{Collins} Equipment classification



I am one of the "moderators" of QRZ.com and thus have
to read all of the posts.  One appeared today that,
unfortunately, addresses a major problem in amateur
radio today.  The problem?  Amateurs taking advantage
of other amateurs.  Years ago, this just was not done.
 But, today, there are "rip off" artists, shady
operations, etc., that either actually steal
equipment, get it by dubious means, or make
unreasonable claims about the condition of equipment
that is being sold.

A few months back, I appeared as an "expert" witness
in a case between two amateurs (actually a local
amateur and a business run by another amateur).  This
was the result of my experience in the communications
field and because I have been doing some repair,
modifications, etc. on equipment for local amateurs.

I have been taking a very good look at what is now
being offered as "mint", or, "excellent" condition,
equipment.  "Mint" means one thing:  Never been put
into operation.  That means no power applied, in the
original packing, with original manuals, etc.

Excellent means just that.  Very little, if any, wear
showing.  Operates perfectly, etc.

What I am seeing sold as "mint" is actually equipment
that has been reconditioned or restored.  Neither of
these equates to "mint".  Also, a lot of the
restoration work does not even approach "mint"
condition.  The paint work does not match the original
(i.e. color, texture, "sheen", etc.).  Repairs have
been made, usually not using "period" parts (now, I am
not saying that "black beauty" capacitors, etc. should
not be replaced, etc., but, this is not "mint"). 
Power cords have been replaced with newer type cords. 
The list goes on.

Now, there are a number of people who do a great job
of restoring equipment, especially Collins "A" and "S"
Lines.  But, those restoration jobs are normally
referred to by one amateur trying to sell the unit to
another.  In fact, many restorations done by certain
parties are definitely a "plus" factor in the deal. 
Those guys do great work.  However, it would be wrong
(and, in my opinion, illegal) to say that these
restored sets are "mint".  They definitely are not. 
The restorations normally include replacing
capacitors, doing factory updates, etc.  All of these
detract from the "mint" classification while adding to
the usefulness of the radio.

There are a few companies specializing in "boat
anchor" equipment sales.  Some of these claim to have
a lot of "mint" equipment.  Considering the fact that
this equipment is well over 30 years old, the chance
of finding even a few truly "mint" condition items is
a rare thing.

What I have seen is repainting, repairing, etc.  This
is, in my opinion, a misrepresentation of the item
being sold.  There is nothing wrong with restoration. 
In fact, I have an antique/vintage radio collection of
about 100 units that I have restored.  But, I do not
claim that these are "mint".  I do have one radio that
is virtually mint.  The only thing wrong is that there
are some water marks on the original packing box. 
This is a crystal set that was packed on 22 October
1922.  How do I know?  I have the original packing
slip, the original manual, and the original box. But,
this is a true rarity.

"Boat anchor" equipment is again having some value. 
Years ago, you almost couldn't give it away.  Now,
what was virtually worthless in the 1970s is worth
hundreds of dollars tody.  Because of this, there are
a few within our amateur radio ranks that are trying
to make a "quick buck" by acquiring this equipment at
a low price (from unknowing older amateurs, widows,
etc.), doing a quick "restore" job, and then selling
to those who do not really know what the equipment
should look like at an inflated price, calling it
"mint".

I do not think this is right.  Yes, anyone in business
has to make a profit to stay in business, that is
definitely OK.  But, to misrepresent equipment as
being several "grades" better than it really is, and
to sell this to amateurs who really don't know better,
that is, in my opinion, not right.

Thoughts anyone?

Glen, K9STH

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