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Author Topic: Need SK sale advice- I can't test the units?  (Read 2221 times)

Posts: 11

« on: April 06, 2007, 06:13:11 PM »

Have the opportunity to buy the entire station (transceiver, tuner, desk mike & hand mike, vertical antenna, ground radials, SWR & watt meter, many cables, etc.) from the estate of an SK.  I'm now a tech, soon to be general, and this would be my 1st HF rig.  The guts of this is an Icom 730.  I've seen from reviews that they can have issues with pre-amp relays and memory batteries, but are otherwise a good (albeit basic) rig.  I go to look at this "package deal" this weekend.  It's all boxed up from the estate, so I can't fire anything up, but am assured from a non-ham (but she is an electronics tech) daughter it was working fine when the SK passed a couple years ago.  The asking price is more than fair, if everything is working, but obviously I can't test that.  I was thinking of an offer based on the hardware (antenna, cables, meters, etc. - the stuff that doesn't plug in or wear out) of maybe +/- 1/2 the asking on the whole shebang, and the remainder in 30 days if I get it home and it's all operational.  If some stuff have issues when I hook it up, then we negotiate the difference.  Any advice on how to approach an offer on this?

Posts: 3331

« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2007, 06:26:40 PM »

This isn't the kind of deal I'd recommend for one's first station.

Picking up a whole (older) station from an SK is something that is better left for a more seasoned ham, who can work with the vintage gear.  For that person, it would probably be a second (or third...) setup, and perhaps might be a 'fix up and resell' situation.

As a newbie, you need your setup to have as many known operating conditions in your station as possible, so that you can know what's what without having to second-guess yourself all the time.  Frequency error?  Drift?  Chirp?  and other basic maladies should not be consdirations until after you learn what they are, why they happen, and what you should do about it.

Posts: 542

« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 06:36:12 PM »

"Any advice on how to approach an offer on this? "

Considering her dad just died a couple of years ago, and she is doing something that I'm sure is very painful (selling his possesions), I wouldn't insult her by trying to make some kind of deal to cover yourself.  If you were dealing with a third-party person trying to make a buck it would be different, but if I were selling MY dad's stuff (KC8YZS, SK in 2005), I'd be offended.  You're not going to try to "pay half now and negotiate the rest later" on eBay or in a classified ad, so why take advantage of this girl's situation?  If it doesn't work, fix it or re-sell it.  But don't make things harder on her than they already are.

Posts: 44


« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2007, 07:07:52 PM »

I agree with the first response.  Older stuff is better used and appreciated by more seasoned hams.  Just too much to know just getting into the HF arena, why make it less pleasurable by requiring yourself to know almost everything right now?!?!?!

Unless you are going to do a "repair & re-sell", I say leave the stuff for someone who will appreciate it more than you will and knows how to use it.  Take the money you would have spent on that set-up and get something newer and more user-friendly (maybe the FT-857D).


Dennis - N8BMB

Posts: 9930

« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 10:44:17 PM »

a 730 is a nice little rig  probably around $400  or so.. I say you get 1 shot make her an offer or go with what she ask if reasonable.. not the best time to dicker..

you can always sell it on ebay.." I have no way to test...." is common.

Posts: 4380

« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2007, 01:57:14 AM »

"It was all working when it was last used."  Is always the story in such cases.  You may get a super bargain or you may get a pile of junk.  The families of SK's often have no knowledge of the SK's equipment, what it is worth or the condition.  Often the family is just glad to get rid of the (to them) "junk".  This is a "pay and take it" or make an offer and then "pay and take it" or just "leave" situation.  
You might get an unassembled kit which can be worth a great deal of money, or just a pile of unuseable parts.  It is like going to a casino, you "pays your money and takes a chance."  Frankly you don't sound like you are willing to take a chance, so just forget it.
Good Luck Allen

Posts: 3585

« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2007, 04:23:33 AM »

If you are a gambler, hook it up and see if you can hear white noise and the noise comes up when you touch a short length of wire to the antenna connection. If so, offer her 80 percent of the online auction price. Which is about what she would actually get if she put it on line.

If you are not a gambler or cannot afford to get a broken radio repaired keep your money in your pocket and your lip zipped.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E

Posts: 2198

« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2007, 08:36:47 AM »

This is probably better left to someone who has experience with older equipment, and can , or ius willing to make repairs if or when needed.  While it might well have worked the last time it was used, that was AT LEAST two years ago, and you have no idea how long it has been since it was actually used; it might not have been used for ten years before the gentleman became an SK.  And you have no way of knowing how it was handled when it was "boxed up."
    Since the equipment itself is presumably the majority of the value, and is "sight unseen," it's only fair to yourself to say it's a gamble at this point, and that's not meant to be an insult to the estate, either.  It would have been better all around if the major equipment had not been boxed up so it could be demonstrated when sale time came around.

Posts: 3289

« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2007, 10:22:47 AM »

Too bad you can't at least plug in and turn on the radio.  But given that constraint:

- You are buying it all "As is", no warrantees.  Make your offer accordingly.  
- Take cash with you to pay in full, unless otherwise previously arranged.  They won't want to play banker, or take risks accepting personal checks from a stranger.  Cash in hand with everything removed immediately can be an incentive for them.

- Remember the family is seeing a part of their family member in this equipment.   Treat them kindly an fairly.  Don't brag about how you "stole" the equipment at a low price later on.  Things get back to people.  

Don't be afraid to jump in.  Do your research on the radio for price and common problems.  My second radio was an estate sale too, a TS-530, from a family who know nothing about it.  I still have it.  

Good luck!  bill

Posts: 3189

« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 11:01:23 AM »

Oh..., so your that guy selling the "This equipment came from a ham radio estate and I don't have a way to test it" equipment all over eBay huh?


Posts: 1524

« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2007, 11:43:51 AM »

I'd suggest taking an experienced ham along.  Have him bring a portable antenna, coax, and a tuner/swr mter/watt dummy load.  Insist that the radio be unboxed and have the experienced ham check it out.  This is not being disrepectful.

Posts: 426


« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2007, 12:14:31 PM »

Peter KI6HJH,

Would you buy a used car that was stored in a garage and the seller said it was my Dad's and runs well the last time he used it a few years ago?  I would hope your answer would be no.  I do feel for the SK's family but my suggestion to you is know what you are buying before you buy or you will not be money ahead but with a headache.  If it were me I would test this equipment before buying or there would simply be no deal if it were me, it not only would assure you that you know what you are getting but also the SKs owners if you didn't want the equipment what might work or not work so they can price it accordingly (it would help both them and you, if nothing works to your liking then you tell the family your findings and walk away, you have then done both a favor for you and them).  

The Icom IC-730 is by no means a newer rig, they were produced back in the early 80's thus making them over 20 years old with old technology.  It is not a $400 radio by any means, it is more like a $250 used market radio at best if it were in great condition both in looks and operation.  If I were going to buy one or put an offer in on a 730 knowing not if it were to work or not I would go well below that...more like $175 to $200 at best due to the fact that if you aren't a Tech and can't fix any issues most Tech's charge from $40 to $55 an hour for repair work.  

My best advice to you is if they don't agree of testing of the equipment then shoot a very low price to cover yourself but then you stand that chance of insulting the family as they have as said by others strong feelings in this SK sale.  If they let you test the equipment then find out what a fair price is and give that figure to them.

I would also strongly suggest that you might look at the Icom IC-718 rig (new price $500+/- or so, used $400+/-) it is newer technology and would be a great starter rig at a decent price...add a hustler vertical ($130-$180new depending on bands covered, used $80 to $120) and you are good to go with a more modern rig and new antenna system.

I know that if I pass my wife and kids would have no idea what my equipment is worth, what is in tip top condtion, what is in need of repair, etc suggestion to all Hams is have a Ham friend appointed to this task of SK sale so your family doesn't have to deal with this type situation.  My long time Ham friend has been appointed for mine and I would suggest to all just like I'm suggesting to him to sell ALL my equipment via EBay tested to tell the buyer best as we can what they are getting but let EBay set the market value then you will get your family what the market was willing to pay for your stuff and they don't have to deal with insults or feelings of the sale.

GL de kb9umt Don

Posts: 17476

« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2007, 01:09:47 PM »

There are things that can go bad just sitting in boxes - relay contacts
and backup batteries, for example.

As with any equipment that you can't test, you have to consider the
resources you have available to fix it if there is a problem.  Is there a
knowledgable local ham who can help fix it if needed?  Are you willing
to dive in and trouble shoot the rig if needed?  These are things you
have to consider in judging the value of it TO YOU, along with the
uncertainty in condition and the level of risk you are willing to take.

I had a similar situation when I was first looking to upgrade - I spent
my whole summer's earnings on a used HW-12 that the buyer "didn't
have the power cable to test it" when I picked it up in person.  Turns out
it didn't work - receive and transmit both dead.   I didn't have a schematic,
but I read up on how vacuum tubes worked and figured out what
voltages should be on each pin and checked them.  All OK.  Over the
next month or two I figured out ways to test and troubleshoot it.  I had
to trace parts of the circuit until I got a copy of a schematic (for the
HW-12A, but close enough.)  Eventually I found the solder lug that was
shorting out the VFO trimmer capacitor and it burst into life.  In the
process I had learned enough about how it worked that I upgraded from
Novice to Advanced.

Chances are that you would get a usable rig at a reasonable price, but
you never know.   But it only takes one chunk of unobtanium like a bad
microprocessor or display module (not an issue with the old HW-12!)
to make it an expensive paper weight.   Risk aversion varies greatly from
person to person, so you have to decide for yourself what it is worth to you.

Posts: 14491

« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2007, 04:39:01 PM »

Unless you are technically experienced and feel you can handle any repairs yourself and the price is very low, I wouldn't purchase it. If the family wants to get a good price for it then they should send it to a qualified shop to have it checked out and get a letter showing the tests and their results. Otherwise it is a gamble for anyone to purchase it.

Even hooking an antenna to it and making a random contact doesn't prove much. Does it put out specified power on all bands? Is the dial calibration accurate? Is the BFO set to the proper frequency in relation to the filter passband? Is the receiver sensitivity up to spec?

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 642

« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2007, 07:31:08 PM »

I believe that you should start out on equipment that you have more knowledge of in regards to what works and what doesn't. A used rig is a great way to find out what you really would like in a new rig, maybe you know what you do want and expect from a rig then a new rig would be the answer. No doubt the YL is not trying to make a buck on her dad's gear but she probably doesn't know what was & wasn't working at the time the equipment stopped being used. Sometimes things go bad when they are stored, batteries die and or leak, components do go bad. Some hams like gambling on a piece of gear, some like the challenge of troubleshooting the problem and repairing it, as a newbie to the hobby you need to decide if you are up to the challenge of this.

Hope to run into you on the radio

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