[TenTec] Future of Ten-Tec in the Amateur Radio Market

Bernie Skoch k5xs at aol.com
Tue Oct 17 11:19:21 EDT 2017


I think you said a lot with two phrases:  "emotional investment" and "fans."

I very much like the three Ten-Tec rigs I have owned (including the one I currently own), but I am neither emotionally invested in the future of Ten-Tec nor do I consider myself a "fan"  (I'm a customer).

They made some great gear, and I got fair value for what I paid (that's why I bought their gear to begin with).  

If they start doing making good stuff again at a price that makes sense, I will give them fair consideration (along with other rigs) when my Orion II bites the dust.  If they don't, I'll look elsewhere.  There are a lot of great rigs on the market nowadays.

Bernie K5XS

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Stewart <ne4l at hughes.net>
To: TenTec <TenTec at contesting.com>
Sent: Mon, Oct 16, 2017 11:22 pm
Subject: [TenTec] Future of Ten-Tec in the Amateur Radio Market

Right after the Dayton/Xenia Hamfest, I posted to ask if Ten-Tec had any news or announcements there as that is the premiere event in the USA for manufacturers to introduce product and make major announcements.  I had begun to despair of the company re-entering the amateur radio market.  Although I don't think I received any response on this message board, I did very kindly receive private e-mails from a few members who communicated news that they requested I not divulge (I haven't and I won't) but that I took as encouraging.Sadly, none of the things which they were told have as yet come to fruition.  There has been zero communication from the company on its web site and the ever-decreasing traffic here is a reflection of the community losing faith that the company will return to the amateur market.  I just received an email today from someone who purchased some NOS Ten-Tec parts from me, that when he sent an email query for a single replacement part for an Omni VI, he received the following reply:“Thank you for your email inquiry regarding parts availability and/or pricing.  We are currently doing a large production run of commercial/government receivers through to the end of the year.    Unfortunately, we will be unable to fill your request at this time, but hope to be able to respond to your requests in the new year.Thank you for your patience as Ten Tec moves forward with its ambitious plans.Tentec Sales & Service. “Next YEAR?! Ten-Tec had a loyal following not just because of its gear but because of the "Legendary Ten-Tec Service".  When Ten-Tec was purchased the last time, the new owner put out an informational release that addressed certain business realities that although being legitimate, were done with a tenor that gave the impression that customers wasting employee time contributed to the downfall of the business and that as a practical matter, his strategy was not to have any direct communication with the customers and the indirect communication would only be part-time, and as the above reply would suggest, pretty ineffectual.  Since that time, there have been no other official announcements on the Ten-Tec web site.  I know he floated the idea of running 100 Eagles off the line on this page if people would commit to buying them in advance.  Since the market for those rigs was trashed by the RKR fire sale and he wanted the full retail price, that didn't seem to go anywhere.Of course, people on this page have made various comments that he should do this or that over the ensuing months (years? I've lost track) and that is natural arm-chair quarterbacking by fans, AKA people who care about your product and have made an emotional investment in your brand.  The same thing can be observed in the auto industry and even more-so in the motorcycle industry.Well, this seemed to have festered and culminated in a rant against the place where his most loyal customer base likes to talk shop. More goodwill down the drain.  I WANT to be optimistic about Ten-Tec's future, I've got over a dozen TT rigs.  At this point I am very dubious of that future.  When the only bright spot is "Hey, I got my rig repaired. Yay!" and I am glad that service is still being provided, I'm not hanging my hat on that.  I really don't think that a design that will be 8 years old, minimum, if reintroduced to the market will compete well with the IC-7300 and a plethora of other rigs that are 60-70% of the price of an Eagle.  The Omni VII is over 10 years old.  When I look at the single amateur product that is being offered for sale, it is an amplifier for which you must pony up a 50% or so deposit and wait 8-12 weeks for it to ship.  This indicates an inherent aversion to risk that would be classified as too high by an objective business analyst.  50% should more than cover the actual production cost, discounting front-end engineering costs which are recouped via sales and facility costs, which continue if you ship anything or not.  If you do not have enough confidence in the sale-abilty of your product to keep some in stock, why should I risk purchasing something that, from the sales strategy of the maker being my guide, may be hard to unload?   With the idea on the Eagles, again the desire to shift risk to the customers was expressed.Again, I am VERY desirous of Ten-Tec re-entering the market as a maker of high quality ham gear.  I am willing to pay a price premium if support returns to a more normal, customer friendly level so that I can enjoy buying from a domestic supplier.  If, however the present customer service model is continued upon relaunch, it will be Elecraft (which I owned once, very briefly) or a 'rice box'.  If staff have not been trained in how to politely gather information needed from a customer, listen to an issue enough to say "do you have the latest software?  Try a download and reset.  If that doesn't do it, we'll need to issue you you an RMA for service to look at it." and get off the phone, that is a MANAGEMENT issue not a 'problem' with your customer.  If I am interested in buying a rig that does not sell through retailers and the management of a direct sales operation doesn't want staff "wasting time" talking to customers to convince them they need to buy what you are selling, who IS going to do that? All problems in a business are management problems, 100%, 100% of the time.  I hope things turn around, I really do but I am far from optimistic at this point.  I am NOT bashing the new owner, just pointing out the concerns that I have._______________________________________________TenTec mailing listTenTec at contesting.comhttp://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/tentec

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