Buying a used transceiver

Icom IC-E92 handheldNew equipment has a number of advantages – including a full manufacturer’s warranty, but to cut costs it is possible to buy second-hand equipment.

There are some real bargains out there, but beware though – some private sales may not always represent good value and radios can hide faults that are not immediately apparent.

This is why buying a used radio from a radio dealer can make a lot of sense. For starters, the radio will have been checked out before it was put on sale. Plus you will probably get some form of warranty as well.

If you ask there is a good chance that you will be able to test the radio too.

Prices may be higher than you would pay privately, but what price can you put on peace of mind?

But if you don’t want to buy from a dealer, or they don’t have what you want, you could buy privately. Prices are likely to be cheaper than a dealer, but buyer beware – you probably won’t get any form of warranty at all.

The best thing is to buy from someone in your local club. If you have problems at least you can contact them easily. Find out why they are selling the rig – often it is because they are upgrading and want to dispose of the older radio.

If you are unsure ask one of the other club members to go along with you to check it out. Most radio amateurs are honest people and don’t want to get a bad reputation in their area, but there are always exceptions.

Testing the radio

If you get the chance try the radio on as many bands as possible, both on receive and transmit? Do you get good signal reports? Is there any sign of a burning smell? Does the radio come with the original box and handbook? If not, this may indicate it is stolen, although many people don’t keep original boxes nowadays. And most important do all the buttons and functions work correctly?

Perhaps the worst way of buying a radio is via an online auction site. The photographs seldom do the radio justice and some descriptions can leave a lot to be desired.

Phrases like “a few scratches” can mean different things to different people and may people have had shocks on opening packages after buying things on auction sites.

Plus, you don’t get the chance to try the radio before buying – it could hide a multitude of problems that will cost a small fortune to put right!

Many people do successfully buy equipment from online auction sites, but if you do go down this route check the description carefully and be prepared to ask further questions if need be. And if the seller is local to you ask if you can see and test the radio before the auction ends.

Other pages in this section – Setting up your shack: