Sunday, August 6, 2017

Visiting HRO - Anaheim

One of the biggest drawbacks in amateur radio is the fact that the places to put your hands on equipment are few and far between. In the past I have visited HRO Milwaukee and R and L in Hamilton, OH. I totally prefer to put my hands on gear before I buy it but I do not have a place in any major city in Indiana to do so. R and L is my closest chance and it is around two hours away in the Cincinnati area. The hams in Ohio are pretty lucky as they have a few stores to choose from with R and L in the southwest corner, Universal Radio in the west central region, and DX Engineering in the north east portion of the state.

So, imagine my excitement when I found out that the Anaheim Ham Radio Outlet store was only twelve miles away from the house we rented in Santa Ana. We were in town for my daughter's softball tournament and I was hoping to find some free time to make it to the store. Of course 12 miles in Southern California means at least a 25 minute drive for the most part but we did have a break where the others had beach plans and I did not want to sit in the sand. So, I made my way over one afternoon.

This location made a comeback of sorts as it was destroyed by a fire in 2000 and had to be rebuilt.

In the store there is a reminder of the fire and a tribute to the employees who worked hard to get the store back together again. The owl in the following picture was, from the explanation, a lone survivor.

When I first entered the store the staff seemed a little stand offish, although they did greet me, but I came to realize that they were in the middle of trying to do inventory while running across the room to answer the phones and take orders. I walked around the store and browsed and was taken aback at their vast inventory.

There was so much more that can not be seen in just these pictures but this was just the accessory items. They also had some old equipment for sale and I thought this old Heathkit linear amp was pretty neat and was in great shape too.

But, the really impressive display was the wall of HF and VHF/UHF transceivers that took up most of one entire wall of the store. Milwaukee had a similar wall but did not seem to have but  about 2/3 the amount of radios on display.

As I walked the line of transceivers my eyes spotted every transceiver I have owned and currently own. But there was one that really stood out and it was the first time that I ever saw it in person. I heard the trumpets blare and the lighting seemed to intensify. There it was in all its glory. The Kenwood TS-990S.

What an awesome rig. I am sure it is as fun to operate as it is easy on the eyes. So, after browsing for a few the guys got an opening in their busy day and told me to help myself to some coffee that was brewing in the corner. I got into a conversation with one of them about learning morse code and he provided some good advice. My stay was coming to an end and I felt I could not leave without making a purchase. Since I was about $6500 short for the Kenwood I decided to buy a clock that I had been looking at for the shack.

That pretty much ended my visit. I completed this post here in cool, overcast Indiana. We arrived back this morning around 1 a.m. and my hopes were to work on my antenna so that I could get the 991 on the air today. Looking like a little rain so that is out. I may just sit down at the bench and solder up the 4 State QRP tuner I purchased awhile back. 

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