What killed all the US ham equipment manufacturers

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jdobbs2001

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I found the 73 archives and interestingly enough, you see tons and tons of US companies making all kinds of Ham radio equipment. ie: Swan,Hammerlund, Technical Radio corp?, Hallicrafters,etc...

Then somewhere it seems past the mid to late 60s it seems they went poof. Then it was all Yaseu,Icom,kenwood. With Drake it seems being the last horse in the race before they ended up disappearing in the 80s

One of the theories, Wayne Green said it was the change in 63-67 to Incentive licensing where Hams went from having equal privileges in the Ham Bands to being segregated by class of license? Not sure how this theory holds up but it does seem to make sense from a timeline perspective.
 

popnokick

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Simple... Money. Companies outside the US were (and in most cases still are) able to design, manufacture, and produce radio and electronic gear for less cost than in the US. Of course, hams will always pay premium prices to ensure it's "Made in USA"..... NOT! Ever hear the expression "cheap ham"? It's accurate for most.
And it wasn't just ham gear. I know your TV, DVR, entertainment system, computers, and auto electronics are all made in the USA. Again..... NOT!
So now a question: What is important about having your ham gear Made in USA?
 

wa8pyr

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So now a question: What is important about having your ham gear Made in USA?
Supporting the home economy. Manufacturing here at home provides a more stable tax base than manufacturing overseas (in order to support all the services and infrastructure many Americans demand of our government). Plus it's patriotic to buy American-made goods.
 

popnokick

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Then let's get rid of corporate, payroll, and income taxes to incent companies and people to locate and operate in the USA. Google "The Fair Tax" to read how it can be done. (And I probably just got this thread relocated out of Amateur Radio.)
 
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scanchs

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All? Last I heard, Ten-Tec still designs and manufactures ham equipment in the state of Tennessee. So, they're not all gone... yet! :cool:

ScanCHS
 

popnokick

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Heathkit would like to resume operations. What's stopping them? The multiple tax burdens.
 
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What led to the demise of the old line radio manufacturers was the rising cost of labor, brought about by the unions in the Northeast where most of the manufacturers were based. Technology was partially a reason, the move from tube based technology with hand assembly techniques to solid state designs helped speed the decline of American made products.
 

k6cpo

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What led to the demise of the old line radio manufacturers was the rising cost of labor, brought about by the unions in the Northeast where most of the manufacturers were based. Technology was partially a reason, the move from tube based technology with hand assembly techniques to solid state designs helped speed the decline of American made products.
And this was driven by the desire for smaller and lighter electronics, especially consumer electronics. It's been interesting to watch the evolution of cell phones from the big heavy, brick phones to the tiny, hard to use flip phones, to the now ever larger smart phones. Some of them are now being called "phablets" because of their size. Next thing you know we'll be making phone calls on our iPads...
 

SCPD

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Amerika

Supporting the home economy. Manufacturing here at home provides a more stable tax base than manufacturing overseas (in order to support all the services and infrastructure many Americans demand of our government). Plus it's patriotic to buy American-made goods.
Sorry but the ship has already sailed and its way too late to stop its journey now,I'd like to buy American too but go into a home Depot or whatever store and look for American Made and it just isnt there.And you could
buy a car and blast your message,Amerikans are CHEAP.The mighty dollar has spoken.GAME OVER.
 

SCPD

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yes

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Then let's get rid of corporate, payroll, and income taxes to incent companies and people to locate and operate in the USA. Google "The Fair Tax" to read how it can be done. (And I probably just got this thread relocated out of Amateur Radio.)

But you cant fix the cheap people.Great idea though.A better idea would be a 600 percent tax on IMPORTS.But we wont do that because our sissy government is OWNED by China and all the other foreign countries that make the cheap TVs ,iphones and Wouxuns,we dont want to upset the UN.
Wheres the $36 Wouxun Made here?or Bearcat 436HP?Unless we start sweat shops in the US,its not gonna happen.Why dont they hijack the sweatshoppers and bring em here to work?Then the Americans will get upset.its all political!
 
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ElroyJetson

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DO NOT ASK ME FOR HELP PROGRAMMING YOUR RADIO. NO.
Today, the established brands we have come to trust, namely Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu, to name the three biggest ones, are under assault by the flood of cheap GARBAGE radios coming in from China under the brands such as Wouxong and Baofeng. Granted, their technology is interesting, but the quality level is disappointing even if you're NOT accustomed to the very high quality of such radios as
the Motorola XTS line. And if you ARE well acquainted with public safety grade radios, you'll think even LESS of these Chinese novelties.

It's hard to fight back against an opponent that's selling radios for under 100 bucks.
 

MTS2000des

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the Chicommers are just doing what the Japanese auto makers did to take over the US auto market: flood the market with cheap cars.

Hams are cheap. I cannot believe the WHINING I hear about having to pay a lowly $30 for a programming cable and software for a $160 Yaesu FT-60. The same ham will go "wow, I can buy a Baofeng for $50 with free software and cable included". Hey, complain when you pay $285 for your software and another $265 for your OEM programming cable like I have 3 times over :wink:

At some point, just as the Japanese auto makers did, they will raise the prices of their products once they have gotten all the cheap hams hooked on their crack.

As far as quality, the truth is many of the Chinese radios are about on par with the Japanese ham gear. While the Baofengs and Wouxuns cut corners by using cheap masked ROM for firmware, so does Yaesu on many of their radios including the FT-60, FT-7900/8800/8900...want that PL decode bug fixed? Or the crossband repeat "open squelch" sound? Not gonna happen unless you write your own firmware and are good with SMD microprocessors.

There is no real profit in ham radio gear. The profits come from the accessory sales, or sales of other product lines. Yaesu (The Radio) retained their Standard Horizon marine and aviation line after the Motorola/Vertex Standard divestiture. Icom and Kenwood make most of their money in LMR and other product lines not related to radio at all.
TenTec sells government and commercial products, and also has a tool and die business.
 

bill4long

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Today, the established brands we have come to trust, namely Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu, to name the three biggest ones, are under assault by the flood of cheap GARBAGE radios coming in from China under the brands such as Wouxong and Baofeng. Granted, their technology is interesting, but the quality level is disappointing even if you're NOT accustomed to the very high quality of such radios as
the Motorola XTS line. And if you ARE well acquainted with public safety grade radios, you'll think even LESS of these Chinese novelties. It's hard to fight back against an opponent that's selling radios for under 100 bucks.
I couldn't agree less. I have six HTs: one Icom 31A, one Yaesu Ft-60R, two Wouxuns UV3A, and two Baofengs UV5RA. I use all the radios for various reasons, but I use the Wouxun 2/440 far more than the Icom and the Yaesu. It has better transmit audio (I think) and better receive audio (I think), and it weighs half as much and cost $50 less than the Yaesu. (Sidebar: I use RTSystems to program everything.)

As far as I'm concerned Wouxuns are excellent performers and a great value. Moreover, there's a lot of hams who have become hams partly because they could afford a cheap $45 Baofeng. Other than the stupid sirens that jammers occasionally use, those cheap Baofengs have been good for the hobby, IMO.
 

prcguy

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I have Wouxun and Baofeng radios and the quality is very good, even if price is not in the equation. On the other hand everything I have purchased from MFJ that was made in the US is horrible quality and it all fails prematurely.

I do like to reward US companies for producing high end quality radios and the last four HF rigs I bought were from Elecraft and Tentec. I also bought a US made Commradio CR1 out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised with the design and features.
prcguy

the Chicommers are just doing what the Japanese auto makers did to take over the US auto market: flood the market with cheap cars.

Hams are cheap. I cannot believe the WHINING I hear about having to pay a lowly $30 for a programming cable and software for a $160 Yaesu FT-60. The same ham will go "wow, I can buy a Baofeng for $50 with free software and cable included". Hey, complain when you pay $285 for your software and another $265 for your OEM programming cable like I have 3 times over :wink:

At some point, just as the Japanese auto makers did, they will raise the prices of their products once they have gotten all the cheap hams hooked on their crack.

As far as quality, the truth is many of the Chinese radios are about on par with the Japanese ham gear. While the Baofengs and Wouxuns cut corners by using cheap masked ROM for firmware, so does Yaesu on many of their radios including the FT-60, FT-7900/8800/8900...want that PL decode bug fixed? Or the crossband repeat "open squelch" sound? Not gonna happen unless you write your own firmware and are good with SMD microprocessors.

There is no real profit in ham radio gear. The profits come from the accessory sales, or sales of other product lines. Yaesu (The Radio) retained their Standard Horizon marine and aviation line after the Motorola/Vertex Standard divestiture. Icom and Kenwood make most of their money in LMR and other product lines not related to radio at all.
TenTec sells government and commercial products, and also has a tool and die business.
 

Robinsmark

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And it wasn't just ham gear. I know your TV, DVR, entertainment system, computers, and auto electronics are all made in the USA.

And you could include test equipment makers such as Lampkin Labs, Cushman, Gertsch/Singer. And manufacturers of 2 way radios such as RCA disappeared. GE got out of the business.
 

nanZor

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I'd consider American made like Ten-Tec or Elecraft if I could actually get some hands-on at my local HRO like I can with the other brands. In addition, I actually like to support my local community brick-n-mortar store, even if it means paying a little more. This puts food on the table for the manufacturer and local distributor.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'll ever see a Ten-Tec or Elecraft available except only online.
 

W2GLD

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Hams that continue to buy cheap Chinese radios simply because they are cheap! Keep buying the Baofeng's, Wouxun's, CSI-700's, and now Kirisun's; you'll soon be saying goodbye to Yaesu, ICOM, and Kenwood as well; the writing is already on the wall... Even Mototola is loosing business to these cheap Chinese imports; yet, American's keep buying these cheap goods, many of which use stolen intellectual property and engineering to circumvent the costs; the Chinese are destroying the worlds economy!
 

SCPD

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So in a nutshell ,without firing a single warhead or bullet,they have won a war,Kudos ,China,Kudos!
Just like the Japanese,done right under your American noses.
Proud to be an Ameri-kan? duhhhhhhh. go buy a Wouxun! (personally I think they are garbage and belong in the trash can ,and so do the other Chinese crap radios)
 
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