[Boatanchors] OT (sorta) - long - Vacuum tubes were the 4th largest US export in 2011!!??

Chris Kepus ckepus at comcast.net
Sun Jan 1 22:56:28 EST 2012

Happy New Year to all.

First, I apologize in advance to others who subscribe to the same multiple
lists I belong and wonder, "Why in the *^%U&I* does this guy splatter all
the lists with his OT QRM?"  If you feel this way, please just hit the
"Delete" key now.

The reason I am posting this far and wide is because there are many very
knowledgeable experts in the business of electronics who only post on one of
the lists to which I subscribe and I want to hear back from you, wherever
you are, if you know the answer to a question about the subject.

One of my non-ham friends called me asking, "...you're a ham who told me you
use vacuum tubes and that new vacuum tubes came from China, Russia, and
other countries...I thought USA manufacturers of vacuum tubes were all
dead.....did you know an AP article on top US Exports appearing in The Salt
Lake Tribune named Vacuum Tubes as the 4th largest US export at $37.1
Billion!!! .....how is this possible?"

Astonished (and very suspicious of a misunderstanding), I Googled and found
a couple of references to this report as well as the AP article here:

All the vintage boatanchor lists I monitor have been quiet on this subject.
Maybe, I thought, I'm the only ham who doesn't know this "secret".  God, I
hate being ignorant!  

Another reference to supplement this information is this report: "Best
Export Markets for U.S. Electronic Components, 2010".  On this website:

This report appears to be a partial source of export information for the
"vacuum tube" category named: HS 8540: This category is defined as
including: Thermionic, Cold Cathode or Photocathode Tubes (Vacuum, Vapor  3
or Gas Filled Tubes, Cathode-Ray Tubes, Television Camera Tubes, etc.).

"Vacuum Tubes" were also in the top five exports in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
and 2006! 

To those of you who know something about current vacuum tube manufacturing,
could you please enlighten me as to what it is, exactly, that we are
exporting that are called "Vacuum Tubes"?


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