Still Subscribing to ER Magazine?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio' started by W5HRO, May 22, 2015.


Do you subscribe to Electric Radio magazine?

Poll closed May 21, 2016.
  1. YES

    7 vote(s)
  2. NO

    6 vote(s)
  1. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Does anyone still subscribe to Electric Radio Magazine?

    When I moved to California back in 2000 I let my subscription expire and I have no wish to ever renew it again. I honestly don't see the point anymore. There is nothing in there that could ever interest me again and I'm just wondering how many people are actually still getting it? If so do you get it just because of habit or think you are still contributing to AM or the vintage gear in some way?

    I guess back during the peak of the collector craze and the AM boom it was nice having that publication to connect everyone who all shared the same common interest, but those days are long gone now. I honestly don't see the point anymore. There is nothing in there that I couldn't come up with and do better myself or just find on the Internet instead.

    It just seems like a pointless publication now...
  2. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Guest

    If I see another celebrity cover, I'll likely bail.
  3. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    What, you mean like the current May issue with GLH's daughter :lol:

    I heard about that. Anyway, Gary is a local here in northern California and I hear him on 75-meters during one of the evening AM nets from time to time.
  4. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Another thing back during the peak of the collector craze and the AM boom were the classified ads in the last few pages, but that was before the Internet started taking off and before eBay. Now with eBay and the other stuff on-line the need for those classifieds are pointless as well. Who wants to list ads in there now when they can just post stuff on eBay and make twice as much money? I'm sure there are still some of the old-timers who have never created eBay or PayPal accounts and have never gotten into that, but still...
  5. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    I never did subscribe myself, but I did get issue #1 with Mike Palmer K5FZ on the cover with his Collins 32V & 75A4 station. I think those were sent out based upon a list. If I recall the AM Press Exchange and ER coexisted for a few years.

    Late last year I found an OM in the NE who was downsizing. He had a 20+ year collection of ER, and sent them to me for the cost of shipping. I had my daughter sort them, and put a large rubber band around each year. There are some gaps, but a really nice collection nevertheless.

    I have noticed a great variation in the quality of the articles, but this is to be expected. Sure the layouts, and formatting are good. It just seems that sometimes the project does not quite turn out right, and they publish it anyway. Perhaps some are making projects just to publish something, and the result becomes a shelf queen? Still, ER has survived the test of time, and I believe it has surpassed 25 years being published.

    lately I read one every morning in the "reading room". Sometimes I'm late to work over getting engrossed over a new article. Today it was a Compactron based VFO for Johnson transmitters. The guy had several pages on temperature compensation, yet it still drifted way more than I'd like. No attempt to regulate the filament...

  6. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator


    The first issue was May 1989 so 26 years to date.
  7. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Guest

    No, not her. I'd rather not elaborate further to be polite.
  8. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Guest

    I still subcribe to ER but not QST.
  9. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I just searched around the web and found it. You mean April's cover ;)

    That guy is ok though. Just as long as it's not Bob Heil, but I think he already made the cover a year or so ago ::) I can't stand that guy :icon_thumbdown:

    Back somewhere around the late 1990's when I was using my big HB transmitter in Tulsa Heil jumped in there one morning on 75-meter AM right before daylight when the band was still long and said "Don't you wish you had great audio like me?". Well, my transmitter happened to have really great and wide full response Hi-Fi audio which was better than his. The only issue back then was the negative peak went down too far which made me splatter a little. After that comment I realized he was a prick. He was one of those guys full of himself and thought that he knew more than what he actually did.

    Anyway, as far as April's cover, that was Walsh. Joe is ok, he's just one of the famous people who can afford to have an extensive collection of vintage gear and he does get on from his home in LA from time to time. I doubt he works on or restores any of it though and probably pays to have all of that done. The thing about Heil though is I don't really consider him a celebrity. What makes him a celebrity? He is certainly no Glyn or Andy Johns, not even close. I bet he even wrote his own bio on Wikipedia :lol:

    You know, if enough people came out and voiced their opinions then maybe assholes like Heil wouldn't get their face published on the cover of vintage magazines.
  10. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    I think everybody at one time or another is an AH. It is the ones that keep doing it though that build that title. Today for example, I mowed the front, back, then weed eater-ed, and blew the grass away. Al hot and sticky, I go in the house to see the XYL running the dishwasher again after I ran it last night....Not being able to help myself I was an AH. Now I need to say I'm sorry.

    My experiences with Bob Heil have all been pleasant. As to ER, some of the issues are really good. Today I was reading about the Navy, subs, and CW. It was well done.

  11. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I think in this case though that actually fits :lol:

    At least you guys can run the water over and over and have plenty of it. I spoke with my dad yesterday and he said it just keeps raining and raining in Tulsa including down in Texas and everything is just staying soaked. Unless you live in a spot where it's not raining?
  12. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    Yes we finally got significant rain in the month of May. Lake Travis was at 631 feet at the beginning of the month, and it is 666 feet now. My pool took a beating with about 12" of rain over the Memorial day weekend. The extreme dilution lowered my stabilizer level (CYA) to 30 ppm (goal = 80 ppm), Total Alkalinity 60 (goal 110), salt level 2400ppm (goal 3000), and left the pool with 1/4" of pollen/dirt on the bottom. Also had hundreds of earth worms on the mucky bottom. I finally got most of the issues solved...No hamming this weekend. :mad:

    Highland Lakes:

    Back to topic, I did read a few more ER magazines...

  13. KE5YTV

    KE5YTV Guest

    I still enjoy Electric Radio.

    I've had 15" of rain during the month of May here in Dallas. We've set the record for the wettest month ever in DFW.
  14. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    El Nino is finally coming back around on the west coast again so there will be rainy days like that here as well this year. It just started cooling off some, but I've still been using the pool. I may need to cover it up this weekend or next though.

    Anyway, most of the stuff in ER magazine was never that appealing to me. In the early days before the Internet it was useful, but mainly for the classified ads in the very back. With the Internet today those ads are no longer even needed.

    As far as the rest of the information in there goes, I no longer have any interest in doing hammy hambone type modification hacks to the majority of the old commercially made gear like the Heathkits, E.F. Junkstons and etc. I’d rather build my own stuff the right way that will work better from the start. I will still work on and modify my select (good ones) classic receivers that I’ve kept, but that’s about it.
  15. W1VTP

    W1VTP Member

    I currently subscribe to ER. I am trying REAL HARD to be interested in the content. Sometimes I succeed. Sorry about the sarcasm. I think ER is one of those niche magazines. It does serve a purpose albeit narrow one. I will probably continue to subscribe but I'll have to admit that I'm batting about one article per month that interests me. What's nice about it is that when an old piece of gear is highlighted, there is generally some good info that is not readily available elsewhere.

    I subscribe to QEX too. That magazine has really declined in recent years. The cover is the same thickness as the pages inside. I almost threw one issue away recently 'cause I thought it was just another ham radio catalog. Guess they are having a hard time with increased publishing costs. I remember in the 70 / 80's when the ARRL handbook was made using cheap high acid paper. Today, those years are turning to a ugly brown color. I bet in 20 years the paper will be crumbling. That's not the case with my 30's, 40's & 50's handbooks - exception: the 1947 year - I have two copies of that year and the paper quality was just as bad and yes the paper is very brittle.

  16. KE5YTV

    KE5YTV Guest

    I watched an interview with Joe Walsh. Seems like a nice guy. He said that he started in electronics by building and maintaining his bands amps. Then became interested in ham radio and he does work on his own equipment. He loves to ragchew but doesn't want to discus The Eagles.
  17. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I think I saw that one, but there have been 2 or 3 in recent years like the new one on Netflix about the Eagles. The Eagles were somewhat popular back in the beginning, but they were still sort of a mediocre band until he joined during their last few remaining years and took it to a whole new level. Sort of like when Neil Young teamed up with Crosby, Stills and Nash. Walsh made the Eagles peak and become really popular towards the end. Probably because of the Keith Moon influence factor :lol:

    I did see one after he released Analog Man where he was talking about the old Fender Champ amp and why he thought it sounded the best and was his favorite. Well, it’s not just because of the small speaker, it’s because it was single-ended and rich in even order harmonics because of it. The same amp with the same speaker in a push-pull configuration would never sound as good because those harmonics get canceled out so I think what he actually knows technically is somewhat limited.

    I'm sure he works on a lot of his ham gear, but I bet he pays to have much of it done too. That guy is probably way too busy so where would he ever find the time to restore all of what he has collected through the years. You know he probably sends a lot of it out for restoration. If I had that kind of money, that’s what I would do.
  18. N6YW

    N6YW Guest

    Allow me to comment. I know Bob Heil very well and he is not a recording engineer like Andy & Glyn, and I knew Andy for a long time before he died...
    he was family friend. Bob is an inventor and a businessman but also a musician. Like him or not, you can't argue with success. Having said that, it's likely
    that Bob was pulling your chain in a manner consistent with his constant advertisement mind set. He is ALWAYS pitching his products. When he came to my
    recording studio to deliver a bunch of microphones for Ross Hogarth and I to try out, he did the same thing but more personal and technical in nature.
    He is not a bad person at all and you and I have moments where we might send the wrong message too.
    As for ER, I still subscribe. It's a fine resource for those who like to write articles about our various passions within the hobby and it's a great staging
    platform for that. Hell, I am a bit of a celebrity too but it doesn't matter that I have been on the cover twice.. we are all just people, some better known
    than others and with some luck, possess manageable egos. Hi!
    73 de Billy N6YW
  19. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    That could very well be and if so he has pulled many other chains besides mine, but that's the impression many of us have of him and it's not just me.

    Personally I tried a couple of his amateur radio mics year’s back and I thought they were highly overrated and not worth the money. The little two to three dollar condenser mic elements Radio Shack once sold sounded better. I think the only one I kept has either the HC-4 or HC-5 element inside, but I really never even used it. I should probably dig it out and sell it on eBay for some outrageous price and laugh all the way to my PayPal account. You know how things are on eBay today.

    Oh, if you have any photos of Andy Johns, maybe post a few on here. That would be cool :icon_thumbup:
  20. N6YW

    N6YW Guest

    I do have a photo of us at a birthday party for Kim Gardner who is also deceased. I will have to dig it out when I unpack
    some boxes after my move here to Tucson.
    Talk about EGO!!! Andy would pontificate for hours using the correct Queen's
    English and pretty much be right about everything (in his mind) but it was more about the game of discourse that he
    was interested in. Oh the stories he could tell about, well.... everybody.
    Back on topic.
    I have been working on a piece for ER for a while now and hope to get it in for publishing next year sometime after
    finishing the restoration on a quite rare Hammarlund SP-10 with original power supply, which is what the article is about.
    I love Hammarlund receivers and own several.

    The unique thing about ER is that it's driven by content by some very accomplished and knowledgeable people but I also
    see the point where the cover photos get to be rather a who's who kind of thing. Problem is, Ray Osterwald has a huge
    task of keeping the mag relevant and full of good material. At times, he has to make some tough decisions on what is fit
    to print. I almost quit the mag entirely when I saw that douche bag Bill Carns on the cover. I was incensed and in my
    mind it had the feel of someone buying their cover moment, as if being the head cork sniffer for the CCA and publisher
    of the Signal magazine wasn't enough. He was on a roll that year and was hell bent on doing everything his way regardless
    of what others felt, including me. Bob Heil may not be your cup of tea, but he is a gentleman and friend to me, most likely
    due to the fact that we are industry contemporaries so to speak. Bill Carns on the other hand is not and has the personality
    of a brain tumor who takes credit for everything that everyone else does.

    As I said earlier, I made the cover a couple of times and it was an honor... one of which had nothing to do with my lobbying
    for that honor. It had to do with content which was pretty cool. I hope it can stay afloat for another decade.
    Billy N6YW

    ER_179_Cover.jpg ER_289_Cover.jpg
  21. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I forget what year I started subscribing to ER, but I think it was shortly after, maybe a year or two after Barry Wiseman started it in 1989. I spoke with Barry on the phone a few times back then and when the Internet started I was one of the ones who helped him advertise it here on the web by posting pictures of it on my old site with the subscription/contact info, etc. That was then and this is now though.

    I let my subscription expire when I moved to California and there were a few things that transpired right before and after I moved. The first thing that happened was when certain ER members complained about Rick’s, K8MLV’s advertisement about the “I Hate Slopbuckets” and “AM Forever” T-shirts and Barry pulling the ad because of it and then later on when I had posted a couple of pics of ER on the other AM board one night and was reprimanded by one of the moderators for doing it because they said the guy who took ER over from Barry apparently had an issue with it. Well, people take things way too serious and get themselves all in a tizzy over non-important stuff even when the original intent was never the way others perceived it to be. Well, that set the tone at least for my attitude and I don’t want any part of it ever again.

    Most of the guys here in California don’t know me, because I haven’t really been on the air out here yet. When I first moved to California back in 2000 I received an email from Ron, W6OM down in Irvine because he had run across my website and he wanted me to help setup and create the California AMI site, but I just didn’t have the time back then. We kept in touch for a while and then last year I sent out emails from his old AMI list letting everyone know about this board, etc. What’s funny is I heard a conversation on 3870 one night shortly after where W6THW was talking to another guy and this board came up in their discussion. One of them said, yeah that board is mostly political :lol:

    The funny thing is this board is not political. The political references that have been made have mainly been directed and are in response to the other AM board on the east coast and their actions over the years. That’s what it has been about and was intended to set this board apart from theirs and make that distinction.

    Although…, maybe if David, W6PSS (The Deacon) would get in here and post then maybe things would get political, but that’s probably what it would take for that to happen :lol:. He is a member of this board, but he’s not really into the Internet thing and posting on bulletin boards I don’t think.
  22. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Opinions are like...
    When I came back to ham radio a couple of years ago, I was excited by the fact that a publication like ER existed in today's world. I immediately subscribed. I also ordered several "back issues" . Some of the back issues were printed & bound, a few were only poor copies of articles, not full issues. When I contacted Ray about this problem he was incensed and refunded my money. Needless to say I cancelled my subscription. I thought it only fair that I receive a full issue as I had paid full price. If that issue was not available he should have stated that. It's really too bad, as I enjoyed the articles for the nostalgia even if I didn't have a need for that information.
    It's the same with the AWA. I don't collect old AM broadcast sets, but that seems to be their main focus. I'm a member and use what info I can and discard the rest. Their yearly AWA Review is great. But, I'm a sucker. I just joined the ARRL because they gave me a free antenna book... To each his own.

    As far a Bob Heil goes, I have known him since the early 70's when we were both in the sound system rental business. He has always been a self promoter and abrasive at times. OTOH, I did talk him out of a couple of empty mic cases, a few years back, reproductions of the old RCA 44 jr. I used them for mounting some NOS Shure ribbon cartridges. His mics are just cheap chinese junk. He has somehow managed to elevate them to the current "industry standard". ( i.e. MFJ ) As for me, I'll stick with a Shure desk mic or David Clark for headset / boom combo. Old habits die hard.
  23. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    It just went the wrong direction after Barry and that's what happened. There was strong AMfone type opposition from certain members who were just too worried about being politically correct and afraid of what people would think with ads like “I hate slopbuckets” t-shirts in there. If I'd been in Barry’s shoes back then I would have filled up an entire page with just that ad using big letters in the next issue just to irritate those members and if I lost them as subscribers, so be it.

    Back then it was about promoting AM and it was all in good fun. Rick was a little odd, but he was a dedicated AM’er and we needed guys like him then. Like I said, some people just took/take things too serious.

    I only have the one mic left, but I modified the other one of his mics I once had with one of those cheap Radio Shack elements I already mentioned that hung on the hooks with the resistors and capacitors in their stores years back. It was only around $2 or $3 and it had way better frequency response than the one that was in there.

    I'm the same way, I'll stick with the D104 because it's still the best mic ever made for use on AM phone within the amateur radio service.
  24. W1VTP

    W1VTP Member

    The D 10-4 can sound really good but it takes, 1) One with an element that hasn't been ruined with humidity, shock from dropping or just aging, 2) The correct connection to one's transmitter. There have been untold number of hams who violate the Hi Z requirements and have built-in "yellofication" circuit design and/or poor audio chain gain distribution that results in "hitting the rails" somewhere which generates harmonic distortion because the peaks are being clipped.

    A D-104 that hasn't been dropped or been stored in the attic or garage can be made to sound very good. Then again, the Rat Shack condenser mikes have great potential as long as it is properly used.

    Out our way, WA2CYT, Dirk has his D-104 sounding so good it is difficult to tell it apart from his pro grade mics. So, D104's can sound very good.

  25. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I figured out the ultimate way a long time ago ;)