Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 12:21PM
NSRC- Account Owner

January Blog

Happy New Year to all my radio friends.  It is good to be on the other side of 2017!  Now, let’s see what happens in 2018! 

I know I will continue one of my pet peeves into the New Year!  Finding Parts.  Oh my, what have we done to ourselves?  I happen to be one of the few remaining on the planet who enjoys ripping into broken things and trying to fix them.  I recently tackled my dryer. The thing was not drying clothes properly.  Thanks to the web, you can get all sorts of reasonable advice for free.  Getting the proper parts was another issue, however. I successfully diagnosed the problem… looked like a bad thermistor.  I could not find the part I needed online…trying Goggling thermistor! Even with the model and serial number etc. It is incredible how many variations there can be.  So, I resorted to an online chat with Sears Parts Depot.  It actually went very smoothly, especially when you consider he was having multiple “chats” at the same time. In fact, at one point, I wondered if the he was a real person.  I threw a couple of trick questions into the mix, just to double check. “What’s the weather like by you!?” “Do you get a break for the Holidays?”  Took about 30 minutes to do the entire exchange.  He shot me some schematics so we could make sure we were getting the right part and ordered it right there.  Then he asked when I wanted it? Well, like now!  He said his best shot was shipping it next week sometime unless I came out to get it. Sure. When?  Where? Still, he said I had to wait to make sure they had the part. He promised to call and he took all of my numbers. I repeated my preference for the cell phone, which I monitored carefully all day. Well, I never got the call.  Next morning, I got a call on my business line saying the part was in!  In fact, it had been available the day before at 9 am!  They called the business line and not the cell.  Problem now was I could not pick the part up. So I asked my wife if she could zip out.  She did great. She found the place and got the part, but managed to find a few additional stores to visit along the way! So the $20 part cost me probably 15 times more in delivery!! I never heard of the stores, but she was thrilled!  Whatever, the dryer works. 

In the same vein, I have discovered I missed the boat.  I should have been investing in shipping companies.  Man.  I have been working on multi-meter kit off and on for a while.  I am almost done. It was one of the build club projects and I was stuck at one circuit check point because I could not get a verifiable response on my “known” meter.  Finally, I learned that the fuse on my “Known” meter was broken.  Now, keep in mind this is cheapie $24 multi-meter that I got from Lowe’s just to throw around in my travel kits.  I went online and found what I thought was the right fuse…from Lowes! They shipped it to me and all was good till it arrived and I found it was the wrong size.  The picture looked right, but the dimensions were way off.  I needed a 5 x 20 mm ceramic fuse.  I tried Mouser…8,000,000,000,000 possibilities and prices.  I was totally lost.  I finally found a place that had the right specs, the right size and the price…like $1.10 for the fuse, but the shipping was $8.00! I know, my son swears by Amazon Prime – free shipping.  I should have, but I didn’t.  I was willing to drive to the edge of Chicagoland to get the part in my hot little hand, but modern retailing does not allow that.  Everything must be shipped. Yes, I miss Radio Shack or Tri-State Electronics or any number of places you can walk in, look for your parts and buy it. It will take me a long time to surrender my right to purchase from a real personal, at a real store. Sorry, Amazon.  And yes, I will admit that we did our fare share of Holiday shopping online, but I did most of it walking into a store someplace.  Call me crazy! Meanwhile, I ask you all to consider stock in transport companies.  They are quietly making all of the money in this modern economy.

Meanwhile, the meter is not done, but my Fusion radio is upgraded and ready to be installed.  Happy New Year.   

73’s

Rob, K9RST
Article originally appeared on NSRC- North Shore Radio Club (http://www.ns9rc.org/).
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