reboot on some quirk and put you at zero mhz for several minutes or more. 


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: NO2A on January 17, 2012, 12:47:34 PM
That`s simple! A display with 32 different colors... :D Frequency accuracy and no detectable drift. Can you imagine saying to a ham in 1966 that someday his rig will have a built in digital voice recorder? He would have said,"Yea right."


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 18, 2012, 09:11:48 PM
Quote
That`s simple! A display with 32 different colors...  Frequency accuracy and no detectable drift. Can you imagine saying to a ham in 1966 that someday his rig will have a built in digital voice recorder? He would have said,"Yea right."
 

2A: You're thinking!  If someone told me in 1956 that my transmitter and receiver together would weigh less than 20 pounds I would laugh in his face.  At that time my transmitter weighed 170lbs and my receiver weighed 75lbs!  The VFO weighed only 5 or 6 pounds but it was the third "box" to deal with.  Then there was the antenna changeover system..... warm up time in the minutes (Mercury Vapor tubes) VFO drift for the first half hour.....

Look at it now!



Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K3WEC on January 18, 2012, 09:58:54 PM
I like a real radio, but admit I'm in the process of building a softrock out of curiosity. 

One thing to consider - PC's as we know them today will also continue evolving.   That keyboard won't be there the way it is now.  Neither will the mouse.  Neither will the screen.   Neither will anything as we know now.   There is a convergence going on that will make these relics...and it won't be long before it happens.   The PC industry already sees it happening and is preparing.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 19, 2012, 06:19:19 AM
The logical result then is that the licence exam needs to be even less technical than it is now, and that only type approved gear can be used. No amplifiers of course, becasue you need to have a vague idea of what they do and dealing with RFI. Or maybe if it's all autotune, it can be installed by a competent licenced technician who checks the whole station every so often for correct functionality.  Then another class of licence with a more technical exam for those people who want to build gear.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 19, 2012, 10:01:59 AM
RZP:  This is no doubt true.  The amateur exams now rreaalllyy aren't mean to determine a person's technical ability as they once were.  The exams are primarily used to test a person's memory.  You learn the answers contained in 3 question "pools" and you pass.  Simple.  If you have a good memory.

The commercial license exams in this country have also been dumbed down and radio stations are not required to perform maintenance tests and proof of performance tests as they once were simply because of the incredibly reliable transmitters and peripheral equipment.  My 1st Phone Commercial ticket is now a "General" Radio Telephone license.

Most radio stations are remotely controlled anymore and many don't even have a human inside the building....everything, from programming to logging is programmed and executed by a remote computer!

I suspect a bit of facetiousness in your "competent licensed technician" and "another class of license..." statements but I see your statements being more accurate than perhaps you realize!


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: KK4GER on January 19, 2012, 10:59:07 AM
Well, technology may change and the radios may be different, but propagation won't, so all the old equipment will still be useable.  I don't even care for most of the newer radios with their menu-driven operation and LCD's.  I am a button pusher, knob turner and like analog meters (I do like the digital Freq. displays, though.).  As long as the older units are repairable and parts are available, boat anchor or not, they'll be around.

Gerry, KK4GER


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 19, 2012, 11:49:20 AM
I somehow suspect that while people operate CW, my rebuilt 1939 HRO and homebrew 807 tx on 80 and 40 will produce QSOs!

(for those that are fairly new to ham radio, in this context, an 807 is a transmitting vacuum tube and not a can of beer)

The HRO was probably the 'ne plus ultra' of ham radio receivers in the late 1930s.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N2EY on January 20, 2012, 11:17:47 AM
I think what has most improved over the years is what you get for a given (inflation adjusted) price.

In the bad old days, rigs were incredibly expensive in terms of what you paid for what you got. For example, when I got started in the 1960s, the HW-16 was $99.95 and was considered an incredible bargain - and it was! $99.95 in 1967 inflates to about $600 today; see what you can get in a new rig for $600 now.

Note that the HW-16 was a three-band, CW-only transmitter/receiver/power supply kit which needed a key, crystals/VFO and speaker/headphones to be operational. It also could only feed 50 ohm antennas (no ATU nor adjustable pi-net).

Or compare the $250 HW-101 kit with what can be had for under $1400 today.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 21, 2012, 10:08:06 AM
Quote
Or compare the $250 HW-101 kit with what can be had for under $1400 today.


I see similar quotes like this on eHam.com quite often.  While the dollar comparison might be true, nobody mentions that the equivalent assembled transmitter/receiver/transceiver cost much more than this.

At this same 5.6:1 dollar ratio, a commercial transceiver "back then" would cost several thousand dollars. 

Living through this era I was able to buy an Heathkit SB-102 but buying a commercial transceiver of any brand or model at that time was completely out of the question.

So it came down to buying a Heathkit or doing without.  If today's $1400 radio was available back then for $250 then I would have bought it.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 21, 2012, 10:51:33 AM
Look at 1953 prices. A Collins KW1 1 kW AM rig.  $3850. A  32V-3 150 watt (input) CW rig $775. A 75A3 receiver with all accessories $672.50. I have a feeling that a nice KW 1 will fetch at least that much today.

If you want something cheaper, a Hallicrafters  S40-B for $119.95 or a National HRO 60 for $483.50. An NC183D for $369.50. In transmitters, a Hallicrafters HT20 (no VFO) for $449.50, a Johnson Viking 2 kit for $279.50 and the VFO kit for the Viking 2 was $42.75.

Which I guess is why so much gear was home brewed, or was surplus, or both.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 21, 2012, 05:36:31 PM
RZP:  Roger that!  Take those prices and multiply them by 5.6 and you get "todays" dollar value.  I rest my case.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0JEG on January 21, 2012, 06:13:29 PM
I like a real radio, but admit I'm in the process of building a softrock out of curiosity. 

One thing to consider - PC's as we know them today will also continue evolving.   That keyboard won't be there the way it is now.  Neither will the mouse.  Neither will the screen.   Neither will anything as we know now.   There is a convergence going on that will make these relics...and it won't be long before it happens.   The PC industry already sees it happening and is preparing.

And just look at what electronic musicians are doing with the iPad now. Everything from "sketch pads" for composing and practicing, to stomp boxes, drum machine docks and amplifier simulators. There are several companies introducing workstation docks that look a lot like the digital mixers of a few years ago, but with iPad interfaces.

Of course, most of these add-ons cost more than the iPad itself.


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 22, 2012, 03:55:36 AM
AXW,

$21560 in today's money for a transmitter! $3766 for the receiver - and they don't even transceive. So we are over $25k in today's money and we haven't bought a tower and antennas yet......

I figure that a good transceiver today, an amplifier, a tower, a Steppir and some wire antennas and a tuner and there would still be enough change from $25k for a steak dinner and a bottle of wine!

How much was a gallon of gas in 1953?


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 22, 2012, 09:36:57 AM
Quote
Any way to join such a service as an amateur?

$0.20/gallon!  In 57, when I first got out of the service, I would spend $1.00 on a gallon of gas, a pack of cigarettes and take my girl out for a soda.  Things were bad then.  LOL.

Sometimes, as a "thought problem" I mentally assemble a virtual hamshack if money wasn't a  problem.  The amount of $25KB was right on the nose Peter! 

Never considered a steak dinner in the "thought problem."  :-)


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K0OD on January 22, 2012, 11:00:35 AM
With a huge number of young kids buying their first equipment then, selling receivers and transmitters separately made sense: receiver, then transmitter, crystals, antenna relay to replace the knife switch, VFO, maybe an add-on modulator, Q-multiplier, pre-selector. VHF stuff etc

No young ham was wanting for gift ideas from the parents. (get a job was the usual answer!)


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: G3RZP on January 23, 2012, 03:28:12 AM
When we moved into this house back in 1986, part of the budgeting was for an 80 foot crank up tower, a 205BA 20 metre monoband 5 ele Yagi, a T2X rotator and the necessary coax and rotator cable, and 3.75 cubic yards of concrete. Figured on $7.5k, and spent about $4k, so there was enough over for a steak dinner! Concrete alone has gone up about 4 times since then.

Gas here now is about $2 a litre..........


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N2EY on January 26, 2012, 09:54:59 AM
RZP:  Roger that!  Take those prices and multiply them by 5.6 and you get "todays" dollar value.  I rest my case.

Actually, to relate 1953 prices to today, you'd multiply by about 8! (see Westegg Inflation Calculator)

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: N2EY on January 26, 2012, 10:01:09 AM
Quote
Or compare the $250 HW-101 kit with what can be had for under $1400 today.


I see similar quotes like this on eHam.com quite often.  While the dollar comparison might be true, nobody mentions that the equivalent assembled transmitter/receiver/transceiver cost much more than this.

At this same 5.6:1 dollar ratio, a commercial transceiver "back then" would cost several thousand dollars. 

Living through this era I was able to buy an Heathkit SB-102 but buying a commercial transceiver of any brand or model at that time was completely out of the question.

So it came down to buying a Heathkit or doing without.  If today's $1400 radio was available back then for $250 then I would have bought it.

Good point! I used the Heathkit examples because they were the usually absolute rock-bottom prices then, if you were talking new stuff. Used could be had for somewhat less, but of course you took your chances.

IIRC, about the least expensive 5 HF band manufactured SSB transceiver back then was the National 200, which cost $369. That's over $2000 in today's money, and it didn't include the power supply, speaker, key or mike. IMHO the SB-101 or '102 was a better rig than the 200, too.

Other rigs were even more expensive....

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Most Improved Feature Over the Years?
Post by: K8AXW on January 30, 2012, 06:31:30 AM
Quote
IMHO the SB-101 or '102 was a better rig than the 200, too.

Jim, I had no illusions about Heath gear.  However, when I transitioned from AM to SSB it was with the HW-22A 40m, single band transceiver.  The evening I finished assembling it, and adjusting it I broke a conversation between two guys in the same town in LA!  Got a great signal report. 

I also had great fun with the SB-102.  It had many shortcomings compared to the available commercial gear but I was in the game!