[AMRadio] Packaging Radio Gear

Alan Cohen acohen at texas.net
Wed Aug 16 17:23:43 EDT 2006

Back in the 50's and 60's almost nothing was shipped by air --  
certainly nothing as heavy as a Johnson Valiant or a Heath Apache.

But I have had a Valiant shipped to me, and it cost me nothing!  My  
friend constructed a wooden frame to hold the rig inside of a very  
large cardboard box.  There was no rush to get it shipped, so he was  
able to wait until he found a suitable box.  It took so long that the  
the tubes, which were shipped right after I bought the rig, arrived  
about a month before I got the transmitter itself.

We decided that FedEx was the best way to ship the thing.  As it  
turned out, they picked it up about four days before Christmas with  
guaranteed two day delivery.  Due to all the heavy shipping traffic  
it arrived a day late.  FedEx probably had to chose between my  
Valiant and a dozen or so smaller packages.  I was not the least bit  
unhappy to get free shipping as a Christmas present from FedEx.  We  
honestly did not plan things that way, it was just how it worked out.

My friend's packing method worked -- the rig arrived in fine shape  
despite all of the packages passing through FedEx at Christmas time.


On Aug 16, 2006, at 3:01 PM, Don Merz wrote:

> "People don't care about their work" is certainly a
> factor. They are returning the feeling they are
> getting from their employer--sometimes in spades.
> But to be complete, uncaring workers are probably not
> the main factor at work (pun) here.
> The biggest factor is probably the sheer volume of
> shipping that goes on today versus say, 1960. Most
> shipping was business to business back then, in large
> lots. Catalog sales to individuals were a tiny
> fraction of what they are today. If you wanted a
> radio, you went down to the ham radio dealer and
> bought one off the shelf that you carried the last
> mile yourself. Today, that last mile is part of the
> shipping task for radios ordered from catalogs.
> Additionally, the majority of the shipment's trip was
> on steel rails instead of potholed asphalt--the stuff
> probably didn't get jolted around as much. At the
> handling facility, people--not automated conveyors and
> lifts--handled the packages--shipping automation as we
> know it today did not exist. It didn't have to because
> labor was cheap and single-piece volume was low.
> So maybe people don't care as much about their work
> today. But I kind of doubt that their lack of care for
> their work is the biggest factor in shipping damage.
> 73, Don Merz, N3RHT
> --- W1EOF <w1eof at hamnutz.com> wrote:
>> As people have stated, it's a combination of both.
>> People cared more about
>> their work back then and probably took better care
>> in how they handled
>> stuff. There was less pressure to "just get the
>> stuff outta here" than now
>> I'm sure.
>> Secondly it does not matter whether so much whether
>> you use a particular
>> material or not, it's HOW the materials are put
>> together that matter.
>> Someone in a reply said it doesn't matter how it's
>> packed if it gets dropped
>> six feet. I think you are stating my second point
>> from a different angle. I
>> wouldn't send a Valiant out my door unless I felt
>> confident... yes,
>> confident that it could withstand a six foot drop.
>> Probably an eight foot
>> drop. That's not unusual and std packing procedure
>> for a business. It's not
>> hard to do but it takes a little work and more than
>> that it takes thought on
>> how it should be boxed. I've sent hundreds of items
>> around the world.
>> Fragile glass items. Heavy radios. I never had one
>> damaged in transit. ALl
>> of those packages were expected to withstand at
>> least a six foot drop.
>> As an example, here is what I would do with a
>> small-medium sized
>> transmitter:
>> 1. Remove the tubes. They get individually wrapped
>> in bubble-wrap and
>> shipped separately. Any other loose pieces get sent
>> separately in another
>> box. If you want you can in some case wrap that
>> stuff up and put it inside
>> but if you want to be sure, pack it separate.
>> 2. Depending on the tranmitter, it's value, etc I
>> might need to make a
>> wooden support for the transformers.
>> 3. Wrap this up in both directions with bubble wrap.
>> The one with the bigger
>> bubbles, not the small-bubble kind. Tape it good.
>> There should be at least a
>> couple of inches of bubblewrap on every surface.
>> 4. Using bubblewrap or high-density foam fit this
>> assembly into a box. Not a
>> bad idea to put it into a heavy garbage bag and tape
>> before it goes in the
>> box.
>> 5. Tape this box up. Tape it up GOOD. If heavy use
>> strapping tape as I
>> describe below. Now this is where many people would
>> stop. It looks like it's
>> ready to go, right? Well many people would ship this
>> out but it's not ready.
>> 6. Get ANOTHER, larger box. ALlow for 3-4 inches in
>> every direction. In
>> between the two boxes you need some cushion. I
>> pesonally like peanuts but if
>> you use them they must be packed DENSELY. You want
>> the inner box to be able
>> to move a bit, but not much. Pack the peanuts in
>> there tight. Tape this box
>> up tight. Then get your strapping tape and wrap two
>> double bands of that in
>> each direction, each band about 25% of the way in
>> from the edge of the box.
>> If the box is long then I'd add two more bands in
>> that direction. The
>> strapping tape will prevent the box from bursting
>> should it be dropped on a
>> corner for instance. It's very strong stuff.
>> You're done.
>> Now if the transmitter is really large, or extra
>> heavy (say > 80 or 100lbs)
>> then you need to go to the next level and crate it.
>> Basically you follow the
>> steps above and then put that assembly into a box
>> that is made of plywood
>> with reinforced corners, etc. Making a suitable
>> crate is somewhat of an
>> art... a story for another day.
>> If you follow those steps listed above you will be
>> able to drop that
>> transmitter 6-8 feet without any damage to the box
>> or the transmitter. It
>> will hit with a funny dull sounds and sort of bounce
>> (which is what you
>> want, thats' the energy being absorbed and deflected
>> not transferred to the
>> transmitter).
>> 73,
>> Mark W1EOF
>> <SNIP>
>>> Could someone explain to me how radios were
>> shipped back in the
>>> 50's so that
>>> they arrived at the dealers with no apparent
>> damage.  I wonder what the
>>> original packing was back then?
>> <SNIP>
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