Kenwood's marketing

David Robbins ky1h at
Wed Jun 12 21:36:44 EDT 1996

here is Kenwood's reply to my supportive message about their
new marketing strategy.

Kenwood Customer Care wrote:
> Thank you for your e-mail message.
> Kenwood is also concerned about the future of Amateur
> Radio.  Here is Kenwood's official postion.
> June 10, 1996
> An Open Letter to the Amateur Radio Community,
> On May 21,  Kenwood announced plans to extend our
> marketing program with increased distribution.  Much
> research, thought and consideration went into this
> decision.  It was clear to us that some might question the
> distribution of ham radios outside the traditional Amateur
> dealer network. When we looked at where Amateur radio is
> today, and where it is going to be in ten years at the
> present rate of decline, the future looks bleak.  At our
> biggest hamfests in the country, there are always fewer
> people in attendance.
> We are surrounded by many new and exciting communication
> products. On one side we have cellular phone and the other
> side we have internet phone.  In the middle we have a
> well known radio electronics specialty chain selling all
> types of communication products including Amateur radios.
> New modes of communicating continue to enter into the
> world. Soon we will see GMRS products (no license required)
> introduced to the masses.  It is also obvious that the
> rate of no-code licensees is slowing down with fewer and
> fewer  people upgrading. Amateur radio dealers should be
> more interested in attracting new people to our hobby.
> Every current Amateur operator who wants this hobby to
> continue should be promoting ham radio to non-hams. The
> current direction will only mean fewer hams, fewer radios,
> fewer manufacturers, as most importantly to everyone,
> fewer frequencies allocated to Amateur service by the FCC.
> In reality, well over 50% of all current ham operators
> started out with some type of simple mode radio. Even more
> ironic, many current Amateur radio dealers started their
> businesses with and are still currently selling other
> types radio communications. Many frequencies are currently
> unused. These bands, in light of the recent frequency
> auctions, (1.2 GHz, 220 and 440 MHz) are worth millions
> of dollars on the open market for the FCC.  Consider this
> and then read the current proposal for LEOS to use the
> 2 meter and 440  bands.
> The world constantly changes along with cultures, their
> habits and beliefs. The tests of our integrity as people
> is to grow in spirit along with change.  This is the test
> that faces Amateur Radio today.
> page 2
> The  objectives are the following from Kenwood.
> Work hard to expand the hobby to insure it's perpetuation
> and survival.
> Expose the hobby of ham radio to more people in more
> locations. There are approximately 50 retail stores
> serving hams throughout the USA. We currently have about
> 690,000 licensed hams with 250,000,000 in total
> population. We think more people would become responsible
> operators if they are directly exposed to Amateur Radio.
> Invest in a new, one of a kind, educational pamphlet about
> ham radio and how to become involved.
> Invest in providing more study guide materials to people
> so they can learn the responsible way to become a ham
> radio operator.
> Provide incentives to schools and clubs to bring new
> operators into ham radio and provide proper education.
> Provide incentives to upgrade beyond the no-code tech
> license.
> Enhance public safety and local crime prevention
> activities so that ham radio operators can support their
> communities.
> Work with and help develop a stronger national disaster
> response organization that the Amateur radio community
> and your neighbors can be excited and proud to be a part.
> I want to personally thank all those who have expressed
> their opinions to Kenwood.  Although the feelings are
> mixed, we firmly believe that the positives of our plans
> greatly out number the negatives. In light of the facts
> we have presented here, I would like to invite those with
> constructive ideas to join in our efforts to strengthen
> Amateur radio. With everyone's help we will make Amateur
> Radio better and more enjoyable for everyone in the years
> to come.
> Sincerely,
> Paul Middleton  KD6NUH
> National Sales Manager
> Amateur Radio Products  Group
>   73   |\___/|
>        | o o |   73 de Kenwood Customer Care
> ----oOO-------OOo---------------------------

ky1h at   or   robbins at

>From gejones at (Gary E. Jones)  Wed Jun 12 22:06:56 1996
From: gejones at (Gary E. Jones) (Gary E. Jones)
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 16:06:56 -0500
Subject: No subject
Message-ID: < at>

I want to pass along some personal experiences that I have recently had
relating to Kenwood Electronics.

Let me begin by saying that I have been an exclusive HF Kenwood user for 15
years. I am an absolute believer in their products. They are great contest
and dxing radios. In addition, I am heavily Kenwood oriented in part because
20 or 25 years ago, their chief competitor in the overseas amateur radio
market was selling and marketing their radio products to non-amateur radio
communicators, and I have never forgiven that company for their marketing
through that market. 

I have owned at least one TS-520, 820, 830, 430, 950, and 950SD. 

I went to Dayton in 1995 expecting to walk away with a lot less money in my
pocket having bought a new top of the line fully digital/DSP Kenwood radio
which I was reasonably sure would be on display at the Kenwood booth.
Surprise, no radio. I felt that Kenwood would be introducing a new radio to
more effectively compete with the FT-1000D (a pretty good radio). I was
politely, but firmly told that there was no new 900 series radio for 1995. 

I went back to Dayton this year in 1996 quite certain again that I would buy
a radio if one was available. Yaesu had introduced the 1000MP and Kenwood
had introduced the 870 fully DSP radio and I assume that a fully DSP top of
the line radio (true dual receiver, contester, dxer optimized) would be
available. Nothing on display, and when I asked the Kenwood salesman to talk
to me about a radio, I got what I consider a rude and unacceptable response
from him. He looked in my face blankly and told me that there was no new
radio on the horizon and that the 950 SDx was the "product of the future" as
far as Kenwood was concerned. I told him that in my opinion that the
FT-1000D was probably a better radio and I was amazed that they were
sticking with the 950 since it was clearly time for a new radio from
Kenwood. I indicated I would buy such a radio immediately if it was
available. He looked back blankly and repeated that there was no new
top-of-the-line radio on the drawing boards and that the 950 was the radio
of the future, and if I felt that the FT-1000D was a better radio, then I
should actively consider buying one........ 

That is a very effective marketing philosophy. A friend of mine who was also
considering the purchase of a new Kenwood radio and was standing there with
me couldn't believe the attitude of the salesman. 

We now hear that Kenwood is going to start dumping radios to the CB and
trucker shop market. There is the implication that there may be a vast
warehouse of unused and unsold amateur gear that needs to be liquidated. Now
there is the official pronouncement of Kenwood that amateur radio is
apparently in decline and they need to consider other options to increase
their sales. 

I would suggest that one reason there may be flat sales of the upper tier of
equipment is that they really have not introduced a state-of-the-art radio
for a very long time, and if they did introduce a competitive radio, they
might begin selling HF equipment again, at least to me. 

                                Gary Jones, W5VSZ

>From k0wa at (Lee Buller)  Wed Jun 12 22:29:58 1996
From: k0wa at (Lee Buller) (Lee Buller)
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 16:29:58 -0500
Subject: Antenna Changes
Message-ID: < at>

Ladies and Gentlemen....

Is there anyone out there casting off an old TH6DXX or TH7DX for a newer beam?

Let me know,....I might take it off your hands....

Lee Buller
k0wa at

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