But the gist of the post I read was about how to build your station by following a simple rule of a ratio. The goal was not to build a superstation, rather to work towards developing a station that will be somewhat competitive in contests and certainly competitive in the DXing realm. As someone who enjoys participating in some of the major contests but often uses those to hunt for new DX or as a backup QSO for unconfirmed countries, this article was right up my alley, despite the fact that it was nearly 8 years old.
The author said that you should strive to have a 50:50 (or 1:1) ratio between what you spend on radios and assorted items (no mention of amplifiers) and your antennas. This struck me as a reasonable premise, since there's a similar theory that's used in audiophile circles, only it's a ratio of what you spend on your amp/CD player/turntable compared to your speakers. Why spend $5K on an amp, only to play your music through $500 speakers?
As with most Eham articles, the commenters spent a lot of time trying to shoot holes in this approach, but many agreed. And, naturally, it turned to the absurd (again, as with most Eham articles), why can't you have 45:55? What's wrong with 70:30? Blah, blah, blah.
But what this did is make me think about my own station and what my own ratio might be. I have 2 primary HF radios. I bought both on the used market, but I spent roughly $2500 for a Yaesu FT-1000MP with several filters and in like-new shape, and an Elecraft K2 in nearly pristine condition. I'm very pleased with both. Ignoring all the peripherals, like keyers, computers, monitors, switches, I then spent roughly $1200 on a multi-band vertical and a hex beam, including a 40 foot mast. Hmmmm, my ratio is nearly 2:1 in favor of equipment. I've spent twice as much on radios as I have antennas. Toss in those other assorted items and it gets even worse.
So what does that mean? Is my station crap? No, of course not. Even though I've blown this suggestion out of the water, I feel that I'm able to do pretty well on certain bands, even with conditions as they are. But it has made me realize that perhaps the other stations, the stations that I'm contacting, are doing the majority of the work. They're hearing me because they have lots of hardware in the sky or because I'm at the right place at the right time, or because I'm simply patient enough and listen a lot more than I call. It's certainly not because I'm delivering a killer signal. Average, at best.
And, fact is, if I only had ONE radio instead of two, then my ratio would be right at the recommendation.
Now, to see if I can get more hardware in the sky!