A business trip to Tokyo in March 2004 gave me the opportuntity to have a look around Akihabara the well known "Electronics City" of Tokyo. Apart from the huge number of computer, anime, camera and other electronic shops I was able to find four amateur radio shops. The shops are pictured below.
Photo 1 (L) - Rocket Radio. This is the largest shop with three floors and the easiest to find. The first floor houses HF and VHF equipment, the second floor antennas and antenna accessories. The third floor is a museum contain some vintage radios.
Photo 2 - Ham Geppan. This store is further away from the JR station. Although it is a small shop they stocked GHD keys and I was able to purchase a GHD GN507DX which I had been looking for.
Photo 3 - Unknown shop near Rocket Radio. Two floors with radio equipment and antennas on the first floor, satellite equipment and some interesting Mizuho kits on the second floor.
Photo 4 (R) - Unknown shop right opposite the JR station. This shop is the nearest to the JR Akihabara station but easy to miss as it is in a narrow alley surrounded by general electronics shops. Only one floor.
All shops are open to 19:30/20:00 weekdays and also 7 days a week. Sunday is a good day to visit as the main road is closed to traffic.
Rocket Radio is the largest amateur radio store in Akihabara. The photo on the left above shows some of the many HF and VHF equipment on sale. The prices
on display were discounted from the Recommended Retail Prices but still more expensive than Singapore. The IC7800 on display was just a
cardboard display photo as the radio is currently available on order only.
The photo on the right above shows some of the vintage radio on display on the third floor. In addition to some early Japanese equipment (FT902, TS520 etc) there was some Collins equipment on display. None are available for sale!
The second floor of Rocket Radio housed antennas. On display were some interesting shortened HF antennas (especially for the FT-817) which are popular in Japan. Again prices were reduced from the those stated in the antenna catalogues.
|I was happy to pick up a GHD GN507DX paddle from the Ham Geppan store in Akihabara. GHD keys are made in Japan and the photo doesn't do justice to the quality of the key. The "DX" version uses solid contacts with no springs and thus has a much harder feel. I now prefer it over my Bencher paddle.|
Apart from the amateur radio shops there are numerous component stores which I found fascinating. The PC stores are also interesting and a wall full of computer fans with various coloured LEDs is certainly different. I bought a DVD burner and lots of blank media which were cheaper than either Singapore or Malaysia.