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Computer vs radio budgets.




Note:  All prices I quote are in Aussie dollars, which is why they will seem
a bit high to US readers.

> Q: How many of you have computers?
> A: Well, if you are reading this list, then you do.  So 
> that's everyone.

True. :-)

> Q: How many computers have you purchased in your lifetime?
> A: I have purchased two brand new ones personally.

Never.  I've only ever purchased parts and assembled them myself. :)

> Q: How much does the average computer, monitor, modem, 
> printer, etc. cost?
> A: Probably in the range of $1000 to $1500 for a good system 
> up to $3000 or
> more for a great one.

Hard to say, I just buy bits as I need them, though I will have to consider
a major ($1000 + ) upgrade in the near future to move to more current
technology and also minimise the risk of hardware failures (the ps/2 port on
my motherboard died suddenly this week, which makes me wonder what's next).
Last financial year's computer spending was very low, less than $100.  The
average year is probably $500, which is much lower than my average radio
budget over the last 18 months, which has been in excess of $2000 for the
last 18 months (mainly due to starting out almost from scratch again). 

> 
> Q: How often do you purchase a new computer?
> A: Probably every 3 to 4 years.

Continuous trickle of small purchases, varying between $50 and $1000 per
year.

> Q: How much can you sell your old computer for?
> A: I can't give it away!

If I have a need to, older ones get upgraded with left over parts and
continue to exist on the network. :)
> 
> Q: How much does a brand new FT-847 cost?
> A: Less than $1400

$3200 down here.
> 
> Q: How much does an FT-736 cost?
> A: Around $800 or $900

I think a bit more here, not 100% sure.

> Q: How long will I be able to use an FT-847 or an FT-736 before it is
> obsolete?
> A: I can probably use it for many, many years.

Until it fails, unless a new technology renders it obsolete before then.

> Q: When I want to sell my old piece of ham gear, how much can 
> I get for it?
> A: A lot.  An FT-736 is an OLD radio.  It still fetches a lot 
> of money!

Indeed.

> So when you think about it ALL OF YOU have probably spent 
> more money on
> computer hardware and software and probably WILL spend more 
> on it than you
> do on ham radio equipment!!!!  The average ham's computer 
> budget far exceeds
> his radio budget, yet his computer won't hold value and it 
> will be obsolete
> months if not days after it is purchased!!!!
> 
> Think about it next time you say you can't afford a new rig!

There are other factors to take into consideration:

1.  I work in the IT industry.  As a result, my computer purchases are also
relevent to work and self-training.  As a result, I can claim a tax
deduction and depreciation on them (considering that a lot of the skills I
use now were learnt at home, this is highly relevant).  A tax claim on ham
radio gear would be highly suspect, in contrast... ;-)

2.  Computers are pretty much a "mainstream machine" these days, and are of
use to more than just the ham.  In my environment, that translates to
"others can use them".  In most peoples' households, it generally means that
the wife and/or kids can make use of the computer, or perhaps inherit the
"hand me downs" from the last upgrade.  So the money doesn't go completely
to the ham of the house. :-)  Same goes for Internet connection charges and
many other related purchases.  And the proliferation of used PCs around the
house eventually eliminates the fighting over the PC, as everyone has one of
their own. :-)

3.  The "annoyance factor" - loosely translated "You're not buying ANOTHER
BLOODY RADIO!!!", or "HOW MUCH DID YOU SPEND ON THAT CONTRAPTION"??!?!?!
;-)

As a result, I suspect the budgets of many hams are biased towards
computers, due to this combination of external pressures.  However, a single
ham living alone has the luxury of being able to spend as they please. :-)
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