16. Shipping Radios

Today a lot of radios are sold through the Internet and must be shipped from seller to buyer. I prefer to sell radios to people who can pick them up because I don't like the hassle of shipping and the sending or transfer of money, which is again a full story.
Tube sets I shipped
(Orange items: see text)
Bell Corso 120 Dec 1995 United States
Grundig 2066 Oct 1996 Singapore
Bush VHF91 Dec 1996 Singapore
Philips B3X54A Apr 1997 United States
Philips B5X43A Apr 1997 United States
Philips B1X42A Jun 1997 United States
Loewe Opta 4710 Jul 1997 Singapore
Graetz Sinfonia 522 Sep 1997 Singapore
Aristona SA3221 Jan 1998 Japan
Philips B5X43A Mar 1998 United States
Erres KY536 Jun 1998 Taiwan
Philips B5X43A Jun 1998 Taiwan
Loewe Opta Sep 1998 Taiwan
Saba Wildbad 125 Sep 1998 Singapore
Philips B4X61A Oct 1998 Singapore
SRA 484AC Oct 1998 Taiwan
Grundig 97 May 1999 United States
Pye P445 May 1999 United States
Tesla Talisman 305 Jun 2000 Netherlands
Telefunken D657W Oct 2000 Hong Kong
Graetz Sarabanda Nov 2000 Singapore


Nevertheless, I have sold quite a few tube radios overseas as you can see in the list on the right. Overall the experiences are quite good because almost all radios arrived within reasonable time and undamaged. One radio, the Pye P445, was completely lost: it was sent to the United States but didn't arrive. I assume it was stolen in the mail by an employee. This is a loss to the buyer, because the buyer assumes transportation risk and in this case lost the money.

Three radios arrived with some damage, which was quite well repairable in these cases.
The Loewe Opta 4710 arrived with its power transformer being ripped of the chassis, probably not all screws had been there and I didn't check the inside of the radio.
The Aristona SA3221 lost its output tube because it fell out of its socket and was smashed, fortunately without damaging other parts.
The Telefunken D657 had its cabinet (fortunately the bottom) scratched by the power plug that had been pushed against it. Always put the power plug inside the cabinet!

Postal Regulations

International regulations prohibit sending dangerous stuffs like explosives and contrabande like drugs, but this all has nothing to do with our hobby. Radios can be shipped as regular parcels, but a Freight Bill has to be filled out mentioning the sender, recipient, and specifying the content. The more important restrictions concern the measurement of the packages. The weight is limited to 20kg in all countries. This is sufficient for most table radios but just prevents you from shipping a Philips BX998.

You will more often be limited by the dimension limit. For rectangular packets the Postal Dimension is defined as Length plus Circumference. This basically means that the largest dimension counts once, but the two smaller dimensions count twice. An example packet of 30x40x60 cm has a Length of 60 (largest of the dimensions) and a circumference of 140 (2 times 30+40) so the Postal Dimension is 200cm. Almost all countries have a 200cm limit on the Postal Dimension. Singapore has a 300cm limit; this means the people in Singapore are very happy because they can receive larger radios by mail. You see in my list that I export radios to Singapore relatively frequently. According to the 2001 edition of the World Radio and TV Handbook, Singapore (population 2.9 mil) has about 822,000 radios. This makes Singapore the world's leading country in its density of radios obtained from Gerard's Radio Corner.

Good Packing

Postal handling is rather rough, so you'll have to pack your radios well. In any case, double boxing is necessary. The place where I work (By the way, this is a great place, you can study here or work here also if you like!) always buys plenty of computers so I can mostly find the necessary boxes there. The best ones are those extremely stiff boxes made out of double cardboard.

Before packing, make sure no loose parts can cause damage, such as the plug (see above). To prevent scratches on the surface of the radio from contact with the first box, I wrap the radio (a Graetz Sarabanda in this case) in some old linen cloth and put it in the box, which is made to fit using knife and tape. Then put it in the second box, using styrofoam drops or blocks as a filler.
Whenever I sell a radio the 3M and Tesa stocks fly skyhigh, because I use a lot of tape to close the packet.

Finally the packet has to be taken to the post office. The staff there knows me very well by now and trust me for knowing the international regulations better then they do. I mostly ship by boat, but in the past sometimes shipped by air which is of course faster but also more expensive.

After shipping there is an exciting waiting period. The buyer usually informs me when the radio has arrived, which is always a comforting message for me.

Gerard Tel