. . . Hardly a month goes by but what we aren't confronted with ads for great-sounding equipment. Great-sounding, that is, in the ad copy. They are being touted by little-known, and in many cases totally unknown "distributors" representing, apparently, manufacturers which go in and out of business every three or four days. This has left many innocent buyers with curious pieces of junk which have no known resale value, no service department to turn to, and an increasing taste of bitter bile in the soul. My profession as a writer and performer has led me to do much business with major ad agencies that deal in national accounts, and it has led me to believe that if the same Government regulations that apply to any major advertiser were to suddenly hit the ham world, 90% of the so-called Electronics Industry would be out of business in a month, and quite possibly the Federal pens would be overflowing.
I hasten to add that there are, of course, many legitimate and professional manufacturers, advertisers, and distributors who are for the most part, above reproach. But let's face it, the Fast Buck philosophy has really made an inroad in our hobby. As a longtime member of the League I have always felt that QST, which theoretically represents League members and not advertisers, should play a role in actively testing and reporting on various types of gear which are offered for sale to the fraternity every month through its pages. True, you'll lose some advertisers when the truth of their equipment and operation is honestly reported by QST, but it is my belief you will aiso
gain in stature among hams as well as attracting more than enough new subscriptions to make up for a few fly-by-night ads lost to the magazine . . . .
I honestly would have more respect for QST if it began to institute departments that genuinely gave us the truth about equipment and services. We need a Ralph Nader, or at the very least a touch of Consumer Reports. This stuff ain't cheap anymore, editor, and when you're stung - as the song goes.
- Jean Shepherd, K20RS, New York, NY