At 04:06 PM 1/3/2006, Rick Karlquist wrote:
>I had an LB quad but replaced it with a 2 element SteppIR.
>The quad had replaced a KT34, for the reason that it added 17 and 12
>meters. I never would have gotten the quad in the first place if the
>SteppIR had been available at the time. The SteppIR gives me
>adequate performance on all bands with minimal visual clutter
>for my neighbors with their starter mansions.
>There is, IMHO, no reason to have a quad now that SteppIR's are
>available, unless you're on a really tight budget. Perhaps
>this is part of the reason for the demise of the quad vendors.
or, a bit more subtly, that the vendors of products such as quads that are
small companies, particularly ones with a small product line. These
companies are essentially the baby of a single person and that person
decides that maybe retirement would be nice. If they haven't developed new
products there's nowhere for the company to go, except for supplying parts
to an ever decreasing installed base. It's not necessarily attractive for
someone else to pick it up and run with it (unless they have a signficant
inventory or machinery useful for something else). If you're someone with
ambitious antenna ideas, you might just start your own company, rather than
picking up on someone else's, and thereby inheriting the support tail.
Antenna manufacturing is probably one of those businesses where the capital
investment required is fairly low. You can contract out the manufacture of
the machined parts in small lots, and all you do is package up the parts
and mail them out. The trick is in hitting a ham-acceptable price target,
which is very, very difficult to do (unless you have access to some other
business with excess capacity that you can get for very low prices). Ham
radio is a tough market to sell into: demanding customers who are ready and
willing to compare your selling price against the parts cost to build it
themselves. You'd really have to have a product that sells into other
markets so the volume makes it worthwhile, or a very efficient internal
business structure (i.e. MFJ).
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