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[TowerTalk] a ham radio marketing question or two

Subject: [TowerTalk] a ham radio marketing question or two
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 18:07:46 -0700
List-post: <>
Just a survey of a very skewed sample of the ham population at large. 
Prompted by some discussions at work with respect to things like 
AMSAT ground stations and the FlexRadio SDR1000 and FLEX-5000, and 
what hams are willing to buy, as opposed to what they say they'd like 
to see. (Why sure, I'd love a 5 element SteppIR with adjustable 
everything for $200).  Has relevance to antennas too (think about 
things like controllers and autotuners)

What's your preferred approach to using a new technology:

1) Read about it in QST, etc., scrounge up the parts from your junk 
box or stores, and build it from scratch
2) Buy a kitted set of parts and assemble it
3) Buy the whole thing all assembled, but with no formal support 
(i.e. you get all the stuff, documents, etc.)
4) Buy it as a fully integrated commercial product (warranty, service 
organization, etc.)

Now, does that change if the technology uses a PC?

It throws in the alternatives of:
Supply your own PC, you install the software, deal with any 
compatibility issues, etc.
  - sub question: if there were a free configuration checking program 
you could download to see if your PC will work ahead of time, would that help?

The widget comes with a preconfigured PC dedicated to the new 
thing.  The included PC isn't necessarily powerful enough to do anything else.

The widget has a PC embedded inside it, but you have no access to it 
(think in terms of the new test equipment from Agilent and 
Tektronix), at least as a PC.

And, another question about price points and quality of build.  Preference for:
MFJ - inexpensive parts, rough and ready build quality, some 
percentage of DOA to deal with
Big 3 radios - automated build quality, lots of mfr QA, unlikely 
you'll have blobs of solder rolling around inside.

And design margins:
Consider a product like the battery boosters similar to W4RRY or MFJ 
units (takes wide DC voltage in and generates 13.8 out, all the time)..
Inexpensive design, not much margin, but it works for 90% of the 
cases, but if it gets too hot, or the wires are too long, or the load 
impedance it's looking into isn't right, it might oscillate and fail.
Bulletproof design with lots of margin, works all the time, 
everytime, but costs 3x as much.

All comments become grist for lunchtime conversation!!

Jim, W6RMK


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