I know I should be bummed about this as a hobbyist. But I can't remember the last time I was in there and what for.
So what do you think it was? The move to online retailing or inability to stay relevant in a throw away society?
I don't know where I'm going to get all of the stuff I normally get from Radio Shack. Online somewhere I guess . . . but that really stinks compared to just jumping in the truck and running a couple miles down the road. I'm kind of surprised really - there's ALWAYS folks in the one near me.
I haven't been in there in years, but for this reason I am rather sad. RadioShack was a fixture of my youth, a place where I would ride my bike to, an isolated world of neat electronic items, before the the whole world was flooded with neat electronic items. Another page on the calendar of my youth falls off, and drifts silently, mournfully, to the floor.
Well,Schools dont teach things like they did back when that store started.
Kids used to build radios,then became ham's.People used to repair things.
Then people got lazy.
The privilege of wasting is considered part of progress.
I will miss them. But to be honest, I have had to get most stuff online lately anyhow.
They did not carry but 1 style of test leads for vom's and never the right kind for a Simpson.
I still need a set of reverse banana plug leads.Hard to find.
I have been ordering capacitors for my old radios from Antique electronic supply or something like that.Would have to find the catalog.
I used to love to go to radio shack but the last few times I went,it was just a bunch of people milling around trying to buy prepay cell phones and salesmen that knew so little about electronics they did not even know what a capacitor was. But they could tell ye about some wiz bang new phone or device.
It turned into an expensive toy store, that's what happened. It went from a major electronic parts supplier to a phone, battery and remote controlled toy outlet. As Mack eludes, a victim of the throw-away society.
I remember being able to walk in there and get just about any electronic component and hardware under the sun. Even bought the last TV antenna and mast there when I moved into this place. When I went back to get a new antenna because of hail damage a few years later, the kid in there didn't know what I was talking about.
Bloomberg says about a third of the stores will stay open.
My first RS buy was in 1959, a 35 mm camera made in Hong Kong for $13. They were mail order from Mass or somewhere.
I took slides with that camera all over Mexico and much of the US and W.Germany before getting a semi-automatic at the PX in 1967.
17,880 Feet: Popocateptl
Isla Mujeres before Cancun existed.
I can't add much to what the others have said and I totally agree. It was a magical place in the '70s and I would go there nearly every day, especially during the C.B. craze and even the early cell phone era. Gradually, they became nothing more than a marketer of silly plastic toys except they charged more than anyone else. I saw this coming for a long time. I'm sure most hobbyists did. They did their best and deserve no shame but, the world changed.
Last few times I went in there, they didn't have what I was looking for. Like Ken said, it lost it's original focus. A good independent electronics store in Huntsville recently closed. I could find what I needed there. I guess there isn't much demand for parts when items are built to not be repairable.
I heard that the remaining stores will be bought by Sprint and turned into phone retailers. Seems fitting.
The independent radio lab store around here also shut down recently. The nice thing about a walk in store is that you do not need to pay $3.99 shipping for a $.20 component.
Yeah, that's another big part of the situation--Technology advancements. Nearly all electronics today are SMT or Surface Mount Technology and multi-layer printed circuit boards. I've repaired/replaced a few connectors on PC boards but my tired eyes can't handle SMTs.
The days of hauling a box of tubes into RS and testing them for free have long past.
My first job was at Radio Shack in College. I ended up staying with Tandy Corporation for eight years. Went through the whole home computer revolution selling many TRS-80 microcomputers Model I, II, III, IV, Tandy 1000, Tandy 2000, etc.
Here's my "Ruby" five year pin:
I am in the same boat as Ken and Mack on this.
I remember when RS was a great place to get all kinds of electronic stuff at reasonable prices.
The sales people were helpful and they even gave you a big catalog so you could figure out what you needed.
I also remember buying switches, relays, fuse holders for lighting on my van and resistors, small project boxes, perf boards, etc. for various projects.
Like Ken - the last time I went to RS the kids had no idea about the "stuff" in the cabinets at the back that had gone way up in price.
All they wanted to talk about was the latest cell phone or cell phone plan and their accessories were over priced.
RS is getting what it deserves because they abandoned me by not providing what I need or want
A couple weeks ago I went into Radio Shack and bought two 1/8" stereo phone plugs. As per usual, their parts drawers were a disorganized mess and inventory indicated online for this particular store did not reflect what they actually had on hand.
The last major item I bought from them was a UHF antenna (below) that I split into my existing VHF antenna when tv went digital.
One thing I do like is their free delivery to store for items purchased online.
I miss the Heathkit store a lot more. I remember going with Pop to look at all the wonderful projects we could build at home.
RS to me had cheap stuff that was quickly went inop or thrown away as useless. I haven't shopped there in years.
Did Tandy put out a catalog with the Tandy name on it.? In the 1950s I think that there were two catalogs, one for Tandy and one for Radio Shack. Or were both names on the catalog? I bought a Gerard turn table from them in the 1950s, a 20 amp Bogan amp, a wolfer, a tweeter and a cross over. I still have them.
I remember when it used to be named "Tandy's Radio Shack". That was before Allied. They had two separate stores side-by-side in the mall.
Tandy went belly up years ago but someone bought the name rights and reopened many leather craft stores. There's still one in San Antonio. It has the look of an old hardware store and has just about everything. The manager said he'd pay $60 a skin for rattlesnake but it's not worth it.
My first 2 meter Ham radio and my first pc came from RS. Today I go to the local store and the guy that is supposed to help cant speak english so I just try and find the part on my own.
I was a ham radio operator from age 15 when I got my license. The first trip to 100 N. Western Ave. to Allied Radio was like a trip to paradise but paradise was 200 miles from my home in Springfield IL and I didn't have a drivers license yet. That was when electronics was fun and I was building a transmitter or at one point a 2000 Watt linear amplifier. I finally took up electronics as my vocation which kinda ruined it as a hobby although I still play with "boat anchor" receivers and such. Radio Shack came along later and either Allied bought Radio Shack or vice versa and the stuff I liked at Allied was all discontinued so I didn't do much with RS. I built most of my stuff from junk box parts that I acquired at hamfests which were the ham radio equal of chickasha or other swap meets. I have all my life been a builder of things from tree forts as a kid to electronic things to woodworking projects...you name it.
I too got many of the parts for ham radio and electronic projects from RatShack. Over the years they carried less components and more very expensive consumer electronics items.
I believe they priced themselves out of the market while losing their old customer base of hobbyists. Both of those together did them in.
Looks like I'll be going online for all my component needs now.
We used to have several local electronics stores.
In South Gate, there was Mac's Electronics on Tweedy Bl. just East of the General Motors assembly plant and in Downey, there was NET Electronics in Downtown Downey on Firestone.
NET was in an old Newberry's Store. Both were huge.
Mac's is loooooong gone and NET moved half a block to the East. Now it's a postage-stamp compared to what it used to be. It amazes me that it's still open.
We had a Radio Shack in town here but it closed a few years back and it was mostly phones and RC toys and about 60 cubic feet of parts in a cabinet and never what I needed. I buy most of my parts now from Digi-Key, they are right next door to where I work.
Let's just fact it. RS-Tandy is not close to what it used to be and deserves to die
Remember the trash 80? I had one at work the used 8 inch floppies and (I think) VisiCalc to help with scheduling 200 ton per day glass plant. My manager thought I was crazy until I cut inventory by 50% and increased productive by 25% because I had good info available.
Later we switched to IBM and never looked back.
Does any one remember Lafiette (sic) Electronics? Not sure if it was just a N.Y. thing or nation wide. Got my first reel to reel tape recorder from them. In fact my friend got the same one at about the same time and he still has his and it still works. Pushing 50 years ago.
I remember having a Lafayette catalog back in the late 1960s, and I was in Dunsmuir, CA. Don't remember if I ordered anything though.
Yes, RS sure has come down from the days when they were a "major player" in the home computer biz. And I remember a Tandy crafts store in Redding, CA back about 1970. I bought stain glass and glass leading came from them.
WOW Charlie! Come to think of it, it wasn't Mac's after all. It was Lafayette in South Gate!
Thanks for jogging my memory!
Allied radio and Lafayette radio electronics were my favorite stores in my early teens when I was on a ham radio kick. Being bought out by Tandy Leather seemed so counter-productive to me even then.
It's so sad to see these institutions die a slow death.
Here in NJ there were 5 main electronics stores which I frequented as a young Ham and electronics enthusiast; Lafayette (nice but too far to ride to on bike), GEM Electronic (parts, cheap kits, refurbished walkie-talkies), Federated Electronics (mostly industrial components a.k.a. EXPENSIVE), Route Electronics (great place for parts, TV/radio service parts, tube testers, serviceman's parts center but also pricey) and Radio Shack on Rt22 in Union which was an easy bike ride from home.
I made literality hundreds of trips to that local Radio Shack including one tonight. I spent hundreds of hours in front of a huge Peg board wall (25’wide and 8’tall) full of those little blue blister cards of electronics parts (floor to ceiling). I was just awed by all the different shapes and sizes of interesting looking components. On the back of each part had a brief description of the part, short set of specifications and sometimes even an application circuit for it. Every couple of weeks, they would add new parts and put some of the "old" parts on the close out table at 1/2 price. I kept every receipt; added them all up when I moved out of my parents’ house; they totaled $980 of mostly $1 and $2 parts acquired over a 15 year period. I still have a shoe box of many of those parts and built many circuits from those cards and Tandy publications. Eventually, I learned what most of different parts did by building all sorts of electronics projects. That led to formal college training and onto a successful career in electronics. Radio Shack of today is just a shell of its former self for the electronics enthusiast but a least they still offer SOME components and publications encouraging building and experimenting with electronics, not just computers and microcontrollers, for young inquisitive minds. The Rt 22 store is slated for closure and it will really be sad for me to see them close their doors.
Tandy was the name the company operated under in Australia. They stopped selling components in the mid 90's, became essentially a phone store, and were taken over by another local electronics parts retailer, only to be finally killed off about eight years ago.
A problem with them in Aus was that they were far more expensive than the other component retailers, and they tended to carry parts 'foreign' to what's normally used here.
On the plus side they had far more stores than anyone else, operating from most large shopping centres. The stuff was actually good quality, and they gave out free catalogs.
While we are talking about ham radio I'm wb0sgz and my wife is ka0hsw
I'm WA2EBY and my Wife Laura is N2TDL. Been a Ham since age 14. Mostly operate the cell phone bands these days but still get on HF occasionally thanks to Boy Scout activates; poisoning the minds of the youth every chance I get
WB5PQX here. Radio Shack used to be the place to go in this area along with a few electronics stores. Radio shack is still around but the others have long gone or just a shell of themselves.
I'm not much interested in the "newer" radio gear that started coming along around 20 years ago.
I'll be a boatanchor guy till the day I die.
May Hallicrafters, Collins, Hammurland and Johnson live forever! And you don't need 2KW to work a guy on the other side of the world!
We had Mac Victor Electronics in Concord nc. The last thing I remember buying from them was in 1988.The largest tv antenna that Winegard made. It was the huge 1 they had on display hanging from the ceiling. Until Hugo came along and tore it up I could get a bunch of tv stations.
Radio Shack was a good store back when I got interested in electronics. And like others,after high school I went and got a 2 year degree in electronic engineering technology. My first job was working on video game equipment.
I later went to work with NCDOT because they wanted me to work in the traffic light division which has alot of electronics and troubleshooting to do when things go wrong.
But I liked the sign division better and stayed.
OOPS.That decision bit me in the a-- when I got hit by a truck. Had I been in doing signals, I woulda been at home in bed that night!.
I am seriously considering working on getting my ham license again. I had my written passed in 1989 and had learned half my code when I gave it up. I went to a couple ham fest and got the cold shoulder from all the folks when they found out I liked the foot warmers instead of the new fangled 2 meter-repeater equipment.
Of course at 48 I must be going thru a cycle or change. I am actually dragging out my stamp collection and adding to it!
I, too, will mourn the loss of Radio Shack. True, it is a pale ghost of what it was but still super handy for that odd fuse, diode or connector. It was disappointing years ago when they dropped all high voltage and current rated components. No longer could you repair a power supply or old radio. As was said earlier, they abandoned their unique niche market of hobbyists to run after an over saturated market selling phones and electronic junk.
That being said I need to dash down and buy a small stock of typical blocking diodes. When I put signals in my T I will need a couple.
Any ham guys want parts I have a bunch from a friends estate looking to sell.
N6BXL here, the westside of Los Angeles in the 70's had California Electronics, Federated Electronics, Radio Shack and the best of all Henry Radio. Henry Radio had a show room full of ham equipment and rooms off to the side that had shelves of great used gear. The sales staff would take a radio that you were interested in off the shelf and each room had an operating position that you could use to try it out. They also had a huge inventory of parts. My wife is W6ROX. Thanks for the memories fellas!
Hey Mack Cole, I'd be glad to send you some old stamps if you are interested. Harv
Yea, that would be good.Thanks Harvey.Just something I aint messed with in years and I got curious as to where they were and all. Funny how some stuff that is so old is not worth a lot money wise but it is interesting to look at.A lot of history in them.
Mack, My dad was an internationally known stamp collector for 80 of his 89 years on earth. He died in 2005 and of course the family auctioned off his collection shortly after his death. I could never get interested in stamps but my dad was also an avid rock hound and arrowhead hunter so we spent many wonderful weekends rock hunting, dodging rattlesnakes and on occasion the sheriff while doing some amateur claim jumping. What a great way to grow up. I'm sure dad would be happy to see his stamps go to a fellow collector. Send an Email to me with your address and I'll send you a vanilla envelope. firstname.lastname@example.org Harv.
Thanks Harvey.! I was a stamp collector before I was anything else.I think I was into it when I was about 11 to 17 or so. I have always saved stamps and put them in a envelope . I have the Harley Davidson set, Marylin monroe set and a couple others.So even though other things have been higher on the list I aint never stopped completely.
Back to the topic of the thread,I used get these catalogs in the mail from Radio Shack and slobber over a Trs 80.I thought I could fix the world if I had 1 of those.
I used to carry a PC-3 and when it fell out of my pocket mopping the floor 1 day I got mad,it busted the screen. I then bought a PC-8. Man I wish I still had my PC-3 Much better. But the pc-8 is in a friend of mines computer collection. When I was in college i used the pc-3 with a program I wrote to figure out antenna active element lengths along with reflectors and directors.Was fun writing programs for it.
It would be nice if Radio Shack were able to read the postings on this thread and reflect on what the customer likes, what the customer desires and not what he needs.
My cell phone is a cheap one that you just turn on, punch in the number you want and when you are done talking, you close the lid to cut the connection. Obsolete ? yes but then so am I. At my age I do not need nor desire all the gee-gaws
the current generation seems to require.
For those who always have the most current cell phones with the latest "improvements," I say good for you.
K9SWN is my call.
Amen John. I am still using a Motorola 385 flip phone. Cheap, used from Ebay. My third 1.I dont have any intentions of downgrading to a newer phone until there is no choice left but to do so. And I am looking to buy another 1 or 2 if I find them cheap enough to keep on hand as I do NOT want a surface touch screen "phone".
I have been with Verizon for over 15 years now and when my 2d 385 died and I went and had the 3rd 1 switched over to my number i got a call from Verizon. Turns out since I am a long time customer and I dont use all the functions of a "smart" phone,they took 10 bucks a month off my bill.
I just feel like as a consumer,if I am spending my money on something,it should be what I want not what someone else wants to sell me.
I may be the last RS customer left standing. I bought a "Tracphone" at the local store about two years ago. Cost was $7.00 for the phone and $20 every three months for service.
When I go into the store to re-up my three month service they give you an authorization number that is typed into the phone to extend service. I've never actually done the typing myself. The kid at the cash register (different one every time) always does it for me. Last time I was in the kid was talking to his buddy and did my re-authorization without interrupting his side conversation.
You can always tell a kid who is competent cell phone operator -- they use both thumbs. They may not be able to make change on a $19.95 purchase if you give them a $20 bill, but boy can they punch the buttons on a cell phone.
WA4KKV: Also miss the OLSON'S chain. Still have several building boxes unused from local store that closed years ago.
There is still Allied Electronics. Tried to order zener diode for rotor control some time back. Quote was over 10.00. Ordered from Allied for .10. Same diode.
Don't build much anymore. Age and shaky hands make soldering difficult.
Wow how thing connect i just tossed out some realistic speakers that had been collecting dust
Here is a link to an interactive site that purports to show all of the planned store closures:
We since Radio Shack is packing. Need to find another supplier of gizmos for the thingiebobswatcheslookaduck.
This may work:
For those that want to reminisce and read old Radio Shack catalogs, have a look here http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html