HamRadioNow: Making a $mall Fortune in Amateur Radio

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KN4AQ, Mar 6, 2017.

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  1. KN4AQ

    KN4AQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    HRN 309 Small Business POSTER SQUARE 250.jpg
    Dave Bottom WI6R (upper left),
    Jim Trapani KA2MBE (upper right)

    HamRadioNow had a booth in the 'high-priced' exhibitor area of the 2017 Orlando HamCation (thanks to the generosity of Chairman Peter Meijers... and a cancellation by another vendor... because I hadn't arranged for a booth this year). That's the area where they set up drapes behind and between the booths, supply AC power, and you're likely to be surrounded by truly 'commercial' vendors rather than flea-market bins. I set up the SIB (Studio in a Booth) there and recorded several interviews.

    I had one of those classy neighbors on either side: TuneMatic, which makes controllers for 'screwdriver' type motorized antennas, staffed by owner Jim Trapani KA2MBE on one side; and Arlan Communications which manufacturers RadioSport Headsets, staffed by owner Dave Bottom WI6R on the other. They both were doing brisk business throughout the fest, but things slowed down enough late on Sunday to bring them together for a conversation about small business in Amateur Radio.

    Both sell high-quality, somewhat expensive products (let's say they're more than an 'impulse buy' price), and I was a little surprised that neither had any complaints based on the general characterization of hams as 'cheap'. Their products sell well, with plenty of customers who appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into them. Dave said he has to put a cap on growth to avoid outstripping resources.

    Their stories lend an insight into the origin and operation of at least these two small ham radio businesses.

    AD4AR and IX1FIT like this.
  2. K5VOU

    K5VOU Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is an old saying in the business side of amateur radio that goes like:
    "To make a small fortune in amateur radio, start with a large fortune and then get out after 5 years of losses."
    Tom K5VOU
    one of the founders of ICOM and Encomm (Original importer of Santec, KDK, Tokyo Hy Power, Welz, Diamond Antenna)
    KE4HTS, K8JAM, WA5M and 7 others like this.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's how to make money in ham radio--do a 'airbnb version' of remote radio.

    First RHR, the premier remote provider, is da nutz, but because the fixed costs are necessarily high (superstations involved) , the customer base is somewhat small. In fact, that is perfect, because if customer base gets TOO large, access to stations will be frrstratingly limited. Right now its perfect,and the guys at RHR are doing a tremendous job. Kudos!

    But think about all the elder hams in limited living environments: senior homes, assisted living, apartments in-kids- home, etc. They want HR access and will not be doing RHR.

    If someone designs a turnkey system with remote boxes that tie into 'airbnb-like' remote stations (not super stations), and charge less than 10 cents a minute, these elders will sign up in droves. These remote stations can be 100 watt with dipoles or modest beams--no superstation needed.

    Call it: "AIRTIME"
    KB9WVK likes this.
  4. AF7TS

    AF7TS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Figuring out how to use the 'sharing economy' for ham radio might make money...and it also might provide an improved 'path to license' by setting up systems allowing 'remote third party' and 'remote elmering'.

    However it will need to be more than simply a cheaper, lower end version of RHR. Right now, for free, you have:

    I have thought that there would be an opportunity for clubs to set up up remote operation shared stations, in much the same way clubs share the upkeep of repeaters. The benefit would be a better station than you could afford on your own, and no worries about what to do with the setup when you leave this earthly QTH. Perhaps pre-building packaged remote stations would be a business opportunity.

    W1YW likes this.
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Jon,

    The Elecraft system is great, but most of the users, at both ends, may not be elecraft equipped.

    Free is great, but you often get what you pay for. OTOH setting UP clubs specifically to do this is also a great idea.

    Chip W1YW
  6. KN4AQ

    KN4AQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    C'mon, Tom... I tell that joke in the first three minutes of the show! Ya gotta watch at least that much before you drop in to make a comment.
    W4ABC, N4AXE and K9PLG like this.
  7. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great show Gary. Great guests. Thanks all.
  8. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good interview!
  9. K3RW

    K3RW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would be even better if someone had a great setup like Airbnb and I could rent a cabin for a night and use their beam. I doubt many hams want people running amps on their stuff when they're not around, but I wish I had a friend with a lot of land, a big beam, and a lot of patience.
    W1YW likes this.
  10. K5FUV

    K5FUV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amen to that!!
    Bill, K5FUV

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