Friday, April 19, 2019

Recently I've been acutely aware of certain descriptions and methods when selling HAM gear online. I'll start with the most glaring offense - TYPING IN ALL CAPS. Perhaps there is a good explanation as to why certain people list items for sale using lengthy "ALL CAP" text, but from a viewers perspective it's easy for your eyes to get fatigued to the point the ad has to be read several times just to get the specifics about the item, or even to find the price ($$$).

Like those trick images you find on the web that hold a hidden object, you have defocus your eyes to delve into the mysteries of that ad. I mentioned this to another Ham-friend of mine and we both agreed that it's easier to just skip an "ALL CAP" ad than spend more time than necessary in reading all of the block letters...

Another pet peeve of mine is how some items are described, for example:

"Gently used xxxxx"
"Gorgeous xxxx"
"Lovingly used xxxx"
(I wonder what XYL's have to say about those relationships?)
A borderline description might be "lightly used xxx". Not bad for a rig only a few years old, but many times applied to equipment that is 20-30 years of age. Lightly used or not, it is still ancient, and more than likely impossible to obtain parts for (read - Finals).
Other 'peeves' that I've pondered on would be -
"Pictures available on request", ???, put the photo(s) up to begin with, along with "I don't have a digital camera to take pictures", ???, use your cellphone, borrow a phone or camera from a friend or family member, and ditch that excuse.
Regarding the payment. "NO PAYPAL" is written in a good deal of advertisements. Jeez...YOU may love getting  a money order (or cash) in the mail, but it's a pain in the butt to get one and mail it out vs. just clicking "PAY NOW" in Paypal. The Paypal fee? Just include the 3.9% in the price, or add to the sale total.
Returns. Too many "This is a no return sale due to dishonest Hams", or "No returns due to parts swappers". If I believed that everyone who puts this in their ad had been rooked at least once, I'd only buy new. Just tell it like it is: 'I don't take items back for any reason'. No one likes to give refunds, but I'm not sure how many "dishonest, Part-swapping" Hams there are out there (or if they are always lurking in the background).
Finally, unless you are really set on buying the item, refrain from asking them a question via email! I've been curious a time or two and have had sellers "haunt" me with exuberant zeal either wanting to know if I'm going to buy it or, that it's still available for sale (weeks after the ad was placed). Exception being ads on QRZ, where all messages are posted within the advert.


Living in a severely limiting HOA I've started to experiment with MLA's (Magnetic Loop Antennas). I must have watched nearly every YouTube video on them, as well as scoured many (MANY) websites devoted to the subject before dipping my toe in the magnetic waters, so to speak. I'm not ready to lend any opinions one way or the other yet because I'm still learning.  I'll try and devote an entire blog post about them in the future!

NEW SUBJECT #2 - Power Supplies

Not having a local Amateur radio store has it's complications, especially when you're in the market for these two items, power supplies and speakers. I used up too many hours/days while researching them. Time I won't get back. It was a grueling, mind-numbing experience and anyone who has recently purchased the same know what I'm talking about.

My Kenwood PS-30 power supply is over 35 years old and I figured it was time to get another power supply now, rather than wait until the Kenwood stopped spitting out DC. I went to eHam's website and read countless reviews, along with the pro's and con's of each supply. While I'm sure that switching power supplies have come a long way, I still had memories of injected noise and other nasties from switching supplies of years past, so I decided to go "old school" and look at the options I had with linear power supplies. I ended up getting Yaesu's FP-1030.

The 1030 does 25 amps continuous, and 30 amps peak. It is (as far as power supplies go) a nice looking addition to the shack, with its dual meters and various connections. The initial experience I had was with the 25a connections. The two studs (Red/Black) were threaded but I soon found out that the circular caps did not screw off completely, so, a crimped ring connector would not work. I tried several local stores (EPO and FRY's) but neither had an open forked connector for that particular size stud, or rated amperage. Online I found possibilities, but nothing that said "Buy me, I will fit".

Off to Home Depot and...'nada. Being stubborn, I went to Lowes and...they had exactly what I needed, as well, the aisles were arranged much-much better than the Depot's aisles. I found the forked spades within 5 minutes after walking thru the door.

The only other aspect of the power supply that needed attention were the two meters, which were not lit. I will remedy that very soon with a couple of inexpensive "grain-of-wheat" bulbs, the kind you might use for your model train or H.O. slot-car layout.

NEW SUBJECT #3 - Speakers

"external speakers also cost an arm and a leg"

How do you pick an external speaker for your rig if you can't hear what it will sound like? Read a bunch of reviews! The internal speaker of the Yaesu FT-991A really sucks. It has no range and can't handle too much audio without crackling. But, external speakers also cost an arm and a leg and I wasn't prepared to spend 1/4th of the cost of the rig external speaker.

From the reviews, I got a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get (used), and what I wanted to avoid,  (i.e.- SP-10). 

What did I pick after all of that research? Nothing. I went into the garage and pulled my old Yaesu SP-901P (P=patch), which no one paid attention to at a recent ham fest, and plugged it in. I will purchase something newer sometime this year, but it will be used and at the right price.


If you're into SOTA or POTA, (or maybe you are just a "prepper") I've discovered an excellent You Tube channel that you should check out!

It belongs to OH8STN , and he hosts a variety of topics including comparisons between one brand or another. I have gained a lot of knowledge from him, and perhaps you may too!

'Nuff Said,