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Author Topic: When ham shacks go bad, aka when radio hoarders attack  (Read 4554 times)
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 352




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« on: September 17, 2012, 11:04:52 PM »

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/ele/3274270627.html

Yikes. There's something there that looks like a FT-757 (is that the model of the first Yaesu solid state HF rig?), and a microphone from a 1930s commercial radio stn like the kind you see in movies, a Big Ben clock (?), and a bunch of stuff I don't recognize. Def a lifetime collection. If you're near SF, make this guy an offer, then put everything on ebay where people have more money than sense. Cha ching!
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 612




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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 11:49:44 PM »

Quote
...when radio hoarders attack

Don't understand the mentality either.  There was a guy like that at one of my jobs; had so much "stuff" that he was even paying for a good sized storage space to keep it all.  I can see it to some extent IF you actually work on or use all the items but that stuff would sit there year after year "just to have it".  Guess its less "harmful" than SOME pastimes, though.
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K0JEG
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 05:25:57 PM »

Quote
...when radio hoarders attack

Don't understand the mentality either.  There was a guy like that at one of my jobs; had so much "stuff" that he was even paying for a good sized storage space to keep it all.  I can see it to some extent IF you actually work on or use all the items but that stuff would sit there year after year "just to have it".  Guess its less "harmful" than SOME pastimes, though.

Unfortunately my dad is one of those people, although he's never had to rent out other space. Believe me, it is very harmful to the people who collect, since all they do is worry about the junk pile, while continuing to add to it. When they go on vacation all they worry about is if something is happening to the junk pile. They waste lots of time, money and energy adding to the junk pile with the idea that they'll someday make use of it. Then, of course, they feel guilty about what they've done but don't know what to do about it. While the show "Hoarders" is about very extreme cases (and the people featured have lots of other issues too), it is somewhat accurate in that someone who's spent years building up a "collection" isn't going to be eager to throw it all in the dumpster.

He's hoping when he dies I'll take over the "collection." I've told him several times in no uncertain terms to get rid of it, I don't want any of it. And because he's likely to die before my mother, she'll likely have to pay someone to get rid of it (although my sister and I will likely take on that task). Either way it is going to be the cause of a lot of stress on top of what will already be a stressful situation.

The sad thing is, it didn't start out that way. He wanted to restore antique radios, mostly pre-superhetrodyne receivers. But he just kept buying cheap "barn finds" and parts boxes until he didn't have any room in his shop to work on them anymore. Yet he just couldn't walk away from a "good deal." And now he has some very nice pieces, better than most museums, but you can't find them amongst the trash. Along the way he forgot why he was buying and just bought.

Anyway, I'm wondering why I'm posting this, other than to say if you are like my dad, make sure you find out if your children want to inherit your hobby. If they don't, make sure it can end when you do.

Sorry to be a bummer.
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K0OD
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 09:29:48 AM »

People rationalize to themselves and their families that their boat anchor collections will be valuable.  Aside--perhaps-- from mint SX-88s, most items are destined for someones trash pile and probably rather soon. Who's going to want even a rare collectable like a Collins KW-1 in 30 years?  I can't imagine a happy ending for 270 lb Globe Kings. Or the zillions of 100 lb Heathkits from the 1950s.  

Here is an ever bigger hoard offered for sale in several Missouri Craigs lists right now:
http://stlouis.craigslist.org/ele/3244551473.html

In the 1960s the ideal ham station was a sleek Collins S-line on an uncluttered desk. Hams bought new rigs and sold their old ones. Today it seems that every other station is a pile of ancient junk. Tons and tons of old radios survive. Not only ham stuff, but commercial and military electronic detritus.    

Yes, it can devolve into mental disease. Manhattan has a tiny park named for the most famous of hoarders. The two Collyer brothers -- one an engineer, the other a lawyer-- were found dead in 1947, buried in the tunnels they had created in their rubble. One brother was largely eaten by rats that shared their putrid home. Their home was torn down and the location survives as that park.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers
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W9BKR
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 11:04:01 AM »

Most of that gear I suspect was used on CB band, judging by all the Yaesu FT-101 stuff, D-104's, Palomar CB amp, etc. 
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K0OD
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Posts: 2546




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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 12:17:07 PM »

What worries me most about boat anchors are 3,000 volt power supplies coming into the hands of future generations of solid state users.

My 1977 TS-820 has a huge red warning label on the final compartment. Before the lawyered-up 70s, transmitters and amps displayed no such warnings.
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ZL1BBW
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Posts: 371




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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 01:22:56 PM »

We have been clearing out my dads workshops/shack for over two years so far, its quite a hike from us about 60kms one way.  So far we have taken about 6 tonnes to the dump.

Every single box has to be minutely examined, for goodies, the odd $1500 wristwatch etc.

I would say we are half way through it, maybe.

His G2DAF TX, I have not moved yet, and the Collins TCS setup has still to be rehomed, but have got a lot of the ham gear out the place, just the problem of the 3 ele 20M Telrex beam, I am not game to walk along the outrigger like he did, so will have to get a cherry picker for that job.

Ah well, I wonder what he did with the covers for the TS440 and the knobs off the front, perhaps I will never know.
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ex MN Radio Officer, Portishead Radio GKA, BT Radio Amateur Morse Tester.  Licensed as G3YCP ZL1DAB, now taken over my father (sk) call as ZL1BBW.
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 352




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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 06:42:22 PM »

People rationalize to themselves and their families that their boat anchor collections will be valuable.  Aside--perhaps-- from mint SX-88s, most items are destined for someones trash pile and probably rather soon. Who's going to want even a rare collectable like a Collins KW-1 in 30 years?  I can't imagine a happy ending for 270 lb Globe Kings. Or the zillions of 100 lb Heathkits from the 1950s.  

Here is an ever bigger hoard offered for sale in several Missouri Craigs lists right now:
http://stlouis.craigslist.org/ele/3244551473.html

In the 1960s the ideal ham station was a sleek Collins S-line on an uncluttered desk. Hams bought new rigs and sold their old ones. Today it seems that every other station is a pile of ancient junk. Tons and tons of old radios survive. Not only ham stuff, but commercial and military electronic detritus.    

Yes, it can devolve into mental disease. Manhattan has a tiny park named for the most famous of hoarders. The two Collyer brothers -- one an engineer, the other a lawyer-- were found dead in 1947, buried in the tunnels they had created in their rubble. One brother was largely eaten by rats that shared their putrid home. Their home was torn down and the location survives as that park.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers

I'm familiar with the Collyers. It seems that Langley only CLAIMED to be an engineer, there's no real evidence that he had completed HS, much less university. I feel sorry for Homer, he was totally dependent on Langley and couldn't see the piles of rubble.

I think that many old hams may be suffering from "Depression Sickness", the tendency of people who lived through the First Great Depression to hoard junk in the hopes that it would be useful one day. Having grown up with very little, they seem to take comfort in the piles. Sometimes the sickness was passed from parent to child, the parent recounting horror stories of the FGD with such regularity that the kids became fearful too.

The thing is, there's probably a fortune in copper in a lot of those old ham setups. Wires were hand soldered and each wire was pure copper. The Chinese are in desperate need of copper, and anybody who would be willing to take on those old tube radios could make a mint.

Most old radios simply aren't that valuable. I purchased a 1941 Zenith 7S529 for $80 in 1990 from the original owner. In 2011 I sold it on Ebay, and cleared maybe $100. Google that radio-it's gorgeous, but the young people simply don't care. I suspect that most old radios will simply go to the landfill, and while they're not as toxic as the newer stuff, they still have lead.
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K0OD
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 07:50:16 PM »

Nice Zenith that 7-S-529. http://mcclellans.com/Zenith7S529Restoration.htm

I have its older kissing cousin, the 1938 Zenith 5-3-319 which I bought for $5 in 1969. Also a push button model, it works perfectly on AM and on its one shortwave band. Mint ones like mine go for about $500 now.  But unlike most boat anchors, it's a moderate sized radio that looks great with modern furniture. My wife even likes it!  Its value should endure.
http://www.returnedtoglory.com/5s319.html

Aside from 300 volts lurking inside the open back, my Zenith came with a thick pad of white asbestos glued to the inside of the wood cabinet above the tubes. That's my only antique radio. 

---
Note that this "ideal" 1960 shack bears zero resemblance to today's typical ham shack. Not many stations looked like that in 1960, but a few really did.
http://www.wb4hfn.com/COLLINS/Images/CollinsEquip-07.jpg
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 612




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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 12:07:57 AM »

Quote
What worries me most about boat anchors are 3,000 volt power supplies coming into the hands of future generations of solid state users.
Well...try to not lose too much sleep over it!  There aren't too many of those to be found in ham radio boat anchors anymore and the only ones that ever used voltages in that range were the legal limit type HF amplifiers, anyway.  Most power supplies in that voltage range exist in microwave ovens, as a matter of fact (and the few old CRT type TVs still around).  Its also well to keep in mind that the most lethal voltage in terms of deaths by electrocution is still the good old 120VAC.  Yes! that same input to your 3.3volt computer power supply that everybody takes with a grain of salt!  And, bear in mind, as well, that THOSE switchers don't use TRANSFORMERS to isolate that AC line from the rest of the device.  THEN, using voltage multipliers, they increase that line voltage to around 350volts to charge energy storage capacitors which are then regulated back down to the myriad of low voltages used to actually power the computrid, er, computer.  So...if you're looking for dangerous electronics to rid the world of, look no further than your very own home.  But, I suggest that you don't explore too closely; you're liable to "get bit" (in case you're unfamiliar with that term, it means, "get a shock").
Tom
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 900




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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2012, 03:13:54 PM »

there were medium power transmitters and receivers that used tubes like 8122/8072 and 4CX250 that could well have kilovolt and up power supplies.  even the 6146 push/pull outputs will push 800 volts.

you just gotta know that if the blocking cap goes bad, or you start hinking around under the covers, you will be travelling to That White Light...
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