In response to my earlier memo, Duane, AC5AA offered an opinion (not sure
if it went to the reflector or not) that the rigs are very different. My
memo choose to avoid any comment on the radios themselves. These radios are
not only not really comparable to each other - they also carry an additional
set of conditions.
These radios, Kachina and Pegasus are the first of their kinds. They are
NOT a reflection of real market needs, they are both a case of design to
some form of specification that will be offered to the amateur radio market.
It was interesting to read recently in QST's assessment of Dayton the
comment of a Ten Tec Manager to the effect of "will they (us!) buy it
Both these products are the first into the market and we do know one thing
for sure they have not got it right. This is a "by definition" statement of
fact. Where there is nothing to provide market guidance we are dealing with
a product that represents the best thoughts of a limited to tiny set of
designers. The market has not spoken on these products. The market will
speak in due course. The market will speak clearly and sometimes harshly
about these new radios.
If they designers miss to far the whole project will die. Remember it was a
direct order from the President of Sony to take the Walkman to market - the
marketing folks could not "prove" or "quantify" a market for the Walkman.
The Kenwood TS-50 is another radio that came on the market with very little
or no real market for knowledge of what would happen. I would be grateful
for the rest of my life if I could have been a "fly on the wall" during the
discussions that led to the development and introduction of the TS-50. If
the story was written up it would be excellent fodder for the Case Study
process used in most MBA programs.
I have written earlier about the Kachina as I see it being the product of a
single designer. The radio seems good, excellent at nothing, but finding a
market in the remote control field. The radio certainly had no competence
in design with a CW dot/dash radio set at 1 to 4. The QSK is marginal,
about the same as the poorer side of the yacomwood products. Will this
improve? If the identifiable market niche for Kachina includes a
significant number of CW operators for remote control stations then you
betcha, the CW performance will become real and much improved. The Kachina
has not attracted any noticeable level of Contesting use - even some of
those using the radio for Remote Control HF station use a Yacomwood for
local operating at the remote site. Will the Kachina be changing in its
next iteration - you can bet on it providing the identified market size in
Kachina's eyes continues to be attractive to them (Kachina).
The Pegasus radio is the second entrance in the new market within amateur
radio. At least they have gotten rid of the Front Panel. What else have
they achieved? Well they have cost reduced the radio using DSP to the point
were they can attack the market place with a great Price Point. They have
already added in an internal keyer, there has not been an announcement that
the keyer will be accessible via the control port data system. The radio
does not have an internal antenna tuner and they have repeatedly made
statements that they do not see the radio for use in Remote Control HF
The Pegasus comes with quaint software that depicts the common computer
screen perception of a physical radio on the screen - If I remember right
they at least have not used round knobs on the screen as Kenwood did with
their software package for the TS-570.
We can expect these radios to evolve. How quickly they will evolve will
depend on what the different manufacturers see as the market and the market
that they are willing to target for their products.
Rather than trying to make a decision on the BEST PRODUCT for each amateur
to buy, I offer that there is a need for each of us to evaluate the three
candidate radios, Kachina, Pegasus, and TS-570 (which has a front panel but
after you put it in the cabinet and close the equipment cabinet door you can
forget the front panel - that is what I did) - and see if you can get the
radio to meet your needs.
One final comment, Kachina and Pegasus are the first radios of what we all
want, or at least many of us want, radios without front panels and
representing a new era. The Governance of these companies have approved
these projects to design and build these radios. They have no more
knowledge than each of us have how the investment will turn out they have
hopes and dreams. We need to be grateful to the investors, we need to buy
the products if the radios will do what we want them to do. Just remember
the radios will evolve, I hope they will evolve quickly, they will evolve to
attract even more of us to this new way of operating HF radio.
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