100 Watts and a Wire: Episode 89

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K0STH, Mar 14, 2017.

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  1. K0STH

    K0STH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    On this episode, we remember RadioShack. Once again, the company has filed for bankruptcy protection. What are your memories? We also test a portable tuner free vertical antenna. Will we get out in very poor winter conditions? Plus, a listener asks Christian about microphones. Does one size fit all? Or, is this a trap? All of this an more on this edition of 100 Watts and a Wire.
    100 Watts and a Wire ® is a weekly podcast celebrating amateur radio. Join Christian Cudnik, K0STH for topical conversation, interviews, news and an entertaining look at the adventures of a ham trying to figure it all out. 100 Watts and a Wire is perfect for those who are new to ham radio, those looking to serve as Elmer’s, and the technically curious crowd. Whether you run 5 watts or 1500 watts, everyone is welcome. In our community, it's OK not to know everything, ask for help, give advice and get on the air.

    Visit 100wattsandawire.com for more information. You can subscribe to the show by clicking the RSS feed. Or, by using podcast apps like, iTunes or Stitcher.

    iTunes: goo.gl/G4ODJc
    Stitcher: goo.gl/X3hrsa

    HF Calling Frequencies: 14287 and 7180
    EchoLink: Node 517090

    Gathers happen on Thursdays at 8p Central. Bands may vary.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Truth UP....

    --Bought my first piece of electronic equipment(1966) at Rat Shack (a Micronta meter)

    --Bought my first 'laptop' (no harddrive) at Rat Shack (1984)

    --Bought bendable antenna wire for some of the first HF fractal antennas (1990) at Rat Shack

    --Bought my first 'mobile phone' at Rat Shack (1993)
    K0STH likes this.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    KF4ZKU, N0RDC and K0STH like this.
  4. N4QNT

    N4QNT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    "You've got questions. We've got blank stares"
    K0STH, W7XLR, K3RLD and 3 others like this.
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    "You've got questions, we've got bankruptcies."
  6. W1GAK

    W1GAK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a lot of stuff from RADIO SHACK until the slick operators took over. Same with sears, j.c.penny.
    KF4ZKU and KB0FKT like this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    The problem with Rat Shack in resurrection was the merchandise was fine, but the prices were not: I always found cheaper on EBay, and never had an 'impulse purchase' requirement.

    Locally, we have You Do It for that (we call it 'YouBlew It).

    My main prob thru the years was the catalog was excellent and the merchandise was pretty good to excellent--but the employees were dummies. I always felt like I knew more about the product--no matter what-- than the salespeople did.

    I have never ever felt that way anywhere else on anything else.

    Now I am sure there are some hams who worked at Rat Shack that were blaring exceptions to my complaint-- I really wish I had worked with you!
    KF4ZKU likes this.
  8. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    FOUND my first VOM (that is, a copy) on EBay and bought it:) Did my first RF repairs with that meter...age 12. Managed not to get electrocuted.

    That's the cool thing about the internet...you can buy your old trash again--50 years later!

    KF4ZKU likes this.
  9. KC2QQR

    KC2QQR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I really wish there were more ham radio/electronics hobby stores... kind of like the "old" Radio Shack, but just a real electronics store that you can go to and buy parts. I don't mind paying a little more for quality components, especially if I can hold them in my hand while forking over cash. Just something about physically looking at and feeling a product will make me want to buy it or not. I don't know how many times I've seen something that might work online, but doesn't. Now I'm out cash and extra junk around the shop.

    For the most part, I buy bulk resistors, LEDs, diodes, etc from eBay. However, sometimes what is shown in the picture isn't always what you get. Don't get me wrong, Chong capacitors will work in any thing I use them in... but for example, I'd prefer to use premium Rubycon or Jamicon caps. Same goes for solder. I hate this lead free solder... it flows like junk and then to get it off, you got to flow like a lot of leaded solder and flux to get get it off with the solder sucker. Something about Kester "44" just works...

    I also blame it on the "throw away" society. People think I'm nuts when I go garbage picking in the spring. For kicks, I have repaired so many flat screen televisions that are less than 2 years old because of junk parts they throw in them to the non-savvy folks to throw it out and buy new.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Among the best reasons to go to Dayton is the amazing availability of parts.

    Every year I come back with a big bag full of stuff, most very cost effective for the lab at work. The nice part about that is I get to charge the trip to work. Now, if that stuff was available locally--no hamvention!
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