That's a good point, however I think that it's OK to realize that some
technologies have become dated, no matter how excellent the customer support
or how excellent the product.
Quad antennas are excellent performers, but they are also large and more
complicated than many of the new computer-optimized or
continuously-adjustable yagis that outperform them. We installed a 3-element
Gem Quad at VE4VV one year: it worked fabulous, was a total pileup killer,
though I've never done any
antenna work that was more of a PITA, only because of the 3D nature of
quads. (When I'm at the top of a tower, give me a yagi any day!)
And that's even with how great an antenna the Gem Quad was and how well
constructed the materials.
It also kakked later that year under ice, after only one contest under its
wires. (The hardware was fine, it was the wire that broke.)
The Collins S-line was considered top of the line when it came out, and even
years later, still outperforms many new radios. Unless you were a vintage
radio fan, how much would you like to use a set of Collins twins in a
(This is NOT to disparage Collins or anybody who is a Collins fan. They are
great radios from their day. But the day of vacuum tubes is past.)
The ham business is dreadfully challenging for mom-and-pop organizations.
The key is to stay on top of technology and progress with the evolution of
same. But to do that requires a committment to stick through the
development-cost-recovery phase, which may be longer than some near-retirees
wish to stay working.
If the particular quad manufacturing business in question really does have
good future potential, then some enterprising entrepreneur is likely to pick
it up. If it doesn't have a bright future, someone won't and Adam Smith's
invisible hand will have waved once again.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Ham businesses, quads & IP
> Dont forget the China and India folks as they ramp their economies up.
There may be worldwide demand for more radios and antennas both in those
areas. Look at how many more Russian hams are on the air than 20yrs ago.
They are running some awesome rigs, linears, and antennas too. I hope as
more economies gain steam they give ham radio an opportunity in their
countries. Im hoping anyway...
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Jarvis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Wed, 04 Jan 2006 17:28:12 -0500
> Subject: [TowerTalk] Ham businesses, quads & IP
> Dear TT:
> I have to wade in on this one.
> It is true that hams seem not to appreciate the value of
> a manufacturer's time and experience. As a group, we're not
> a particularly robust market, either. i.e. we seem to be cheap.
> On the other hand, there is IP and there is IP.
> With due respect to Mike, of Mike's Automotive, the quad antenna
> wasn't invented by Lightning Bolt. And having owned one, the
> amount of IP is...minimal. Mike's contribution, I think, was in
> the procurement of spreaders and the fixturing. As others have
> noted, his wire clamps were quite good. And he WAS a nice guy to
> deal with.
> I bought a 2 el, and an upgrade to 4 el. Then I realized how bloody
> BIG the thing was, and had to knock down half the VT forest to make
> swing room. Ultimately, the trees won, and I donated the bugger to
> the Red Cross, in new condition. Put up a SteppIR instead.
> BUT, the key point is....we may love our small companies....they generally
> DO take better care of customers than their bigger competitors. But we
> aren't a big enough market to feed them well, or fund their retirement,
> in any real way.
> Structurally, THAT is why amateur radio is in danger of losing its source
> of radios. If you had to invest your retirement nestegg in it...would YOU
> finance development of another YaeKenCom? Only reason THEY do is that the
> amateur population has been more pervasive in JA's technical community.
> I think we're near a tipping point.
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