_Good_ equipment and machinery should be designed and built well enough
to work all the way until becoming obsolete, which is when the owner
decides to replace it because new-technology equipment simply performs
better, is more efficient, more portable, etc.
Anything that needs to be replaced because it wore out before something
better became available to replace it, was inadequately built or
designed, unless it was abused instead of used.
However we should not extend these rules to parts and things that by
their nature are wear items. Then again, even wear items might in many
cases be designed and built to last long enough. For example, consider
brake pads for cars: They are certainly wear items, but it should be
possible to make them thick enough so that they will last until the car
is totally obsolete. And a better car wouldn't have brake pads, relying
instead on purely regenerative, wear-free brakes. Some wear items are
We can apply all of this to ham gear. That's for example where PIN diode
switching comes in, and solid state instead of tubes.
Unfortunately even the best design can't totally rule out premature
equipment failure due to freak failure of components, let alone
accidents or mis-use. That's why good equipment should also be designed
to be repair-friendly, and adequate service manuals should be made
I fully realize that what I just wrote clashes against the business
practices of many modern companies, which operate under the principle of
making desirable-looking products that are designed to fail soon after
the guarantee expires, and making them as hard as possible to repair, in
order to force people to throw them away and buy new ones. But I don't
consider those to be good products, and whenever I have any choice, I
buy those that are designed to work without failures until naturally
becoming obsolete. And sometimes I build my own instead of buying
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