Ken's Electronics, (Wholesale & Retail Electronic Parts) Kalamazoo, Michigan
brands stocked-partial list
Arista audio & video; CB radio accessories
Calrad mic cartridges, speakers, potentiometers, power transformers, telephone cords & jacks
Caltronics heatshrink tubing, knobs, pilot lights, power transformers & plugpaks, project boxes, relays, precision trimpots
Communications Electronics Accessories CB Antenna Mounting Hardware, Coax Assemblies
Dantona Industries Ni-Cad Batteries, cordless telephone antennas
EVG & PRB drive belts, pinch rollers, & idler tires/assemblies for VCR's, answering machines, phonographs, car stereo etc.
GC Electronics connectors, switches, electronic tools
Gizmotchy base 3-element CB horizontal/vertical beam antenna
K-40 American Antenna premium grade CB radio antennas
Marvel Communications Everhardt Tiger CB & amateur "ham" radio antennas
Midwest Electronics Big Foot CB antennas
Mobile Mark Broadstick fiberglas CB antennas
NTE semiconductors, relays, resistors, capacitors, flybacks
Philmore Manufacturing audio & video accessories, coax connectors & adaptors
Quick Mount AM/FM auto radio antennas
Ramsey Electronics kits for electronic hobbiests & amateur radio
Russell Industries cordless phone & police scanner antennas, Seneca Fuses
Safco cigar lighter plugs
Speco small replacement speakers, security video cameras, public address amplifiers
SR Components popular drive belts in bulk quantity packaging; Plug Pak "Wall Warts"
Thordarson Modulation Transformers for CB radio repairs
Vanco audio & video plugs & connectors, patch cords; CB accessories, mic plugs, power cords
Wilson Antenna expensive CB radio antennas
Workman Electronic Products Accessories, Coax Connectors & Adaptors, Extension Speakers, Ham Radio Antennas
About Ken; how he got started in business
Ken's father & mother started the family beekeeping business in 1928 so Ken hived his first swarm of honeybees at a young age in 1952, and displayed honey at the Jackson County Fair from 1955 to 1994. Ken's mother, currently age 96, still works in this family business, extracting & bottling honey, repairing the old beehives & equipment and often goes with Ken to "work the honeybees" in the summertime.
Ken's interest in electronics started when he was in his early teens because he liked to read. His father taught him about bicycle mechanics, small engines, go-karts etc and occasionally purchased magazines such as Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, & Science and Mechanics. A retired teacher gave Ken more of these magazines along with a collection of 1954-1959 Popular Electronics magazines. Ken read the "Carl & Jerry" column by John T. Frye and was fascinated by the escapades of these fictional characteres as they learned about and used electronic stuff in these stories. Soon Ken built some kits and started fixing antique BC/SW radios from neighbors.
The high-school Ken attended procured a course with experiments intended to give interested students a semester of beginning electronics. With what Ken had already learned on his own he went thru it in a couple of weeks so he built a stereo amplifier on an old radio chassis using ideas from the 1954 RCA Tube Manual that his brother-in-law had given him, then rebuilt a console TV cabinet into a stereo system to finish up the semester. The next semester the shop teacher found some other students who were interested in an introduction to electronics and put Ken in charge of teaching the class!
In college Ken got a part-time job in the audio-visual department, maintaining record players, tape recorders, movie projectors etc. Another year Ken worked as the Electronics Lab Assistant fixing instruments: power supplies, VTVM's and Oscilloscopes, along with helping other students understand what they were doing during their lab-experiment classes.
Ken got his Commercial Radiotelephone Operators License and was offered a job as installer at a business radio place. On his fathers suggestion: Ken didn't accept that job, instead he got a tax license in 1967 and opened up his own electronic service business in a spare room of the house specializing in CB radio repair. In a few years a CB shop 15 miles away decided to close; Ken rented that building and acquired the phone number of that defunct shop. After renting that building for a year: a customer had some property for sale with a larger building so Ken bought it and moved his CB service business to the new location (a half-block from the business 2-Way radio store that had offered him a job years earlier).
In 1973 Ken moved to Kalamazoo; soon he had to hire help so he trained a former TV repairman to fix CB's & had salesmen delivering CB's & accessories with vans all over Michigan. Ken's was a distributor for 60+ brands of CB's and antennas & an authorized repair center for Cobra, Fanon-Courier, Hygain, Johnson, & Pace (stocking an extensive inventory of original factory parts). By 1978 CB manufacturers & dealers began going bankupt; road salesmen quit because sales dropped, & the assistant technician moved to Oregon. Unlike many other CB distributors that gave up & filed bankruptcy: Ken continued on a smaller scale, phasing out distribution of big ticket items & acquiring the inventory of several smaller CB repair shops. One significant acquisition was the remaining ROBYN factory parts inventory; these parts fit many other Uniden-built CB's including Cobra, President, & Teaberry.
Around 1980 Ken started putting troubleshooting techniques & repair notes in his Commodore computer to help student technicians learning to fix CB radios, police scanners, & telephones. One co-op student told her instructors at "State Tech" that she had learned more in 2 weeks at Ken's than she had in two years of classroom theory!
Numerous CB dealers asked Ken for technical advice; he often did computer printouts of his repair notes to assist them; he contributed several articles to Secret CB, when it became evident that "SCB" had ceased business: he started organizing the information in his computer to publish his own books. These books are available thru a few distributors serving CB dealers in the United States. Now you can order the latest revisions of Ken's books direct from Ken with your Discover, Mastercard, Visa, or American Express card. Ken's Electronics has a better selection of repair parts for CB's than most competitors.
Over the years business has changed: Production of many electronic products has shifted to China because of cheap labor. "Big Ticket" electronic items are sold by national chain stores such as "Alphabet Soup Warehouse" or "Throw-Away Merchandise Mart" and many local repair shops have gone out of business. Because of the fact that Kens Electronics webpages have top ten results for hundreds of parts on Google--the following business often refer customers to Kens: Radio Shack, Uniden America, Digi-Key, Mouser Electronics, Standard Electric, United Electric, All Phase Electric, Kendall Electric. Nationally known wholesale distributors including: Allied Electronics, Grainger Find Mro, Newark Inone, Graybar Electric, Fitzpatrick Electric, RS Electronics, Global Supply Service, and many others occasionally buy parts from Ken. Businesses and individuals from about fifty countries have purchased parts they need directly from Kens Electronics.
Copyright © 1997 Fernando R. de Lezica, All rights reserved.