another sad Radio Shack story...

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Myron A Calho » Wed, 10 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Thought you might like to hear another sad Radio Shack story.

I'm posting this to "homebrew" even though it arose out of a "truckbrew"
in which I added to my pick-up truck a second battery with isolated
charging, DVM voltage monitering, HF and VHF radios, power outlets in
the "topper" area, NVIS antennas (which worked VERY WELL), etc. (the
"etc." included replacing the AM/FM radio).

Between the "cut here" lines is a copy of a letter I sent last October;
what happened and my conclusions follow the letter.

---------- cut here ---------- cut here ---------- cut here ----------
Leonard Roberts, President
Radio Shack, A Division
   of Tandy Corporation
100 Throckmorton St, Suite 1000
Fort Worth, TX  76102

Dear Mr. Roberts:

I want to let you know just how UN-happy I am with the Optimus "In-Dash
AM/FM [Radio with] Stereo Cassette with Auto-Stop" (Catalog # 12-2009)
I purchased in March, 1996, and installed in my pick-up truck in April,
1997, right about the time its warranty expired (I'm just slow--my problem,
not yours).

Basically, your radio has always had two problems; the first I found
immediately, and the second I just discovered this past week:

1. Its selectivity on both AM and FM is TERRIBLE!  For example, there
   is a small (5,000-watt) AM radio station whose transmitter is located
   on the other side of town.  That station (at 580 KHz) can be clearly
   heard from 530 through 640 KHz and effectively precludes listening to
   any another stations on those "adjacent" frequencies except for one
   which does make it through at 610 KHz.  Similarly, there is an NPR/
   classical-music FM station at 89.5 MHz to which I like to listen, but
   stronger stations "bleed" through until that station is wiped out!

   Another FM example:  there is a local FM station at 103.5 MHz; I can
   hear it clearly at 89.1 MHz, 89.3 MHz, 90.1 MHz, and on up the dial.
   That is TERRIBLE selectivity.

   But, because I was so slow in installing the radio such that the
   warranty had expired, I thought I'd just have to live with the "lemon".

 2. However, just last week I used the "CD" input for the first time.
    It worked fine, BUT when I left the cable plugged into the radio
    overnight, the radio LOST ALL of its programming:  all 30 radio
    memories AND the clock time!  With this new discovery I just have
    to complain.

Speaking as an electrical engineer with more than 30 years of experience,
I can understand the cost/performance tradeoffs of building a not-too-
expensive radio with poor selectivity, but disconnecting the "keep alive"
voltage to the memories when the auxiliary CD input is used IS ONE CRAPPY
DESIGN!

As I said before, the warranty period is long past.  However, if you'd
like me to continue buying more than parts at Radio Shack, I'd appreciate
your authorizing an after-the-warranty return of my radio for a better
model.
---------- cut here ---------- cut here ---------- cut here ----------

Incidentally, I used the "CD input" to feed audio from my HF transceiver
to the pickup-truck speakers, which worked very well!  But I never
imagined I'd have to UNplug that input every time before turning the
ignition off just so the AM/FM radio could remember its programming!

WHAT HAPPENED
-------------
About a month later, in response to the above letter, I received a call
from Radio Shack headquarters asking me to identify the Radio Shack
store from which I purchased the crappily-designed AM/FM radio.  When
I identified our local store, I heard someone in the background say

    "That's one of our franchise stores."  

The caller thanked me, AND THAT'S THE LAST I'VE HEARD OF THE MATTER!

MY CONCLUSIONS
--------------
  1. Don't be slow in using new purchases, or (stated another way)
     don't buy anything until I am actually ready to use/install it.

  2. Try EVERY possible feature ASAP.

  3. Do NOT buy from a Radio Shack franchise (locally-owned) store,
     'cause Radio Shack Headquarters apparently can't even ask it
     to correct a problem.

  4. Do NOT buy anything "big" (i.e., more than miscellaneous parts)
     from Radio Shack, period!

Of course, your mileage may vary.

--Myron.
--
# Five boxes preserve our freedoms:  soap, ballot, witness, jury, and cartridge
# PhD EE (Professor Emeritus) "Barbershop" tenor. CDL(PTX) W0PBV (785) 539-4448
# NRA Life Member and Certified Instructor (Home Firearm Safety, Rifle, Pistol)

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by James Aeschlim » Thu, 11 Feb 1999 04:00:00



Quote:

>WHAT HAPPENED
>-------------
>About a month later, in response to the above letter, I received a call
>from Radio Shack headquarters asking me to identify the Radio Shack
>store from which I purchased the crappily-designed AM/FM radio.  When
>I identified our local store, I heard someone in the background say

>    "That's one of our franchise stores."  

>The caller thanked me, AND THAT'S THE LAST I'VE HEARD OF THE MATTER!

>MY CONCLUSIONS
>--------------
>  1. Don't be slow in using new purchases, or (stated another way)
>     don't buy anything until I am actually ready to use/install it.

Probably a good idea.

Quote:>  2. Try EVERY possible feature ASAP.

Ditto.

Quote:>  3. Do NOT buy from a Radio Shack franchise (locally-owned) store,
>     'cause Radio Shack Headquarters apparently can't even ask it
>     to correct a problem.

This I don't understand.  The fact it was bought at a franchise store
should have made no difference.  ANY corporate owned store can handle
problems with Radio Shack brand products, REGARDLESS of where they were
bought.  They only thing they can't handle is non-Radio Shack products
purchased at franchise stores.  I would suggest you contact them again.

Quote:>  4. Do NOT buy anything "big" (i.e., more than miscellaneous parts)
>     from Radio Shack, period!

I really haven't had problems with their "big" products, but as you said,
mileage may vary.

73
--
A.D. 1999    -    The LAST year of the 1900's.
A.D. 2000    -    The LAST year of the 20th Century.
Jim Aeschliman, W7WJM

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Robinson, AB5V » Fri, 12 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Rat Shack makes a couple of decent products. The HTX-202 is a clunky looking
old 2M HT, but is nevertheless fairly popular due to its fairly rugged
construction and reasonable price. I built one of their cheap CB SWR meters
into a QRP rig once. It wasn't compact or pretty, but it was a simple
hookup.

OTOH, I had a SWL Receiver from RS, I think the model # was DX-390 or
DX-380. Anyway, it was a mid size portable with BFO and no casette recorder
built in. I actually used this as my first ham receiver, in conjunction with
a crystal transmitter using a 2n2222 and a 2n2222A. Actually made a few
contacts with that clumsy lashup. Anyway, this was in a marine environment.
The antenna was at about 85 feet. The static generated by the wind, spray,
etc on my 40/15M dipole trashed the front end. There is evidently some
pretty delicate pre-amp circuitry there. I eventually ran the feedline
directly to the mixer and got it working again, though with rather reduced
sensitivity. The antenna was about 180 feet away from the ship's MF and HF
antennas, and full power out of the ship's gear was only about 6 amps on the
wire. That really bummed me out. The audio was pretty decent out of that
set, and it didn't cost all that much for a set with a BFO, but it just
couldn't hang.

Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some wire,
even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would be
nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for a
project.

--

---------------------------------------------------
-Robinson- (AB5VH)

for radio, maritime, and locks stuff go to:
http://crusoe.org and
http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/galaxy/7982
and my NEW, IMPROVED, BIGGER site at:
http://www.geocities.com/~robinsonab5vh/

dit  diddy  dit  dit
---------------------------------------------------



>>WHAT HAPPENED
>>-------------
>>About a month later, in response to the above letter, I received a call
>>from Radio Shack headquarters asking me to identify the Radio Shack
>>store from which I purchased the crappily-designed AM/FM radio.  When
>>I identified our local store, I heard someone in the background say

>>    "That's one of our franchise stores."

>>The caller thanked me, AND THAT'S THE LAST I'VE HEARD OF THE MATTER!

>>MY CONCLUSIONS
>>--------------
>>  1. Don't be slow in using new purchases, or (stated another way)
>>     don't buy anything until I am actually ready to use/install it.

>Probably a good idea.

>>  2. Try EVERY possible feature ASAP.

>Ditto.

>>  3. Do NOT buy from a Radio Shack franchise (locally-owned) store,
>>     'cause Radio Shack Headquarters apparently can't even ask it
>>     to correct a problem.

>This I don't understand.  The fact it was bought at a franchise store
>should have made no difference.  ANY corporate owned store can handle
>problems with Radio Shack brand products, REGARDLESS of where they were
>bought.  They only thing they can't handle is non-Radio Shack products
>purchased at franchise stores.  I would suggest you contact them again.

>>  4. Do NOT buy anything "big" (i.e., more than miscellaneous parts)
>>     from Radio Shack, period!

>I really haven't had problems with their "big" products, but as you said,
>mileage may vary.

>73
>--
>A.D. 1999    -    The LAST year of the 1900's.
>A.D. 2000    -    The LAST year of the 20th Century.
>Jim Aeschliman, W7WJM


 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Don » Fri, 12 Feb 1999 04:00:00


> Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some wire,
> even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
> with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would be
> nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for a
> project.

Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

Don

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by MORTIS4 » Sun, 14 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Quote:>Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
>will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

Or You'll just have to "ORDER" the parts from their warehouse... It's called
"RSU" Or Radio Shack Unlimited...  Unlimited is correct... the prices are HIGH!
 Also TECH America is a catalog Tandy puts out with similar part numbers... If
you see one you'll know what I mean.
   I worked for the "Corporation" for just about 2 years... If the pay was
higher... I'd consider going back... I felt I was one of the few guys that
would help customers... To this day I speak to some of my "shackie" friends and
one manager has told me some of my customers still ask for me... this was 3
years ago!!

"It's better to be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all
doubt."

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Doug Younke » Mon, 15 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Hello,

        It's a bit late to redesign something after it's out the factory door.
Why they still sell what thet still have I don't know.  Perhaps the
right RS personell in position of power do do something isn't aware of
the problem, even then  the choices are limited what they can do with
remaining inventory, to strike a balance between customer satisfaction
and company profit.

--
73, Doug Younker N0LKK
Near Plainville,KS

 But you know there must have been thousands

Quote:> brought back to the store with blown front ends... yet they still sel the
> damn things. So why not fix the design, instead of fixing the radios one by
> one?

> --

> ---------------------------------------------------
> -Robinson- (AB5VH)

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by wb0po » Tue, 16 Feb 1999 04:00:00

1



>> Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some
wire,
>> even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
>> with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would
be
>> nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for
a
>> project.

>Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
>will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

>Don

Would you rather have Radio Shacks, or not?  I love all the ***ing about
the 'Shack' by people who depend on them for parts at 6PM on a Satu. night.

Speaking for myself I'd MUCH rather have them than not.  Nobody's forcing
anyone to shop there.

73 John

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Robinson, AB5V » Tue, 16 Feb 1999 04:00:00

Yeah, you are correct, Doug... but I bought my set in 93 or 94, when I first
started getting interested in getting licensed. You would think that the bug
would be fixed by now, in current production, especially since Sangean also
sells it under their own label too. Did they make a half million of them,
enough to satisfy demand for the next 20 years, and then say "okay... that's
it, we are through"? Surely they made a few hundred here, few hundred after
those shipped, maybe a thousand lot when those shipped, etc. It's been out
long enough for simple but needed fixes to be seen on the street by now. And
really, for the money, all that set needs is a more robust RF stage, and I
would probably buy another one.

--

---------------------------------------------------
-Robinson- (AB5VH)

for radio, maritime, and locks stuff go to
my NEW, IMPROVED, BIGGER site at:
http://www.geocities.com/~robinsonab5vh/

dit  diddy  dit  dit
---------------------------------------------------


>Hello,

> It's a bit late to redesign something after it's out the factory door.
>Why they still sell what thet still have I don't know.  Perhaps the
>right RS personell in position of power do do something isn't aware of
>the problem, even then  the choices are limited what they can do with
>remaining inventory, to strike a balance between customer satisfaction
>and company profit.

>--
>73, Doug Younker N0LKK
>Near Plainville,KS


> But you know there must have been thousands
>> brought back to the store with blown front ends... yet they still sel the
>> damn things. So why not fix the design, instead of fixing the radios one
by
>> one?

>> --

>> ---------------------------------------------------
>> -Robinson- (AB5VH)

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Bob Lewi » Tue, 16 Feb 1999 04:00:00

You have that right! My office spends about $10,000 a year at Radio Shack just
because of the convience.

> 1


> >> Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some
> wire,
> >> even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
> >> with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would
> be
> >> nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for
> a
> >> project.

> >Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
> >will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

> >Don

> Would you rather have Radio Shacks, or not?  I love all the ***ing about
> the 'Shack' by people who depend on them for parts at 6PM on a Satu. night.

> Speaking for myself I'd MUCH rather have them than not.  Nobody's forcing
> anyone to shop there.

> 73 John

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Harry, WA3PT » Tue, 16 Feb 1999 04:00:00

I think this one has already been done.  Back in the early 80s I built a dc
receiver from a 73 article, I think it was called the fun-ceiver.  It used a
dual-gate mosfet mixer on 40 meters, it was fine during the day, but at
night...

and then there was the tuna-tin-2, and the sardine sender.  If I remember
right, there was a receiver too.....

I sure wouldn't want to be a newbie sent off to Radio Shack to buy parts....
Not with Mouser & Tech America just a phone call away...

Radio Shack is mostly a ripoff, except for a few items like the metal cases
they sell.



>> Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some
wire,
>> even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
>> with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would
be
>> nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for
a
>> project.

>Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
>will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

>Don

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Bob Lewi » Tue, 16 Feb 1999 04:00:00

A phone call away and 3 days shipping.

> I think this one has already been done.  Back in the early 80s I built a dc
> receiver from a 73 article, I think it was called the fun-ceiver.  It used a
> dual-gate mosfet mixer on 40 meters, it was fine during the day, but at
> night...

> and then there was the tuna-tin-2, and the sardine sender.  If I remember
> right, there was a receiver too.....

> I sure wouldn't want to be a newbie sent off to Radio Shack to buy parts....
> Not with Mouser & Tech America just a phone call away...

> Radio Shack is mostly a ripoff, except for a few items like the metal cases
> they sell.



> >> Sometimes it is nice to be able to run right in and buy a part or some
> wire,
> >> even at their prices. I am currently pondering designing a receiver built
> >> with just stuff that Rat Shack stocks. That might be tough, but it would
> be
> >> nice if a newbie homebrewer could just go there and buy all the parts for
> a
> >> project.

> >Keep in mind that by the time you finish designing your reciever, there
> >will surely be a few parts that Radio Shaft no longer carries :)

> >Don

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by Bob Sike » Fri, 26 Feb 1999 04:00:00

And, for Tech America at least, a $4 "Economy" shipping charge for a 555 chip.
Okay, so no one would order just a single chip, but when I need just one, I get a
Shack Attack, and I'm glad they are there.

Bob Sikes


> A phone call away and 3 days shipping.

 
 
 

another sad Radio Shack story...

Post by David Hinerm » Fri, 09 Apr 1999 04:00:00



Quote:>Yeah, you are correct, Doug... but I bought my set in 93 or 94, when I first
>started getting interested in getting licensed. You would think that the bug
>would be fixed by now, in current production, especially since Sangean also
>sells it under their own label too.

Gee, maybe I could buy a blown one as s***and fix it?