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.

The 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  

In Short
1. Check if the callsign is listed on the Industry Canada website or on qrz.com 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.

2. 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 whatsmyipaddress.com
    You can display an emails "source", look for an IP there.

4. Make that phonecall.
Use Canada411 to get a number.

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

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. These are easy to come by on Kijiji

* Know who you are dealing with:
get an address, phone number and name and call that person back to be sure the phone number is valid. EMAIL IS NOT SUFFICIENT. Spend the money on a phone call.

*Ask a lot of ham radio technical questions.
If you feel uncomfortable, don't do the deal.

* Don't work with shipping agents or people that sound like they are telling a story ... they are.

* DO NOT give your credit card # to anyone.  Be especially cautious with transactions via Kijiji. Transaction with hams in the USA can be problematic also as it is more difficult to determine a valid callsign.

* Seriously consider picking up your merchandise personally.

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 like,
What is your callsign?,
What is the year of manufacture of the radio you have for sale?,
What is it's serial number?,
Are you the original owner? (to weed out dealers and relatives of deceased hams),
Do you have the original boxes?,
What is included with the radio like, microphone, power cord and manual?,
What options are installed in the rig?,
What is its cosmetic condition,
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 .
Used Transceiver Grading

Like New:

Apparently untouched item in perfect condition. Original protective wrapping may be missing, but the original packaging is intact and pristine. There are absolutely no signs of wear on the item or its packaging. Instructions are included. Item is suitable for presenting as a gift.

Very Good:

A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.


The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. It may be marked, have identifying markings on it, or show other signs of previous use.


The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. The item may have identifying markings on it or show other signs of previous use.

Needs Love:

The item has physical damage, needs repair, doesn't work properly, been modified or is in some other way undesirable.

Words like "Pristine", "New in Box", "Mint", "Rare" among others are called puffing and should be taken with a grain of salt.

A few TIPS for New Hams