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.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

New and Used Rig Prices

I noticed on a friends Facebook page that he is selling his Yaesu FT-857D and ATAS 120 antenna. He was after £600 for the two. I was amazed at what he was asking for them as when I bought my second (new) 857D and an ATAS 120 in July 2008 I paid £659.95 for the pair new including delivery. I only paid £325 (used) for my first FT-857D a couple of months earlier and I figured a used ATAS was worth £120 tops.

Some investigation was required for me to understand why he expected nearly as much as I paid new for his used gear that he had bought a little under year later. Checking his receipt revealed he paid a total of £809.96. I was somewhat surprised at the leap in price over eleven months, but when I started checking current prices I was taken aback. The recommended retail price in the United Kingdom is a whopping £1,099.90 and there are dealers out there who are charging that plus delivery. The next highest price came from Waters and Stanton at £929.90. Nevada were a little better at £849.90, but Martin Lynch and sons came out at £819.95, which is nearly £280 lower than the RRP and only £10 more than they charged 16 months ago. However it is £190 more than it was 27 months earlier.

In conclusion I guess my friend is not asking an over the top price for his immaculate, hardly used gear, but he is asking far more than I would pay if I was in the market for another rig. My personal feeling is if something is secondhand I will pay around half what was been paid for it, not half what a new one costs, even if it is unused. My estimate of a good price for an Yaesu FT-857D and an ATAS 120 is £450 for the two, but then there are suckers born every minute. The set up is now on eBay and I am watching the auction with interest.

People will use the excuse that supply and demand governs the price of second user radio equipment and the ridiculous prices charged by dealers for it proves there are idiots out there prepared to pay whatever the asking price is, but maybe there should be part of the training for the radio amateurs exam that includes how to haggle and how to figure out what something should be worth.

One problem is that people are basing what they charge on how much a new one costs, not what they paid and that is compounded by ever rising prices of new gear. Not so long ago all the prices of new gear went up (again) and several of the dealers sent out emails or took out advertisments saying this was due to the exchange rate, but I notice that when the exchange rate returned to its previous levels the prices never came down. Then is there the strange case of why something costs less in US dollars than it does in UK pounds, for example one (randomly picked) US dealer is charging $579 for the FT857ND, which at todays exchange rate is £369.73 against ML&Sons price of £589.95. For £220 you can probably have a nice week in the states and pick the rig up while you are there and it has always been the same. Welcome to rip off Britian!


  1. When comparing US with UK prices you need to add on VAT, which the dealer has to pay and which you would also have to if you imported it from the US.

    I do agree with you though that the prices asked for used gear are over the top. A one year old car would sell for I suppose 70% of the new price. It will be interesting to see what the rig fetches on eBay.

  2. From what I understand (correct me if I am wrong) these US prices include local sales tax, which you don't usually pay when exporting, but you do pay VAT if you declare it at the airport, so it does not make a lot of difference to the final total price.

  3. BUT what you all fail to see is that you are basing your facts on RETAIL PRICES those in the USA and in the UK , the usual mark up is at least minimum 33.3% on WHOLESALE prices usually 40 % or LOT MORE.(those are the prices AFTER they have made THEIR profit .....)plus taxes which is reclaimed from the government buy the retailers , so they effectively pay no tax (they may have to wait a bit but they get the money back ..)
    PLUS you can negotiate a big discount with the supplier if you can take x amount of units which if you are the "selected main importer" you can determine how much profit you all make the prices are at the same level therefore they cannot be bought anywhere else and as usual the customer has 2 choices to buy or not to buy this is not "having a go" at any retailer but plain business fact...

    Prove me wrong show me your balance sheets
    and business plans, if there is no money to be made, why are there so many "making a loss year on year " and still in the marketplace
    I do not mind any one making a profit But
    there is only so much HAND WRINGING I can take ........ (Now where can I get a new 20k linear for 160-23cms ...for 50 Quid mmmm )