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Re: [TowerTalk] 2006 Top Ten Chutzpah Awards - the top two

To: Pete Smith <>,
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] 2006 Top Ten Chutzpah Awards - the top two
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 18:03:46 -0700
List-post: <>
At 01:59 PM 8/22/2006, Pete Smith wrote:
>Jim, I'm sorry - because they can get this grotesque price doesn't mean 
>that ARRL should implicitly endorse their doing so.  As a citizen, I have 
>other channels to rail against my government's absurd procurement 
>practices, but as a ham I hate to see the gullible get .... gulled.

I don't know that it's all that grotesque. It's high, in a ham context 
(where people are proud of finding their antenna wire in a construction 
site dumpster for free), but I don't know that it's all that grotesque.

Consider that HRO sells a Alpha Delta DX-CC (a multiband antenna with 2 
coils, a center insulator/coax connector, and 3 dipoles worth of precut 
wire and some spacers), as a kit, mind you, for $160.

The B&W thing has a load resistor, a bunch more hardware, not to mention 
it's already assembled on some nifty plastic spindle thingies, all for 
about $500, list.  So, comparing to the DX-CC, it's about 3 times as much, 
but it IS assembled and has some more parts.

In fact, HRO sells the BW broadband antenna in copperweld (without the 
poles, but with the high power load) for $230 (compare to BW's website list 
price of $250).  The SS version is $400 from B&W (Is there $150 bucks worth 
of SS wire in there?  I doubt it.).  The "manpack" antenna is another $150 
more (for the nifty carrying case and the spools?)

So, overall, the BW antenna isn't a great deal, but it's not a totally 
horrible deal, either.  If they were charging $10K, I'd say they were 
ripping people off.

As for the RF performance (in a dollars/dB sense), that's another story 
entirely, and something that the editors of QST should try to do something 
about with an educational article.  However, they draw from a limited pool 
of potential writers, have limited editorial space, etc..  I am loathe to 
complain excessively, because if someone comes to me and says "Well, why 
don't YOU write the article, you obviously think you're qualified to do 
so", I'd have to beg off.  It's all I can do to get the journal articles 
and reports that I get paid for at work done on a halfway decent 
schedule.  As you know, it's a lot of work to do these things, and finish them.

However, overall, I agree with you.  I see ads for (useless) products that 
sell for remarkably high prices considering what went into them (even 
counting the R&D expense) and think, "I should/could have done that".  I 
have immense respect for people who actually take their little ham widget 
and make a viable product out of it, even if they are losing money on every 
sale in an objective sense (or paying themselves a nickle an hour).

Jim, w6rmk 


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