Monday, April 19, 2010

Where's Lafayette Radio when you need it?

Wired had another great article, this time about the extreme makeover of Radio Shack. In junior high I built a bunch of these P-Box kits (here's a nice picture).

Speaking of kits, I still have a screwdriver that says Lafayette Radio. I built this KT-135 regenerative shortwave receiver (tubes!) -- painful to the ears :)

I never made any Heathkit stuff, but several things from SWTPC. Cool stuff, but was cutting edge (a lot of ICs) and components got pretty hot. For high school electronics class I built this 198/A preamp (the pushbuttons never worked right, even after I replaced them, and the sometimes you got a weird high pitched oscillation when you were going from one button to the next) and the 540 power amp. Each amp (it was stereo :) had an IC with a weird looking heat sink that made it look like something from The War of the Worlds. The top cases of both the preamp and amp were vinyl covered wood. I was always afraid of getting shocked :)

PAiA was more famous for synthesizer and guitar effects boxes, but I built at least one of their things, I think a wireless mic. I'm pretty sure that both PAiA and SWTPC had Theremin kits.

Another blast from the past: Robert Tinney cover art from Byte. I received the Koenigsberg one as a college graduation present. Other famous covers are for artificial intelligence and for Smalltalk.