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Author Topic: Where did those wonderful vintage homebrews go?  (Read 1283 times)

Posts: 225


« on: April 08, 2009, 10:44:19 AM »

Hello all,

Recently, I've really been enjoying reading "old" (40', 50's) issues of QST magazine.

They used to feature photographs of some fantastic home-brewed ham band transmitters.

Some of them were quite large .. perhaps spanning floor to ceiling!

So, what ever happened to all of that equipment?  Do you suppose that it "checked-out" in a dumpster?  Still sitting in someone's attic or barn?

I guess I don't expect a definitive answer, but I can't help but wonder ..



Posts: 44

« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2009, 11:20:22 AM »

I would have said 30's to 50's QSTs, but I agree anyway !
I think some went back into junk boxes if the owner just bought a new FT-101, or into the town dump if he went SK ... only a few are still out there in barns and basements.
In the last few years I have seen 2 or 3 of the old 6-foot-rack transmitters at hamfests, usually selling in the 400-500 range.
I turned my back on a little 6AG7 - 6L6 transmitter at Dayton last year, and it was gone when I looked back !

Posts: 181

« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2009, 02:55:24 PM »

You'll find a lot of this gear on the HF AM windows. Some of it has been built recently. If you're still intrigued, check out .

Just for a pleasant surprise, go to the Members Links and click on WB6ACU.

'Til then,
de NO6L
/end of line

Posts: 4710

« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2009, 03:03:04 PM »

They went a whole bunch of places.

Many of those old rigs were torn down for their parts over the years. Good radio stuff wasn't cheap, and often a new rig could only be built if the old rig produced many of the parts.

TV, SSB and kits took their toll. Many older designs were TVI generators, particularly if you lived in a fringe area where even the tiniest amount of harmonics would mess up TV bigtime. The move to SSB made rigs more complicated, and often the old rig would be sold or torn down for its parts to finance the new rig. Kits caused a lot of hams to give up homebrewing, particularly when you could buy a kit for a lot less than the cost of new parts.

A lot of them were simply scrapped. For many years, old rigs were considered junk by many hams, and often you couldn't even give away an old rig because nobody had room for it. (From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, I acquired quite a pile of homebrew stuff at hamfests for very little money, because so few folks wanted it. Often it came down to "It's you or the dumpster, kid, I can't take this stuff home". I shudder to think how much I left behind in those days.)

This was particularly true in the days before the internet, when getting the word out wasn't as easy. Often an old rig would be so damaged by improper storage that it was simply tossed out.

Last but not least, remember that the amateur population of years gone by was much less than today. The number of US hams did not reach 100,000 until about 1950, 250,000 by the early 1960s and 500,000 by the early 1980s. So we're not talking huge numbers of rigs, particularly when rising affluence and other factors caused more and more hams to stop homebrewing, or never start.

73 de Jim, N2EY    
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