How Do I Ship An Old Radio?
I have "inherited" a couple of old radios and I need to have them shipped from Wisconsin to me in California. Any advice on who to use so they don't get damaged in transit how much I can expect it to cost (lets say they weigh 40 lbs each)?
Also, is there anyone in or near Glendale Wisconsin who could assist me in getting them here? The guy who has them is not a ham and knows nothing about how to handle them, let alone package them for shipping.
I appreciate anybody's advice (oh, and please dispense with the offers to "hold onto them" until I can get out there and pick them up, et cetera et cetera.)
Last edited by KG6TJU; 05-24-2011 at 01:11 AM.
If push comes to shove, have him del. them to the U.P.S. store. They will pack and ship and you can pay them direct with a credit card. They will insure and payoff damages if they pack them. I had a 100# Johnson Thunderbolt amp shipped to me like that. It arrived in perfect condition.
And I bought an SX-101 that was "packed" by a UPS store delivered DESTROYED.
There's a lot of good resources around the net on how to pack old, HEAVY radios. I think the Collins Collectors Association has a good "how to" on doing it right.
When I ship something like this, I first bag it in a garbage bag, and then make some "pads" out of several layers of bubble wrap, using the stuff with the big bubbles. Then I tape the pads over the front panel, and the rear panel. These help keep the Things That Stick Out somewhat protected. Then another layer of bubble wrap, and I place it in a tight fitting box. You can use a larger box if you have one, and cut it down. Then THAT box/bubble wrap/radio "assembly" goes into another, larger box with at least 2" of either bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Some people use sheet styrofoam, but it's a mess to cut.
Expensive way to pack? Yep. Time consuming? Yep again. Safe? Well, I've shipped a dozen or more radios this way, and have yet to have one received damaged.
In my experience, most of these places have little to no idea of how to pack a large, bulky, HEAVY item properly. The SX-101 I received had one layer of bubble wrap, and was tossed into a HUGE box of peanuts. The radio floats around in the box of peanuts, getting smacked every time the box takes a hit.
It just DOESN'T work!
Be safe, and double-box. It costs more, but if the item is valuable, it's worth it.
I own a company that ships things everyday, by UPS, USPS, and FedEx. My advice to you, sir, is to pack it like it is going to be thrown like a football, or run over by a tank.
That's what we have to do to ensure our customers get our products in one piece. I'm not exaggerating, so help me.
We usually use bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts. But for a heavy radio, that would simply not do. Buy some foam rubber and a BIG box. Your radio should be in the very center of the foam rubber.
Avoid UPS at all costs! They can destroy an anvil!
I only use FedEx Ground these days. They are cheaper than UPS and do a MUCH better job of handling. I have gotten in things shipped in wood crates that UPS managed to destroy and I have gotten in things that were VERY poorly packed that FedEx Ground got here in excellent condition.
All that said and done!
Double box the equipment with solid styrofoam between the equipment and the first box (top, bottom, all 4 sides). You can get solid styrofoam sheets at just about any home improvement center and they are inexpensive. Just look in the insulation department. Most of that is 1 inch thick so put at least 2 sheet thickness around the unit.
Between the first and second box I like to put styrofoam in the corners (all 3 sides of each corner again at least 2 inches thick) and then fill the open spaces with Pelspan ("styrofoam peanuts").
Using just Pelspan is a definite NO NO! It WILL shift, compress, etc., and there is a VERY good chance that the unit WILL be damaged.
As for UPS Store packing: I have seen them pack and I have seen actual UPS owned locations pack. I wouldn't ship a pillow the way they pack ESPECIALLY the UPS owned locations. There are some UPS Stores that pack very well. However, unless you have dealt with the particular store before it is "iffy". Also, after they pack it they then use UPS and that is definitely taking a chance.
Up until several years ago I used UPS and had only one problem in over 30 years of shipping with them. They ran a fork lift tong through a box. Of course, when the claim was filed they said "improper packing"! WRONG! That was when I owned the Motorola reconditioned equipment center for the south-central USA and we shipped a lot of radios by UPS. It took a telephone call from a Motorola vice-president to the CEO of UPS to get "that" straightened out. Since Motorola was shipping hundreds of boxes every week by UPS the vice-president "hinted" that Motorola "might" start using another shipping company. Needless to say, the UPS CEO got that claim paid immediately.
Starting several years ago, a large number of boat anchors that were being sent to me for repair, restoration, etc., started coming in damaged. Then, units that I sent out started being damaged (and I do know how to pack!). Everything that goes through the Mesquite, Texas (Dallas area UPS "hub"), has a very high chance of being damaged. If the box survives the contents are badly shaken which causes other damage.
I often get parts from Mouser. They are on the south side of Fort Worth and I am on the north side of Dallas. Mouser prefers to use UPS (because of price breaks). Almost every box arrives in shambles. However, Mouser uses about 3 to 4 times the "normal" packing material when things have to go through the Mesquite "hub" (their shipments go first through the Fort Worth "hub") and usually the parts make it here fine even though the box is wiped out.
Again, double box, if not triple box, the units and then use FedEx Ground and the equipment should make it fine. If you use UPS then you "takes your chances"!
By the way, ever try to get a claim paid by UPS? Yes, it can be done. However, they claim "improper packing" for everything that is damaged including things that are packed by UPS Stores. Remember, UPS Stores are NOT owned by UPS, they are independently owned and, depending on the particular store, they won't even think of helping you get your claim paid.
Last edited by K9STH; 05-24-2011 at 04:27 AM.
Glen is 100% correct!
The *only* time I ever had to file a claim with FedEx, it was settled within 24 hours. ALL the times I had to file a claim with UPS took *weeks*, and 50% of the time they wouldn't pay.
I refuse to use UPS for anything I ship. FedEx Ground is cheaper, FASTER, and takes better care of the packages.
After all, UPS is "brown" for a reason......
You definitely need to double-box with the radio packed tightly to the inside box with sheets of dense styrofoam. Between the outer and inner box you can use a less dense material to absorb any sudden shocks.
Some of my radios weigh upwards of 90 pounds and cost a few thousand dollars used (high end Harris, Racal and Cubic gear). I have received stuff packed in foam noodles and upholstery foam that was half punched through the box with edges bent on arrival. On the other hand I received one radio that was shipped in a custom made wooden crate with a double cardboard box inside the crate. It was in beautiful condition.
UPS has always been a problem for me. I shipped some stuff back from Boise ID to my home and most of it arrived broken. Those items were "professionally" packed at the UPS store. Thank goodness I had taken photographs of each item while it was sitting on the counter at the UPS store so I could file a claim.
FedEx has generally been better on gear (at least in my experience).
Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
I use a grid to control my life
Those hot knife (well, piece of wire) cutters do a great job of cleanly cutting styrofoam.
Some people use sheet styrofoam, but it's a mess to cut.
And I'd LOVE to watch as a Thunderbolt is being thrown around like a football. I'm sure it's happened, but the concept is pretty hard to fathom!
One more tip that I haven't read yet would be to spring for overnight shipping, or at least "second day air." The less time it's in their hands...
I designed packing for heavy electronics and it is far more complex than people think. Also, do NOT depend on shipping a few things to get a baseline on damage.
I have personally watched the Fed Ex driver DROP a 70 pound amplifier over my fence, a five foot drop to hard-packed stone. They wanted to deny the claim, but eventually settled. This has happened more than once with them, and as a matter of fact I specifically ask for things shipped to me NOT be via FedEx.
So clearly there is no guarantee any shipping company does not have an idiot someplace in the system.
What I tell people to do is go to UPS and let them pack the box, but make sure it is at least two or three inches of material that will rebound. Popcorn, peanuts, and spray in foam are NOT suitable for electronics as a cushion.
You absolutely need at least 2-3 inches of compressible closed cell foam with proper weight to meet requirements. What I generally do is bag the item to prevent scratches, cover the bag with an inch or so of rolled bubble material, box it tightly, and then use a medium weight closed cell foam about 2 inches thick outside that inner box. A hack saw will cut the foam, but it has to be a resilient foam that springs back. Sheet Styrofoam is NOT suitable.
The nice thing about the UPS store is if you take the item in to them and tell them it is delicate electronics and to pack it, if anything happens you get paid. There are no arguments.
If YOU pack it, you run the risk of having the claim denied.
In this area UPS had/has a large sign over the company owned counters stating that EVERY box will be opened and inspected for "proper packing". This is supposedly due to too many damage claims. Failure to do this is reportedly a "firing" possibility for the employee. By doing this UPS takes full legal responsibility for the shipment. However, they will still pull the "improper packing" defense when they are presented with a claim.
The very last thing that I shipped by UPS was a Johnson Challenger transmitter going just across the state line into Louisiana. I insured this item for well over the $100 which comes standard. First of all, UPS "lost" the shipment and I had to file a claim. Eventually the box was found at their equivalent of the Post Office's "dead letter office". The UPS bar code label had come off. Now my address labels were still attached. I guess that UPS didn't employ anyone that could read English! UPS opened the box to "make sure" that what I had sent was in the box and then "repacked" the box for delivery. When the transmitter arrived the person to whom I sent the transmitter said that the box looked like it had been "used as a basketball". The transmitter was completely destroyed.
So, I filed another claim. About a month later a national UPS service representative telephoned me and said that the claim was denied because of "improper packing". Then I calmly informed her of the whole story including the sign over the UPS counter stating that ALL boxes were to be opened and "inspected" for "proper packing" which made UPS legally liable no matter what. Next I informed her of the "dead letter office" happening and that UPS personnel had repacked the box. As such, there was absolutely no way that her claim of "improper packing" would "hold up" in court.
She got very quiet and then said that the Fort Worth office would have to handle the claim. About 15 minutes later I received a telephone call from the Fort Worth office saying that the claim forms were "already in the mail". Those forms got here (less than 40 miles) 2-weeks later! I filled them out and mailed them to Fort Worth. About a month later I got another telephone call stating that my $100 claim was approved and that a cheque would be mailed. Again, I had to "point out" that the package was insured for a lot more money. The representative got very quiet. After a few moments the representative "discovered" that the package was insured and that I would get a cheque for the full amount. Another month passed and I finally got a cheque for the insured amount plus the shipping charges. It took about 4 months from the date shipped until I got the claim paid.
The "insurance" company is nothing more than UPS themselves. As such, they absolutely deny claims because they do not want to lose any of this pure profit. Basically, you have to "fight tooth and nail" to get your claim paid.
As for the local UPS drivers: I have absolutely no problem with them as they go out of their way to be helpful. It is the Mesquite, Texas, UPS "hub" that is the problem around here. As for FedEx Ground, those drivers are excellent as well.