Shipping a Collins transmitter 32V2... best method?
I am wondering what some of the folks out there do to protect a vintage/antique transmitter for shipping? Im not that keen on shipping a piece of equipment due to obvious concerns it wont make it or it will be beat up. Also the Collins 32V2 transmitter weighs 100 pounds and the cost will likely impact the final price. I have shipped newer equipment without headaches and not had an issue. Obviously I can double box the radio and layer it with bubble wrap and foam. Can some of you share the experiences and which shipper has performed their duty without a problem?
I dont have a buyer yet, so if you are interested please contact me and we can figure out a sale. Located in Tulsa, OK.
I would like to sell it for $800, or a good offer.
I definitely do NOT recommend shipping by UPS! At least in this area, the Mesquite, Texas (Dallas area), hub, tears up a LOT of things. Around here, FedEx Ground handles things much better and also costs slightly less.
For something as heavy as the 32V-2, which weighs in the neighborhood of almost 130 pounds when originally shipped by Collins Radio, I definitely would consider a wood crate placed on a pallet. Use solid sheets of styrofoam between the unit and the actual crate. At least 2-inches and 4-inches would be better. You can get solid styrofoam sheets at your local home improvement center in the insulation department. The price for these sheets is very reasonable.
Adding the weight of the crate and pallet, the the shipping weight may approach 140-pounds, maybe even a little more.
I have gotten in things shipped in wood crates that UPS has definitely "torn up"! On the other hand, I have gotten in things shipped by FedEx Ground that definitely were very poorly packed and the equipment made it without any damage at all.
While Glen never fails to tell us about his UPS experience time and again, Ive been using them for decades with minimal damage; FedWrex has destroyed a lot more.
For that 32V2 I would have a wooden box made (after you know dimensions of course) and insert the rig in a 275# test cardboad box with 2" of hard foam all around. Place another 2-3" of the hard foam (available at Home Depot, etc) in the bottom of the wood box, place the rig in and then fill with expanding foam to seal in place.
Then weigh and call around at trucking companies who charge per hundred weight so you will be paying for 200#. Call several since prices vary and you can use terminal to terminal shipping for the lowest cost. That means the buyer has to show up with a vehicle capable of the size of the box used.
Ive used motor freight to ship and receive heavy items for many years and have never had the slightest damage and prices are not that high.
In this area UPS can easily destroy an anvil, especially when it goes through the Mesquite, Texas, hub! FedEx Ground has never even slightly damaged anything that I have received, even things that were very poorly packed! Well over half of the things that I receive shipped by UPS come in with badly damaged boxes. If the box is not badly damaged, the unit is so badly "shaken" that hardware is loose, etc. This does not happen with FedEx Ground!
For almost 40-years I used UPS with only 1 problem. That was when they ran a forklift tong through a box. Even then they tried to pull the "improper packing" claim. That didn't work! Starting about 5-years ago UPS started damaging all sorts of things that went though the Mesquite hub. It got so bad that above every UPS owned shipping center counter in this area there was a very large sign stating EVERY package must be opened and inspected for "proper" packing. This was because of all the claims that they were getting from shipping damage. When they inspect the packing UPS therefore takes full legal responsibility for the package. That did not help at all with the damage in shipment. Again, they try the "improper packing" claim. However, when one points out that they have taken legal responsibility for the packing UPS will pay the claim without any further problems.
Things may be different in New England. Unfortunately, in this area, UPS has a LOT of problems.
I'll be sure to avoid shipping anything through the Mesquite, TX UPS hub. So far, in this area, no problems.
UPS would not tolerate that sort of problem very long so I have my doubts as to the accuracy.
I'll save the boxes of the next few shipments that do come by UPS for 1H! I do request FedEx Ground but there are some individuals and companies that only ship by UPS.
The Mesquite hub has been a "hot bed" of labor unrest for some time and the shipments show it!
I definitely am not the only person in the Dallas area that has had a lot of trouble with UPS. It is not the delivery people, they are very helpful including even offering to bring heavy items into the house. The delivery people definitely place the "blame" on the hub. The Fort Worth hub has a much better record on handling items, although not perfect. Also, that hub does not have anywhere near the labor problems that are prevalent in Mesquite. My eldest daughter's late husband worked at the Mesquite hub for a few weeks when "in between" jobs. He had some pretty good details on how some of the employees acted. The Mesquite hub is definitely union and it is almost impossible to fire a union employee.
Of course, not every Mesquite employee is a problem child. Most of them do try to do a good job. Unfortunately, there are a definite minority who do cause problems. As I said before, up until about 5-years ago UPS did a very good job. Then, things started getting bad and, at least in my experience, things have not improved!
Until I see a marked improvement in the condition of incoming items, I definitely will not use UPS unless a client insists on UPS, accepts all responsibility for the shipment, and pays UPS directly. For the going on 10-years, when I owned the Motorola reconditioned equipment center for the south-central United States, we shipped at least 10, and often more, radios by UPS every day. The only problem that we had was when UPS ran a forklift tongue through a box and tried to "claim" improper packing! Other than that single item, we had absolutely no problems with UPS. Unfortunately, that changed dramatically in the past few years.
OK ... I'll answer the OP's question and not get into what carrier has more gorillas. Suffice it to say any carrier short of a specialized freight service (which would cost twice or more as much as the radio BTW) can destroy packages. Therefore it is important to remember the responsibility lies on YOU the shipper to pack very well. Don't rely on anyone else to do the packing.
Wood crates substantially add to the shipping weight, carry big surcharges (with standard carriers) and can be problematic in their own way. They are very costly. VERY! We use double walled boxes, hard foam, stretch wrap and 5 layers of heavy walled 1/2" bubble wrap.
We ship radios daily, many like DX-100's, R390'a and other heavyweights. I have a web page describing how we pack. We have never had a piece get damaged in shipping using these methods. And we have shipped hundreds all over the world.
The page link is:
There is a science to it, literally. Acceleration, deceleration, compression, absorption. All these factors come into play, and we did the math, so we have had success. Also we balanced this against cost through added weight and reducing it as much as possible. The trick of it is thinking of a package as a "structure" like a building. It has to be able to support weight and transfer the energy down to what ever it is sitting on. The foam blocking and double walled box serve this purpose. And it should not transfer that energy to the radio.The multiple layers of bubble wrap will keep the radio inside "a room" in this structure, isolated and able to absorb any shock it may be exposed to. If you can stand on the box and not have it give anywhere or crush or collapse, you know the item will arrive safely.
The cost of materials should not cost more than $20 for a 32V if done as shown on this page. BTW, the example shown is a Heath DX-100, nearly as big and heavy as the Collins. You can see behind that a restored R390 that went out the same day. Both arrived in California from NYC in perfect shape. One via UPS and the other by FedEx.
John LeVasseur, W2WDX
Last edited by W2WDX; 07-30-2012 at 10:25 PM.
Where is a good source for double walled boxes if I only need one or two (not a whole bundle)?
In this area you can by them singly at a wholesaler since they arent cheap and if the minimum isnt met it is often waived.
And dont use those Chinese double wall boxes often found out on garbage day, they dont even have a rating on them and are easily damaged.