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Author Topic: Amplifier Shipping  (Read 4633 times)
W7SSB
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Posts: 3




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« on: June 12, 2003, 12:37:13 AM »

Please - if there are any of you who have had UPS damage from shipping an  amplifier, please let me know what happen to your claim. For the second time shipping amps in factory boxes UPS has managed to destroy both of them !!!! Could really use your input !
Tks,

Don W7SSB   donsherman@starband.net
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20558




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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2003, 11:30:05 AM »

I've only had one such claim over 20+ years and UPS did settle quickly with me.  My documentation included photographs of the carton exteriors, interiors, the damaged goods packed, shipping label, etc, and my claim was filed the same day the damaged amplifier was received.  Final settlement took about 45 days.

To prevent recurrance of such a problem, I only ship or agree to receive heavy goods that are palletized.  I won't accept "cartons" not on pallets, nor will I ship without a pallet.  That seems to have solved all problems for me!

73,

Steve WB2WIK/6
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N0SP
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2003, 11:52:30 AM »

I have shipped several amplifiers and I also know something about UPS... Here is what experience has taught me.
IF the tube is securely clamped in to the final cage I would ship the amp with the tube installed.  The tube is subjected to MUCH less abuse when done that way.  Some amps don't lend themselves to that however.  The Ameritron AL-1500, for example, does not support the tube firmly enough.  Some amps have much more secure mounting and certainly any amp with breech-block sockets should be safe.
   In my work as a private jet pilot I have flown reliever flights for UPS during times when they ran out of capacity.  I have been to their sort centers.  I would never ship anything remotely delicate and/or valuable through UPS.  Their sort centers are a study in chaos and abuse.  There was a time (years ago) when a UPS package was handled like eggs.  Employees found throwing packages were disciplined.  The union and the push for volume took care of that a long time ago.  UPS now has a different approach to damage and claims.  They have a web of rules (that they don't really tell you about ahead of time) you have to follow in order to qualify for a damage claim.  They'll happily take your insurance money alright, then when your item is damaged you are directed to service reps who's job it is to discover where you broke the rules so they can deny the claim.  After a long and bitter fight with UPS I finally had a rep admit to me; "UPS pays us to deny claims."
  Here is how their sort centers work... boxes travel at a relatively rapid rate down long conveyor belts where they are diverted to to the proper bay where a container is waiting.  These containers are something like 20x10x10.  They sit about 15 feet away from the conveyor belt.  There is one big guy at the conveyor and one inside the container.  The conveyor guy takes the boxes and THROWS them in to the container so the other guy can stack them.  This is going on at a rapid rate and there is never a pause to read "FRAGILE" stickers or anything else.  They fill the container from bottom to top.  If your box is on the bottom, tough luck, if it's on top, you're lucky.  Boxes that are too heavy to throw are shoved, rolled, carried in to the container.  A nice new Eimac tube, believe me, is tossed through the air like a football and lands on the floor with all the other boxes.  If that tube is inside the amp it will be subjected to much less mechanical shock than pranging on to a steel floor after being airborne for 20 feet.
There is another danger to big items.. these conveyors wind their way through the centers sometimes getting to heights of over 10 feet above the floor. They have no railings on them to prevent something from falling.  I've seen big boxes fall to the floor and bust open... peanuts going everywhere.  Then a few guys take it, stuff as many peanuts as they can quickly shovel up back in to the box and wrap it with layers of tape and put it back in the line.  They never pause to check the contents for damage.  That could be your amp.  That was my friend's vintage stereo receiver chassis.  It hit something so hard it severely warped the chassis and pulled the tubes out of the sockets where they subsequently broke.  UPS denied the claim.  By the way, I've also flown relievers for FEDEX... but only for their overnight service.  It was not nearly as chaotic.  
  Enough about UPS... here is what I would do.  Remove the transformer and ship it any convenient way.  They don't damage too easily if packed and padded well.  For the amp chassis I would either find someone with a FEDEX GROUND account and ship it that way, or via Postal Priority Mail.  I would also ship the tube Priority Mail or Fedex Ground.  I have shipped over 2,000 boxes of china and dinnerware via Priority Mail in the last two years and have had zero problems.  They use much smaller containers than UPS and handle the product much better... strange as it may seem, it's true.  The post office raised their rates so much last year that I switched to Fedex Ground. I've had the same good luck with them.  However, Fedex Ground cannot be used by the general public, but if you know someone who has an account with them you can use it.  You can get your own Fedex Ground account by going to their website and following the instructions.  But I'm not sure it's worth it just to ship one amp.
   I have shipped 3 large amplifiers in the last year or so by the above method.  The only amp I left the transformer in was the AL-80... the big Ameritrons were shipped with the transformer removed.
I hope this has given some insight..
73,
Dennis
NØSP
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KC8TLF
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Posts: 66


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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2003, 04:44:12 PM »

I shipped a pyramid power supply with fed ex ground. They shipped it to the wrong state once, then the wrong place twice. When it finally got there, the package was almost unrecognizable. I had it double boxed with the inner box being a double wall box and it managed to still have one small dent on it. It still worked perfectly though. I would at minimium double box and item if you are doing some shipping. I was told the same thing as N0SP said by the company that packaged the power supply for me, that they stack everything real high and throw it around, so the more packaging around it the better.
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2003, 08:17:42 AM »

Good grief!  Amazing that anything arrives unbroken.  One minor point - the general public CAN use FEDEX ground for shipping if you happen to live near a Fedex shipping counter.  I shipped a bicycle frame that way last year, at a cost of only about 60% of what UPS wanted.  One very strange thing though - they don't take cash as payment!!  Credit card is OK.  Unlike the local UPS shipping office, the FEDEX counter people were smiling, friendly, courteous and helpful.  
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2003, 11:46:32 AM »

FedEx used to be "air" service only for many years, and of course routed 100% of all deliveries via Memphis, TN.

However, they acquired a competitor, RPS, a few years ago to compete with the UPS Ground service, and so now they do, indeed, have a "ground" service route.

WB2WIK/6
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