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eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: N0NS on January 18, 2008, 08:09:35 PM



Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: N0NS on January 18, 2008, 08:09:35 PM
Greetings all,  I recently got back into HF after several years off.  I am currently borrowing a Heathkit HW-100 with an antenna tuner.  I am looking into purchasing my own HF station.  Ideally, I would like something like a Kenwood TS430S, or an Icom 735.  I would like a rig with an automatic antenna tuner but a stand alone tuner will work.  I want to spend a little as possible but get a radio that is not tube, does not take 20 seconds to tune up, and a minute to change bands like the HW-100.  I want a digital readout that is accurate to within 50 or so hz.  General coverage RX is highly desired too (WWV anyone?)...

Here's my problem.  I am not connected with many local hams, and the ones I do know do not know anyone who is selling local HF gear.  I have spent a lot of time surfing eBay for HF rigs and came out with this general impression that purchasing a HF rig on eBay is a very bad idea primarily because you have no assurance of what you are getting!  Most sellers will say how great the rig works but then go on to say "no warranty" and
"sold as is!"

That being said, I am not sure where else to go besides purchasing a new HF radio (most likely IC718)... I am not sure the extra $200 for a 718 is worth the risk of a $400 430S or 735.  

Would you buy a 718 new or roll the dice on a 430S/735?   Granted, if I had tons of money I would just purchase a TS2000 or some high buck radio but my goal is to spend as little as possible (considering my wants) and get on the air!

Lastly, if you would not do eBay and still want to save off of buying new, how would you proceed?  Hamfests have not started yet so I am at a loss here!

Thanks! 73  Joe N0NS


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: N3BIF on January 18, 2008, 09:52:24 PM
 I bought 3 hf rigs via the Internet over a two year period . The first two were bought sight unseen but I asked a lot of questions and checked up on the owners callsigns etc. I consider my self lucky and was very pleased with each transaction. The third involved  more money so I limited my search to only those hams which would be feasible for me to visit. For me I decided a hours drive was the limit. The sellers let me visit and try out the equipment and again I was well satisfied.
    I only looked at "c;classifieds" such as eham, qrz.com and qth.com. For this important of a purchase I choose to ignore ebay, however I have bought many $25.00 or less items  vis ebay without incident.


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: ONAIR on January 19, 2008, 12:19:47 AM
   I'd get the 718 which is very highly rated in the eham reviews.  You'll have a brand new rig with a guarantee, with many modern features including DSP.  You can keep it for a while and then sell it, and get back a large portion of your purchase price to put towards your next rig.


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: K9KJM on January 19, 2008, 12:49:14 AM
You are looking at what many, Including myself consider the best bang for the buck starter radios.
The good old Icom IC 735 is about the best low buck rig you can get, Now selling for around 300 to 350 bucks.
The Icom 718 sells for around 500 bucks brand new with warranty.
And you can keep going up and up the list......
Good used Icom 706 series that "do it all" for around 600 used, (BUT the 706 is mostly menu driven..... More computer than radio!)
Good used Icom 756PRO radios now sell for 900-1200 dollars, And that real do it all radio, the TS 2000 sells for around 1250 good used.
ALL RIGHT HERE on the Eham classifieds!  You DO Have to follow the ads for a while to find the equipment you are looking for. But here you are dealing with fellow ham operators.
As they told you, Ebay is the deep water where the sharks swim........... USE CAUTION.
Plus the whole world is bidding against you......
If you can wait until the right deal comes along, Right here on Eham classifieds, You WILL save big money. IF you need to have that radio sooner, Expect to pay lots more money.
If you are serious about buying some major equipment, Dont be afraid to make the donation to Eham to get the classified ads right away. Worth every penny!
http://www.eham.net/classifieds/?view=all


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: K7PEH on January 19, 2008, 01:24:55 PM
I have bought a few radios on EBay and my first transceiver, an Icom 756, I bought on EBay from another ham who was upgrading to the Pro II.  That was a good deal.  I paid a fair price which was about the same ballpark (plus or minus $75) of other Icom 756 rigs I had been tracking on EBay.  I actually failed to win a previous auction and decided to try the high bid in the last 10 seconds type of thing for this particular auction and it worked.

The Icom 756 was in perfect condition -- not a flaw, a mark, or anything else wrong with it.  I still have it even though I have since bought a Pro III.  It is a keeper and my backup rig.

I paid $740 in February 2004 for the Icom 756 and I still see some Icom 756s (the non-Pro version) go for that amount but mostly more at times.

Things that I consider to be a MUST DO for bidding on EBay for ham radio equipment...

1.  Give preference to ham radio operators.  Hopefully you can get their call sign and maybe find out more about them.

2.  If seller is ham radio operator but has a very high buy/sell transaction count they they are probably in an Ebay business of sorts.  This is a negative that erases the benefit of being a ham.

3.  Ask question, in particular, ask questions bluntly and see what kind of response you get.  The sellers attitude is often a good indicator of their character.

4.  Avoid, always, any rig that is listed with comments by the seller such as "I do not know how to test" or "Do not have proper equipment to test", or "panel lights, light up, sound comes out of speaker, but do not know if it is working".  To me, these are all indications that the rig is likely (though not always) going to be DOA.

5.  Of course, the opposite sort of statements, such as "This was my main rig until I bought my Icom 7800 and it works perfectly or your money back" are good things to hear.


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: AB3CX on January 19, 2008, 07:39:40 PM
Another nice low priced rig is Yaesu FT-900, really performs for $550, and there are alot of them out there.


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: K8AC on January 20, 2008, 05:49:51 AM
I've bought a few HF transceivers on eBay.  100% of them had one or more problems, in spite of the seller claiming they were "perfect".  I can fix them myself, so not a big problem, but if you can't maybe you should avoid eBay.  I've had much better success buying from QTH.com or the classifieds here on eHam.  


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WB2WIK on January 20, 2008, 10:07:01 AM
Everything I've ever bought via eBay, except "brand new in factory sealed box" stuff which I have occasionally purchased, has had some sort of problem when I got it.  My expectations were really never met with anything purchased sight unseen and used via eBay.  So, I don't use that anymore.

Now, one thing I *will* do, because eBay is such a popular site, is look up to see where a seller is, if he has something I want.  If he's local, I might arrange to drive over and look at/test out the gear he has for sale.  Then, I can either bid on it via the regular auction, or see if the auction runs out without the seller's minimum being met, in which case I can buy it directly from the seller afterwards, etc.  No legit eBay seller will strike a "side deal" outside of the auction, as this can get him in trouble; so I wouldn't ask anyone to do that.  But if the seller's price is set unrealistically high and it's not met, I can buy the stuff a minute after the auction expires, and go pick it up.

The IC-718 is a nice starter rig that's very easy to use; however it does *not* have an automatic antenna tuner, and that's one of the reasons it's so affordable.  Adding a decent manual or automatic tuner to that rig will cost another $200 or so.  

You didn't mention your antennas, but I hope you figured antenna cost into the budget.  The world's greatest rig with a crappy antenna is a crappy station.  An old junker with great antennas is a very good station.

WB2WIK/6



Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: AC5E on January 20, 2008, 10:26:28 AM
Should you stay away from eBay? Well, yes, unless you are looking for a boat anchor.

The Asian silicon foundries have discontinued many "critical" parts that have no satisfactory substiutes. That leaves the rigs using those parts orphaned.

It's hard to say exactly which rigs are on that list - other than those worst hit are some of the most popular rigs ever built. But if you have one and a discontinued part dies you either have a parts rig or one very expensive repair.

Everyone is entitled to do as they choose, but I would buy new, make a list of all the solid state devices used in the rig, and watch the "end of production life" notices from the chip makers. Or buy a Ten Tec or Elecraft. They seem to avoid devices with a short production life.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E


 


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WB2WIK on January 20, 2008, 03:40:13 PM
>RE: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?  Reply  
by AC5E on January 20, 2008  Mail this to a friend!  
Should you stay away from eBay? Well, yes, unless you are looking for a boat anchor.

The Asian silicon foundries have discontinued many "critical" parts that have no satisfactory substiutes. That leaves the rigs using those parts orphaned.

It's hard to say exactly which rigs are on that list - other than those worst hit are some of the most popular rigs ever built. But if you have one and a discontinued part dies you either have a parts rig or one very expensive repair.

Everyone is entitled to do as they choose, but I would buy new, make a list of all the solid state devices used in the rig, and watch the "end of production life" notices from the chip makers. Or buy a Ten Tec or Elecraft. They seem to avoid devices with a short production life.

73 Pete Allen AC5E<

::Problems abound.  First, many modern rigs use proprietary ASICs/FPGAs which are programmed specifically for or by the rig manufacturer; they're discontinued whenever the manufacturer decides to do that, and there's no way to forecast it.  Next, the majority of chip makers won't even tell you when their end-of-life is scheduled...the typical response is "five to seven years, or whenever the process changes...whichever comes first" and that's about all they'll tell you.  None will guarantee anything.

Also, nowadays most chip makers are fabless; that is, they don't actually fabricate their own stuff and they don't own any silicon foundry at all.  So, it's their design, their masks, etc, being fabricated at some other factory which could go down due to a natural disaster at almost any time.  Oops.

"Risky business," for sure.  And one of the reasons old S-lines retain their value after all these years: There aren't any parts you can't still buy, after 40+ years.

WB2WIK/6
 


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: N3VMD on January 21, 2008, 04:35:00 AM
It's like anything else, "buyer beware". Like many, I've purchased from ebay both successfully and unsuccessfully but in all fairness I've been burned as much at hamfests etc as I have on ebay. Use common sense, ask the right questions, check the sellers feedback and roll the dice.
Good luck,
Todd
N3VMD
73


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WW5AA on January 21, 2008, 10:24:46 AM
A good source is the used radio equipment from the big candy stores like HRO, AES, etc. Maybe not as cheap as EBAY, but they stand behind their used sales.

73, de Lindy


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WB2WIK on January 21, 2008, 01:19:55 PM
>RE: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?  Reply  
by N3VMD on January 21, 2008  Mail this to a friend!  
It's like anything else, "buyer beware". Like many, I've purchased from ebay both successfully and unsuccessfully but in all fairness I've been burned as much at hamfests etc as I have on ebay.<

::I've never been "burned" buying anything at a hamfest, because I carefully inspect, and test, anything I intend to buy and carry out.  Dayton's a great place for this because there are several powered and accessible AC outlets all over the place and lots of antennas around to test almost anything "on the air" in 5-10 minutes.  I usually bring a small wheeled cart containing a dummy load, wattmeter, coax patch cables, DC jumper cables, AC extension cord, etc.  Can't do that with eBay.

I picked up an Icom IC-751A at Dayton years ago when they were typically going for about $750, and got it for only $200 because the seller claimed it worked perfectly and when I went to test it right in front of him, it was dead as a doornail.  He was very embarrassed and agreed to let it go cheaply, on the spot.

Turns out it was missing the RCA phono patch cable between two ports on its rear panel which connected the antenna to the receiver.  Replacing a $1 cable fixed the rig, and it really did work fine.  (I didn't figure this out until I got home.)  Good deal for me, bad deal for him, but he should have known better!

WB2WIK/6


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WX4O on January 22, 2008, 04:41:35 PM
I've bought and sold many ham radio items, including transceivers, on eBay and never got burned once. As everyone says, be careful. I think eHam is a good source too. (I'm alabama-sales on eBay, but am just a ham, not a store).


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: KE4DRN on January 22, 2008, 05:36:39 PM
hi joe,

ebay is a good place to start, just do a lot of research.

check the sellers previous purchase history,
is that 'minty Icom non smoker' on auction
the same radio he bought lastmonth as a fixer upper ?
you can only go back three months but it is a good way
 to weed out these types radios from your list.

many times wife of a silent key will auction off the station gear
and you can find a good radio at a fair price.  

just keep looking, don't jump at the first one you see,
research completed auctions so you do not overpay.

aesham.com sells a lot of gear from tradins.

73 james


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: N3VMD on January 23, 2008, 08:37:32 AM
"I've never been "burned" buying anything at a hamfest, because I carefully inspect, and test, anything I intend to buy and carry out."

I agree completely, you'd be a fool not to do those things. That won't, however, account for intermittent problems that don't appear until the unit has been on for hours or some obscure menu setting buried deep and seldom used etc. Bottom line is, there's no full proof, 100% guarenteed way to avoid inheriting someone else's problems other than just not buying. Sometimes we have to have faith in our fellow man, so to speak, and just do it or get up off the pennies for new. Even then you can still get a lemon :).
Best of luck,
Todd
N3VMD
73  


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: VE3BWA on January 23, 2008, 09:33:37 AM
I have bought several HF rigs on eBay, as well as an antenna tuner, and mics.  In my view, it's reasonably safe, as long as you stick with hams (you can find out things about them), check the seller's trading record and use payment methods that are trackable and offer some protection.  Yahoo and hotmail e-mail accounts should be red flags.  Ask questions - if someone won't reply, I abandon their ad.  Obviously, a local contact is the best bet - you can see the equipment and try it out before committing.  But my experience is that most hams are honest and you can probably avoid the most dubious by applying some common sense.  Hope this helps

73 de Chuck


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: WR8D on January 24, 2008, 11:25:40 AM
Just starting out i'd stay away from ebay. AES has a good used equiptment listing with a 30 day exchange on them if you don't like what you get...but they do check them out before they list them and will answer any questions you may have about them.

I'd go with a new 718 though to get my feet wet and back in the hobby. New rig getting back in the hobby is the way to go.

The older rigs like the 430 etc have lots of relays and problems to go along with them since they're now getting age on them.

On top of that there are screwdriver masters who think they're really good at what they do and have some of those little rigs set up to right at 200watts output. You never know what someone has done to one of these older rigs, too late after you've bought it and put it in line and the drivers blow out the heat sink.

Good Luck...i hope you just buy a new rig!

73 John WR8D


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: NR9R on January 31, 2008, 11:42:11 AM
From my experience, one should use caution when making any online purchase, whether it is from eHam, QTH.COM, or ebay.  As long as they will porvide a phone number and no red flags are raised in communicating with them I think you should be safe.

I have never had a problem with ebay specifically.  If you win an auction for more than a few hundred dollars then ask for a phone number from the seller so that you can speak with them before you complete the transaction.  This gives a chanceto judge their character and ask them directly what happens if the item does not arrive in working order.  In my experience, the sellers that cooperated with this request provided a great product and told me that they would have no problem with me sending the item back if it didn't work.  On one occasion though, the seller simply stopped returning my emails after this request and a few days later I received a notice from ebay that their account was terminated due to suspected fraud.    

As far as what rig to buy, the IC-718 is a great basic radio for the new price.  An advantage to buying used though is the ability to sell a transceiver for the same price you bought it.  Sometimes you have to play with one for a month before you decide whether it meets your needs.  If you want to try something different, just post an add on eHAM and get something else.  I usually try about three transceivers over a a few months before I find one that sticks for a few years.  One time I even ended up going back to the first.  By utilizing the used market, I ended up makeing a few hundred dollars as a result of my indecisiveness.

All the best,

Anthony


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: AE5EH on February 15, 2008, 08:19:28 AM
Hello Joe N0NS....I'va had good luck with QRZ, and will probably have good luck here too (I became a paying member of eham yesterday) for buying/selling gear. I've posted stuff on QRZ and sometimes would sell the same day. The on air swap nets in my area aren't worth the bother. Those are the chinciest cheapest people I've run into ever. Most of them seem to deal in antiquated junk.

As far as ebay, I'd be real careful buying anything over $300.00-$400.00 dollars. Ebay has it's share of crooks and idiots. Look at some of the listings, and if you know anything about the gear you are looking for, you may deduce the same thing. I've only ever bought one radio on ebay which was a 706MKIIG. The guy listed it as excellent condition. The pictures weren't that good, but he had several hundred transactions and a 100% rating. Got the radio and although it worked okay, it was dirty, and had lots of scratches that didn't show up in the pictures on ebay. Far from excellent condition and he had bought it used from another person before selling it to me. I paid $750.00 for it. Too much. For another 150 maybe more I could have had a brand new one in the box with warranty. I was the idiot on that one for buying it.

I've bought and sold a fair amount of radios to get the ones I'm finally happy with which are IC-756PROIII, and  IC-7000. Bought both brand new, and don't regret it at all. Some times folks cut their nose off to spite their face. They stumble over dollars trying to save pennies and it's just stupid. I'd stay away from ebay unless you really know what you are doing. At least with QRZ and here you deal with mostly amateur radio operators.


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: N0NS on February 19, 2008, 01:14:21 PM
Hi everyone,

Just to let you know the good news as I am the original poster...

I put a "want ad" up at work and managed to get several hams who wanted to part with their HF rigs.  I managed to pick up a Kenwood TS450S at a very fair price and was able to test it out at home before paying for it.  Of course working for a company that sells radios (Rockwell Collins) helps because this place is crawling with hams! :-)

So, for me I was successful in not rolling the eBay dice!

Thanks for all of your input!  Joe N0NS


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: DAVIDVD59 on February 29, 2008, 06:56:34 PM
I am not trying to plug AES, but I have NEVER been stung by used equipment from them. I purchased a tuner online (ebay) from a minister of all things. The front of the tuner is scratched to hell, (no pun intended) and was never disclosed, however the inside of the tuner is pristine and does work really well. I would be hesitant to spend that kind of money online, but I have sold rigs online, and get this "IF people would have bought it at the buy it now price, instead of bidding it up trying to save money, they could have received a better price. I have had people pass my buy it now price by $125.00 already.    ???????????


Title: Should I stay away from eBay for HF rigs?
Post by: KI4WGI on March 25, 2008, 07:49:29 PM
So far I have bought a number of radios off eBay. Being a new ham most of my earlier purchases were receivers (R-392, Collins TCS, Heath GR-54). I also won a HW-101 in really good shape.

Most of the time I look for rigs being sold for part or repair. They make good restoration projects. I got a second HW-101 for $50 because the seller was selling the tubes (I inquired about the knobs, he offered the entire rig). I picked up a chassis for a HW-32 the same way, it had a broken PCB (full of PCB type tube sockets!).

Best thing is nearly all of my past purchases we funded by sales... parted out my basket case BMW R-75/5 and a friends Suzuki 1100 (yes, he was aware & split the cash!).

But by all means beware. Paypal does offer some protection. Check feedbacks. Ask questions.

Steve KI4WGI
aka "slack-man"