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"Test-it" table at hamfests

W9BU

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#1
How many hamfests have a table at the event where attendees can check out the equipment they've purchased or are about to purchase?

At the Fort Wayne Hamfest this past weekend, there was a table near the announcer's platform for doing basic check-out. The table had 120 VAC power, 12 VDC power, a wattmeter with dummy load, and a volt meter. The table was busy most of the day on Saturday with folks dropping by to for a quick check of their purchases.

Do you think this is a good idea? What sort of tests would you expect to be able to do? Do you see potential pit-falls with this idea?

Thanks for your input.
 
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#2
Seems like it would be a pitfall to the person who is selling junk / bad radios and claiming they are good working units.
Testing done right will not harm a radio.
 

K7MFC

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#3
Great idea - the biggest gamble when buying second hand equipment is not knowing if it functions exactly as desired. The only downside I could see is a potential customer damaging the seller's equipment prior to money exchanging hands. If I was making the purchase, I would probably ask the seller to bring the item over to the table for me, power it up, and allow them to demonstrate all the functionality. It would certainly put my mind at ease knowing that the used item I bought will work properly upon arriving home. And if for any reason a seller refused to allow a quick test, I would assume the item is junk and they know it.
 
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#4
At Hamcom (the main DFW area hamfest) they have a testing table and it actually helps sell used equipment for a higher price. Folks can bring the radios that they want to buy and verify that they turn on and work, including the transmit power. For folks that want the equipment but don't want to pay the asking price from worries that it may not work can be assured that it does indeed justify the higher price after being shown that it does indeed work.
 

jwt873

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#5
Our local repeater group does this. (Manitoba Repeater Society). They purchase a table at flea markets mainly to promote the local repeater system. They look to provide information and hopefully attract new members. But, they always have various types of test equipment, (including a service monitor). They check out gear for free. They also help newbies program their radios. (tones offsets etc).
 
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#6
"Test-it" table at hamfests

Service monitors (calibrated preferably) would be good.

Anytime I sell stuff I try and leave my diagnostic tickets with it (since I have my own company for handling radio stuff) which references frequency error, power out, deviation, receive sensitivity, and distortion. Since I keep my R2670 in calibration it’s not a big deal for me. Also try to provide info like firmware revision and last software programmed with.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

W9BU

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#8
Thanks for the thoughts and ideas.

I don't think the folks benefiting from the equipment should be asked or required to pay for the services of the testing table. But, would you consider it out of line for the group or individual who is providing the test equipment to put a "tip jar" on the table?
 

K7MFC

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#9
But, would you consider it out of line for the group or individual who is providing the test equipment to put a "tip jar" on the table?
Yeah a tip jar is kinda weird. Unless you have beer at the table too.. ;)
 

ladn

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#10
I'd certainly like to see a test table and I'd be willing to "donate" a buck or two for the peace of mind that a test would provide. Sometimes even just a 12vdc or 110vac power source would be acceptable.
 
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#11
Yeah a tip jar is kinda weird. Unless you have beer at the table too.. ;)
I think that's perfectly acceptable if it's a calibrated unit. I mean, getting ready to seen my R2670 off to Freedom for it's annual is going to set me back $1200 (okay, company is reimbursing me since I use a personal monitor for work) but I'd still pull it out and let people test their purchases with it if I could put a few bucks towards re-calibrating it.
 

K7MFC

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#12
I think that's perfectly acceptable if it's a calibrated unit. I mean, getting ready to seen my R2670 off to Freedom for it's annual is going to set me back $1200 (okay, company is reimbursing me since I use a personal monitor for work) but I'd still pull it out and let people test their purchases with it if I could put a few bucks towards re-calibrating it.
Yeah I can see it both ways. If it were me, I would just do it for the love of the hobby and wanting to help my fellow hams. No expectation of any sort of compensation/reimbusrment.
 
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#14
If a private individual bought a table at a hamster fest and provided his own equipment, then I think they should be able to charge whatever they want for use of their equipment and time. If I had my eye on a pricey used radio at a swap meet I would gladly pay a few $$ for a thorough check out. If the equipment and labor were provided by a ham club, etc, I would have no problem tipping a few $$.

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas.

I don't think the folks benefiting from the equipment should be asked or required to pay for the services of the testing table. But, would you consider it out of line for the group or individual who is providing the test equipment to put a "tip jar" on the table?
 
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#15
How many hamfests have a table at the event where attendees can check out the equipment they've purchased or are about to purchase?

At the Fort Wayne Hamfest this past weekend, there was a table near the announcer's platform for doing basic check-out. The table had 120 VAC power, 12 VDC power, a wattmeter with dummy load, and a volt meter. The table was busy most of the day on Saturday with folks dropping by to for a quick check of their purchases.

Do you think this is a good idea? What sort of tests would you expect to be able to do? Do you see potential pit-falls with this idea?

Thanks for your input.
My club provides one at our hamfest every year. I never heard anything negative about it. Other area hamfests have them too around here.

Our newly elected club president normally runs it himself. I am not technically literate when it comes to bench testing equipment, so I can't answer what the set-up entails and what he tests for, but I know every year I have participated in our hamfest we provided a test bench/table for attendees and have had no negative issues arising from it.
 
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#17
If the tip jar was going to a charity, or the club hosting the meet/table - no problem. If it's just some guy expecting to bank on testing radios - no.
Bear in mind, if it's a calibrated piece of service equipment, it takes money to keep that calibrated. If someone is offering a service for alignments, that's one thing but if someone is offering a complementary service to test equipment for basic function (and the knowledge of how to perform those tests) I'd be more than willing to leave a tip to the individual. He's not going to get rich off it but if it saves me from walking out to the parking lot and firing my own monitor up, saves me time and effort.
 
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#18
But, would you consider it out of line for the group or individual who is providing the test equipment to put a "tip jar" on the table?
When someone is taking their time and/or their equipment to do a service, a tip jar is never out of line. IMHO, only the most entitled a-hole would have a problem with it. With those individuals, it's better that they walk away complaining as it's unwise to touch their equipment lest you get blamed for a problem.
 
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#20
But, would you consider it out of line for the group or individual who is providing the test equipment to put a "tip jar" on the table?
Out of line? Not the choice of words I'd use, but no, I don't care for that idea. In the spirit of the non-pecuniary nature of amateur radio, I don't think charging for that service at a hamfest is the right way to handle it.

I know several guys with very well equipped home labs who volunteer their time, equipment and even parts to help guys get stuff on the air. None of them would dream of charging a cent or putting up a tip jar. You do it in the spirit of the hobby, as an Elmer, and just to help the guys out.
 
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