More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Insanity on eBay

It never ceases to amaze me how daft the prices of amateur radio kit can get on eBay and this week I have seen some strange ones indeed. A couple of classics with several second hand rigs going for more than they can be bought new. Bidders really need to do their homework better and perhaps not let the red mist descend when they are bidding. You often see people selling stuff in other places where the seller is looking for a good percentage of what he paid for it back and has not taken in to account that the new price for his radio has dropped £300 since he bought it, but most of the time potential buyers will point this out. On eBay it is usually down to ill informed bidders fighting over over an item while the seller laughs all the way to the bank.

Other strangeness exists on eBay that must have bidders kicking themselves. I recently was given, free of charge, an Yaesu FT-290R for which I hope to find a 23cms and/or a 4m transverter. I was therefore watching one for 23cms, but had been warned off it by someone who had examined the design and suggested it might be somewhat unstable and prone to putting out sprogs and so did not bid. It went for about what I expected it to (£122) but the seller also had a Yaesu FT790R which went for £68, however a couple of items away was another Yaesu FT790R and that one went for £110. What was strange was the one that went for the most was damaged. Do people not read the write ups on what they are bidding for.

The latest one that caught my eye and baffled me is a JRC JST-245. Now I have read the reviews and I know what a cracking rig this was. It is HF + 6 metres and 150w o/p with a very sensitive receiver. This rig was quite expensive when it was new but they stopped production in 1995 so it is at least fourteen years old and maybe over twenty. There are many parts with a rig that old which may be on there way out and a lot of them are obsolete, but that has not stopped the bidders. I have done a little research and the same model rigs in mint condition have been making £500-600 in the past two years. This one has 15 bidders on it and at £800 has not reached its reserve. I do not know who is dafter the seller or the bidders.

One thing worth looking at on eBay is what the seller bought. My workmate was about to bid £2900 on a Mercedes the other night until he checked the sellers feedback. The seller had bought it one month earlier for £1700. The person he bought it from listed a mass of faults which magically had disappeared since. Mmmm!


  1. Hi there,
    Well, concerning the JST-245 it is not daft at all! This is the best rig I ever had, and it is absolutely unbelievable. At 150 watts, I am reaching more than 3,500 kilometers for 59 reports, and receiving compliments about the SSB audio sounding almost broadcast quality. Never had that before. My unit is indeed from 1995, from eBay and it works perfectly hour after hour.
    The receiver in this baby is even better than the JRC 545 or Drake R7A (I have them both).
    Without all the bells and whistles of a newer ICOM, it does the job perfectly, with even better audio.
    I can't wait to add a linear amp to it and see how she works.
    If you can find one, it is a bargain at 1,000-1,600 pou ds and I can tell yuo you will never regret it!

  2. Just because it is the best rig you ever owned and if you read what I said it is pretty damn good does not distract from the fact that this is now a 14-20 year old rig and that the going rate is £500-600.
    If I had £1,000 to £1,600 I would not be buying an old rig that could be propping open the shack door next week with some irreplaceable component dead, I would be looking at something more modern with DSP and a far more sensitive receiver from Icom or Kenwood and get some guarantees with it.
    The problem is some people are living in the past and still think the rigs they bought way back when they were first licensed are the best when they have never used modern equipment. Unfortunately they pass on their out of date info to newly licensed stations who waste their money paying over the odds for someone else's junk.
    One last point: Saying you get 5/9 reports from over 3,500 miles indicates you seem to know very little about radio. I too have had 5/9 reports from Japan and Australia using only 5 watts from a Yaesu FT-817 it proves sod all.

  3. Regarding repair: It is very simple: I have bought a 2nd one cheap, a junker to use as back-up for repair. Most of the other parts in there are still available. Perhaps you have forgotten the days when hams built and worked on their own equipment?

    Furthermore, I have nothing against DSP; why are turning this into an 'old fogey vs. new generation thing'? I love ICOM, however am not prepared to pay 5,700 for a 7700, that's all. And I sincerely doubt that you have ever had an ICOM 7700, with its infinite variety of filters, next to a simple JST 245 or similar: the difference in reception is barely perceptible (our radio club made the comparison with several operators). DSP is great to have, sure, but as many hams have discussed on Internet, it is not the magical 'be all end all' it is cracked up to be....Not to mention the dozens of critiques about 817's with dying finals. This JST hasn't lost a stitch in 16 years!

  4. Thanks Steve for your comments on traded prices of the Yaesu FT-790R above. I am one person who is doing their homework, trying to identify recent prices paid for this unit.
    As I write, there are commercial retailers offering this for £159 (less mic and rubber duck), others on ebay with a £125 'buy now' listing, inc strap, case, etc.

    As ever, eBay may be a large market place, but the number of active bidders per item is relatively small. Hence the potential for a bargin or bidding frenzy; it just depends on those few watchers of the items.


  5. I stumbled across this blog whilst searching for other things, so apologies for raising an old issue from over 2 years ago.

    But I thought you might be interested in what has happened to the price of a used JRC JST-245 in those 2+ years.

    A recent 245 sold on eBay for £1220, so, far from coming down in price, the value of this classic rig is actually increasing.
    As with all things, it is only worth what someone is prepared to pay and with eBay providing a worldwide marketplace, there are people out there that will pay top dollar for what they consider to be the right item.

    You may not see that same item as being valuable. That is your decision.

    Its the same as going to an auction house to buy antiques. Can you see the value in a specific painting or classic car? Would you pay the selling price? What if the car breaks down and I can't get parts?

    Its a risk that the buyer takes based on his ability to financially cover that risk, and also based on his knowledge of what he is buying and his depth of desire to have it.
    (Yes - I know its old, I know parts might be hard to come by, and I know it might breakdown BUT, I want it, I gotta have it, I'll pay any price for it and if I get it, I'm gonna keep it forever!)

    Some people can afford to do that, some cannot.

    Those that can't will never own the item, but will always wonder why those that can paid so much for it.

    The JST-245 is a classic radio and those that know it also know why.

    Price is a relative thing.

  6. Another late-comer post regarding the JST-245.

    I don't know where you (in 2009) got the idea that this rig was 14-20 years old but to set the record straight, this model was manufactured between March 1994 and January 2002 and is still (2012) supported by JRC even though they have pulled out of the amateur radio market. They will continue to offer support for this radio until December 15 2015.


    And that is factory support. Many repair centres will continue to have spare parts well beyond that date.
    Yaesu/Icom/Kenwood etc could learn something about customer support from JRC.

    Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but sometimes the record really should be set straight.

    1. This was based on the information I had at hand at the time, which may well have been incorrect and my 14-20 years old was based on that information. However, if it was manufactured in 1994 it would have been 15 years old in 2009, which is between 14 and 20 years old.

      Not sure about who owns the company but I recall the Yaesu FT-290 being badged JRC (amongst others) in some markets so I always assumed they were part of Vertex Standard Yaesu group.

      Personally I have have wonderful after sales support from Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood, but it does help if you know just who to call.