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[TenTec] The demise of manufacture

To: <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: [TenTec] The demise of manufacture
From: jholly@cup.hp.com (Jim Hollenback)
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 12:56:09 -0800
On Jan 28,  1:34pm, rohre wrote:
> Subject: RE: [TenTec] The demise of manufacture
> Jim and the TT fans,
> About 1967 or so incentive licensing took away HF priviledges from many of
> Some got so mad they became inactive in the hobby, and also, the change in
> licensing did in many a high school ham club.

Say what? Maybe REDUCED HF priviledges, but did not take them away. Actually
some got INCREASED HF priviledges ... when I was a Tech it was 50MHZ above,
but no longer.

> When the source of new hams and upgrading hams lessened; there was less
> for equipment, and many of the ham stores and American manufacturers bit the
> dust, hastened along by their reliance on tube technology, and the increase
> Japanese imports of transistor radios.  Swan (tubes) was succeeded by Atlas
> (all transistor transceivers) in the early 70's, making a stab at transistor
> radios, with some novel ideas.  But, management problems, and press of
> offshore competition did them in as well.

Lessened demand? Pray tell then how did the Japanese find buyers for their
equipment? Simple, their equipment was BETTER.

> The switch from separate radios to transceivers lessened the number of
> the factories had to produce, but affected manufacturing economy of scale,
> number of units and money volume.

So how then did the Japanese manage to make money in the ham market? Come on
now, no off hand dumping charges. The American Companies were building hand
wired units and the Japanese were using circuit boards built with machines.

> Then, CB radio came along, to take, for a short time, the fancy of new
> to radio as a hobby.  No exam, lower investment in equipment, and ready built
> from Asia.  CB's were as cheap as the mid $30 range, new!  The Atlas was
> around $550 and later $750.  Collins and many others like Hallicrafters were
> bought out by corporate raiders in the 70's as their old ham owners and staff
> retired.

Again, how did the Japanese compete against this competition? Actually, many
of the CB'ers became hams and bought JAPANESE instead of Amereican. Because
the Japanese were cheaper and probably better.

> Heath went on for awhile, but itself became the victim of buyouts and the
> increasing desire of hams for ready built radios; as hams spare time, and
> building skills were lessened, not enhanced by the debacle of "incentive
> licensing".  Ham growth slowed to a trickle.

Come on ... Heathkit went the way of the horse buggy because the difference
in price between a kit and a completed unit fell dramatically. Something
to do with manufacturing automation, perhaps? When the cost of a SBwhatever
was just a $100 or so less than the latest gee whiz from Kenyeacom one has
to wonder why you would spend weeks building something that just didn't
work that good.

> Bless Ten Tec, they developed while other American ham companies declined.
> But they had that ham core of ownership and engineering that the corporate
> takeover companies were losing.  Eventually, the old time ham radio companies
> all fell by the wayside.  Collins finally brought out a new radio, that to
> some of us did not even look like a radio.  Of course, they were still high
> end.

Because they are still a private company that has a day job and can keep
the amateur line operating. I expect the line does operate at a profit
that satisfies the owners ... but probably would not satisfy a corporate
executive concerned about his next stock option and bonus.

> A few start ups tried, but crashed and burned, like the Signal One effort.
> (They were a bit temperamental, but worked for some.)  They lacked long term
> reliability I guess, and repeat manufacturability at a profit, if that makes
> sense. They too, were high end.

Excuse me? my OMNI-VI+ is not high end? Well, I'm miffed.

> The designer who inspired the Atlas 180 and 2xx series, ZL1 AAX, Les
> having come to the U.S., found that two way radios were more profitable than
> the ham industry, and founded Kachina Communications in Az. to manufacture
> radios.
> Also in the late 60's and 70's, 2M repeaters took off, but most hams
> Police radios rather than buy new.  At first there were few new repeater
> compatible radios.
> Just Inoue, (now Icom) and ICE, International Communications and Electronics,
> a start up from San Antonio.  Like a lot start ups with thin supply lines, a
> discontinued part, and financial problems did in ICE.  By then, other imports
> flooded the ham 2M market, and then HF, and we came to the situation today.

Could it be the Kenyeacom radios were a better answer with more advertising?
naw, couldn't be. Could it be you could go to a ham store and they had the
Kenyeacom but not the others? Because the others just didn't have the
manufacturing capacity?

> I don't know if the new Kachina entry is the same company Earnshaw was with,
> but he did have an innovative design in the Atlas in its time.  If he is
> at Kachina, perhaps this new one will be something.  But, TEN TEC has a
> computer radio with virtual front panel as well.
> However, to me, an analog radio and a computer don't exist well in the same
> tower.  Give me real knobs to turn as well any day! :-)

as long as the computer can twist the knobs too!

73, Jim, WA6SDM

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