Vintage EquipmentThe collection, restoration and use of historical equipment is another movement in amateur radio. The musty smell of warming dust, the heavy clunk of rotary switches and the velvet smoothness of precision tuning drives are joys of every use.
Such sensuality is absent from modern plastic-fronted, wobbly-knobbed transceivers. Old rig cabinets felt they had something in them. A kick would hurt you more than them. And etched panel markings confirmed they were built to last.
Unlike today’s dainty push buttons with stunted travel and disembodied beep, toggle switches showed you where they stood. Weight, life and play made adjusting controls for nulls and peaks (as often required) both a pleasure and occasional frustration. Even if only as mechanical backlash on a bad tuning dial, it was as if the equipment was telling you something, like a ridden horse does through its reins. Not like newer gear’s lack of tactility which is like a ‘dead fish’ handshake, all take and no give.
There are psychic as well as physical joys. The thrill of bringing neglected or dead equipment to life drives many. It’s an underestimated skill. You start with nothing and almost anything done represents progress when building from scratch. Whereas with a repair it is very easy to render something that’s 80% good completely useless with a careless drop or slip.
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