[AMRadio] Experience with Ocean State Electronics (PICS)

Don Buska dbuska at wi.rr.com
Wed Nov 22 16:16:13 EST 2006

Hi Mark thanks for the nice reply, and those from the many others as 
well.  John KB6SCO did point out the notice they recently added to the 
website under "Contact" that indicate they had a major crash of their 
database computer and are working to restore and catch up.  It does 
indicate a "family" business in the notice so your right it's probably a 
one man deal most of the time.  Since I received an order confirmation 
email the site notice indicates I will be getting my stuff eventually.  
Still it was a bit unprofessional to basically shut down the email and 
they could have broadcasted their problems on the phone voice message 
instead of just saying "We are Closed today".  If they attacked the 
notification of the computer crash and catch up via several avenues it 
would mean a great deal less people trying to call them and wasting more 
of their valuable catch up time.  I completely missed the notices as 
they don't appear on their main webpage and were probably added after my 
last check of the site to confirm the email address and phone number.

Yes the golden days of radio stores is just about all gone.  Here in 
Kenosha, Wisconsin we still have Chester Electronics which has been 
around for a long time.  They occupy an old grocery store.  Chester's 
still have old TV parts from the 50's and 60's hanging in display.  All 
those old sand coated power resistors and twin-lead antenna items - it's 
a real hoot to pass by those!  I've been able to find those last minute 
BA parts like wire wound resistors and caps too.  You just ask them and 
they disappear into the back and come out with the part in most cases.  
They also have the newer NEC semiconductor substitutes all along one 
wall.  Those have come in so useful when I repair some recent vintage 
electronics equipment.  I noticed now they have a store in Florida.  I 
did notice the "ol-man" wasn't around the store in the past couple of 
years so my guess is he's still playing store keeper down in FLA.  Most 
of the sales guys that were at the store when I moved here 19 years ago 
are still there behind the counter.  I think many of them are family or 
extended family.

Almost all the radio stores I visited in my youth in Milwaukee are now 
gone.  The only one remaining is AES which isn't much fun for the BA 
collector.  If I hit AES it's but once per year maximum.

Thanks again about the insight on the Ocean State operations.  I hope 
they do well enough to continue for a long time to come.  I sure wish 
they'd bring back the SW-3 coil forms.  Man I should have bought a bunch 
of those from them when they had'em.


Don N9OO

W1EOF wrote:
> <SNIP>
>> Any of our RI area BA'ers have contact with them?
> I do. I went down and visited them... I think it was about 16 months ago.
> It's a very small place. Not really setup for walk-in business. I rang a
> doorbell on the side of the building. After a few minutes a guy came to the
> door and said "come on in." I told him what I wanted and he went and got it.
> Lots of aisles with shelves to the ceiling. It's pretty much most of the
> building in the pictures. Stuff stacked up EVERYWHERE. A very busy packing
> bench. Piles of boxes ready for the UPS guy.
> Looks like a one man band to me. He was polite, but not very friendly. I'm
> guessing he didn't want to encouarge me to come down and hang-around the
> place. (*) He came back out and had some MPF-102, a few other things but the
> cast LMB box was "on back order." I don't think there was a back order
> exactly. I think it's just he cannot afford to have everything in the
> catalog in stock.
> There has been complaints with this operation since I can remember. I've
> heard lots of complaints about late shipments, but never someone getting
> ripped off. I acna guess he has two problems:
> 	1. It's a one man operation so he gets behind at times. (small)
> 	2. He is running things on a shoestring and has cash=flow problems (large)
> Been there. The more successful you are, the bigger the cash flow problem.
> It's a tough one.
> In my opinion charging peoples credit cards and then not shipping is
> unacceptable. Not answering emails or the phone makes matters much much
> worse. I'll bet it's because he does not have a good answer for you. You
> will get your parts when he gets his money and then he can order his parts.
> So I'd say be patient. Unless he goes belly-up, you *WILL* get your stuff.
> A coule of pictures of the building:
> http://www.hamnutz.com/w1eof/ose/ose1.jpg
> http://www.hamnutz.com/w1eof/ose/ose2.jpg
> Finally let me say I have no interest in OSE in any way other than being a
> customer. I dont' have an axe to grind with him, nor do I want to play the
> role of cheerleader. I'm simply stating things the way I see 'em.
> 73,
> Mark W1EOF
> (*) When I was a kid my Dad would take me to WH Edwards in Providence. Dad
> had worked there back in the... late 30s?. He would tell me stories about
> the day the first superhet from Hallicrafters came in. People, and
> especially hams were ALWAYS hanging around. I would go in with Dad and climb
> up on one of the stools with the rotating cushion on it. There was always
> some large glass ashtrays on the counter with one, two or more smoldering
> cigs in them. A Hickcock tube tester on a stand so you could check m before
> buying new ones. The walls were plastered with cardboards from the tube/tv
> manufacturers. Zenith. GE. Sylvania. Plus the obligatory cartoons or dirty
> jokes which I only half understood but always made it a point to laugh at so
> I wouldn't seem like a snotty nosed kid. Sorry for the long story... but
> thinking about the treatment at OSE made me remember the day when a merchant
> WANTED people hanging around.
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