Over-Priced Radios

The Atlanta Hamfest was a great time. There were lots of vendors like Ham Radio Outlet, Ack Radio, and several from out of state. They all had good stuff, and there was a great assortment of vintage radio equipment inside the venue, and outside in the “Boneyard”. In a couple of cases I was tempted to buy old Hammarlund receivers with an old HQ-110 catching my eye.

Wisely, I didn’t pull the trigger on an old tube-type piece of equipment. I have decided that I am out of the refurbishing business.

There is one thing that gave me concern, and that is the price of many used radios. I saw prices of $400 to $800 for radio transceivers that have seen their best days.

Reference: Icom IC-718 Basic HF radio priced at $654.00. You can’t go wrong buying new. This is reference for used pricing.

The Icom IC-718 is light years ahead of most of those dust collectors for sale at hamfests, and it is unconscionable to pretend that they are worth more than half of the newest, basic radio. As a matter of fact, feature-wise and specification-wise, there is not a lot separating the IC-718 from most new radios on the market.

I don’t believe I saw anyone lugging one of those over-priced boat anchors around. Whenever you see a stack of these old dust-collectors with inflated prices, you have to wonder how much the guy at the table over-paid for them. They are trying to create their own market.

This even holds true for the hundreds of accessories on these tables. For example, I was looking at an old Drake wattmeter. I was not in the market for a watmeter, but when I saw the price tag of $75 (along with the note on the table to not embarrass myself when making an offer) for a small piece of equipment that was about forty years old, I couldn’t help but remark on the price.

To some people it may have been worth $75, but you can buy new at not much more and get quality, too. The table owner was not happy with my comment and immediately began trying to justify the price. In my opinion the device wasn’t worth more than $25 to $30. For not a lot of money you can buy an MFJ that reads power and SWR simultaneously. Why bother with old stuff?

Sadly, too many people buy from these operators because they keep coming back, year after year, selling the same kind of stuff at the same kind of over-blown prices.

If you are thinking about buying a used radio, put out the word in your local ham club publication. You will be surprised that you can find good stuff at a good price. Plus, you might even know and respect the person that has owned it for the last several years.

I understand markets and the absolute freedom we have to buy and sell at any level. However, I also reserve the right to be critical of the garbage out there.

Don’t stay away from hamfests, and don’t stop trying to find bargains. Just go cheap, and if you don’t have the experience to evaluate a certain piece of equipment, find an elmer to help.

73, and good hunting.



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