After putting on the presentation about Heathkit amateur radio products, I thought about the choices manufacturers make about style and color. Though features, ergonomics and technical specifications are usually the most important things a buyer looks for, style plays a factor, at least with me.

I was always a fan of the Heathkit green. In the 50s and 60s, most all commercially made ham radios were a shade of gray. Collins, National, Hammarlund, E.F. Johnson, Hallicrafters, Drake, were mostly in that vein Though there can be a fair amount of variation in those shades, the Heathkit two tone green radios were a welcome change. There were a few other outliers, like Signal One with it’s off-white front face.

When the Japanese manufacturers came into the picture, there was some new ideas. The early Yaesu FLDX400 and FRDX400 were silver front faces. The early Kenwoods had designs influenced by their consumer audio equipment, and had some shades of brownish-gray along with others which had a brushed aluminum look. Eventually, they went back to shades of gray or dark gray for a while.

For the last 30+ years, most all amateur radio transceiver have been black, or very close to black. Stylistically, there have been very nice design features in most all of these radios. The number of features that have been added are impressive. But they seem to be stuck on the color black. I guess it’s the safe move, but I would welcome a little more color.

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