A small parcel came in the post this morning. It was the Microset R50 2m linear amplifier I ordered from a dealer in Italy on eBay on 24th October, almost 4 weeks ago!
I had given up hope of ever seeing it. In fact, I spent quite a lot of time yesterday installing the Spectrum Communications transverter to use in place of the FT-817 for 2m use.
The Italian dealer, Sitec, were very prompt in sending the amplifier off. However they missed off the first two letters of the tracking number when they sent it to me so I couldn't check progress on the Poste Italiane website. On 5th November I contacted them again. They gave me the right number. Then, with the help of Marco I4MFA, I was able to find out that it had been at Rome airport on 29th October with a destination of Great Britain. So where had it gone?
On Monday 16th I contacted Sitec asking them if they could obtain compensation from the Post Office. Unfortunately I had not purchased insured delivery as my lack of Italian didn't enable me to select this when purchasing - I had just picked the default shipping option. I assumed that my amplifier had been stolen or lost. So its arrival was a complete surprise.
I am very happy to have received the amplifier at last, not just because I had paid for it but because there are no alternatives at an affordable price that will amplify the 5W from an FT-817 to 50W. The manufacturers, Microset, informed me that this model R50 is no longer available as the power transistor used is obsolete, and it is not available from any dealer in the UK. The only choices are the R45, a 6.5dB gain amplifier that would produce about 25W when driven by an FT-817 and the SR100 with 9dB of gain, which is bigger and much more expensive because its maximum output power is 100W.
Another good thing about buying this amplifier from Italy was that it cost £89, whereas Waters and Stanton in the UK wanted £129 for the lower powered R45. However if I was buying from this dealer again I'd make sure they sent it FedEx or some method like that. Three weeks to wait for a parcel from Europe is no joke.
By the way, the DB6NT transverter for 2m is still for sale.