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Tips for New Hams
I guess you have noticed all the Amateur Radio "Ham" related radios and equipment on Kijiji and the various swap shops and facebook. This information is for those that are new to the hobby or those that haven't bought much online. If you have thought that there is lots of things to buy you are not wrong. There is a glut of ham radios out there and this is so for a couple of reasons. Firstly the hobby has taken a slight slowdown in recent years and some are just not as interested anymore, secondly, there are lots of hams who are old timers and naturally they pass away and the their stations become surplus. Finally, technology has moved ahead and the improvement in technology mean many are upgrading their stations to take advantage of new equipment which is smaller, has more features and takes advantage of internet networking and station automation.

So what this means is that used equipment is a buyers market, at least you would think so, but it seems many are peddling their gear for what seems to be a premium. I'm not going to speak much on accessories and these are desk microphones or external speakers or other items that are not normally included in the radio itself. By way of a definition, when I say radio I means a transceiver which receives radio signals and also transmits in any of the modes that are available.

A transceiver should include its power cord, a hand microphone and its user manual as a bare minimum.

transceiver should be unmolested, by this I mean  not modified in any way, and includes any mods to make it transmit on the 11 meter CB band at 27Mhz.  Most rigs have some sort of workaround to allow use on the CB bands. You will see them described as MARS mods. Some easy, some not, but that won't stop the golden screwdriver. Since CB radio's must be type approved, and amateur radios are not, to modify an amateur radio for CB, makes it illegal to use it on CB because the radio is not type approved. Ask ISED yourself if you are skeptical. They could say that since the radio has the ability to transmit on the CB band, but is illegal, then it is also illegal to transmit on Ham bands.  Better to stay away from these shady deals, these mods will void any and all warranties.

The transceiver may not have an internal power supply. This may be an added expense. As a rule of thumb, any 100 watt HF transceiver, will require a 20amp or 25amp power supply. Some come with them " built in" , some do not.

Protect yourself also, look up any callsign on any of the " for sale"  web sites in the Industry Canada ISED website, link below. If a seller has no record, then I would think twice about sending money unless it was face to face. Fraudsters work in anonymity, the only information they want is yours.  While on the subject, this is the main reason why YOU should include you address on your ISED account. This prevents others from using your callsign without your knowledge.  


Check if the callsign is listed on the Industry Canada website or on and has a email address listed. Scammers love those who do not post their contact information.
If the person refuses to divulge their name AND callsign, end the conversation.
Follow this link to lookup USA callsigns HERE

. Email that person and verify
if the items for sale are for sale by this person.

3. Look up IP addresses on an IP address website like
    You can display an emails "source", look for an IP there.

Make that phonecall.
Use Canada411 to get a number.

Ignore wire transfer requests.
Instead use a  certified cheque, interac and only send to the address on the IC website or

6. Demand
high resolution pictures.

Better still... Face to face transactions

Pass on all modified transceivers. If it's been altered to operate on the CB band, you don't want it. Maybe the seller will return it to its factory state. These are easy to come by on Kijiji. If you want to experiment wait till you have more experience.

And it depends somewhat on the dollar value but who likes to be ripped off.


These precautions may take more time and cost more, but you can be more secure knowing that you stand less chance of being taken advantage of. There are some mighty crooked people out there. Take the time to protect yourself.

Ask questions of the seller to find out about the radio

What is the year of manufacture of the radio you have for sale?, (look it up on rigpix)
What is it's serial number?, (for Yaesu and Kenwood go HERE )
Are you the original owner? (to weed out dealers and relatives of deceased hams),
Are the original boxes shipping boxes included?, ( see the Canada Post info below )
What is included with the radio like, microphone, power cord and manual?,
What options are installed in the rig?,
What is its cosmetic condition, any history of a smoke environment.
Have there been any modifications,?
Are there any pictures? and if not , why not. The pictures should show the radio powered up, and in transmit mode showing a wattmeter displaying transmit watts. And decent quality clear sharp pictures, not some fuzzy grainy half effort .

Shipping with Canada Post?
A few things to know about shipping insurance. As you have likely guessed, Canada Posts insurance is no different than any other, they seem to go out of their way to make information difficult to find or worded vaguely enough to make denial of a clam easy. What follows are excerpts from the Canada Post General terms and Conditions.   Click HERE for the complete Document

Canada Post shall have no liability for damage of shipments containing Fragile Items. Fragile Items include but are not limited to ceramic, glass, porcelain, mirrors, crystal, pottery, china, perishable items or items requiring refrigeration or temperature-controlled transportation.

(think twice before you put the fragile sticker on a package)

d) Canada Post shall have no liability for damage of shipments containing Electronic Goods that are shipped in any packaging other than:

• the manufacturer's original packaging, which is undamaged and has retained its intended shape and strength;

(keep those transceiver shipping boxes)

• packaging that abides by Canada Post's packaging guidelines; or

• Canada Post's packaging for the shipment of electronics, including, but not limited to tablets and smartphones.

Refer to ABCs of Mailing of the Canada Postal Guide at for more details on packaging guidelines.

The final tip is for shipping back and forth to the US. There is a tariff free agreement between our two countries that covers amateur radio equipment. When making your declaration for shipping use the HS code

HS 8525.60
Transmission Apparatus Incorporating Reception Apparatus

This will make your shipment duty free, but that doesn't mean it will be brokerage free, so the rule of thumb is to NEVER ship by Fedex or UPS and instead ship USPS. If the seller refuses to ship USPS then just decline the transaction.  There have bees some horror stories when the US carriers arrive in your driveway.

Thanks to the Gov't of Canada, you will also pay HST on your purchase, even if it is used and it calculated using the declared value the seller uses.

Have fun....

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