Sunday, August 28, 2005

"Radio Shack vs. Lafayette Radio Electronics"
Back in the "Olden" days, if you didn't have someone selling CB's out of his garage, basement, or kitchen, you had 2 choices: Radio Shack or Lafayette. In the 60's is was "Allied/Radio Shack", and in the early 70's is was mostly just "Radio Shack". Two of my first radios were a Lafayette Comstat 23, and the other one was the Realistic "Navaho" Trc-23b (both were base stations). These gave me something physical to judge the product by, but they were not my first impressions. First impressions in those days were catalogs.
Comparing the Radio Shack catalog with an LRE catalog was easy - LRE won hands down! The "Tandy" Radio Shack company sold only Radio Shack products and most of their communications stuff either had the "Realistic" or "Archer" tag on them. Their radios weren't too much to look at (casepoint - TRC-23b) although they did have a few lookers like the TRC-24 mobile (no one matched brushed chrome and fake wood grain like Realistic) and the Realistic "Navaho Pro" Base station. Unfortunetely they (RS) were getting bad press from those who bought some of their rigs and usually they were the last place an experienced person would go to buy one. I'll relate my TRC-23b experience in another section.
LRE had their own products to be sure (in fact, many more than Radio Shack), but sold 3rd party rigs and accessories as well. Their lineup was a blend of good looking rigs (i.e. - 525, 625 mobiles, the HB444, 111, 222, Comstat 25a/25b, etc.) that worked well and sounded good too! But to be sure, the LRE catalog was a juicy book of almost 500pg's, compared to the Tandy Catalog which usually ran 1/2 or less, and whether you were looking for an electric guitar, a new stereo, some replacement tubes, or a new CB radio, LRE had what you wanted, and drooled over, in that catalog.
Radio Shack liked to make the buying decision as simple as possible "Good-Better-Best", whereas LRE usually gave you not only a decent picture, but also plenty of specifications so you could decide based on Pricing, features, Specs, and your budget what exactly your "Good-Better-Best" really was. I usually had 2 things on my bed stand next to my bed during my "Growning up with CB" years, and they were the latest S9 magazine and the latest Lafayette Radio Electronics catalog!
(For a taste of the old LRE, their ad's and catalogs, be sure and visit the LRE section of my website)
To be cont'd

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