BA vs. VSS Distinction

Steve Harrison ko0u at OS.COM
Sun Jul 12 12:57:11 EDT 1998

At 07:41 PM 07/07/98 -0700, AI7R wrote:
>Hi all...
>Well, there seems to be a need for one more list.

>Announcing the Vintage Solid State list....

>The difference between Boatanchors and VSS follow and postings should be
>made to the list that the gear fits:
>+++Boatanchors are over 30 years old and have 4 or more tubes.
>+++VSS (Vintage Solid State) is over 20 years old and has 3 or less tubes.

Dave, please allow me to state my views here once more and this will be my
final contribution to the "off-topic" issue of radio definition.

I must be getting even thicker in the haid than even I thought possible as
I initially missed Dave's reasoning in his above definitions of BAs vs.
VSS. In case there are others around here who are as dumb and complacent as
myself, I thought I'd pass on my revelation.

The reason that Dave stated three or fewer tubes would qualify a radio for
VSS vintage is to separate those radios which used tubes for the driver and
the final amplifiers from those which also had tubes in the earlier stages.
While Dave did not specifically state this reasoning, I think that almost
all of us could agree that a radio that has tubes in just the high-power
transmitter stages should, by rights, be considered to really be a
solid-state radio rather than a boatanchor.

Also, I think that it should be understood that display tubes, such as
Nixies, should not considered as a qualifier for BA status simply because
while you might not know just what the radio is doing if the Nixie tubes
are not lit, the rest of the radio would still be working just fine.
Besides that, most often, the driver circuitry for Nixies is some kind of
solid-state integrated circuit or, more rarely in an earlier radio, a
matrix of transistors. Even the presence of a "magic eye" tube by itself
should not be thought to be a "real" qualifier as a boatanchor.

If my reasoning above is considered valid, then this means that boatanchors
might be considered to be radios whose majority of functional "receiving"
or "transmitting" circuits are performed by tubes. Those radios whose
receiving/transmitting circuits are primarily occupied by solid-state
devices would, therefore, be considered "Vintage Solid-State" even if they
do have several or more tubes.

Carrying this reasoning a little further, one can then conclude that there
are undoubtedly a few radios out there that will fail to meet the age
guidelines which Dave mentioned but which clearly, upon analysis of their
circuitry, do otherwise fall into one or the other least, for
most of us.

I think the bottom line should be as Dave put it: let's use some common
sense; and let's stop being so picky and quick to jump on others because
their feelings of which category fits their immediate radio-of-interest
doesn't happen to agree with ours.

If we do that, then it really doesn't matter a whole lot if somebody begins
talking about the "wrong" type of radio on either BA or VSS. I note that
some of us wish to bring in the issue of weight of radio as a qualifier;
while weight may, indeed, be a valid consideration, I think that there are
plenty of "lightweight" tube radios out there that otherwise must be
considered to be boatanchors (Collins 32S1s and Heath SB400s are two that
come immediately to mind, not to mention many others from other
manufacturers, some not even American, that appeared during the early years
of Single Side Band). Again, I think that the whole issue really boils down
to common-sense and an understanding that not everybody thinks quite the
same way.

And that's the last I'll say on this, folks. Bring on the radios!

73, Steve Ko0U/1

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