Used Ham Equipment

Once more I have some new experiences regarding this subject.

I recently bought a new (new to me) used radio. After using it for a week I discovered that it drifts in frequency, hums, and most recently has a bad output transistor.

No big deal. The transistor was replaced, the filter capacitors were reformed, and the regulator was rebuilt. Now it performs as it should, but the experience has verified a lesson that has been learned and re-learned since I first became interested in Ham Radio in the summer of 1959.

People do not sell used equipment that is in mint condition. There is no such thing. In fact most equipment that is offered for sale is being sold because there is something wrong with it. The flaw may only be minor but it often requires more to repair the flaw than the radio is worth.

Now, I am not saying that people are knowingly dumping used equipment that is defective. Some sellers may not realize their stuff is defective. They just know they want something better and are not too interested in finding out if the old stuff could be made to work better if it were in better repair. So, they sell it. There are no exceptions that I have seen in the many years I have been dealing in used equipment.

Basically, if it is being sold, there is something wrong with it. People (especially hams) do not sell stuff that is working fine and is doing the job. At least that has been my experience and I do not believe that I am the only person who has had this experience.

So, before you lay down top dollar for that mint, 50 year old radio, remember that it might be a piece of junk. If you can try it out before you buy it, do that. In most cases that is not possible so you take your chances. Just make sure you don’t offer more than you would be willing to pay for a radio with some minor problems and then only if you are good at repairing things.

Otherwise head to your local ham store and buy something that has a warrantee.

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