While ordering components for my 630m transverter project, an internet search for some needed FT-37-77 cores brought me to the website run by Earl, VE3AB in NE Ontario.
Purchasing just a small number of parts can usually be expensive, considering the high cost of mailing these days but in this case, the toroids and a few other parts turned into a real bargain. Earl is a retired Defence Department Manager and Technical
Specialist and has one of the most colorful and informative sites that I've ever
run across. The extensive, somewhat 'eclectic' site, might at first appear to
be a bit disorganized but it really all works nicely once you delve a little
deeper ... and there are many layers on Earl's site. It really is quite
different and one thing that comes through is his passion for doing things the
It seems that Earl's two main passions are fishing
and supplying quality components at good prices. His dirt-cheap shipping to both
Canada and the U.S. is something not often seen any longer, as shipping costs often make small purchases totally uneconomical. Forgive me if this sounds like a blatant plug for Earl's business ... it is not. It's just that I found his site extremely interesting and very different from most ... the fact that he is offering something that many hams might find helpful, is my main motivation.
The introductory 'ham radio' page contains, among other things, a collection of Earl's articles describing repairs on many solid state transceivers while his 'Netty Electronics' page describes his small home-based component selling and acquisition activities. His 'ham electronics magazine' page contains articles on working with circuit boards (re-capping, repairing, de-soldering), antenna articles as well as numerous articles on components, all authored by VE3AB. Earl's website and free services are all financed by personally using monies obtained through sales of parts and part radios as he sees it is a service to the amateur radio hobby, which he obviously loves deeply.
Earl specializes in solid state
devices of all description, from vintage to modern. He offers a vast selection
of parts for older radios and has information on repairing dozens of older solid
state rigs. All
parts are tested or guaranteed to be working within specs.
His pages contain extensive information describing his tests of
popular Chinese-made transistors, such as this one describing a batch of dual-gate MOSFET BF981 transistors. His
'test' pages are definitely worthy of your attention and, for many, might be a
bit of an eye-opener.
If you are looking for a manual for an older rig, Earl has an extensive offering of free manuals on his site. If it's not there, he can probably get it for you.
He is continually buying up collections of older
components, as well as new parts ... if you have stuff to unload you might wish
to check with him as so many of these valuable parts end up in the trash as shacks go silent. His extensive list of components can be found here. ... you may just find that special part you've been looking for.
One of Earl's goals for the website is to put up a search-engine for his
parts but in the meantime, I found my browser's "Find" function worked well in
sorting through the large list.
There is enough interesting information on his pages to keep you reading for hours and I find the random nature of much of it rather attractive. Earl says that changes to the site are coming but I hope they're not too drastic ... I kind of like it just the way it is!