I thought everyone might enjoy this. When I was like 15 years of age, I got my Ham Radio operators license. I used to attend Ham Swap meets with a few of my buddies and their fathers who also had electronics interests. Monty's dad, Gayle, was an engineer for Cray, Marc's dad, Arnie, was interested in Ham and loved to make power supplies, and my dad, John, owned a Radio Shack franchise and repaired electronics. It used to be so much fun hunting for parts to make different things. Hacking things and making them into something new and useful. I recall getting up super early in the morning and us all piling into a van and making a trek to the cities to get to a ham swap meet at a convention center in Blaine, MN. We had to get there early so we didn't miss out on any of the good deals. We also made a trip to Axman Surplus . It was places like these where I was able to gather the case and various parts to build my first power supply capable of running the Yaesu ham radio that Gayle had set me up with. Arnie and I spent many evenings crafting the power supply from some Ham Radio Schematic that we had modified. We even took the time to hand wind transformer, which I recall, was quite involved. Wire in a vice, stretched out across the entire basement, then wound and wound and wound, precisely. The transformer was kind of a PIA to wind, but the power supply was built like a tank, made up of ham radio scrap, Micronta Radio Shack gauges, and other parts that were located on various journeys. It was heavy duty and it was "HEAVY" -- it could hold a steady 12V and crank out the amps, through two insulated posts in the rear, that the ham rig needed for transmitting. I've included some pictures of it below. My dad saved it for me all these years down in his basement and amazingly enough, it still works!
I was thinking about this the other day and it made me a bit sad to think that most of these outlets for electronics are going by the wayside. I mean all of our Radio Shack stores are closing. I have not been back to Axman since I was a teenager, but from what I saw of the pictures on their website, it doesn't look like it has quite the level of scrap electronics that I recall it used to. Does anyone know of any good places in the Twin Cities to just walk through and browse for scrap electronic parts and devices or are we relegated to ordering everything online? The only thing that I can think of is Micro Center - Computers, Electronics, Computer Parts, Networking, Gaming, Software, and more! , but they are mostly geared towards computers, not straight electronic components. If anyone knows of some good electronic junk stores in Minneapolis or St. Paul, MN, please let me know.