I'll reply both on the reflector and off, since my answer is both antenna
related and not.
First, to take the the initial question and handle it: I'm the kitted parts
kind of person. If there is no kit of parts available, then a good schematic,
board diagram/parts layout, and assembly drawing will do for me as well.
Commercial products are nice, but more costly, and let's face it, I'm frugal
(read as cheap, if you must), and I come from the Heathkit era. My first
baptism into electronics came via Heathkit, and I've never looked back. It got
me into ham radio as well, along with my father and my brother's interest, and
taught me a lot. I'd rather work with my hands and enjoy seeing the fruits of
my labors, like I used to in the "old days." I also spent a couple of years
doing manufacturing engineering work for Wilcox Electric, so I'm very capable
of laying out the more efficient method of building a project whether or not a
kit is available...and I like a challenge, anyway.
Second, for me, no, that doesn't change if it uses a PC. I now help support
nearly 5000 PC's on a statewide network for a living, so it's no sweat off my
brow to work with things in a PC environment. Actually, it makes it more
inviting. I don't engineer software, so I need that part already hammered out,
but if the software works, I can handle getting the rest to work.
Price points: I think I already addressed that up above....I'm frugal. I like
to do it myself. That's why I prefer to REBUILD my antennas instead of
purchasing new ones, hence my rebuilt Mosley TA-36 instead of the excellent
condition Cushcraft X-9 I could have purchased (which was offered at a good
deal, BTW). It's either that or build my own, as I'm considering doing for 12,
17, and 30 meters.
Design margins: Don't you often sacrifice some of that when you hit the more
frugal price points? There are both pros and cons with less expensive gear,
often times. But, if done right, and you're building it yourself, you can
correct it's issues before they become problems...as long as you take the time
to try to identify them.
Ok. I'm done now... I'm jumping down off of my soap box, which I had to climb
up on so you could see what I'd typed.
Mike - WA0ZOG, ex. KA9RQW
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