Cleaning the Basement: When Junque is just Junk

I don’t know who coined the term “junque”, but it used to be used on the QRP-L mailing list to describe questionable treasures brought home from a hamfest. “But honey, it’s not junk, it’s high-class junque!” ┬áLike many engineers, I’m a bit of a packrat for old parts and gear, and there was a time in my bachelor life when I saw it as my duty to rescue as many old HP and Tektronix instruments as I could, especially the tube variety. Call it a misplaced attempt to emulate the Endangered Species Act.

My wife has quietly tolerated my electronics junk in the basement, but my life has moved on. I have two children, and my sense of what I’m doing in my hobby has crystalized. Now I look at a basement full of stuff and think, “Boy, it would be nice to have a rec room here.”

This week, I went on the warpath and started cleaning. I started with the shelves under the basement stairs, which were packed full of “treasures”. Among them I found these endangered species:

Three HP antiques
Left to Right: HP 400D vacuum-tube voltmeter, HP X-Y plotter, HP 211A square wave generator

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