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its value today. Collins equipment sold for the most money then, and it still docs today. WRL (World Radio Labs) sold for the least and also still does. The last WRL DuoBander 1 saw was sold for S75 ai a hamfest—-and it was on the air the night it was bought. Its price new was only Si 60. Hmmm!
In late 1997 I saw a Collins KWM-2, with the matching speaker/console and AC power supply, sell for over S2500. The equipment was described as being in perfect condition. The original cost of this combination was $1140, Thafs nearly $1400 more than it sold for newT right? Wrong! To look at true values we must compare dollars today with the dollars from years past.
The Consumer Price Index (Table 2) is the official means of comparing what the current dollar buys, with the dollars of past years. For example, today's (1997) $1000 has ihe same purchasing strength as did $163 in 1950. To place this into perspective, a rcaliy gotxl job of Uie same year paid about $5000 annua! ly. See ihe table for the factors to be used when converting 1997 dollars to other years from 1950 to present.
Now iefs look again at ihat Collins station. It cost $1440 nev\ in 1960 and sold for $2500 in 1997. Using the CPI chart, we find that in I960 dollars this used rig is worth $500; it retained about 33^5 of its original value. How did the WRL Duo Bander fare? Well, iis selling price of S75 was the same as 28 73 Amateur Radio Today • July 1998
S16 in 1965. It retained about 10<7r of its value.
A Drake TR-3 with matching speaker, remote VFO/speaker, and power supply, listed in like-new condition, sold for $285. lis cost new in 1963 was $710. In 1963 dollars, the TR-3+s used value is S59. It retained less than 10 percent of its original value.
There are loads of examples of rigs and prices to compare. Some, such as the Collins S-Iine and KWM-2 scries were in production for many years. Values vary widely over the entire production run. Other rigs, such as ihe National NCX-3 and Healhkit HW-100 transceivers, will never bring top dollar They do, however, offer an inexpensive entry into the world of boat anchors. 1 often see these low-end boat anchors selling for under $100* in near- or fully-operable condition.
There is a formula for setting a fair value on a piece of vintage ham equipment, which goes something like this: The selling price is the amount of money the seller of the fine top-quality vintage rig agrees to accept from the purchaser of the same broken-down worn-out radio.
Are vintage rigs a good deal?
The Yaesu 1000MP lists for about $3000 and is considered by many to be a good example of state-of-the-art equipment. The 1000MP includes a power supply, automatic antenna tuner, DSP, extra filters, memories.
digital accuracy, etc. If it had been available in 1960, the 1000MP would have cost $600, considerably less than the Collins example shown earlier in this article. You get a lot of radio for the money today, when you compare the capabilities of today s equipment to what you got for the same value back in the vintage days. However, this statement is in no way meant to take away from the pleasure of owning and using vintage equipment.
Vintage ham gear can be found at most hamfests, listed in the famous ("yet-low sheets," heard about on swap nets, and listed in a dozen locations on the Internet. Generally, you will find prices lo be the lowest when dealing directly with an owner locally—where no shipping is involved. Equipment from dealers will be the most expensive. However, ihe rigs are usually checked oui prior to sale and repairs made where necessary. The following commerciaiysemi-commercial sources can be contacted by nail or telephone, or found on the Internet:
Chris Seig Surplus P.O. Box 123 Hillsboro NH 03244 (603) 464-5625
Joel Thurtell The Radio Finder 975 Arthur Plymouth MI 48170 (313) 454-4666 | ww w.radiofi nder.com ]
7730 W, National Avenue
West Ailis WI 53214
Note: This list is not meant to be exhaustive in nature. If you know of suitable additions, contact me at: (W2BLC & big foot com] or mail me a letter Are you interested in these older rigs and want more information? Watch for more articles about individual rigs coming in the future. 23
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