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What was the diy world like before the internet?
What was the diy world like before the internet?
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Old 24th December 2008, 01:46 AM   #11
Evenharmonics is offline Evenharmonics  United States
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This is one of the ways they did it.

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Old 24th December 2008, 02:21 AM   #12
ashok is online now ashok
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What was the diy world like before the internet?
I used to build tube preamps as I couldn't afford to build a power amp and my dad wouldn't fund it . But doing that with experimental tone arms kept me quite busy. Then I went to study engineering and transistors had just started appearing in the market. BC107's cost about three times what they cost now and that was 'very expensive' then. Additionally most of my seniors were not very competent with solid state devices . They had started with tubes !
They blew up several of my devices ( they never bought any themselves !). Eventually I stopped consulting them and did things on my own and blew far less components. We used to have open air music parties like we can never do today. It was great. We also had students from overseas and so there was a constant supply of 70's music. Almost every album released would reach us.

Most of the practical information came from Practical Wireless and Wireless World magazines which I bought religiously every month. I sacrificed a lot to do that ! I still have some of them and also the Audio magazine issue with the Jung/Marsh 'Picking Caps' article ! I was given permission to cut out and take anything I wanted from old copies of old Japanese Audio magazines when I was at Hitachi's factories. So I had a pile of those which unfortunately I can't find. While the language was unreadable the sketches and graphs were self explanatory.

Readers tried all sorts of experiments and those articles would be illuminating even now. I never threw them away but I can't find them. I wish I do.

I built my first satellite/ subwoofer system in '82 I think. I had read about it in one of the magazines. I used to keep the sub out of sight and it was most satisfying to see jaws drop when guys heard the bass which apparently came from diminutive speakers.

The enthusiasm didn't die down but slowed down with professional life / working / earning etc. Then I stumbled upon diyaudio.com ( in it's infancy !). It fanned the dying embers and it's a pretty good fire right now ! I still have some of the old pages saved on CD-R . The pages looked very different then .

Thanks to Diyaudio.com and all it's members for all the pleasure I'm getting doing what I really love doing ( amongst a few other things ).

Wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

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Old 24th December 2008, 02:57 AM   #13
jackinnj is offline jackinnj  United States
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What was the diy world like before the internet?
Originally posted by tubelab.com

I used to hang out at the Lafayette Radio Electronics store, and even the local TV repair shop to suck up information (like a chat room or a forum) and bring home discarded electronics. I used to collect old TV's and radios to take them apart.
We had Olson Electronics on Euclid Ave. in Cleveland, and Lafayette was just across the street. A few blocks away was "Bernie's Ham Shack" which carried everything -- guys in flannel shirts puffing on camels and working 40m CW. Pioneer Electronics was a short bus ride to 55th Street, and still in existence is Surplus electronics but I think the have moved to Mentor OH

So you built a lot of stuff from scratch. TV's would go on the blink so there were always lots of heavy duty transformers which could be gutted out -- when color TV got going the VA rating of the trafos about doubled.

I think that just about everyone in the day tried to build some OTL hifi amp. Hum was always a problem in just about everything you built. When silicon state invaded tube-turf you had to gingerly solder the leads, heatsinking them so as to not blow out the little critter.
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Old 24th December 2008, 04:03 AM   #14
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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Location: Mar del Plata, a BIG seasonal getaway city, can see the Ocean from our residence.
Yep....hanging around the local Radio Shack, perusing thru the Layfayette store on Union Avenue in Portland Oregon, now named Martin Luther King Ave.
The Layfayette I guess now was a "chain" store, the place was huge with drivers galore...hundreds.the in-store-made enclosures of every size & shape, even the LaScala clones.
Cascade surplus was another, they had some of those old wire mesh memory cores with the note pasted on them "We can't remember what these are for".
Silly me, I told them "Those are memory cores"...they promptly pulled out a notebook and assigned me "Your number ***...Ha ha ha" Inside joke.
These places are long gone now as electronics has moved into a new era.
________________________________________Rick...... ......
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Old 24th December 2008, 05:10 AM   #15
w5jag is offline w5jag  United States
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Originally posted by tubelab.com
There were ham radio magazines, which still exist, 73 and QST. All had construction articles. ... So were the ARRL handbooks and even tube manuals.
Advice from older builders, textbooks and magazines for me, in addition to Tubelab's list, Ham Radio, was excellent, and most of the projects from it and QST worked well. 73 and CQ were a bit dicier. A lot of it was just try something, see if it worked ...

Bill Orr, W6SAI, had a radio handbook for many years that had excellent practical theory and construction projects. Even today, old issues of Radio Electronics are a treasure trove for tube builders. I see them all the time at hamfests for between free and $0.10 .....

I did a little light repair after school at the local Radio Shack, back when employees were actually expected to have at least some knowledge. A real repairman in town did the hard stuff.

I think the internet is a mixed bag. There is a lot of bad info out there. I am sure I have unwittingly contributed to that a time or two ...

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Old 24th December 2008, 11:01 AM   #16
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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Default Before the Internet...

Well, it was really sad - we had to talk to real people. In 1992, I saw an advert in Glass Audio saying a group called "The London Live DIY Hi-Fi Circle" was starting up and would have monthly meetings in a pub, so I went. Often. We had (and still have) home meetings where people demonstrate that their home-made electrostatics aren't quite as reliable as they'd hoped, where amplifiers hum, and where DACs lose lock. All good stuff. Eeee, and there were electronics shops too. My 12th birthday present was 3, with which I bought an Antex soldering iron and an OC44 transistor (which I quickly melted with said Antex).

The other way to find like-minded loonies was to get an electronics job. This also allowed access to component stores and test equipment.

Oh, and I used to read someone's "Hi-Fi News" and "Wireless World" outside their house as I did my paper round.
The loudspeaker: The only commercial Hi-Fi item where a disproportionate part of the budget isn't spent on the box. And the one where it would make a difference...
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Old 24th December 2008, 11:11 AM   #17
SY is offline SY  United States
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What was the diy world like before the internet?
Life without Frank's tube pages was nasty, brutish, and short.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 24th December 2008, 11:23 AM   #18
Burnedfingers is offline Burnedfingers  United States
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The air was full of smoke and the smell of burned resistors
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Old 24th December 2008, 12:59 PM   #19
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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Location: Mar del Plata, a BIG seasonal getaway city, can see the Ocean from our residence.
And "smoke emitting diodes"........don't forget the electrolytic confetti....
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Old 24th December 2008, 01:24 PM   #20
Conrad Hoffman is offline Conrad Hoffman  United States
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Heck, I had FEDs (fire emitting diodes), and before that the sweet smell of burning selenium rectifiers. As you can see, the brain damage was completely minimal

BTW, my fate was sealed for electronics when, as a small child, I removed the bulb from my night light, carefully inserted my little finger, then turned on the switch.
I may be barking up the wrong tree, but at least I'm barking!
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