Kicking around at the Findlay (Ohio) Hamfest this weekend I couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot less Drake gear for sale than usual. I’ve always assumed the mounds of Drake equipment ended up at Findlay due to its proximity to the factory in Miamisburg, just down the road a bit. I assumed ex-employees were unloading their cache at this hamfest.
According to Wikipedia:
The company was founded in 1943 by radio design engineer Robert L. Drake. The company began as a manufacturer of low pass and high pass filters for the government and amateur radio market, and after World War II, produced amateur radio transmitters and receivers and communications receivers for maritime mobile service.
But there was noticeably less of it available this time around and that downward trend will no doubt continue. It’s difficult to step out of time for a moment and understand that the old things we now call “boat anchors” were once cutting edge and highly prized in our hobby. And while the timeline may feel different to you and I right now, things we consider to be the best of the best will one day end up in the boneyard too.
Difficult as that may be to imagine, the history of Collins, Drake, Hallicrafters and other manufacturers of yesteryear will eventually be repeated for Elecraft, ICOM, Yaesu, Kenwood, and FlexRadio. We’ve already seen it happen to Ten-Tec.
It’s a little unsettling to ponder, but if hamfests continue to exist into the next generation it would be fascinating to hear what hams in 2060 have to say about all that old “crap” in tattered cardboard boxes under the sellers table…