Logging of a Different Kind

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK6FLAB, Jun 9, 2018.

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  1. VK6FLAB

    VK6FLAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    Logging of a Different Kind

    We as radio amateurs log things. We log our contacts, we log our progress towards an award, we log how many different countries we've contacted, which stations we heard with WSPR, how many kilometres we managed per watt, which stations were in a net, what callsigns received a QSL card, what location we're in when we made a contact. You get the point, we log things, many things and for many different reasons.

    Here's a log that I started last week.

    An asset log.

    You heard me, an asset log, a thing that logs what amateur radio stuff I have, when it came into my life, where it came from, what brand it is, what model, what the serial number is and if I spent money on it, how much money I spent. It shows things that I've loaned to other amateurs and it shows things that are on loan to me.

    It started with a conversation about a silent key. That's what we call radio amateurs who have died. The idea of a silent key is one that reminds us that everyone is unique, that every manual Morse code transmission has a particular feel and that this is unique to every amateur. Once that particular combination of speed, tone and pacing is no longer heard, they're said to have become a silent key.

    I've been an amateur for a few years now and in that time I've seen the process that happens once an amateur becomes silent play out over and over again. In my experience it's not pretty. It almost always appears to end in something akin to a feeding frenzy where the person who got in first grabs the best stuff and leaves the rest for the next person. Rinse and repeat until there's nothing of value left.

    It leaves me with a bad taste in many ways. For one, the family who is left behind might not know or understand that there is a monetary value associated with what's often referred to as \"grandpa's gear\" and they might just be in need of some extra financial support in their time of mourning.

    Another aspect, if there is no actual need for money, is that the person who's shack is being dismantled might have an idea on how they would like to see their hard work live on. They might want to donate it to a particular person, an organisation, a club, a school, or some other destination of their choosing.

    All that can only work if there is a list of stuff. Having a family member construct that list is going to be a tough ask, unless you're fortunate enough to have more than one amateur in your household. Asking another amateur to make the list creates a load of work with at best guesses of age and value. The only person really qualified to make the list about your shack is you.

    Last week I started the list on a spreadsheet that I'll share with my family. I'll add to it when more stuff arrives and if I feel the need, I can remove stuff that has moved on. I'm not in the position to add new amateur equipment to my shack more than a few times a year, so maintaining this list isn't going to be an onerous task and I could imagine that the list expands to include tracking which equipment went with me on a field-day, which I have to tell you is always a challenge to track.

    As a bonus, the list can be used in the case of loss or theft and for insurance purposes, so it's not just for when the time comes that we become a silent key. To get started, make a list of what you can see around you and keep adding stuff. If you keep accounting records, they can be used as a source of information too.

    We log lots of stuff and I think that adding an asset log is something that will add to any amateur shack and it could form the basis of a legacy that you might leave behind.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB

    To listen to the podcast, visit the website: http://podcasts.itmaze.com.au/foundations/ and scroll to the bottom for the latest episode. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB, or you can read the book, look for my callsign on your local Amazon store, or visit my author page: http://amazon.com/author/owh

    If you'd like to participate in discussion about the podcast or about amateur radio, you can visit the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/foundations.itmaze

    Feel free to get in touch directly via email: onno@itmaze.com.au, or follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (http://twitter.com/vk6flab/)

    If you'd like to join the weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at http://ftroop.vk6.net, the net runs every week on Saturday, from 00:00 to 01:00 UTC on Echolink, IRLP, AllStar Link and 2m FM via various repeaters.
    AG4YL likes this.
  2. AG4YL

    AG4YL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for posting this here - I had heard a passing mention to this but never followed up.

    I am fortunate to belong to a club, and through them a "network" of clubs, who go out of their way to help and protect those left behind, and do a very good job of keeping the "vultures" at bay. They also make the process of equipment disbursement less traumatic. However I am aware that this is not always the case.

    I would also like to remark on the "Legacy" aspect, and how "logging" your ham gear can give it some provenance. Some people, especially hams, find the story behind the gear as good as the gear itself.

    A couple of years ago a member of my club was helping a friend out by selling some of his gear for him, as he was elderly and in failing health. I happened to purchase a key of his. I wrote down the purchase info and the name and call of the former owner of the key and filed it. About a year later I heard that he had passed away, and I was glad that I had wrote that info down - my key has provenance. I probably wax romantic more than the average person because I have nothing from my dad's "ham life" except a lamp that was on his desk in the shack.

    I gonna go start my equipment log now .....
    VK5FUSE and N6JML like this.
  3. VK5FUSE

    VK5FUSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is something we should all consider .
    Young and old.
    Grab a pen and some paper, and follow the steps above. Make sure your handwriting is legible or consider typing the list as being handwritten may have unforeseen problems with clarity of writing which may lead to your wishes not being followed correctly.

    Because distribution of assets can be very tricky for family when your not around to supervise, keep your prices realistic. Store the equipment price list safely .
    Make sure that you store your list somewhere that can be found after your death.
    Older people could tell their named executor where the equipment list is located .

    Life is like a roll of toilet paper the closer you get to the end the faster it goes .

    Thank you VK6FLAB for posting this important & sensitive topic. 73

  4. K2HAT

    K2HAT QRZ Volunteer Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    Great idea to keep an inventory.

    Sad to say the value of most used radios have dropped significantly in the last 5-10 years,
    especially in the last 2, both for newer and especially older items.

    What was worth $1500+ 2 years ago, now might be work $850-$950

    What was worth $1000-$1500 10 years ago may bring $75-$100 at the Hamfests, especially true on the larger heavier stuff.

    Having gone to 27 Hamfests in 2017 some of the prices I have seen have opened my eyes, that especially the older the stuff and the larger and heavier,
    the more the prices have dropped. Some items I would see at several Hamfests, over and over, packed back in the vehicle.

    Tube equipment enthusiasts are becoming SK.

    The price for the Icom IC-7300 going below $1200 has made it harder to sell a lot of used radios for what was a decent price 2 years ago.
    The same with the many choices for Solid State HF Amps, with the ease of use and lighter weight and smaller size, the big iron is a tough sell.

    I agree, very good idea to keep an inventory though; but the prices do not always hold, e.g. My K3 and P3 used are not worth even half what they cost new.

    Best 73 :)
    VK5FUSE likes this.

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