Over the years there have been many authors who have written articles about safety within the Radio hobby. In this article I would like to take a different look at safety. No talk here about such matters as grounding, torn wires and potential shock hazards. No, no this piece will be talking about the safety and security of your equipment in regards to theft or loss. All of us in the hobby have managed to amass different pieces of equipment all of which are valuable to the owner. Granted some of us may own equipment worth upwards of $10,000, while others have equipment worth $100. Yet all of this is of value to the owner. A while back I started to protect my household valuables, including my radio equipment, by using what our local Police department calls "Operation Identification". This is a program by which home owners or apartment dwellers go through a three part identification process to protect their valuables. First of all you take pictures of every room in the house, garage, shed etc. A video camera can be used should you own one. This way you have a pictorial record of your belongings in case of fire, theft, flood or what ever can befall you and your home. You can take individual pictures or footage of higher valued items such as your radio equipment, TV stereo etc. The second step is to record the model and serial numbers of your equipment.
This is where you really get to know what you have in your house and radio room.
I have the model and serial numbers of every piece of equipment from the Drake R8 and ICOM ICR-70 to the little Grove Mini TUN-3 and 24 hour clock. The list can be on paper or on a easy to read Text file on a disk. The text file is best as it can be read on any computer in case they take your computer with the radio equipment.The pictures/tape and the listing of equipment should be stored in a safe spot away from your home. Mine is in the safety deposit box at the bank.
The third and final step is to mark your equipment. This can be done as you record the model and serial numbers or after you make the list.The choice is yours. The Police suggest you mark them with an engraving pencil that you can buy at the local hardware store and will engrave on darn near everything you own. As to what to engrave it was suggested that a driver's license or Social Security number is best as there should only be one number like that in use. The idea behind the engraving is two fold. One it makes your equipment easy to ID if it is recovered. The second idea is that the equipment is harder to "fence" as all of it has very distinct identifying marks on it. Some Police Departments will give you stickers to put on doors and windows stating you are part of this identification project. The little stickers have proven to deter criminals as they do not want to waste their time taking goods they cannot get rid of quickly. This combined with a good alarm system will help keep your radios yours. A final thought would be in regards to your insurance policy. Should all of the above fail and you lose your equipment due to a fire or flood (we folks of the Red River Valley can relate to that later event), you may find yourself in a bad position. Many folks have insurance on their valuables but not Replacement Insurance. This type of insurance is a bit more expensive but is worth it in my opinion. As an example My old ICOM ICR-70 was worth $975.00 when it was new way back in 1974 when I bought it. These days it is worth maybe $400. I have however upgraded the unit with new filters and a PLAM/sync board that are worth over $500 to buy these days. Under a normal insurance I would get maybe $600 due to depreciation. Sorry folks for $600 I cannot even buy half new good table top receiver these days here in Canada. Under the Replacement Insurance my insurance company has to give me enough money to replace the ICOM with a unit of equal equipment capability. That is more like it. Now I can buy the new receiver with their money not mine. So look at the policy and make sure you have not only the right insurance and the correct amount to replace all our goodies should they fall victim to man or nature. I hope this has been of use to you and you will feel safer once you complete the project. As a little side benefit the next time you are out on a DX'pedition it will be a snap to identify your equipment as it is all marked. May you never need to use all of this work but...
Remember On A Clear Day You Can Hear Forever