Of auctions and automation
I would not call ham radio folks hoarders, but as a group we seem to have a disproportionate pile of seemingly useless stuff. I know my wife often scans my ham shack and storage area with a critical eye, often followed with this ominous question: “What’s this? Do you ever use it?” Whereupon I typically respond, well not every day, but when I need it… you know the required response! The other day I needed a common resistor…and while I have a drawer full of them, I did not have the one I needed. Now what? Eventually I will buy a replacement…but will buy a small bag and then I will have a small stock pile…and so it goes! Fact is, with Radio Shack all but gone; there is no just running out for parts anymore. Keeping parts on hand is one thing but holding on to radios and collecting older gear is another.
For various reasons, I helped collect gear from several hams this year that were either leaving the hobby or downsizing. They all had the same issue. ‘This was my dad’s or my brother’s or it was given to me…and I just could not give it up.” And so it collects. I now have a fairly large collection of my own vintage gear that someday I am going to have to release. I have the old Kenwood TS520 that really got me started in the hobby. It was given to me by my Physics professor as an incentive for me to get my ticket. It worked. I have the old Hallicrafter’s SX100 receiver that I used as a kid. These aren’t collector items like Collins or Drake gear but they both meant a great deal to me. I lost the Hallicrafters when my wife was cleaning the attic. She tossed it out after asking, “Do you ever use this?” And I reluctantly agreed figuring marital bliss was more important than my old childhood memories. Fortunately, I was able to get a very sweet deal for a replacement at Dayton and so it has come back home. Maybe we are just sentimental? I don’t know what it is, but hams seem to love collecting stuff. The really good part of this story is that we keep feeding this urge.
All of the gear we collect from hams has been donated to the Club to sell at our auction. Ron Harroff hasca basement loaded with gear ready for our coming Winter Classic sales event. He also spends countless hours inspecting, checking and pricing everything that is sold. His passion for this process is inspiring and I am sure it is taxing. His basement is stuffed with equipment. The auction and the proceeds from these sales benefit the club. In fact, as you no doubt learned from Warren Pugh’s excellent presentation on our budget, this little auction helps us fill an annual shortfall in revenues. This “recycling” program helps us balance our books and gives Hams the opportunity to walk away with some classic gems or gear that is needed. Plus, it is just fun!
Support your Club…add to your collections…enjoy our Winter auction.
Growing pains. When I started with this club 80 million years ago, everything was done on paper. We published a paper newsletter, stuffed it into paper envelopes, added stamps and did monthly mailings. We did our membership renewals by mail and most of our events required mail in paper registrations. How times have changed! Everything has moved to an online environment. For better or worse, we have embraced the newer ways of doing things and like any transition, there are tradeoffs. We current accept PayPal for on-line membership…but for all of its convenience, it does often cause back office headaches sometimes. People nowadays don’t often use their real names in email addresses, so when we get to reconciling these accounts, it is not always clear who sent us the money! Often we have to write back and ask them to identify themselves. Ever gotten a text from someone not in your address book? It can be disconcerting and embarrassing sometimes. Who the heck is writing to me? Let’s keep a few time-honored ideas alive…let’s sign documents with our real names and contact information. It is a simple idea that seems to work pretty well.
Happy Holidays to all!