Surfin': Radio Shack Historically Speaking
Circa 1960, Uncle Joe built a hi-fi from components that he purchased from an electronics store in Boston. Two decades later, his nephew (me) bought my first computer from the same outfit, except by then, that outfit had stores across the USA so I did not have to drive to Beantown to buy my TRS-80. Instead, I drove to the nearest Radio Shack store that had the new computer in stock (and when the TRS-80 first came out, those stores were few and far between, at least in these parts).
Over the years, I returned to Radio Shack many times to buy computer software and hardware (remember when 16k of RAM sold for $599?), electronic parts for various ham radio projects and a variety of electronic items that I wrapped and deposited under the Christmas tree as gifts for my loved ones.
Jay Holladay, W6EJJ, wrote, "I spent my college years in Boston (1953-57) and visited the original Radio Shack from time to time. As an EE student at MIT (Course 6), I didn't have much time for Amateur Radio, but did manage to get there occasionally, and I remember that it was sort of like the 'candy store' of its day."
Jay passed along a link that Bill Wood, W6FXJ, passed along to him, -- the Radio Shack Catalogs Web site -- where you can browse through Radio Shack catalogs as far back as 1939. Those old catalogs are chock full of ham radio equipment.
The Web site also includes a brief history of Radio Shack. There you will learn that William Halligan, one of Radio Shack's first employees and later the founder of Hallicrafters, suggested the name "Radio Shack."
There is also a forum where you can share memories and exchange thoughts about Radio Shack and an "Extra" Web page that includes brochures for specific Radio Shack products like the TRS-80 and videos of vintage Radio Shack commercials advertising such items as an 8-track sale.
Until next time, Merry Christmas and keep on surfin'!
Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, still has a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 laptop computer. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU