Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) to close

aes-logoMany thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who sent in this news tip via CQ Magazine:

Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) has announced that it is ceasing operations as of the end of July, 2016.

The Milwaukee-based retailer has four locations around the country, including Milwaukee; Cleveland (Wickliffe), Ohio; Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando, Florida. It has long been the nation’s second-largest ham radio dealer, after Ham Radio Outlet. No reason was given for the decision to close the business.

Click here to read on CQ’s website.

At time of posting, there is no mention of AES going out of business on their website, but I assume their various stores may begin the process of liquidating inventory soon..

Spread the radio love

9 thoughts on “Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) to close

  1. John

    R&L Electronics in Hamilton Ohio is still going as far as I know…I have been inactive for many years but I am wanting to get back into it.

  2. Michael Black

    Traditionally, people got ham licenses while young. It was exciting because the world opened up when it was otherwise pretty small. The testing was no impediment, people were at an age when it could all be soaked up.

    But somewhere in the past 45 year, that seemed to shift. A lot more people coming in at an older age, shifting the demographics up. So people without the experience of the hobby as a kid, coming for other reasons, and eventually moving into positions of power. That shifted things so the hobby became more directed at adults, so their expectations were different. And then as time goes on, few remember what it was like as a kid, and I assume promotion shifts elsewhere.

    I learned about ham radio either in a magazine for Scouting in Canada, or the children’s magazine “Jack & Jill”. Is that still happening? Teaching elementary kids isn’t the same, that’s different from pursuing a hobby by yourself.

    It’s much easier to get a ham license in Canada and the US nowadays than 45 years ago, and you get more privileges at the start. But the focus has changed, the expectation becomes that the new ham will be buying commercial equipment rather than build. It becomes a less technical hobby.

    In Canada, you can’t even build a transmitter with the entry level license, in effect since 1990.

    Decades ago, the new ham, so young, would use awful receivers. Low end, they were often general coverage, so the ham bands were miniscule segments of the dial. And they’d build a one tube transmitter. Limited, but easy to build and the US novice license was limited too. But the technical hobby wasn’t hidden behind layers. If you bought a copy of “How to Become a Radio Amateur” in 1971, it had tips about learning the code and passing the test, but it also had an article about building a transistorized regenerative receiver, and a one tube transmitter (on a bread board). And there were endless technical articles in “QST”.

    So many of the portable shortwave receivers sold now (as long as it has a BFO) would be so much better than those low end receivers from decades ago. When I bought a Grundig G3 some years back, it was only about ten dollars more than I spent on a Hallicrafter S-120A in 1971, but I got a receiver with an infinitely better frequency readout, it can receive SSB properly, it’s stable, and doesn’t really overload.

    Something has been lost along the way. It’s seen as a technical hobby for only a few, entry is simpler, but since it’s often portrayed as being about communication, it has to compete with other things now available.


  3. chris

    One of the problems with ham radio is it is an expensive hobby for new HF hams to get started in cost of radio, antenna ,coax ,power supply, tuner for the antenna. even the cost of used equipment is very costly by the time you ad the componets needed. It truely is a dieing hobby. its nothing but nets and contests anymore.

  4. Don Markl

    Today’s youth all have a Cell Phone…they couldn’t care less how or why it works…that and the internet has just about killed Ham Radio….so goes the suppliers like AES because wanting to know how a radio works is a lost interest…it’s called Progress???

  5. Troy

    Disappointing to hear that a multi-location retailer who serves the amateur radio crowd will disappear … like so many other things have disappeared in recent years.

    I think we can all admit Amateur Radio & SWL is very largely an older target audience. Look at the post from a few days ago – “Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2016” – and the dozen pictures. I did not see one child. Not one teenager. And in fact, I think I may have seen one man who might have been 35-yo. But other than that, the convention – that is representative of the hobby – is predominantly middle-aged and senior citizen.

    Quite simply brick & mortar stores catering to the hobby have a tough time existing. Let’s be thankful & support, as we can, the ones that still exist.

  6. Mario

    Wow, AES has been around forever, bought many an item from them over the years, always excellent service, courteous salespeople, fast shippers, was always a pleasure purchasing from them. I can remember their sales catalogs showing up in the mailbox years back, used to keep it as “reference material” for future purchases. One of the biggies will be gone, hard to believe, will miss them.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) is still a very big player. There are a number of smaller retailers as well that are primarily Internet-based, with no “bricks and mortar” shops. And, yes, Universal Radio is still very much in the game.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.