Category Archives: From my Facebook/Twitter/G+ Feeds

From my Facebook Feed: Could this finally be the end for Radio Shack?

Mike KM5Z posted this article from on the Dallas Amateur Radio Club Facebook page that outlines the current negotiations that Radio Shack is making with Sprint Corp.  In the proposed deal, Radio Shack would sell around half of their store leases to Sprint, and close the rest.  The locations sold to Sprint would operate under the Sprint name, effectively ending the Radio Shack brand after 94 years.

Was nice to see the nod to Radio Shack’s roots in the Ham Radio business.  From the article:

The discussions represent the endgame for a chain that traces its roots to 1921, when it began as a mail-order retailer for amateur ham-radio operators and maritime communications officers. It expanded into a wider range of electronics over the decades, and by the 1980s was seen as a destination for personal computers, gadgets and components that were hard to find elsewhere. In more recent years, though, competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and an army of e-commerce sellers hurt customer traffic.

Radio Shack is the company that was responsible for my entry into the electronics hobby, which went on to define my career.  In my personal opinion, and I will probably come up with a lengthy editorial about this, Radio Shack numbered it’s days when it left the hobbyist market in the 90s and went on to become a place where you would go to buy a cell phone or maybe an audio cable.  Radio Shack could have saved itself by watching the market when the maker movement started exploding over the last 10 years and re-entering it with more electronics stuff, which they ended up doing by getting into the Arduino and Raspberry Pi market, but it was too little too late.  Online companies like Allied, Digi-Key, and Jameco (to name a few) had beaten them to the punch.  When I was young, if Radio Shack didn’t have it, you didn’t build it until you decided to cough up the high minimum orders, or you just bit the bullet and waited until the next hamfest and hoped you could find the part.  Now, there are many local electronics shops, and the major vendors no longer have insurmountable minimum order policies.  Or you can go on Ebay and get twenty times what you need at the same cost as just a few, if you can wait a week or two for it to get here from China.

Soon it will be time to say goodbye to the Jap Shack.  May they rest in peace.


(Published from DFW, Texas)

From My Facebook Feed: Ham Radio #2 on the “Manly Hobby” List

(Thank’s Bernie K5BP for posting this link on the Dallas Amateur Radio Club Facebook Page)

Apparently there is a website devoted to the art of manliness — this thing covers all things manly, from how to shave with a straight razor and how to break in a baseball cap to how to wear a pocket square (who knew it wasn’t really a hanky?  If I ever have an opportunity to wear a suit again, perhaps my own funeral, maybe I’ll try it).

Well, these good folks decided to make a list of hobbies for men… Manly hobbies.  The second item on the list: Ham radio.  In the immortal words of Tim Allen (now actually a ham-KK6OTD!): Grunt, grunt!

Looking to be a part of a tight knit community with a focus on radio and communication? Look no further than ham radio. While the internet has taken radio’s place as the dominant form of communication, a vibrant community of amateur radio enthusiasts still exists. Radio hobbyists enjoy communicating directly with people from all over the world while expanding their knowledge of radio theory. In addition, most ham radio operators provide a public service to their communities by acting as relays in the event of emergencies or natural disasters. Radio operation is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, so you’ll have to be licensed to use a radio. Licensing isn’t difficult at all. You just have to take a multiple choice test that covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory. And of course you’ll need the equipment. Buying new will set you back a pretty penny, but you can find good deals on used radio equipment on eBay. For more info about getting started with ham radio check out the National Association of Amateur Radio (defunct link-use — AD8BC) and stop by the AoM Community Group-The Manly Art of Amateur (Ham) Radio.

(Of course there are lady hams, like my wife KC8TSX, so let’s not take away from that as well…)

Stay manly my friends, and 73.


(Published from DFW, Texas)