Sunday, May 14, 2017

Customer service excellance

An update from my last post regarding my Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna, the antenna bag zippers were repaired and the cost was 40.00 Canadian. I decided  to have some heavy duty zippers installed and I emailed DX Engineering and we agreed the cost would be 50/50. I submitted the bill to Maria at DX Engineering and to my surprise the total amount was covered! I emailed Maria about this and she told me she took the bill to her boss and he informed Maria to cover the whole cost. DX Engineering for sure is a class act!!
Lets move along to another class act.....I have been using Win4k3 suite software for rig control for over a year now. Tom VA2SFQ has software what will work with the Elecraft K3,K3S, KX3 and KX2. Tom has been updating the software on a very consistent basis. The software is very stable one just has to read Eham to see it's rated 4.9 out of 5. I have emailed Tom with some questions and he has replied very fast with a solution. Recently I had some issues and we were emailing back and forth to try to bring things to a resolution. On the weekend Tom asked me if I had Teamviewer (and I do) he wanted to use Teamviewer to take control of my PC and solve my issue once and for all. On Saturday evening I received a call from Tom on my cell and we linked my PC via Teamviewer and Tom took control. Tom stuck with me for 40 mins and he solved my issue and I was up and running again. I have never in all my days had this type of customer service. It is very obvious that Tom is committed to not only his software but to his customers. Tom was very pleasant on the phone as he sorted out the problem.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I heard a loud bang!

Oliver likes the other use for the antenna cover
The inside looked great
Over this past weekend I was not able to get out and about with KX3 and CHA P Loop for portable ops as the weather was not very co-operative. I decided to throw the switch on the K3 at home instead, I really did not find too much on the bands. My antenna as I have mentioned in the past is the MFJ 1788 Mag loop. For me to get on the radio the antenna has to be moved to the centre of the balcony and a feedline brought out to it. This is only a 2 minute job to accomplish and the plan most of the time is when I am done to remove the coax and store the antenna back in the corner of the balcony. Now and then I leave it where it is after setup as I may want to use it later. On Saturday I left the antenna in the “operation position” overnight. I woke up at about 3:30 AM to some very loud and strong winds, I thought I should go and get the antenna and put it to the side in its stored position. Then as that thought was leaving me I heard BANG!!! The wind had blown the Loop over and it hit with a very loud bang. I went out right away and up righted the antenna removed the coax and placed the antenna off the side.  Later in the morning I brought the antenna in to inspect it for damage. The outside looked good but it was the antenna tuning capacitor and circuitry end of the antenna that made the loud contact with the concrete floor. I removed the covers and was pleased to find no damage had been done. I then tested the antenna and all was good. Lesson learned, it only takes to minutes to put it to the side and bring it out again. This is worth the time as opposed to spending HUGE money on a new antenna or getting it repaired.  With taking the covers off it allowed me to also do my annual inspection of the antenna as well. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

I'm sure all of us have dealt with great and poor customer service even in the ham world. I have heard it time and time again that it's customer service that will make or break your business. Now having said that I understand there are those out there that no matter what you do for them it's never good enough, that being said I'm the person who wants to inform a business when they fall short but at the same time I want to make sure I inform a business when they have given great customer service. This post has to do with both an Amateur radio business that went above and beyond and another that in my humble opinion fell short. From my last post you all are well aware that I purchased a Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna. The loop was purchased from DX Engineering and it's now time for me to toot my horn regarding above and beyond customer service!
  1. I emailed DX Engineering regarding some questions I had about the loop and I was promptly emailed back with an answer. 
  2. They did offer free shipping on orders over 99.00 but it was CLEARLY indicated that for orders outside the U.S this did not apply (I'm in Canada). I hate very small print or no print regarding this but DX Engineering had it plainly stated. 
  3. I ordered the antenna on a Monday evening and it was shipped Tuesday. 
  4. The antenna arrived Wednesday, over the boarder, through customs and to my door. 
  5. The price I was given for the antenna and shipping (FedEx) was the TOTAL cost. In the past I have dealt with Amateur radio dealers in the U.S. I pay for the item, it gets shipped and then I get a call from a carriers "broker" who tells me to clear the item it's going to cost "X" amount. Then I'm asked for my credit card number or it goes back. Let me tell you it has never been cheap.
This is where DX Engineering went over the top!

The antenna came with a carry bag which was a big plus but I noticed the zipper on the bag was defective. I attempted to open the bag for the first time to place the antenna in. Here is what happened:
  1. I sent DX Engineering an email regarding the bag and I was promptly answered that they would contact Chameleon and have them send me a new bag. 
  • DX Engineering contacted me promptly after the sale when there was an issue.
  • I was not passed off and told to contact Chameleon myself, they took ownership. 
    2.  I was then contacted via email from Maria at DX Engineering and also a phone call regarding 
         the outcome of contacting Chameleon Antenna. (more on Chameleon's reply later) I personally 
         spoke with Maria on the phone, she told me at DX Engineering they tried to see if one of their 
         bags would work. It was determined it would not meet the need of the antenna. Maria then told
         me to go and get the bag repaired and they would cover the cost. 
  • I was contacted in person by Maria who was the person dealing with my issue from the start and was very knowledgeable on the situation. 
  • DX Engineering took the time to see if one of their bags would work but would not. 
  • They did not stop there I was then told by Maria to get the bag fixed and send them the bill. Again DX Engineering took ownership and went out of their way to solve the issue.  
    3.  I went out that day and contacted DX Engineering with the cost and was told not a problem to
         scan the bill and email it to them and I would then be re-inbursed for the cost. 
  • 10 out of 10 to DX Engineering for the way they handled the issue! Thanks very much Maria for your personal attention and professionalism .
This is where Chameleon Antenna dropped the ball!
First off let me post the email Chameleon sent DX Engineering regarding the issue I was having with the carry bag:

 We realized about a month ago that the last batch of bags that we ordered last year have more or less all the same issue which is if they press fit too much things into the bag then the zipper might fail. They seem to have all the same issue. Those zippers aren’t the best! But if they use the flap over with Velcro without the zipper everything will be fine. So sending a replacement won’t change anything as it already happened to few other people already and we can’t do anything about it. To be honest, It would be better for him to get a local zipper replacement for about $5 or $10.
As you close the bag the zipper opens up

  1. Chameleon only admits to having an issue with their bag to the customer and supplier when the defect has been mentioned.
  • This is poor support for the distributors who sells this product under there name and reputation. 
  • Knowing there is an issue with the bag and still sending it out promotes poor customer trust.  
  • I also emailed Chameleon regarding the issue and I received the exact email that DX Engineering received. Seems like it's a cut and paste answer to all who email about this issue.

    2. Chameleon's email states "If they (the customer) press fit too much things in the bag then the  
        zipper might fail"
  • You never win when you blame the customer. 
  • The only items I planned on fitting into the bag were the antenna items that the bag was meant to carry.  
  • My zipper "failed" while opening it with nothing in the bag for the first time. 
    3. I am asked to repair a bag that is expected to work but does not. The cost is 20.00 Canadian to 
        replace all 3 defective zippers on the bag. (main compartment and 2 side pockets that failed.)
  • Don't ask the customer to fix your bad and to foot the bill. 
  • Chameleon should bite the bullet and order bags that work, not sell the bag or inform the customer on their website of the known issue. Informing there dealers won't not hurt either.
Some may think this is only a small issue but to me it is the lack of customer and dealer support. Also the lack of taking proper responsibility for the issue. Having said the above about the carry bag I do want to say the Chameleon CHA P Loop antenna is a quality product and I tend to give it the glowing review it deserves in a later post. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A fast cool trip to the park

Starting out on my cool walk
CHA P-Loop antenna
I had the day off work today and it looked very nice outside, the sky was clear and the sun was out. I wanted to take this opportunity to test out my new portable antenna. I packed up my Elecraft KX3, batteries, key and my new Chameleon CHA P-Loop antenna. This post is not a review of the new antenna before I do that I want to try out the antenna several times. Before heading out I did not check the propagation reports, I find if I do this and they are poor it casts a shadow over the outing.As I was saying the day from inside the house looked nice but once out there was a cold wind off the lake, it felt like a cool fall day and not spring. Anyway.....because of the poor weather, my lack of warm clothing I quickly setup the antenna, checked out how it tuned on 10, 15, 20 and 30m and gave a few CW CQ's. With no answers and the wind picking up I was satisfied the antenna at least worked.
My setup