Some say poor impulse control when buying is a bad thing and after going overboard at a few radio rallies in the past, I can see their point, but there are times when having a little restraint can turn around and bite you back.

Getting hold of anything above a standard FM radio is a thing of the past in the few secondhand shops that still populate the UK’s high streets. I’ve always thought this was due to the rise of more organized chains of pawn shops and their lack of understanding about the more technical aspects of hobby radio equipment in general.

Now and then though you do find something nice hanging about in the most unlikely places and this is what happened to me over the weekend. During the usual Friday trawl around the local charity shops (just because you never know), I came across a well looked after Roberts R-809 shortwave radio.

roberts_r809 sw radio

Roberts R809 SW Radio – Picture Courtesy of

At only 10 GBP, complete with charger and one of those small reeled SW antennas, it was an absolute bargain. As I reached for my wallet that little voice that was formed when carting loads of junk home for ham radio rallies kicked in ‘Do I need another radio in my collection’, ‘are you going to make good use of it’ etc etc ETC!

Battered into submission, I decided to go and have a think about it while I looked in a few other shops and totally forgot about the 809 until the next day.

Returning to the shop early with the a new need to seriously buy this radio, I wasn’t really surprised to see that it was missing off the shelf and was just about resigned to chalking this up as ‘one that got away’ until spotting the thing around the corner in a pawn shop window (marked up at 4 times what the charity shop was asking).


The movement of the radio from charity to pawn shop got me thinking about who could have done it. Is this somebody local taking a small profit by buying and selling between shops, one of the pawn shop workers on the hunt for cheap stock or maybe even someone in the actual charity shop offloading items to the pawn shop?.

Whichever way this happened, its an interesting situation and although the profit on this little radio couldn’t have been much (pawn shops can be ruthless in what they pay out), do larger, more expensive items get the same treatment?

Might have to take more notice about the items for sale in these shops (when time allows) to see if I can spot anything else that moves address 🙂

Not Happening!

At 40 GBP the Roberts is at the very top end of what I’d pay for what is after all a SW radio without any SSB functions and there’s no way I could bring myself to suffer the extra 30 pounds after coming so close to grabbing it for a tenner.

The one point that keeps being made obvious, is that those in the secondhand trade use eBay as a pricing tool with many of the hobby radios that wind up in their shops being sold at what those on eBay are (roughly) going for.

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