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Author Topic: Dave Benson and Small Wonder Labs  (Read 5650 times)
KB2HSH
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Posts: 216


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« on: June 27, 2007, 06:57:58 PM »

On June 26, 2007, I e-mailed Dave Benson of Small Wonder Labs to inquire about the extensive backlog of orders that always seem to build up.  Here is the dialog that I sent him (copied and pasted from my e-mail account):

Dave:


After a few bad experiences with some Pixie 2 kits, I have been told time and time again to get a RockMite.  But I see that there is an extensive backlog.  Why is this?  I also read on eHam a fellow that didn't receive a 17m kit after almost a year?


If I order a 30m kit, how long to get to Buffalo NY?


Thank you for your time


John KB2HSH

This was a perfectly legitimate question.  I don't intend on waiting for 11 months as WS4V waited for his kit to be sent.

Dave's retort is as follows, received 6/27/2007:

John-
 
This is what we call a dilemna.  If I answer your e-mail, I'm that much further behind. <g>
 
I am a one-man company with more work than I can handle. I've just returned from nearly 2 weeks in NH, where I'm currently building a house.  Does that help?
 
73- Dave


Now, I understand...it's a $29 radio.  But as a potential customer, I have the right to ask why orders take so long.  It was this repsonse from him that has encouraged me to take my business elsewhere.  I don't really give a DAMN about Dave's personal dilemmas.  I asked an honest question, and received a smart-ass answer.

I don't doubt that his radios work.  I wish I had one.  But if this level of customer service is what's to be expected, then I'll keep looking.

And if Dave ever reads this: Either hire help or close up shop.  Your dedication to your business plain sucks.

John KB2HSH

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AA4PB
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Posts: 12689




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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2007, 05:29:35 AM »

I've had nothing but good experiences with Dave on the PSK31 kits. When I had a possible part defect an e-mail to him got me a replacement part in a couple of days.

Yes, he runs a backlog on some of the kits but he keeps a status on the web page and doesn't try to hide it. Hiring help is easy to say but not always so easy to do unless customers are willing to pay a whole lot more for the kits.

I just waited almost 2 months for a SignaLink-USB and Tigertronics is a much larger operation than Small Wonder. No matter because it has been sitting on my bench for the past three weeks waiting for me to clear my backlog of things to do :-)

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KG6R
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2007, 03:49:29 PM »

I have ordered some kits from Dave and he shipped them out right away.  Maybe he's a bit backed up.

If you don't want to wait visit

http://www.qrpme.com/

He has classic tuna tin transceiver kit and a sudden storm receiver that will perform better than a pixie.

There are other kits out there from tentec etc.

http://www.amqrp.org/kits/kits.html

http://www.qrpkits.com/

I hope this helps.

73 de KG6R formerly KG6QHP,

Jim

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N1CX
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 03:14:21 AM »

So the guy took a few weeks off to go work on a new house in NH. He sells good stuff and the price is more than fair, but the thing that I find interesting is you can sit there and rip the guy publicly for replying to your email with a GRIN.

If you think it's SO EASY to be in business for yourself,   then I'd strongly suggest you get off your a@@ and go do it yourself. You obviously think that manufacturing something for ham operators is a killer business. And I don't think you have the right to ask why orders take so long because you obviously don't appreciate what goes into  manufacturing a quality product to begin with or appreciate what the guy does.

You want good quality then expect to get in line, otherwise go to someone else, and hey then you can rag on them too. /rant off
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VK6AV
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 06:17:41 AM »

Dave's website makes it very clear he is buiding a house (not a simple task). He also publishes the backlog. So an informed consumer can decide if he wants to wait or not. I think that's very reasonable.
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KB2HSH
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 07:02:05 AM »

Scott:

Don't have the right?  That's rather foolish, to say the least...and to be nice.  As a customer or potential customer, that right is implied.  

Further, I really don't CARE that he has a house in the works.  He's also in business.  I understand the typical delays for the so-called, "Shipping and Handling", but in some case 2+ months?!  One guy waited 11?!  THIS is acceptable?  

If so, you're dumber than you act.

HSH
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2007, 04:26:33 PM »

I think you have the right to know the approximate backlog and the right to decide not to be a customer. I don't think there is any implied right to tell him how many hours he should put into the business nor to demand that he hire employees. Like many one-man ham operations his "business" is likely more of a hobby than a money-making endeavor. Many work a full time job in addition to the ham business so the ham business gets whatever spare time they have available.
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KB5JO
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2007, 06:20:12 AM »

I have three SW+ and two Rockmites operational, two Himites testing, two Himites unbuilt. I waited at least a month for every one of the kits, more than a year for one of the Himites.  Sent a 20 M Himite back to Dave for testing because of low output about three months back, have yet to hear any news.  BTW, I just placed an order for a RM20.

Obviously, I very much enjoy building and using SWL's products.  Dave has always been very open about backlogs and warns everyone that a wait is to be expected.  Every time I have ever contacted him, the response has been immediate, friendly, and helpful.  Missing parts are replaced immediately.

The SWL products work very well, and are inexpensive. Waiting for product from these one-man companies is part of the game.  Steve Weber's ATS transceivers are available for short intervals before being sold-out, and Hendricks goes on an extended summer vacation every year.

None of these folks are getting rich providing low cost transceiver kits for amateur radio.  I'm happy that Dave and the rest see fit to share their expertise with the rest of us, and will continue to wait patiently for the kits to arrive at my door.

73, Curt KB5JO
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W6GF
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Posts: 161




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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2007, 09:31:51 PM »

Thanks goodness we live in a country where a person can run a company as they please.  Some people will take your money and lie  about delivery dates.  This guy is honest up front.  If you want his product then you must take his terms and conditions

George, W6GF
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N9IJ
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2007, 09:18:13 AM »

You should take your business elsewhere as SWL will obviously not meet your expectations. As I read your original post, and maybe I am mistaken, you didn't order anything. You asked a question and didn't like the quick but honest answer.

Try MFJ. They will sell you advertised items that aren't scheduled for production for 6-8 weeks without telling you. They won't, however, bore you with excuses as they won't answer email queries!
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KB2HSH
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2007, 08:45:45 AM »

IJ:

Bought an FT-817.  Thanks for the concern.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2007, 12:50:55 PM »

I have a RockMite 40 kit that I bought from Dave Benson. I had maybe a week or two wait due to backlogged orders. To the original poster, I'm sure this is not Dave Benson's sole source of income as I'm guessing it's more of a side business. When I ordered my kit his website did mention that it might take serveral weeks to fill orders. After reading reviews I didn't see anything about people not receiving kits. So I ordered one. In 2-3 weeks it arrived on my doorstep and was built shortly therafter - enjoying every step of the process. Who knows what else Dave Benson has going on in his life? I'm glad he finds the time to provide us with great kits. The wait was well worth it. Patience is a virtue. 73, James KB2FCV
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5R8GQ
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2008, 05:27:55 PM »

>And if Dave ever reads this: Either hire help or close up shop. Your dedication to your business plain sucks.  John KB2HSH

John:
In your QRZ.com bio you claim all these QRP awards
and accolades. If you knew anything aabout QRP you
would know that Dave Benson is one of the ost deadicated and respected QRP designers, builder, teacher, and lecturer in the QRP field. His PSK-20 QRP PSK31 rig design was featured on the cover of QST and received the presigious ARRL Technical Achievement Award for that year.

He has a big backlog, which he keeps as public knowledge because he is a one man operation
and his quality is second to none, which is probably part of the backlog. Ham radio is not his main source of income and he provides a very valuable service to the ham radio community.

His kits are not just products, they are works of art!

I see by your birthdate that you belong to the "ME!" Generation. You want everything your way and you want it RIGHT NOW.....and you pout and piss and moan if you don't get it. So you pulled out your credit card and got the FT-817. INSTANT GRATIFICATION! Just what your generation lives for!

Tell me, how much about electronics and circuitry did you learn from the FT-817? Can you fix it yourself if something goes wrong? You should have waited about bought a kit. REAL QRP'er build their own gear!

Ken  5R8GQ/AD6KA

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KB2HSH
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Posts: 216


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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2008, 06:15:55 PM »

Ken:

Your're clearly an idiot with a very big mouth.  (YOUR profile demonstrates THAT aspect of you)

Firstly, you know NOTHING of me other than what I've chosen to let be known in a public venue.  If you weren't such a pompous bladder of hot air, and you spent some time digging around, you'd find plenty of QRP circuits that I have completed.  I grant you...I have never DESIGNED one, but in 1997 when I restored my Ten Tec PM-1 without so much as a complete schematic to go by...I basically had to re-engineer one of the boards.  (And for your information, Big Man, that review made QRP Quarterly's COVER in April 2000...what have YOU done?)  Not only that, but I also built several single transistor XMTRS in college...when I couldn't afford real gear.  Hey...I even built one of Dave Ingram's "Two-Chipper" (7400/7403) TTL rigs...and THEN...when as far as to add a diode detection circuit to it to make it into a crude transceiver.  Have you?

Secondly...again proving your questionable education, I was born in 1972.  The "Me" generation are a bit YOUNGER than me.  

Thirdly...which, by my estimation, I shouldn't have to explain ANYTHING in my life to an obvious simpleton such as yourself, my 817 was purchased with a bit of help from my wife as a BIRTHDAY present last year...and it was paid for with CASH...not credit, thank you.  (Like you've never whipped out plastic for a purchase??)

In response to your comment about Dave's radios being works of art...well...I have to agree with you there.  100%!  

In closing...go yell at your wife, kids, the neighbors...whatever you usually do to make yourself feel better.

John KB2HSH

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KI4WGI
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2008, 09:23:16 AM »

I recently bought an 80-meter Warbler from Dave. Paid with a Postal Money order.... got it faster than I could build it. I saw his backorder list, but since I put off ordering it for months, I figured I could just wait. If I'd wanted it sooner I should of ordered it earlier. However, it came in about 2 weeks, so I have no complaints at all!
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