My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Surfin’: Buyin’ Parts

This week, Surfin’ waxes nostalgic about buying radio parts at the local electronics emporium.


  1. Well, f'r cryin' out loud!(as K2ORS would say). As a teenager I used to travel down from New Hampshire to Radio Shack in on Washington Street in Boston when they only had two stores and specialized in parts and ham gear. Then they sold out to Tandy, I guess, and became just another shiny audio appliance store.

    There was also DeMambro Radio in Manchester, NH and Evans Radio in Bow, NH. Evans was run by Carl Evans, W1BFT and his wife Dotty, W1FTJ. What a place - everything from parts to new Halli and Collins gear (which I could never afford) to used, refurbed trade-ins. Boy, them were the days!

  2. I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel, and today the designer from the cabinet shop came out for the sanity measurement before pulling the trigger. His first words on my opening the front door (having seem the call letter tags on my car) were "Are you an ham? My dad was a ham!" .. so we chatted a bit, and he said "there was a place in Springfield that Dad would go to, and take me along, I can't remember the name" .. and I said "Soundco." "Yes! that's it!"

    *My* dad is/was not a Ham, but he knew everybody behind the counter at Soundco. I'm pretty sure I was there with him when he bought his Scott 310-D and LK48 kit HiFi gear, at which point I would have been about 5 years old. I sat with him the entire time he built that kit, and enjoyed every minute.

    This brought back the memory of summers during junior high school, when I'd ride the 8 miles each way on my bike to just go hang out at Soundco. I was still some 5 years from a ham license at this point.

    The only names I remember from Soundco at this advanced age are Wes Thayer and and Bob Cisek, but I know there were many more wonderful folks there. The way they put up with and encouraged this punk kid changed my life.

    ...W1PF (WB1BVY, NE1G)

  3. As a teenager in the late 50's I had it made. There was Aaron's Surplus in Detroit with (as I recall) three floors of electronic WWII surplus that you could hardly walk through. A new ARC5 receiver, still in the original carton, was $10. There were 55 gal drums full of J38 straight keys to pick through. One is good shape would set you back a dollar. I could spend the whole day at Aarons. There were several smaller electronic surplus stores around the area as well.

    I worked part time in a radio/TV repair shop so when I wanted parts I just called in my order to one of the local wholesalers and a driver delivered them to the shop where I worked.


  4. I have never really studied the history of Radio Shack despite the fact that I worked for them at one time. I remember having a catalog as a novice in 1966 from Fort Orange Radio Shack. Does anyone remember them and were they in anyway related to what became "Radio Shack" in latter years?