So a few days ago I was looking at some of the smaller auction websites and while searching for vintage CB radio gear on a site that seems to only sell things in job lots, I found a handful of old PMR radios that were being sold as CB radio equipment.
Now I (and anybody with radio comms experience) know its just a bunch of obsolete low band VHF private mobile radio gear that’s only useful hobby radio application would be a conversion to the 2 meter Amateur radio band, but that’s me.
What if you have no idea what your looking at and took the advert at its word?, that would be a very confusing couple of days, probably followed by a major embarrassment when its finally pointed out exactly what you’ve bought.
I don’t imagine for a minute (or I’d like to think so) that the seller has intentionally labelled the radios as CB’s and it just reinforces that essential knowledge can be missing on both the buying and selling side of hobby radio.
When Sellers Go Bad
Even though this box of radios may well be a tragic mistake that’s going to bite someone in the butt somewhere down the line, there are those cases when private sellers will take advantage of a radio novices lack of experience and sell them totally inappropriate equipment.
I’ve personally seen more then enough of these and one that really sticks in my mind was the man I met when going to buy a shortwave receiver, here’s how it went.
After seeing an advert in the local paper for the SW radio (which was unusual in itself), I gave the guy a quick phone call to make sure it hadn’t gone because the asking price was below what you’d normally pay for this model and made my way to his house about 5 miles away.
Getting a Little Worried
Never one to leave with a radio that hasn’t had at least a quick test, I shoved a length of wire into the antenna socket and had a spin around the shortwave bands. Interested in what I was doing the seller started to ask questions about the radio he was selling and it dawned on me that he knew next to nothing about it?
This started alarm bells ringing and although the seller seemed on the level, I had to worry if the set had been stolen, so started asking questions of my own.
After a 15 minute conversation it turned out he was sold the SW receiver by a private seller who insisted you could pick up UHF UK police transmissions on it!, this was back in the pre-TETRA days when police signals where sent in the clear.
Even getting back to the original seller had done him no good as he was told that he couldn’t pick up the police because he didn’t know how to use the radio (hows that for after sales support).
Felt sorry for the guy so spent half an hour showing him what scanner to get that would do what he wanted along with giving all the frequency information he needed. Time well spent as I helped someone on their way and came away with an absolute bargain of a shortwave receiver 🙂