Today the December 2012 RadCom dropped on my doormat. P16-17 contains a review of the Acom 1500 1500W linear amplifier for HF and 6m. Now, I am sure this is a very well engineered piece of kit, but at £2750 including VAT surely this is not for real amateur radio?
Anyone buying this has probably spent a few thousand on a big Yaecom black box multi-mode HF rig, another £400-500 on a beefy rotator, another few hundred on a mast and another few hundred on an HF beam to put on the top. Total bill for all this approaching £5000 if not more! They may be able to work some DX slightly more easily than me with a 5W or less radio and a small wire antenna strung up in the tree, but I bet they have less fun.
I have no objection per se to people spending the money they earn as they choose, but what I object to is this sort of expensive kit being projected as a necessity to enjoy our hobby.
To my mind this is SHAMateur radio, not amateur radio. It is a cheque book hobby far far removed from the hobby I wish to be associated with.
I wish our national magazine would publish more articles about REAL amateur radio, the sort that young kids and people on tight budgets can afford and enjoy. If the RSGB is short of material then it should ask the GQRP club for some ideas and circuits! Amateur radio is a very varied hobby and I do not want to be a killjoy, but anyone picking up RadCom would believe you need a very deep wallet to be able to enter the hobby. This simply is NOT the case. OK there is some good beginners content (for example the excellent series by Eamon Skilton) but not nearly enough.
One thing that IS good in this month's RadCom is the review of QRP Basics by G3RJV on p39. The first edition of this was a very good book that showed what amateur radio is really all about. I expect the new second edition will be even better. I commend it to you!
Are you a radio amateur or a radio shamateur?