Ham Radio Product Survey
Jameco recently reached out to me to ask if I’d be willing to ask you about the type of amateur radio products you’d like to see them carry.
Like DigiKey and Mouser, Jameco is one of the larger electronics component distributors in the United States. They’ve taken notice that amateur radio is a growing hobby and that their current inventory selection may not be serving us as well as it could.
So, what type of items do you have trouble sourcing?
Antennas? Batteries? RF connectors? A wide selection of QRP and other types of inexpensive kits? Other components you’ve had to source overseas?
No idea is too crazy — they want to know what’s on your mind and what frustrations you have when trying to get the items you need.
Inexpensive shipping. That is what kills an order quicker than anything, regardless of the product offering. A $10 order of resistors, transistors, and the like, shouldn’t cost 10 or more dollars.- 73 Bob
I would like to see the company carry Ham Hf and vhf/uhf transceivers, as well as antennas of a wide variety. Also MFJ products. All at a reasonable price amount and not haggle like the rest do. ( call $ and you will find out the price} which is a pain. That would establish them quite well with the amateur community by also allowing them to be one of the boys on the block with equipment to carry along with their other great componets they carry as well.
The cost of shipping is the biggest problem with buying anything online. It’s pretty ridiculous when the shipping is more expensive than the few items your ordering!
I agree with the others. Many places rape their customers with shipping prices. I just ordered resistors and LED’s from Mouser and had to pay $7.00 for shipping! I won’t be ordering from them in the future, I’ll go to RadioShack and pay their prices rather than pay a company that screws over their customers on shipping. An envelope sent via USPS will not cost anywhere near $7.00.
I don’t have problems sourcing parts, but what I think would sell would be more parts assortments in divided plastic containers. Offer resistor assortments, disc ceramic capacitors, electrolytic silver mica capacitors, and common transistors used in QRP rigs, including some 1 watt and 5 watt devices. You can also sell refill kits. I think FPGA kits are the wave of the future. I wouldn’t bother selling rigs as there are already plenty of companies selling them. If they need more ideas on what to sell, visit MakerShed and Adafruit.
I’m not sure about Mouser and Jameco, but DigiKey posts this on their site:
“When a check or money order accompanies your order, Digi-Key pays all shipping and insurance (our choice for method of shipping) to all addresses in the U.S. and Canada.”
It’s my understanding that there is no minimum order size to qualify. I may be incorrect, though.
I work for a company that does most of it’s business online. You would be amazed what it costs us to ship things these days. I order most of our electronics components from Mouser and I can tell you from first hand experience that their shipping prices are not out of line. They are really close to what we pay for the same size and weight.
The shipping can cause one to take notice but, you should also consider the cost of gas and the time running around.
I get the shipping cost complaints. But fixing that is like trying to repeal the laws of physics.
When you order a $.17 component, you can’t expect to get it for just 17 cents. Obviously any company can offer free shipping, but you’re going to pay the shipping one way or another. It just becomes a $3.50 component with FREE SHIPPING! 🙂
I think what Jameco was looking for, specifically, is what types of products you’d like to see them carry. Specifically, where do you think the market is underserved? Or where could Jameco’s economy of scale serve it better with more affordable pricing or better availability?
Really, this is more than just about Jameco. Any company dealing with amateur radio-related products is welcome to use this post and comments to improve their product lines. Jameco just happened to ask — which is a good start, I think!
Ordering the ‘Wrong Stuff’ is my problem. This is especially true with Digi Key! Their catalog is very confusing. It so huge that merely trying to find the item is difficult, then it might be the wrong thing. Not very item has a good photo and many don’t have photos at all.
I’d like to see a ‘Typical for Ham Radio’ ordering section. Stuff that is normally used, regularly used and with a clear and concise description. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a part, only to find it is the wrong thing when it finally arrives. I have a collection of RF connectors that I’ll never use because of this.
As far as kits are concerned; block mounted component systems would be nice. Like 556 timers, RF power amps, Audio amps, impedance matched block for using more than one headset at the same time, multi jack configuration blocks for mix and match power, headphones, and paddles. All this stuff would be nice to have in one place and in kit form.
What a coincidence. This week I wanted to build a short cable to connect my Bencher paddle to my KX-1.
– Wire/Cable: I needed about 3 or four feet of 2-conductor + shield (preferred) or 3-conductor cable. I can’t find the 2-conductor+shield at Jameco but they do have 3-conductor. Unfortunately I’d have to buy 100 feet for $45. I’ll pass, thanks.
– PIDG crimp-on ring terminals. Yes, Jameco carries PIDG, but only individually. I’d really like a ‘kit’ with an assortment. They carry similar ‘kits’ but they are not PIDG.
– 3.5mm stereo plug. FInally something they have.
So out of the three items I needed, Jameco carries one. I’m not picking on Jameco, mind you. The situation is pretty universal.
Somebody, W8JI I think, once commented that MFJ breaks even when they fill a $25 order, exclusive of shipping. Some businesses are less expensive or simply choose to eat the loss to keep their customers happy. Frankly, I’m delighted that I can get stuff shipped from most of the major electronic parts distributors for $5-$10. But, I also will put a project on hold if I’m short a 12-cent part and wait until I have a project that warrants a bigger order.
As Dave, WB7OBG, points out, I typically buy from the distributor that stocks the most parts required to complete the project to save on shipping.
On to the original question, two comments: 1. If any major distributor would start carrying Mini-Circuits parts (especially mixers and MMIC amplifiers), that would be huge to me. Maybe they do now and I’m behind the times? The MCL $100 minimum is so high compared to the others, it’s a bit cumbersome to work with. 2. Aggregating kits is another market Jameco might be good at—there are some great individual designers (e.g., K1EL) out there who make small kits. Wouldn’t it be great if I could order the kit and all the cabling/enclosure/switches/connectors at the same time?
Just some half-baked thoughts…