[TowerTalk] Cost of a station

Richard Boyd ke3q@erols.com
Tue, 23 May 2000 06:07:32 +0100

To me, any 100K station is probably not a medium station, but a big station.
A 7-tower station is a big station, even though a 50-tower station is even

The world is full of people who spend that much and much more for a boat or
a car, or other adult hobbies, travel, etc.

But...in ham radio I would suggest that you can build a big station for no
cost whatsoever.  How?  First, you can acquire all the towers and antennas
you need from takedowns...e.g. "I need my ham stuff taken down.  You can
have them if you will take them down and haul them away."  I know of
instances where a ham has sold his house and moved far away and left the
realtor and/or new owners (non-hams) to figure out how to get rid of the
towers and antennas in the backyard.  You can acquire lots and lots of
towers, antennas, coax, and other odds and ends this way.  CATV hardline
similar.  If you scrounge aggressively you can get all the hardware you
need.  Certainly spending the "bigbux" is an easier way if you have the
money, and then you can get the stuff you really want, off the shelf, it
arrives like magic via UPS a few days later, etc.  If you scrounge you make
do with whatever happens to come your way and it might be a motley

Then there's horse trading.  I think it's possible to trade around, trade
up, trade sideways, etc. and actually get into the black on your ham radio
interest.  A method that's been successful for me:  If I want one or two of
"X" on someone's hamfest table, but he has a box of 150 of them, I get the
volume discount by buying the whole box, set aside the ones I want (plus a
bunch of extras since I got 'em so cheap by doing the volume discount), then
sell the rest at the regular "onesey-twosey price" and more than make up for
the "capital investment."  When someone's selling their whole ham station,
instead of buying just the one or two items you want, work out a volume
discount on the whole shebang, cherrypick what you want and sell the rest.
The costs are:  You tie up your capital until you get back into the black,
and you may spent a lot of weekends selling the stuff at hamfests, which
does get old after a while.  One local has made this sort of horse trading,
buying/selling, "ham radio arbitrage" his full time job.

So, my theory is you can build that "$100,000 station" for $0 (or even make
money on it!)   Where there's a will there's a way.  But...it may be easier
to do what you specialize in, what you get paid for Monday through Friday
(which theoretically gives you your best  hourly return for your time since
it's what you're an expert at), and just spend the money.

And I do know some divorced hams, including myself, but I don't think ham
radio was a significant factor in any of the divorces that I'm personally
aware of.  But...the sort of thing that causes one to become not just a 2M
repeater type ham but a big station builder and someone who operates for 48
hours straight several weekends a year is the same thing that evidences
itself in a lot of drive in your career and in other things...if you do
these things you're probalby a headstrong, strong-willed, stubborn, driven
person who doesn't necessarily take the easy way out, doesn't follow the
"prudent" course all the time, etc.  These things become factors in a
marriage.  Even earlier, (as I've analyzed the pitfalls I've fallen into),
it means you may not make a self-protective, "prudent," safe choice of
spouse, etc., and the "imprudent choosing" is a major risk factor for

The following is kind of like Jeff Foxworthy's "If you....you may be a

If you're a "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" (Farragut) type, you may
be a contester (and, as part of it, a big station builder).  It also means
your friends and spouse(s) may find you overbearing and obnoxious at times

I remember a controversy some years back when we were voting on someone for
PVRC membership.  It was noted that this person was obnoxious.  A well known
contester member of ours noted that if being obnoxious disqualified someone
for membership, most of us wouldn't have been voted in.   (The person was
voted in.)

73 - Rich, KE3Q -- sorry I didn't make it to Dayton this year -- missed
seeing y'all.

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