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Old 02-27-2006, 04:15 PM   #1
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Default Buying SSB radio etc

Does anyone have practical experience and hence advice on buying expensive electronics ?

I am looking for an SSB radio and aerial tuner, a Pactor 3,a good EPIRB and a handheld and waterproof VHF.

At present I am in Sebana Cove, Malaysia near Singapore, but can delay purchases until reaching Langkawi (duty free port) or Phuket.

Are the USA web based sales organisations, and their delivery methods to be trusted ? Some do not appear to deliver outside USA.

Recommendations from independents only please, not from sales reps.
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:51 PM   #2
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I have made the occasional purchase from West Marine in the US. Their delivery through DHL is second to none and their after sales customer service, although I hate to say it, is better than anything I have experienced from major chandlery chains here in OZ.
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:56 PM   #3
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I suggest you contact Terry Sargeant who's faced this task for a number of years while cruising in the W Pacific. In act, I think he's currently in Langkawi or has just left. You'll find descriptions of what's purchased from where (when upgrading his boat) and also his contact details at www.yachtvalhalla.net/index1.htm

Jack
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:31 PM   #4
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You can go to the marine chandlery in Singapore (I don't have name with me, but can get it tomorrow). they buy from West Marine, and it will cost you only a small bit more than from West Marine to have it shipped securely to them in Singapore. Much safer than trying to get it in Langkawi (we've done both).

there are some good electronics places in Singapore that can help you, and possibly get you a better buy than from West Marine. Sim Lim Tower, for example, or ???? across the street.

I'll have to look up my notes and try to get back to you.

I have little faith in buying something in the States and having it shipped to Langkawi when, instead, you can have a business take all the risk, it will come faster.
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Old 02-28-2006, 06:07 PM   #5
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Hello 'steelfan' (Name? Boat Name?)

I'm in Phuket and will go into Boat Lagoon tomorrow to begin an extensive refit.

The 'West Marine' shop in Singapore (it's Marintech Marketing, Jessie Lee, 101 Kitchener Rd, marintech@pacific.net.sg) is convenient for you at Sebana but you will pay some shipping charges. If you are going to Langkawi, hold off until there. Peninsular Yachts, Terry Sheedy, terry.sheedy@penyahcts.com, sells West Marine products at catalog prices which include shipping (Langkawi is a duty free port) and they get deliveries every week.

You will want to check the West Marine prices on VHF radios and compare with those at Sim Lim Square in Singapore (Jessie Lee can steer you to the right vendors since her margin isn't good on electronics via Port Supply/West Marine).

Please email me (skipper@yachtvalhalla.net) and I can tell you more that might save you some $$.

As for Pactor 3, the area sales rep just left for Chagos and beyond so the best bet is to buy directly from SCS (http://www.scs-ptc.com).

I think you would find it hard to beat the Icom M802 ... wish it had been available when I bought the M710!

I'm not a sales rep, OK?

Terry
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Old 03-01-2006, 10:16 AM   #6
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Thank you for all that. Terry, I shall e mail you ina few hours time after doing what you suggest. Hope to see you in a few weeks when we comw north

John alias Steelfan
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Old 03-01-2006, 02:13 PM   #7
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West Marine (in the US anyway) is very expensive. You can find this a lot cheaper in many other US internet stores. Pick a model of ssb, then "froogle" it. I shop there only as a last resort. Most ship reliably around the world.

All the pactor II and III modems are made by scs and the price is controlled. Pactor III is just a software license to pactor II. For this you might try farallon electronics or look for a scs distributor in your area.

Installation of a ssb on a boat is not as straight forward as installing a vhf. You will require a ground system which means running copper foil the length of the boat (bilge). Also you will need an antenna tuner and an antenna (typically an isolated backstay on sailboats). This is generally an installation requiring technical knowledge to make the system work properly. Cables need to have ferrite isolators attached and noise sources need to be found and eliminated.

I think all vhf handhelds are submersible now. Look at Uniden models for value. Again a froogle search once you pick a model. A good VHF (fixed mount) is standard horizon with a RAM (remote microphone). You mount the vhf in your nav station and the microphone in the cockpit. Other brands also offer this feature.

ACR for EPIRB's.
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Old 03-01-2006, 09:09 PM   #8
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Just a note about WM for supplying we voyaging sailors: WM's supply chain, inventory control and shipping expertise, all of which are 'assumed' and almost never seen by us when buying inside N America, makes them a real vendor of choice when outside N America. And to Jeanne's point - buy from a local vendor vs. becoming a freight agent and 'diplomat' with the local Customs House - WM's supply chain has become the 'front end' of local marine supply businesses in other parts of the world. What Terry describes about Peninsular Yachts is also true in Chag Bay, Trinidad and I'm sure elsewhere: the local business obtains a Port Supply (commercial) account, receives a discount from WM, and then uses that arrangement to be the 'middle man' and reasonable cost for yachties. This makes the WM catalog the 'common language between supplier (WM), vendor (local guy) and yachtie (us, who can go on-line to get even more info when making product decisions).

Inside the USA and as a consumer, I still benefit by WM in many ways - product specialists, local store inventory for 'touch & feel', and such - but along with Spike, find I rarely buy there. Outside N America, they shift to becoming a preferred vendor. And BTW they have a tool free 0800# in the UK that does huge business; even with duty, VAT and shipping charges, WM items are 25-40% cheaper than buying locally. Pretty interesting dynamic that the UK vendors are still in denial about. We really are becoming a global economic community.

Jack
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:03 AM   #9
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Hi Steelfan,

The best place to shop for marine electronics in S'pore is at Sim Lim tower in Jalan Besar (all taxi drivers know it). Go to the lower ground floor where there are several shops specialised in the stuff you are looking for, plus a lot selling electronic and electrical spare parts.

In the last 3 months I bought there my SSB c/w antenna tuner, hand held GPS, radar, hand held VHF, all at very competitive prices, much cheaper than WM.

If you bring your boat documents you can ask the vendor to exclude the 5% GST tax.

Next September I'll also buy my EPIRB there just before leaving Port Dickson (Malaysia) for my round the world trip.

Good shopping!

Joel
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Old 03-02-2006, 01:02 PM   #10
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Hi Steelfan,

I agree with Joel. The shop in the basement of the Sim Lim towers on Jalan Besar has new and reconditioned Icom M710's. The prices can't be beat. They sell a package deal with tunner included. I've also bought depth transducers, and GPS units from them after shopping all over Singapore. Jesse at Marinetech is a great information source, and has a great supply of WM items (but I wouldn't buy electronics there.) If she doesn't have it, she can tell you where to get it in S'pore.
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:33 PM   #11
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Dave's right. That's where we bought our electronics after we were hit by lightning on the East coast of Malaysia. Very good deals to be had.
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Old 03-03-2006, 10:29 AM   #12
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Thank you, Joel. With that recommendation and your recent purchasing experience, I am off to Simlin Tower next week. And thank you everyone else for the advice. Incidently, we are a steel hulled yacht and are replacing the old SSB which cannot support e mail without major modifications, so we are already using the insulated backstay. We shall keep the old radio as a spare

John
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Old 03-25-2006, 06:44 AM   #13
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Poor old WM. Getting whupped once again for their prices and in many cases rightfully so. The major exception to this rule is electronics. Margins in this area are pretty thin and when you ad in their return policy Ding Ling Dim Sum doesn't look nearly as attractive.
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