Amateur Radio Station: W5EHS - FCC Licensed Owner/Operator: Dan Kautz

SONY DSCMy main station transceiver was figuratively vaporized in a direct lighting strike. The TenTec Omni VII. The insurance agent kept calling it “my CB radio” and I clearly told her that term annoyed me. It was clearly listed in my claim as an Amateur Radio Transceiver. Because it was 11 years old, she “devalued it” by 65% unless I replace it with the same equipment. With tax it is a $3800 radio with a new power supply. She gave me $1300.

There has been considerably more damage than just the ham radio equipment. Total losses are above $10K. With deductible almost a third of that, there is a lot of money out of pocket. Above the replacement value of the Omni VII.

If that is not bad enough, TenTec has stopped manufacturing and doing any sort of business because of the Covid-19. They have closed every effort of an active public interface and decided to “wait it out”. It takes them a week to answer an email from me for a replacement quote and they are not taking phone calls. The second excuse is they cannot get manufacturing materials from their suppliers because of Covid-19.  Sounds plausible, but more like an excuse.

To me this is an obvious sign they are in very serious business and financial trouble. Covid-19 is a timely excuse for failure. TenTec and the parent Dishtronix Company are certainly reacting very un-business like with a total shutdown including all communications efforts. Like crawling into a corner and waiting or wanting to die.

A replacement for my Omni VII seemed possible at first. Now I have lost hope. The hardware was great a decade ago. But do I want to invest almost $4K into such a weakling business? I am thinking not. Crying “pity-me” in a corner is not good for getting my amateur radio business and any government contracts they may or may not have on the commercial equipment manufacturing.

I have some low power HF equipment I can use to get back in operation. I can operate when I desire.  I need to build an new and electrically secure station location, away from my main computers and office operations. I have already made that determination.

I have been fiddling with microwave ideas. That is an option. I like experimenting with the hardware more than actual on-the-air activity. That’s why I got so deep into computers when they first appeared.

But there is more to evaluate. I haven’t operated my equipment in a serious “radio operator” style in many years. I don’t really need the Omni VII if I am not using it. The question now is where am “I” headed with amateur radio? I need to get out of my own private little corner. No crying here.

No answers yet. I am considering what has happened and evaluating my next step. For me, it is not like I have nothing else to do. I have many other active interests. OK, call them hobbies. I am retired from “real” income producing work.

Now I can choose to do what interests me when it interests me. I am like a kid in the candy store with only 25 cents in my hand. Where do I spend my time and my money? I will find out.