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Would You Pay $1800- $2700 For A SSB Base Today?

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Dawn

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Adjusted for inflation, we sure did and big time during the 70's. It's a sobering thought considering I was making a dime over min. wage back then and most of the folks I just out of high school and in their first jobs bought the big 23 channel SSB bases with the clock and rows of knobs. Another contingent was hell bent on the archaic tube hybrids like the Sonars, PS Guardians and Skippers...and of course the royal Browning pair. During my time at RS from 72-74, we didn't have such an animal beyond a tricked out mobile in a box with a clock. Pro-niner I think that sold not that much more then our number one sellers, the TRC-24 mobile and TRC-30 Navaho base. The most expensive CB was actually a mobile SSB unit for $330 that was the same as the Sears and JC Penny units with a different face and slide knobs.

The median price point that all companies vied for was the $150 dollar mobile category that had just basic volume squelch and tuning offset of some sort and maybe PA and NB in the mobiles as a tradeoff for the anemic power supplies in the boxes. Even there, I remember reading that there was a very slim profit margin made up for by shere volume in this category. The money was in the big boxes where a $350 retail mobile could be repackaged with a mechanical clock, extra switches and lights and sold for double.

Other dealers had waiting lists long before the boom. It was easier to buy a big box base mail order then from a dealer. Most retailers were list on those units and some fear traded them beyond that from the back room. This was also a boom town for latin american exports, so that drove prices higher as it wasn't uncommon to have people come in with empty luggage and fill it up with high ticket items with CB's as priority one which created a crisis if you had an allotment.

Bear in mind that this was a recession too and things were really tough all over like nowadays. Even though the manufacturers were hell bent on not crossing the $150 and $350 lines for AM and SSB basic featured mobiles and not making much on them, it gives some perspective to the reasons driving the promotion and mass marketing the medium.

An EER of 4.5 is a reasonable adjustment for inflation. All things not being equal such as joblessness is a lot worse now, cost of living adjustment hasn't risen much. Manufacturing though has been automated to great degrees as has integration and cheaper surface mount components make today's radios cheaper to make although nowhere near as robustly built, they are much more reliable. Factor in they don't sell a fraction of the CB's made even long before the boom and the margins are still very very slim. Taken from both sides and much less demand then before, it balances. So I figure the 4.5 is still a reasonable if not low multiplier of the dollar's purchasing power referenced today.

When you look at today's prices. Bear some numbers in mind:

150 = 675 average 23 channel mobile or entry base
350 = 1575 average SSB mobile or tube AM retro base usually made in the states by hand.
400= 1800 low end luxury SSB base
600+ = 2700 upper end SSB base

Given this, would you pay this kind of money for today's radios?

For a point of reference. The Kenwood TS-520 came out and kicked the former Heathkit HW-101 kit off the throne as the "volksradio" of the masses. None of these ever seen the production numbers that CB's generated. The HW-101 was selling as a kit for 329 and it's big brother in different clothing and some features, the SB-102 had jumped from 369 to 429 in those few years. The TS-520 IIRC was about 529 stock with the Yaesu FT-101 in basic configuration about a hundred more. That's just from memory, but offers a comparison of what you were getting for your dollar then and compared to now. Six hundred dollar Simba or Six hundred dollar amateur radio? No comparision in build or contents. The Simba was 8/10ths air with a Cheetah chassis mounted inside and a seiko clock movement. Kenwood and Yaesu got you on the must have accessories where the big money was to be made. So in effect they were loss leaders on a much smaller scale too.

My first apartment during that period was 110/mo and pretty decent for a single bedroom with kitchen and all utilities except electric.
I was making 2.30/hr and not allowed on the front floor where I could make commission on a sale when I left in '74 (10.35 in today's dollars). That was above minimum wage btw, but not by much.
My first car used was a 68 plymouth fury that I bought for $800 that needed some work my dad did, but was in pretty good shape and lasted me until 1980. My insurance as an individual and not part of a family rate cost about that a year too.
Gas was about .65 down here (that's actually more expensive then it would cost today).



Given the perspective, would you buy a radio for these prices in these categories nowadays? That's what we were paying back then if things were equal and pretty much balance out at least for radio equipment.
 

JustLou

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I've paid this kind of money for my ham radio gear, but wouldn't pay it to talk on 11 meters. That's not a knock on CB. Up until recently I still talked to my unlicensed radio friends on 11 meters. CB is pretty much dead in North America, other than truckers talking on 19.
 

MeddleMan

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My answer will be no.

Given that a good GPS for driving a truck as I do, I find it difficult to pay that six hundred dollars. I also know of no one that uses side band as of yet. I do use nineteen often, and am well equipped to use side band.
 

Dawn

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I'm just trying to make a simple point that it's easy to forget what some of the older equipment costs in today's dollars considering then as now, we were in a dire recession and times were tough.

When you run the numbers on what we used to pay for things back then in today's dollars, the numbers are sobering.
 

MeddleMan

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I thought I said that

I'm just trying to make a simple point that it's easy to forget what some of the older equipment costs in today's dollars considering then as now, we were in a dire recession and times were tough.

When you run the numbers on what we used to pay for things back then in today's dollars, the numbers are sobering.
...but anyway, I agree with you.
 

JustLou

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There are Amateur Radio Operators that spend over $10,000 on a single transceivers today, so it doesn't surprise me what people spent on their CB radios back in the day, or what they'd spend today if CB was still popular.
 

elk2370bruce

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There are Amateur Radio Operators that spend over $10,000 on a single transceivers today, so it doesn't surprise me what people spent on their CB radios back in the day, or what they'd spend today if CB was still popular.
There are also those of us who don't have the spendable cash for these super expensive radios. I bought a used (but not abused) Icom 756 Pro II for about a grand and it took a couple of months to get it together, The darn thing works great and I'm happy with 100 watts out barefoot My 144/440 mobile was bought from the estate of a ham club member 100 bucks. I can think of lots of other things that I would use 10K or more - but not mondo radios with platinum knobs.
 

JustLou

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There are also those of us who don't have the spendable cash for these super expensive radios. I bought a used (but not abused) Icom 756 Pro II for about a grand and it took a couple of months to get it together, The darn thing works great and I'm happy with 100 watts out barefoot My 144/440 mobile was bought from the estate of a ham club member 100 bucks. I can think of lots of other things that I would use 10K or more - but not mondo radios with platinum knobs.
I agree with you 100%. I spent $1K a few months ago for a new Kenwood TS-480SAT, and it does everything I need it to do.

BTW, I had an original ICOM 756 (non-Pro). I bought it for $800 used, and sold it to a friend for $800 a few years later. I loved that radio, and when my friend told me he was gonna resell it, I bought it back from him. In the end I wound up selling it again on eBay for $900, but I kinda wished I had kept it even though I definitely got my money's worth out of it.
 

Unit243

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Cambridge Ontario Canada
There are also those of us who don't have the spendable cash for these super expensive radios. I bought a used (but not abused) Icom 756 Pro II for about a grand and it took a couple of months to get it together, The darn thing works great and I'm happy with 100 watts out barefoot My 144/440 mobile was bought from the estate of a ham club member 100 bucks. I can think of lots of other things that I would use 10K or more - but not mondo radios with platinum knobs.
x2, we arent all millionaires lol
 

Darth_vader

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+3

At worst, $200 is the most I'd ever spend on/for any piece of radio equipment if I could help it. (Even that's kind of straining the budget.) $100's the highest I'll usually go if it's just an ordinary casual purchase.

Higher than $200 and we starts crossing into the territory of "how badly do I need gasoline for the car, running water and groceries this month?"
 
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