New hams may be deterred by the prices of new "tribanders" these days,
Although I have seen a number of new hams who "turn up their nose at" buying
anything used ... (one "older" ham I knew, who had just gotten his license,
said, "I've been wanting to get my ham license all my life; I figure I owe
it to myself to buy something brand new." He wanted to open the box, take
the rig out of plastic, etc., get that "new car smell." It was like
Christmas Day, to him.) ... anyway, for those who don't want to blow all
that money just because they can, used tribanders can be a real bargain. As
a seller of used tribanders from time to time, I have hauled a lot of them
to hamfests to have them hardly looked at all day long. I've found I'm
lucky to get $150 for a used one and have seen or bought them many times for
$50 or $75 or $100.
Current or late model tribanders, different story; they sell for closer to
the new price, though TH7's can go for about $350. For Force 12, Bencher
Skyhawks, the SteppIR, they should bring much closer to the new price. But,
the beginner hardly needs one of the new, expensive ones; an old TH-3, A-3,
CL-33, TH-6, TA-33 should be fine for starting -- and a real bargain, and
simpler to put together, install and rotate. The A-3, for instance, is a
very simple antenna -- hard to go wrong with it. And works well -- that's
what 5H3TW (K3TW) had when he was very active, and loud, from Tanzania, for
instance. And there are other older antennas, though they're rarer -- I
have a couple Telrex TB5EMs presently and kind of like them.
My contention is that "ham radio has never been more affordable."
Certainly, now that we have solid state rigs that are several "generations"
old but still working well -- and of course the excellent pre all-solid
state ones like the TS-830 -- and considering the "constant dollars" aspect,
excellent radios are less expensive than ever before. I expect the same is
true of antennas and even towers, if you're willing to poke around and find
one free or cheap. Oh, and now that so many people have gone cable or
satellite for their TV, there are many, many towers around, doing nothing,
just waiting for you to go knock on the door and ask the folks if they want
it taken down.
A friend of mine in Martinsburg, West Virginia keeps pestering me to come up
there and go door to door asking if I can have the towers. It's a TV fringe
area where every house had a TV tower at one time, but now most have gone
cable or satellite.
73 - Rich, KE3Q
See: http://www.mscomputer.com for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless Weather
Stations", and lot's more. Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any questions
and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.
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