Sadly around 2 years ago I received the very sad news that Jim Finch the proprietor of SSE Electronics had passed away.
Jim and his wife Mariko Finch (originally from Japan) ran a small cottage industry from the early 1980s right up to a few years ago called SSE-Jim Electronics making bespoke products for the radio listener.
Mariko was a keen amateur photographer and she used her skills to display SSE s products in a very different way to other vendors.
She utilised a small home studio in a corner of the workshop and her collection of (mostly American) vintage items/memorabilia to supplement the product photography and create extra interest. This made the SSE website rather unique in my opinion. Sometimes I would find myself wandering through the photographs of countless items in sections of the website that were of no interest to me personally but I made the visit none the less just to find out what collectable or side article was in the next product photo. Sometimes it would be a cigarette card, a badge even flowers there were hundreds of photos but a very artistic and creative way was used to advertise an often “boring” product. Mariko had family in the USA and they sent her small vintage collectables over the years. She had some kind of hoard, American Pickers would be very interested I think !
Marikos Japanese background certainly helped when it came to product photography, everything had to look exactly right in the composition and it worked really well.
Jim gave up on doing photographs leaving those matters in the capable hands of Mariko !
I spoke to her so many times on the phone, she always shouted into the workshop “Gentleman Mike is on the Phone Jim”. To Mariko every customer was a VIP regardless if you were spending hundreds of pounds or asking for free advice (which Jim gave a lot of his time to), she always called me “Sir Mike” or “Gentleman Mike” and every SSE customer got the same prefix on every call.
This was something which set SSE apart, they genuinely cared for their customers.
SSE were one of the Great Radio dealers in the UK, there were quite a few really good small family companies that traded in the 1980s up to around 2010 and I must write another post about some of these companies.
Jim was an aircraft/airband enthusiast and radio amateur. He was keen to visit the many forums on the internet and in the later years he had a great interest in ADSB.
I had many conversations with Jim on the phone over the years. One thing that really came across was his enthusiasm for the hobby and his attention to detail.
I wish there were more people like that today.
Jim Finch was forever the perfectionist and never a “box shifter”, he would not sell items that did not perform well enough. I recall him telling me that he had stopped selling a particularly popular 1090mhz ADSB antenna made by AB Teknik (Formerly VHF Teknik) of Sweden. They decided to “make improvements” to the original mk1 design and Jim was not happy with the resulting performance so refused to sell it to enthusiasts and withdrew it. Jim could have carried on selling it and made very good business out of it because there were many of his customers were waiting in the UK and Europe for it.
Anyway Jims legacy lives on, In my collection I have a few items made by SSE Electroncis
Take a look at these airband filters one for civil airband and one which will accomodate both civil and military airband.
All hand made in Hammond diecast aluminium boxes, beautifully made and work extremely well.
Note the small details such as the use of high quality Greenpar connectors the application of yellow thread locking compound on the BNC threads, each board etched by hand. Small things but you can tell that whoever made these really cared about what they were doing.
These units work great with old analogue scanner receivers or the new sdr receiver models.
Here are the AB0712 and AB0816 Filters from my station.
Some Closeups of the AB0816 Civil Airband Filter on the right 118-136mhz.
Note the hand wound inductors and ceramic trimmers with wax sealant
Now here is the wideband civil and military airband version AB0712 118-500mhz
Each item came with a product data sheet.
Nice products that work well with the latest sdr radios years after they were purchased.
There was a dedicated military airband version , the HPF-0706 but I do not own one and I imagine they are hard to find.As said I wish there was someone out there in “UK radio land” or Worldwide for that matter who could replicate or perhaps improve these designs perhaps using SMD technology. I would like to see a “Milair-Bird” or a “Civair-Bird” or a “Marine-Bird” perhaps , are you listening.. Nooelec ?
I hear good things of Dale Parfit owner of P.A.R. Electronics in the USA, he manufactures some very high quality airband bandpass filters for the enthusiast and his products are very well respected throughout the USA air listening community.
If you ever bought a scanner stand from SSE Jim, it would still be good as new today.
Powder coated 3mm steel with stainless steel knurled thumb turns and green velvet back, fully adjustable and weighs a fair bit so the scanner didnt move around on the stands rubber feet. As far as scanner stands go, there wasnt any better and that is still true today ! Nothing today even comes close.
Here is my limited edition orange example, like brand new circa 10-15 years after production !
HF Propagation Conditions