SUPPORT PAGE
ORDERING INFORMATION

ORDERS can be placed with us via Internet, telephone, fax, or by mail. We accept both Visa and Mastercard orders, Company or personal checks, Money orders, or cash. Orders are generally shipped by US mail within 24-48 hours of next business day (Monday to Friday) whenever possible. If paying by check, please allow sufficient time for clearing. Orders from NY State must include sales tax. See Order Forms for details. Repairs and Tech Support are available on all kits.

Certain of our kits are available in assembled form. This includes mainly RF kits such as transmitters, downconverters, light controllers, and associated items. Some delivery time must be allowed in this case. Other kits designed for educational purposes can be provided in assembled form, but this defeats the educational aspects.  Some assembled kits are in PC board form and only require mounting in a case or in your system as applicable. Certain assembled kits such as ATV transmitters and light controllers are frequently ordered in PC board form, for use or installation in other equipment such as a radio controlled model or a display, etc. You can use one of our cases or supply your own as desired. Or, if preferred, we can  install the PC board in one of our cases for a ready to use fully assembled item.

If ordering an assembled transmitter or related item we may in some cases ask for a signed letter of intent of usage, or your amateur callsign which we can verify. Please check with us at 518-854-9280 or email support@northcountryradio.com for information on assembled items. We do not support our transmitters being used for illegal purposes. We are in the kit business and are not really set up to offer a large quantity of assembled items. Should you want instant gratification, plug and play, and do not care about technical details, you might be better off buying a similar assembled item at your local electronics emporium or other source.

TECH SUPPORT & REPAIRS

Should you get a kit or have started it, and decide later you want it assembled and tested, send it back to us for assembly and we will charge the difference between kit and assembled version, plus return shipping. Once a kit is started it cannot be returned for refund. Returned kits are subject to the greater of $5 or 15% of the kit price as a restocking charge, since the kit must be checked for missing or damaged components. We cannot refund shipping and handling charges.

While we do not have a regular standard procedure to service or repair kits as this has not proved necessary, if you cannot resolve problems and have assembled your kit with reasonably decent workmanship, please contact us. If you lack basic test equipment or if you feel it is necessary, we may recommend that you arrange to send it to us for examination subject to following conditions:

a) Prior arrangements have been made with us.
b) Kit is completely assembled and unmodified, no "embellishments".
c) ATV Transmitters must have stock amateur band crystals installed.
d) Circuit board only preferred, no case or user supplied connectors please.
e) Decent, reasonable workmanship, no acid or paste fluxes used.
f)  Payment for shipping and handling enclosed or furnishing a valid credit card.
g) E mail address, Phone or fax # where you can be reached if needed.

If these conditions are met we should have no problems in getting your kit working as it should.

You will be advised if other charges must be made before repairing. However this is not likely as we really do not wish to get into situations where the repair or service is going to cost more than a third of the cost of the kit. This means around $20 to $40 or so including parts & shipping. If you have done a reasonable job, this will not happen. Our policy is to return the kit and your uncashed check for repair charges if an excessive amount of rework is required. Very poor workmanship or failure to complete the kit would be the reason for this. We cannot afford to spend much more than an hour on any kit as overhead does not permit this. So please understand that our object is to save us time and you money. Therefore kits received that are customized, altered, or that are in cases cannot be accepted. Please contact us before sending in a kit so that we know to expect it and also give you an estimate and turnaround time, and avoid confusion and unnecessary delays. We use test setups specific for PC boards alone and cannot take the time to disassemble individual cabinets and cases not of our own manufacture. We cannot spend time doing disassembly of custom work. Correct workmanlike assembly is a must and it takes time to tear apart and reassemble a circuit board, as well as the cost of replacement parts. We simply cannot do this for the $20 to $40 we may ask. You can do this work yourself and we will be glad to check the kit out again if you still have problems. If you wish, we can get an independent electronic technician to do this for you, but at todays labor rates ($60/hr) this can be expensive. To make service and repair arrangements, please Email to support@northcountryradio.com (preferred way as we may have some further information we can Email you) or call 518-854-9280.

PARTS AVAILABILITY

If you need replacement parts contact us and we can arrange to supply what you need in case they cannot be obtained thru your suppliers. Please be specific (2N3563, not "Q3"). It has been our experience that devices sold for TV service or general replacement use may not always work properly in some of our kits, especially in certain critical RF circuitry. Consult us before using "generics" to avoid circuit problems or poor performance. In some kits exact replacements are a necessity and these may be hard to come by from distributors shelves. We try to stock all parts for all kits we have ever offered, including our first kits in 1986. We are not parts distributors and while we will sell a limited number of parts to anyone, certain parts in short supply such as ASICs must be reserved for our customers that have purchased kits from us in the past. Many times some really useful parts excellent for hobby and experimental projects are discontinued for reasons other than technical obsolescence, such as economics, changing market demands or corporate buyouts. This seems especially true of ASICs and some RF transistors. We would like to be always able to supply those parts for our kits even if the parts are discontinued by the manufacturers, and no longer available through distributors, so please understand our policy. Also note that we may ask for a minimum order.

SOFTWARE AND FIRMWARE UPDATES

Kits employing microprocessors may at times have improvements made in the operating software. We reserve the right to improve our kits and are not responsible for incorporating these changes in previously sold kits. An updated microprocessor/microcontroller may be obtained from us by sending in your existing chip for either exchange or reprogramming, for a nominal fee. Source code is generally proprietary and is not available.

HOW TO GET A HAM LICENSE

The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) can help you get an Amateur radio license. You need one to legally use our ATV transmitter kits in your application, whether ATV itself, RC model or experimental use. It is not difficult and if you can build one of our kits you certainly should have the ability to pass the required tests with a little effort. You will learn a lot in the process and have the chance to meet many new friends. You may contact the ARRL as follows:

Internet:       http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training

Telephone: 1-860-594-0200

Fax:              1-860-594-0259

Address:    ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio
                      225 Main Street
                      Newington, CT, 06111-1494 USA

Webmail:    hq@arrl.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Why build from a kit?

A: Building a kit allows you to learn the intimate details of a project and how it works. It is a learning experience. Also, you can obtain items this way that are unavailable on the general market. Do not expect to save any money, a kit is an educational experience, not a cost saving one.

Q: How well do these kits work?

A: As long as you do a reasonably decent assembly job, they will work as specified. Many of our kits are published designs that have been tested and reviewed by magazine editors and technical people. After all, it looks bad if they publish a design for something that fails to work or has problems.

Q: How difficult is are they to assemble?

A: This depends on the kit and on your level of experience. Our market is the experimenter with some assembly experience. You have to thoroughly read the instructions and follow them accurately. You should be somewhat familiar with common electronic parts and identification. You should know how to solder and have access to at least a VOM or DVM and generally a 12 volt DC power source.

Q: What is included in these kits?

A: Basically, the PC board and all the parts that mount on them plus any needed extras needed to get the project working. Cases and hardware are generally sold separately as many of our kits are used in applications where they are installed in other equipment, such as radio controlled models, robotics, etc. and a case is not needed. Also, some builders prefer to use their own cases so their finished project is a unique item fitting their requirements. Certain kits include cases if required for their operation. We carry a line of recommended cases, hardware, and accessories suitable for most of our kits, if needed by the builder. We do not include batteries, chemical items (solvents, glues, paint, etc.) or large inexpensive items, such as wood or plastic pipe, etc. You can get this stuff cheaper at your local hardware store. This saves you shipping costs.

Q: What documentation is provided?

A:  Many of our project kits have been published in experimenter magazines such as Radio Electronics, Popular electronics, QST, 73 Magazine, etc, They therefore will include complete descriptions of circuitry, theory of operation, construction procedure, setup and test instructions. Complete assembly drawings, parts lists,and schematics are also included, with general information on component identification. PC boards are drilled and etched, with screening on many. We are tending towards screened boards with plated holes

Q: What if I have problems or questions?

A: We have free tech support by email (preferred, we can send you additional info this way) or by telephone. We do not have a telephone tree, long waits, runarounds, or menus with a limited selection of prefabricated useless answers not pertaining to your problem. Tech support is always free by live, real, living people. If you prefer, you can return the finished kit to us for troubleshooting and setup to specs. In this case it will be returned completely set up and working. Most kits returned to us for service are found to have either poor soldering or assembly errors as the reason for the difficulty. We have a nominal charge for this service of typically one third the kit price. This includes a reasonable allowance for parts and shipping.

Q: What if we cannot get your kit working?

A: As long as the assembly job is satisfactory with regard to workmanship, there will not be a problem. If we cannot get it working to spec we will give you another assembled and tested circuit board free of charge. So far, in 25 years this has never happened.

Q: What if in the future I need parts?

A: We try to carry replacement parts, even for discontinued kits sold in the 1980s. Parts are not generally a problem.

Q: Do you sell individual parts?

A: Yes, but we usually have a minimum $10.00 order, plus shipping charges. Should you wish to build a published project of ours with your own parts, and need special items or a PC board, we can provide this, but tech support is reserved only for customers purchasing complete kits. It is more cost effective to purchase the complete kit rather than individual parts, unless you have most of the parts on hand and can easily make PC boards yourself.

 
 
NORTH COUNTRY RADIO
PO Box 200, Hartford NY 12838-0200
EMAIL: support@northcountryradio.com            Tel 518-854-9280           Internet http://www.northcountryradio.com