Re: {Collins} Value of Collins

----- Original Message ----- From: "john starr001" <jstarr001@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <gblock@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <collins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:42 AM
Subject: Re: {Collins} Value of Collins

Try to find discrete parts for a 1980's Tektronix scope or SA that sold for 50+k originally.


This is a problem with a lot of recently obsolete stuff. I've encountered with -hp- and Tektronix among others. Much of this stuff used custom-made components which are simply not available. Old equipment does have some custom parts, for instance the tuning capacitors in many boatanchor receivers, but most of the stuff that fails with age are generic resistors and capacitors which are still available. I have a couple of middle-aged -hp- instruments which are in the junk box because there is no way to get the parts to make them work but have lots of stuff made in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, that still works as well as it originally did and will likely keep working for decades. Some of the newest equipment has unbeatable specs and more features than you can beat off with a stick but have a limited life. For one thing, in the US at least, manufacturers are not required to support equipment for more than five years after its been discontinued. Where I work (a TV network center) we have some equipment no much more than ten years old which has had to be trashed because its not supportable and is beyond economical repair, or _any_ repair. As far as HF ham gear, the exceptionally low noise figures in some new equipment can't be matched by boatanchors but is of no significance when even half-way decent antennas are available. As far as overload properties, properly designed vacuum tube stuff is probably as good as anything. This is really another subject and maybe OT here but I am a little disturbed at the degree of automation in some modern sets. Not because they are easy to use but because their owners never have to learn the basics of tuning up a transmitter. One of the principle reasons ham radio exists is to provide a body of technically knowledgible people who can maintain communication during emergencies and disasters; that means knowing how to work with very elementary and makeshift equipment if necessary. Some may sneer at this but recent events, like Katrina, show that the regular commercial communications networks can fail catastrophically, at least for a time, but there are so many hams equipped with emergency power or portable equipment that its almost impossible to knock them all out.
    Enough ranting, sorry list owners.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles

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