Originally Posted by Cyber Mike
do you have to pay for weather forcasts?
btw, Don at hfradio. com isnt giving any breaks on his total ssb w/email. Not free shipping
or anything. Wouldn't even give me a price
break on the licensing service
I feel compelled to comment about my experience with Don's Service at HF Radio
. He certainly gives no deals and is obviously paranoid about folks buying
stuff off the internet
and bringing it to him to install--and I can see the sense in that. When I consulted with him about putting SSB on my boat his overall price and attitude is what made me consider anything but SSB. He seemed to want to scare the bejezus out of folks who wanted to do any of the work themselves with stories of failure--but, OK, he is a professional and probably has seen a lot of screwups. I have no doubt about his competence. I do have some doubt about his business practices.
I purchased a couple of serial
port adapters (Keyspan) from his company just before I left on my two year trip through Central America
and to the East Coast
. I balked a bit at the fact that he was charging
$80 a piece for them, but was told by him that the "others are not the same" and "you don't want to be out there....." I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy (as I think many of us are) and thought, OK I do not want something inferior and untested. These folks are backing this product.
Well, about 94 days later, one of the Keyspan units failed in Mazatlan. I called HF Radio
to ask them what to do. The folks there told me that the warranty was 90 days and I was SOL. I was a bit shocked. I had expected, even IF the warranty was just up, that there was an obvious observable failure (no wet, no stray current
damage, I could mail the thing in and they could look at it). But they were adamant. I was SOL.
A couple months later, while back home collecting my trunk of repair parts
to take to Panama
with me, I emailed the Keyspan folks, just to tell them that I did not understand how they could charge more than double the going rate for a serial
port adapter and have a 90 day warranty. I got an immediate email back from them telling me that their MSRP for the item was $39.99 and that their warranty was five years. They exchanged my item very quickly with a new one--no questions, no hassle. Hmmmmmmm.
So I sent an email to HF Radio
where I had some questions. Did they accidentally overcharge me for the units??? No, they said, they add on charges for the "extra services" they provide for cruisers and the knowledge that they provide. Let's see, they refused to help me when I was in Mazatlan and helpless to follow up. They clearly did not know anything about the product's warranty (turns out it was printed on the packaging I got with the replacement). They said they knew they were charging
double what the MSRP is. HUH???
I then recalled that when I was consulting these folks about SSB?Ham they made a big deal about "bench testing" all the equipment before they do an installation--as if the electronic manufacturers might be the cause of a lot of failures of SSB/Ham installations. As a former delivery skipper
, I can tell you that most failures of boat systems are clearly the fault of the folks who install and maintain them. I do not blame this guy for wanting to maximize his profit margin, but I really resent his using fear and deception about the services they provide to do that. I would never do business with these folks again, based on my experience.
By the way, HF Radio did not seem very enthusiastic about Skymate, and I could not understand why. Maybe it is because anyone can install the thing. It uses almost no amps to be monitoring email 24/7 (gives you a green LED when you get a new email), can be installed by an idiot, and probably has little profit margin compared to a $7000 SSB/Ham installation.
By the way, Latitude 38 would not print my note that obliquely referred to this disappointment as HF Radio (or my completely non functioning Globalstar
sat phone--actually none of the cruisers I met could get theirs to work in Central America) is a major advertiser for them--I guess I do not blame them either.
By the way, I had a number of manufacturers who went WAY out of their way when I emailed or called them from other countries. The Raymarine
technicians were great, the Skymate folks got back very quickly with responses, and there were other folks who freely gave advice and expedited stuff to coincide with my trips back to the States.