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Survey Question
Where are you getting your Ham gear from these days?
  Posted: Aug 25, 2013   (1450 votes, 59 comments) by VK5LA

  I get just about everything online these days...
  I still get just about everything from my local ham store...
  A mix of online and local store...
  Major purchases from a real store, the rest I'll go online...
  I'm miles from a Ham Store, I HAVE to go online!
    (1450 votes, 59 comments)

Survey Results
I get just about everything online these days... 29% (422)
I still get just about everything from my local ham store... 6% (80)
A mix of online and local store... 19% (273)
Major purchases from a real store, the rest I'll go online... 8% (114)
I'm miles from a Ham Store, I HAVE to go online! 39% (561)

Survey Comments
No local stores
Most of my stuff comes from online sales and
what I dont buy I build.
No local stores as Atlanta is 100 miles to the

Posted by AK4QA on November 4, 2013

Ham Stores
We in CT are fortunate to have two Ham stores that are more
or less centrally located. I've bought from one in the past and
was very satisfied with the prices and the service. After being
inactive for several years I wanted to jump back in and get on
the D-STAR wagon, my usual dealer said he stopped selling
ICOM so I ended up using HRO (Salem NH), they shipped the
same day and I received my ID-51A + accessories the next
afternoon. They also were very helpful on the phone (Peter)
when I called to ask question concerning an Arrow antenna. It
also arrived the next day. I've not been charged for shipping
on either purchase as it appears that shipping is included if
the item is over $100.00

Posted by N1NGV on October 3, 2013

I build most of my equipment
But, Associated Radio in Overland Park, KS.
Great people; great prices.

Posted by WF0GMN on September 29, 2013

HRO is down the mountain about 100 miles (but I hate driving to Phoenix) and AES is about 150 miles to Las Vegas and if it's in stock I have it in 1-2 days depending on what time I order.
Good service from both.
I just have to pre plan when I want to build things so I have parts on hand or I have to wait.

Posted by W7KKK on September 29, 2013

Local Ham Store
I'm about 50 miles from these good folks:
...but they are on the OTHER side of the big city so I rarely get over that far.

Posted by DWEBB5 on September 28, 2013

The local stores cater to the online purchases.
I know most of their business is online.

I would like to see a little better
service/prices inside the store. When I travel
to a location that has a ham store, I try to
make it to the store. The last two never even
recognized that I was in the store. I looked
pretty close at a couple of rigs on display
with their "list" price.

Posted by WB0DMA on September 26, 2013

Brick and Mortar needed
68% of respondents buy on line. NOT SO GOOD for our beloved brick and mortar stores such as HRO, AES, etc.
Remember, the retail Brick and Mortar Ham stores offer a Public relations value i.e. people stopping in to ask questions, buy a license manual, etc

Posted by WB9YCJ on September 25, 2013

Ham Stores
The closest ham store to me is R&L Electronics over in Hamilton OH. But that is at least a 3 hour drive each way. I wish it was closer but UPS delivers from there in less than 24 hours sometimes and that's with plain old ground shipping. If I'm buying something "major" I won't take a chance on the UPS gorillas and I'll pick it up myself.

Posted by KB9TMP on September 23, 2013

Kits & Homebrew
It would be interesting to see what small percentage of us still build our gear, both kits and those intrepid souls who build from raw parts. I tend to build a top end kit and then modify it to suit my needs through the years.

73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._ ._

Posted by W7ASA on September 23, 2013

Sales Tax
WA6WTF, be careful what you admit to. If you buy from out of state, and no sales tax is charged, you still owe the amount of the tax, as a "use tax". There is a line on your CA income tax return to report it. CA State Board of Equalization is very aggressive on this, although for most of us, it is not worth it for them to audit.

Posted by KD6CPA on September 22, 2013

Where I buy
I like to support my local HRO store as I hope they stay in business. Since I have one within 25 miles of me I can run down and pick up what I might need.
When I bought my IC-7200 their price was the same as the online price but I did have to pay the sales tax. I wanted to support the store in hopes they stay in business.

Posted by K6OFG on September 21, 2013

Ham City
Just ordered a Kenwood TM-281a from Ham City. Good price, but received a striped down unit WITH OUT the DTMF mic. They got kind of pissy with I complained too.

Posted by K6EST on September 20, 2013

Closest Ham Store
I use AES in Las Vegas as they are great folks and the shipping is 2 day ground via UPS. I do not have to pay California sales tax as they do not have a presence in California.

Posted by WA6WTF on September 19, 2013

Survey: Where are you getting your ham gear.
What I can't buy on Ebay or at a ham fest, I design and build myself. I'm from the old school, where you had to actually know something about electronics to get a ham license (circa 1952).

Posted by W4VFZ on September 19, 2013

Survey: Where are you getting your ham gear.
What I can't buy on Ebay or at a ham fest, I design and build myself. I'm from the old school, where you had to actually know something about electronics to get a ham license (circa 1952).

Posted by W4VFZ on September 19, 2013

Stuck with 'on-line'
I believe many 'brick 'n' mortar' places have been driven out of business by the many layers of sales taxes.

Almost every state has a law that on-line sales should be reported and subsequently taxed----sort of like Europe's VAT (value added tax).

Being totally honest about online purchases would level the playing field for local stores but let's be real....seems we all have a bit of larceny in our hearts.

I'll bet if city fathers got wind of the untaxed sales revenue being over looked (or skirted) at larger hamfests they would be all over them....hey, it happened at Dayton.

Posted by K0CBA on September 17, 2013

HRO is close by but I either build or buy SDR radios HRO doesn't sell them so I buy direct 1st one was a Flex SDR1000 recently an Apache Labs Anan -100

Bob ad6hf

Posted by AD6HF on September 16, 2013

I'm one of the lucky ones. Just minutes away. If it's not in stock, they'll order it and I'll pick it up. No hassles and FB people to deal with over there.


Posted by KG6WLS on September 16, 2013

HRO's "In stock"
Most of the time with HRO, they will say a unit is in stock if it's at another one of their stores. You really have to say that you'll be picking it up or ask if it's at the store you're calling to be sure, because they'll ship it from another store--sometimes second day delivery--to get it to you.

That's one thing about HRO, they'll ship things to you quickly--even if you order from a store on one coast and the item comes from a store on the other coast!

Posted by K1CJS on September 16, 2013

My closest ham store in in another state, about 230 miles one way or 3 hours drive total, plus the return trip. If I order from the same store online (HRO out of Portland), I have it one to two days after I ordered it.

I have used Ham City many times also, GigaParts is good, but they are so far from me, everything is 5+ days but also good service. I have used AES in the past, always good service from them also. I'm not particular. I think Ham City is my first choice, then the Portland HRO.

Posted by W7HBP on September 15, 2013

Ham store
My closest store is Gigaparts in Huntsville ala. Great deals & service

Posted by KI4YZN on September 15, 2013

We don't have a store here in SW Florida so my local store is in Orlando.

If you call before noon you can have it the next day by UPS.

For the big stuff it is a nice drive.

Posted by WD4CHP on September 12, 2013

Where I buy
I live about 120 miles from the nearest radio store, but they come to local hamfests several times a year and I almost always buy from them. I do this to show my appreciation for their support of our hamfests.

Posted by W0ODY on September 10, 2013

Local HRO
When I first moved to Phoenix, I would buy everything at the local HRO store.. However over the past few years, I have had several "issues" with them ranging from poor customer service to extremely poor customer service

Now I choose to purchase everything online.

Posted by WB2IVU on September 10, 2013

Combo of both
At one time, I would only purchase locally from HRO
Woodbridge. However, after getting burned a few times
when they said they had something in stock, but in fact
they didn't after I made the long drive to pick it up. I
started making my purchases on-line from other dealers,
namely Texas Towers, Giga Parts, and DX Engineering.
I also use eBay as well.

Now I only buy locally from HRO, if I must have it
quickly, and I request that they pull the item to ensure it
will be there when I arrive.


Posted by AB4D on September 9, 2013

Why isn't homebrew an option? I'm a broke
teenager, with not enough to go and buy even a
decent off the shelf SWR meter, so I scrounge
parts from other radios, hamfests, my junqe-
box, and old appliances. Albeit, homebrewing an
entire transceiver is a bit of an endeavor in
today's world, test gear and accessories can
still be made relatively easily. Plus, you lean
a whole lot about how that stuff works.

Posted by KC2VDM on September 8, 2013

Lousy Slections
I like to buy my ham gear from Online adds, classifieds, swap meets. Buy retail. Bah!

Many brick and mortar stores are way too over priced. In these bad economic times, just look for someone who is over their head economically and bought a rig that they could not afford and have to sell it at a deep discount as they have to pay rent or the mortgage. Check it out first, but many times the equipment may be 20-30% cheaper and still have a warranty.

Buy online and you do not have to pay sales tax for the most part. I work and live in the Silicon Valley. Everything is here, but mostly everything is over priced.

Can we say "classifieds or swap meets"?

Posted by KB6QXM on September 6, 2013

I have never lived near a ham retailer so online is my only option for new equipment. As for used, the most common source for me is ebay or hamfests. We do have a hobby shop that is owned by a ham and he has started putting used equipment on the back shelf. I bought 3 radios there.

Posted by NA5XX on September 5, 2013

Closest Ham Store
HRO in Atlanta is about a 3 hour drive, so when I make the trip I combine it with an overnighter to Atlanta. I go once or twice a year, and I order from them online the rest of the time.

Posted by W4FJT on September 2, 2013

Closest Ham Store
I live in country Victoria, and our Capital City is about 60-75 minutes away by train. And there's not much left in Melbourne when it comes to Amateur Radio. So, I have no choice but to order on-line.

Posted by VK3DWZ on September 1, 2013

Living in Alaska, we have nothing up here. I love using Ham Radio Outlet in Portland. They are always great to work with and give me the best flexibility with shipping. Everything local is Craigslist or scrounging, like Rohn 25.

Posted by KL2TC on September 1, 2013

Ham Gear
The closest HRO to L.I. is in Delaware, about 180 miles and big Tolls away. So, I buy all my Ham gear online and at Hamfests. I've also bought and sold a lot of Ham gear on run by Jeff, KA9FOX. Never had any problem with his site or the people who use it to buy and sell. We had many Ham stores here back in the day, Harrison Radio, Barry Electronics, Arrow etc. It's all gone now.

Posted by K2JX on August 31, 2013

Factory Direct
Most of the gear I own today is purchased direct from
the manufacturers. Most of them are in the USA and
are making/selling top performance gear. The user
communities web pages and email reflectors are
tremendous info and opinion resources before and
after purchases. How sweet it is.

Posted by WD1V on August 31, 2013

Closest Ham Store
There used to be a small business here in Tucson. It was called "Pace" but, he too went out of business. Because everyone figured out that he was just using HRO in Phoenix and getting things delivered "next day". There is now no local Ham Radio store in the Tucson Area. The Phoenix HRO is over a hundred miles each way. SO, I order through them and wait for the delivery. One thing that NO one has mentioned here That a big part of the problem is the radio manufacturers! They wont let a ham radio store order just one or two radios. They have "minimum orders" and the stores have to order in bulk. That is big drain on finances for the ham radio store! No wonder all the little guys are going out of business! Blame the manufacturers! I hope HRO can continue to stay in business. And, I hope some day we get one here in Tucson!

Posted by NV8G on August 31, 2013

All ham need have to be met online as all the
ham stores in the Miami area closed down years
ago. Not very many hams left in this town as
most of the population does not speak or read
English and the new waves of immigrants are
only interested in third world activities and
ham radio is not one of them.

Posted by WY4J on August 31, 2013

Where to Buy
I have to agree that a few choices were left out, like eHam classifieds and (ugh) eBay. My problem is I now live outside the United States so I order on line. I use to work at an electronics store in Denver, CO but alas that store too had closed its doors. When I am in the States I do visit HRO, AES and Texas Towers depending on where I am - but I like hamfests, eHam and various swaplists the best.


Posted by WA0TML on August 31, 2013

Usually get to Portland once a year in late September. Always like to drop in at HRO there. Infrequently make trips to Phoenix and have made my most recent purchases at HRO-Phoenix. Ordered an AL80B many years ago online from AES-Las Vegas. Never been there for a visit but am very satisfied with the customer oriented culture at both AES and HRO. The AL80B has been an excellent performer for me. As for test equipment, oscilloscope, multimeter, freq counter, leads, filters, etc, I acquire that and my QRP gear via online purchasing.

Posted by N7RV on August 31, 2013

None of the above
I buy almost all of my gear used and in-person, from CraigsList, local hamfests, and local sales at club meetings. I do order some smaller items and parts online.

So I guess I would select (if it was an option): Mostly from local individuals (used), and a few small online purchases (new).

Posted by AJ4LN on August 30, 2013

Yea better support you locals with some business, at least, or you will lose them. After all HR is a niche market for consumer electronics, let's face it. I spend a fair to sometimes a large sum at the Hamvention each year, so that category is a glaring omission. IF we mess around too much with only online purchases, you will eventually be getting everything new shipped from China, good gear or not!

Posted by W8AAZ on August 30, 2013

Local is On Line
My "local" ham store is HRO. If I know what I want why would I fight the traffic to travel to the store when I can just access their web site and have it delivered to my door in a couple of days?

Posted by AA4PB on August 30, 2013

The closest store to me is 135 miles

Posted by KV4PL on August 30, 2013

Ham Store
If I can't get it at my Ham Store then I'll order online like I
had to for my KX3. If my Ham Store has it. I'll buy it
there to support them.

Posted by KD8ADO on August 30, 2013

Re: Post of K7NSW
Yes, that 6% bought a lot more, but the shortsightedness of those hams who would order online didn't see that. The same thing happened to electronic distributors in my area, and now the closest electronic distributor is fifty miles away.

It's the same thing with those hams who are buying the wonder boxes from China just because they're cheap. They either don't realize what they're killing--or they just don't care. Wal-Mart did the same thing to all too many other retailers, and now look at the discount retail picture. Very few choices to pick from--and almost all at a Wal-Mart.

Posted by K1CJS on August 30, 2013

Living in a Ham Radio Desert
With Atlanta being the closest ham store(HRO), living in Charleston, SC is like living in a Ham radio desert. Our local Radio Shack keeps a much better than average parts stock so, some needs are met there. But, for anything the least bit exotic, Amazon meets most of my needs, followed by eBay, Mouser and Digikey. Dan's Small Parts and Kits and All Electronics are sources for really off-the-wall items. Normally, I am a buy local, from independents person.

Posted by KG4RUL on August 30, 2013

HRO New Castle, DE
It seems to me that I lucked out. My oldest son
has choiced his high school 2 blocks south of
the store. I guess I get to look more often

Posted by KB3HG on August 29, 2013

Live 100 miles from Texas latest purchase
was on Eham site.....used....
Most of my purchases are online....

Posted by WA5YOM on August 28, 2013

Shame Shame Shame!
A local ham once opened a very nice ham radio store
here in Boise. Had a lot a good stuff at reasonable
prices. A complete store. When it first opened the
crowds jammed the place. One day I was in line waiting
to pay for something I needed. A guy walked over and
whispered to me I could go home and get the same item
on-line and avoid the 6% sales tax. Turns out a lot of
guys were doing that: go to this store, see what you
want, then run home to buy it on-line. It was considered
"the smart thing to do". Well, guess what? No more
store. The local hams would not support it all because of
the sales tax. Store is gone. No longer a place to get
stuff and socialize with other hams. A lot more was lost
then simply a place to buy something. Seems like a lot
of people "just don't get it". So, tell me: is it me or them?
Is the lousy buck or a few cents always the bottom line?

Posted by K7NSW on August 28, 2013

Survey unfair
Obvious Category omitted.HAMFESTS:
Being an old goat, I still prefer Hamfests, especially the swaps in the bone yards.
de Lee, K4LJP

Posted by K4LJP on August 28, 2013

Ham Stores
We used to have a really good ham store in San Antonio where I bought most of my gear. They were authorized repair for Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood. Hams in San Antonio were really sad when they went out of business. I had to ship my Yaesu FT-990 off to South Dakota to have it repaired

Posted by W4ZFL on August 28, 2013

Ham City
We have a local store but he doesn't stock as
much as he used to. Rent at the commercial
store got to expensive and now he runs the
store out of a small shed in his back yard.
I purchased my last three radios from Ham City,
they have the best prices compared to other
online stores and have always done good by me.

Posted by N7KFD on August 27, 2013

Closest Ham Store
Like many others, I'm many miles from an actual dealer location. If I had enough money to think about buying a 'new' rig I would take the time and effort to use a major retailer but until then I will rely on eBay, QRZ and QST to find some great deals.

Posted by K0LSR on August 27, 2013

Getting Ham Gear
The closet ham radio store is near Cincinnati so I rely on the on-line purchases. Very lucky so far, found great KW TS520S/VFO/SP520.. hot receiver and xmitter works great. Have purchased new rig and antenna from the Dayton HF, no problems.

Posted by K9DCS on August 27, 2013

missing choices
You left out hamfests, ePay, craigs list, and the assorted internet classifieds...

For "high dollar" gear, I still prefer the major ham stores. R&L is one of my favorites.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
former K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!

Posted by K9ZF on August 27, 2013

I Use Gigaparts
For a long time used HRO in Oakland 90 miles but
started to go on line CA tax got me. So no more next day
service. Have Also used AES Las Vegas but best price at

Posted by WA6BFG on August 26, 2013

Closest ham store:
I have no choice for anything local as I am 45
miles from the larger ham radio populations. I
have dealt with several sources down through
the years. I started with WRL, then HI Hobby
Industries in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I have
used Henry Radio in Butler, Missouri, before
they quit. I now use AES, Universal Radio, and
HRO for my main current sources.

Posted by K0IC on August 26, 2013

Closest ham store
I got a used TS-850s from R&L when I lived in
Cincinnati. I still shop with them when I am
in the area, but now I live over 100 miles
away. My newest radio, an IC-756proIII, I got
used on the bay site online. 73 Don

Posted by KE8DO on August 26, 2013

Closest Ham Store
I used to deal with Burghardt's in Watertown, SD. They shutdown, now I deal with Associated Radio in Overland Park, KS for most of my stuff. They are really good to deal with.

Posted by KE0XQ on August 26, 2013

Closest ham store
My closest preferred is HRO in Salem, NH. Even though there are some other stores that may be closer, I've always gotten good service from HRO--either on line or in person. About 90 minutes away, but still my preferred store.

Posted by K1CJS on August 26, 2013

Texas Towers is the closest retail ham store to me, right at 200 miles. "One way"

Posted by KA5ROW on August 26, 2013

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