I’m often accused of being a radio “enabler.” Truth be told, I wear that badge quite proudly. I’m passionate about communications equipment and I suppose it shows especially here on the Post.
But radio “enabling” is a two-way street. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve made impulse purchases based on feedback and tips from SWLing Post readers. Yesterday was one of those days.
Last week, SWLing Post contributor, Rand (KS4L), sent me a link to an ad for a Drake SW8 on QTH.com’s classifieds site. Here’s the description and original photo:
Nice Drake SW8 Communications Receiver
Nice physical and working condition Drake SW8 portable communication receiver covering 100 to 30,000 kHz in AM, USB and LSB modes with backlit LCD panels. The VHF aeronautical band is also featured (118 – 137 MHz). For portable or field use, can be powered from 6 D cells and use the internal pivot point 41 inch telescopic whip. Comes with original manual, CD and 120VAC power pack with cable. Has an eHam review rating of 4.7 out of 5. From a non smoking environment.
Asking 250 shipped.
Randy sent this tip mid-week and I tried to ignore it. I knew it might not be a stellar deal, but it certainly wasn’t over-priced either.
I don’t think Randy knew this, but I’ve always wanted an SW8. My buddy, David Goren, recommended this receiver ages ago, Each time I’ve stayed at his home he magically made an SW8 available as my bedside radio in the guest room. (That’s some serious radio hospitality!)
Once, many years ago, I actually agreed to purchase an SW8 from a seller in British Columbia, but the deal fell through for some reason. If memory serves, he damaged the radio in the process of packing it. I believe I agreed to pay $450 for it, but that was probably 10 years ago.
I kept Randy’s tip and link in my action items list and decided that, if still available, I’d post it as a radio deal here on the SWLing Post.
Yesterday morning, the SW8 was still showing as available so I started a post. Being the radio enabler I am, I started writing about how much I’ve always wanted to own an SW8…how I love the simple front face plate, the display, the fact it can be powered by batteries, and how I think it’s quite a capable little receiver.
Then I stopped writing, mid-sentence and asked myself… “Will I regret not grabbing this SW8?”
My “radio bux” fund is incredibly low at the moment, mainly due to recent travels and budgeting for no less than three radio conventions next year. Also, this is the time of year when several annual fees/subscriptions are auto-deducted from my account–including hefty hosting fees for the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.
Still, I had *just* enough money to at least make an offer and knew if I “thinned the radio herd” here at SWLing Post HQ, I could probably replenish the amount in a month or so.
Since this was a classifieds ad, my next step was to go through an extensive checklist to make sure the seller was who they claimed to be and that there were no signs of this being a scam. Everything checked out. (I’ll make a note to publish a post about my process in the near future).
I contacted the seller and we agreed on a price of $220 shipped. I put his check in the mail, and he even shipped the radio same day and provided a verified FedEx tracking number.
I’ll admit it: I’m stoked!
I look forward to putting this Drake SW8 through the paces and especially loading it with batteries and taking it to the field. I know–in terms of performance–it won’t be my best receiver, but I know it’ll provide hours upon hours of radio fun, and that’s what it’s all about!
Post readers: What do you think? Have I made a mistake, or did I get a good deal? I’d love to hear from those of you who’ve been owners of the venerable Drake SW8!
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