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Author Topic: Definition of a Boat Anchor?  (Read 17422 times)
K9IUQ
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« on: August 07, 2011, 03:04:57 PM »

Another thread here got me thinking what exactly is a Boat Anchor? I went to Wikipedia and got this:

"In amateur radio and computing, boat anchor is a slang term used to describe something obsolete, useless, and cumbersome - so-called because metaphorically its only productive use is to be thrown into the water as a boat mooring."

Somehow this does not seem fair. My Viking Valiant certainly is cumbersome but hardly useless. It brings me much satisfaction in the Winter Time. It allows me to heat the shack and tell lies to friends on AM at the same time  Cheesy

 Is a Swan or TS-520 a boat Anchor? How about a Yaesu Ft-101? Where do we draw the line?

To me a boat anchor has to weigh enough to be  - well a boat anchor. Just about anything made before 1960 should qualify.This was the Heavy Iron days of ham radio. But how about later, lighter equipment that is not heavy enough to be a boat anchor? Should they be called Boat Anchors?

Stan K9IUQ


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KA5N
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 05:29:10 PM »

"What's in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

W. Shakespeare

So if it smells sweet then it must be vintage gear and not a boat anchor.

If you get a hernia lifting it ... then it's a boat anchor.

Make up your own defininition

Allen
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N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 05:41:38 PM »

IMHO the oldest Swans are boatanchors. Certainly a TS-520 isn't. The later Swans and a TS-520 are almost all solid-state.

Boatanchor is both a derisive term and a term of respect for, um, density? Weight? Solidity? Heritage? Some mix of all of them.

Usually the wikipedia pages are dominated by Euro-centric viewpoints and while European hams certainly had their boatanchors, most of the wikipedia pages are being edited/modded by kids who have little to no overlap with using actual boatanchor rigs.

Talk to an older European or Russian ham about how ham radio was in Europe up through the 60's and 70's. Far fewer manufactured rigs and much more true homebrewing. There is a real heritage there.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 06:10:50 PM »

Boatanchor is both a derisive term and a term of respect for, um, density? Weight? Solidity? Heritage? Some mix of all of them.

To me it always meant the piece in question has reached the point in its life cycle where it's more useful anchoring a boat than anything else.

The only exception would be Heathshkits. Like salmon migrate back to the river where they were spawned, Heathshkits try to migrate back to the landfill where they were born.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 06:55:38 PM »

I always thought is was tubes and weight, as compared to today's stuff.

But there is a better way. If I post here about something, and don't get yelled at, then it is a boatanchor.

If I post hear and get yelled at, then it isn't.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 08:06:16 PM by N4NYY » Logged
WB5BL
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 07:51:33 PM »

Collins S-line gear would probably qualify but it isn't because of mass, size, or density.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL
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AA4HA
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 01:41:58 AM »

You can't do it just by weight. The ARC-5 series of receivers and transmitters are all very light but came to be used in aircraft during WW II. I would call them boat anchors although their weight may be more appropriate for anchoring an inflatable raft.

On the other hand, I have some modern receivers (ok, 70's, 80's, 90's vintage) that does not have a single tube in them but weigh in at 80 pounds (RF-350K). They are "hernia's in the making" and "toe smashers". While they are big I am not certain that they are boat anchors.

If we use the "obsolete" moniker then that applies to almost half of the station gear that folks have out there. (and definitely anything from Heathkit). Look at the HW-2036 2 meter mobile. Definitely obsolete.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
G3RZP
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 02:40:23 AM »

Even 'obsolete' as aterm is relative. My HF transceiver is a Yaesu FT102, purchased in 1983 by my father - he went SK 6 months later, but not becasue of the 102! It is much modified by me, doesn't offer all the bells and whistles of the modern super duper rigs, but has an RF performance that is adequate in terms of intermod, phase noise , selectivity and sensitivity. It is not lightweoght has 4 tubes in it - does it count as being a 'boatanchor' or 'obsolete'?

A new rig won't help my DXCC score either - only KP1 being activated can do that!
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N3QE
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2011, 09:06:55 AM »

Boatanchor is both a derisive term and a term of respect for, um, density? Weight? Solidity? Heritage? Some mix of all of them.

To me it always meant the piece in question has reached the point in its life cycle where it's more useful anchoring a boat than anything else.

The only exception would be Heathshkits. Like salmon migrate back to the river where they were spawned, Heathshkits try to migrate back to the landfill where they were born.

Regarding lifecycle... many 80's/90's era solid state rigs have important components no longer available and no substitutes available either. Yet the true boatanchors of the 50's and 60's are still maintainable today. So we've reached a point where "boatanchor" means a mix of "long-lived" and "nondisposable" and "not disposed of". Maybe "living well past an expected modern lifecycle". Or past any expected lifecycle!

Regarding lifecycle... can you believe that the air force plans on keeping B-52's in service until 2040? At which point the newest airframes will be 78 years old. That's astonishing. And they aren't spending all their time in the repair shop either: mission availability of the B-52 is at 80% while availibility of the much newer B-1 and B-2 are 53% and 20% respectively.

The Heath winners are IMHO the simplest stuff. The Eico etc. simple stuff are out there kicking around too.

Tim.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 09:36:48 AM »

Provided you have a stock of tunes, many of the 80's hybrid rigs are still repairable. You may have to cobble a display, but that's not impossible.

Now take today's super dooper rigs with ASICs and surface mount. Once you get devices on BGAs, it is a specialised firm that can change them, and there's no guarantee. Plus how long will they be around?

The FT102 is repairable....if necessary.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 01:30:05 PM »

Collins S-line gear would probably qualify but it isn't because of mass, size, or density.

73 de Brian, WB6RQN/J79BPL


S-line is borderline boatanchor.. A-Line / V (transmitter) / R390.. now those are boatanchors.

I tend to think of the 'heavy' stuff from the 30's/40's/50's as boatanchors... your super - pro's, your sx-101's, your ht-32's.

I do think there is one other class... *Ship* anchors... your BC-610's up to AM broadcast transmitters that some AM guys run...
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 02:29:16 PM »


I do think there is one other class... *Ship* anchors... your BC-610's up to AM broadcast transmitters that some AM guys run...

I owned a BC-669 160/80 AM transmitter/RX back in the 60's. Used it on 160 mtr AM. It had a separate power supply which probably weighed close to 100lbs by itself. Now that rig was a real "aircraft carrier anchor"  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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KC2VDM
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 08:47:52 PM »

my classification:

At least made before 1960.
Must weigh over 75 lbs.
Lights must dim when keyed (: and lastly
Requires repairs at least once every month.

Alex
KC2VDM
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KX5JT
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Posts: 217




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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2011, 08:49:06 PM »

My definition:  Any vintage piece of gear that is built on a metal chassis and uses transformers and tubes for the majority of it's circuitry.  These could be receivers or transmitters.
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KG6YV
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2011, 07:42:00 AM »

Here is yet another spin on the term boat anchor.

If the radio was bought in a condition where it was non-operational, dirty and full of mouse-crap it qualifies as a boat anchor
because "in its purchased-state it was only useful as a dead weight anchor for your fishing boat.

Greg
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