On Fri, 2006-07-14 at 16:58 -0500, Stuart Rohre wrote:
> The other factor that contributed to the decline of the US radio companies;
> was the fact that incentive licensing came in 1968, taking a lot of hams off
> the air, and thus not buying new radios.
Didn't affect me, I got my extra in 1959.
But being drafted for the war in Nam sure cut my freedom and spending
> At this time, the rise of the Japanese imports, and hybrid rigs, started
> making inroads on the ham market. Japanese radio companies were supported
> by the large number of hams in Japan buying rigs, and thus easily could dump
> their radios into the import markets. I think British ham radio makers also
> went out about the time of the Hammerlund, Hallicrafters, National, WRL and
> other US firms.
> Swan had been a maker of tube radios, and its founder saw transistors were
> the future, and got a designer and started Atlas after selling Swan.
> The decline of the high school radio clubs caused by incentive licensing,
> also caused the decline of Novice licenses and the demand for entry level
> rigs like the Heath kits, and simple tube radios that WRL offered, Walter
> Ashe, AMECO, and a number of others.
Walter Ashe, Boston's Radio Shack, and Allied Radio were bought by Tandy
for their retail outlets in St. Louis, Boston, and Chicago and within a
year of the purchase (Walter Ashe was purchased about 1964) all ham gear
was removed from the stores as well as domestic audio equipment replaced
> There had been a boom in ham licensees of secondary school age in the 50's
> when the Novice license came in. As we aged, and got busy in post secondary
> education, colleges, military service, etc., we put ham radio pretty much on
> the shelf for years.
> We weren't buying ham gear, and the market suffered.
> The move from discrete components now to large scale integration, may also
> impact the small volume manufacture of equipment like ham radios. Even the
> European directive banning lead from electronics may have unintended
> consequences. (Buy your supply of lead solder now while you can).
These days its very difficult to buy radio parts in the USA.
Distributors tend to carry only pseudo computer parts, but not the
latest, more vintage parts. Just what they think might sell and then
probably grumble that the parts they have don't sell. Large scale
integration tends to skip ham bands and ham equipment needs. A sunspot
cycle back I developed the Ditto radio. The best available chip was in a
RS radio, but Toshiba who made it said it was not a valid part number.
It was a linear chip and they only imported and supported digital chips.
For the first production run the chips were imported by a broker. I made
my own tests and learned more from them than the data sheet, but a 3
volt AM radio chip isn't all that useful in ham gear these days.
The world wide (except US) ROHS affects everything. It sure gets in the
way of a small company exporting. And very soon there may be no parts
with leads really compatible with lead solder, only those made for lead
free solder because there is very little assembly done in this country.
There are some serious issues with no lead solders beginning with their
higher melting points that can fry boards and components if not rated
for that higher temperature and then the purest tin with a little silver
solders are very good at growing whiskers to either break off and rattle
around causing shorts or to reach from pad to pad and cause short. These
problems may lead to systems only being made where everything can be in
thee chip package and welded with no solder of any kind being used. And
those will only be made for services that can buy by the 100 million
which leaves out ham radio equipment. What we have today may soon be all
that's around and if it breaks the parts to fix may well be only
available from antique parts collectors.
73, Jerry, K0CQ,
All content copyright Dr. Gerald N. Johnson, electrical engineer
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