[TowerTalk] off topic-- HR magazine

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 13 13:25:07 EST 2005

At 09:50 AM 11/13/2005, Jim Jarvis wrote:

>Magazines are supported by advertising, not subscription revenue.
>HR was a great book...but it spoke to technical expertise and
>development, at a point when the hobby was turning toward appliances.
>While I don't know the details of HR's demise, I suspect that the core
>issue is that hams aren't willing to have 15% of their product dollar
>invested in advertising.
>The same is true today...even moreso, with the impact of the web.
>Ham's tend to be cheap, and we're a small market.  What's really
>amazing is that the major radio manufacturers invested in their last
>round of product.  A critical analysis would probably not show an
>adequate return on the investment...raising the question of what's next.
>jimjarvis at ieee.org

Well said..

Here's my speculation on what's next... More tendency toward "non-ham 
specialized" products, and an attempt to make new products closer to what 
they're selling in other markets.  I would imagine more "blank front panel" 
kinds of radios where the ham version (if any) of the radio 
controller  happens to have more knobs or a different menu structure than, 
say, the land mobile, or marine version.  I also suspect that the 
performance of the HF radio part will gravitate towards compliance with 
MIL-STD-188 or NTIA types of specs for frequency accuracy, dynamic range, 
and filtering.  In that market, where basic radios are $10K and up, and 
more important, volumes are high, you can justify spending some engineering 
time.  Hopefully, then, the technology drifts down to the $1K radio market 
where hams live.

There may always be a market for "specialist" radios at fairly high prices, 
however they'll be "evolutionary" without much change from previous ones, 
so that the development cost of the new model is low. A filter here, a bell 
there, a whistle over there, perhaps some new knobs, or new interfaces.

I think you'll also see a lot of "add-on" functionality... internet or 
remote control, etc., all of which doesn't require designing new RF stuff, 
but only, in most cases, writing software for existing 
plaforms.  Software/Firmware ain't cheap to develop and support(!), but at 
least the recurring manufacturing cost is zero, unlike for hardware.

It might be nice to think of YaeKenCom coming out with totally new radio 
with lots of function in digital processing (front end preselector filter, 
good mixer and quiet LO, fast a/d, then the rest in DSP), but I doubt that 
the business case is there for it, so you'll see mostly the same old 
designs.. multiple conversions, analog filtering, etc.  They've got the 
designs down, they've got the parts suppliers figured out, they've got the 
manufacturing figured out, etc. 

More information about the TowerTalk mailing list