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TEN-TEC Announcement January 4, 2016

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KI4JPL, Jan 4, 2016.

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  1. W9RDC

    W9RDC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, sure, but what's there does nothing to make me feel comfortable buying one of their radios. You say, "they have radios in stock now". My impression was that those are the same radios that have been in stock since they closed their doors. According to Mike they haven't even ordered parts to begin new production, pending receipt of a sufficient number of new orders. If they don't have the parts to produce radios, why should one think they are equipped to handle any potential repairs?

    I don't know. It's great that Mike has the passion and interest to try and revive the brand of what was apparently one of the better quality radios on the market, but I'm just not getting the impression that it's going to work. It will be a shame if that's the case.
  2. K4CDN

    K4CDN Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I saw mention the TT booth looked deserted at Dayton.:(
  4. KN4RA

    KN4RA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Any news on Ten-Tec? I am wishing Mr Dishop success.
  5. AA4OO

    AA4OO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This was posted by Mike to the TenTec contesting group a couple of weeks ago:

    Greetings Friends and Fellow Ten Tec Enthusiasts,

    I wanted to update you on what is happening in Sevierville. The Smokey
    Mountains are literally fogged in with smoke in some places as Tennessee has
    many wild fires burning. I was there two weeks ago and have never
    experienced anything like it. Driving down Jellico Mountain on I75 it became
    literally IFR conditions with near zero visibility from the smoke. As some
    of you know Ten Tec has been occupying office condominium space behind the
    site of the former factory where now a Wal-Mart Express is sitting. This
    site is not appropriate for our needs. Starting last week, we are moving
    out of this location into a more industrial friendly space. Unfortunately
    this location is not zoned for commercial walk in traffic, so the days of
    someone showing up at the factory door unfortunately have come to an end.
    After an entire year of searching for any possible opportunity to move, this
    is all we have been able to come up with. Commercial real estate is
    completely out of control in Sevierville county because of the tourist
    industry, and unless we have about a half million dollars to invest in the
    factory location you can just forget about it. Ten Tec is "too small" to
    receive any incentive, tax breaks or help from the local so called "Economic
    Development" office.

    My opinion is that the State and local government of Tennessee is about as
    economically unfriendly to a small business or start up business as is
    possible. For example, in other counties in TN the standard is to create 10
    new jobs to get any incentive. Sevier County arbitrarily requires 25 jobs.
    By my calculations, 25 jobs would be around a million dollar pay roll if the
    jobs averaged 15 dollars an hour to the employee with a 25% more overhead to
    the employer. Any business having that kind of payroll better have about 10
    million in gross receipts which would put it at DOUBLE the IRS definition of
    a small business and QUADRUPLE the IRS definition of a micro business, so it
    is obvious that the economic development offices do not have any mandate
    whatsoever to support or help ANY small business reason the scale of an
    individual person's finances. The fact that Ten Tec must have contributed
    millions of tax dollars to the local economy over the last 50 years means
    nothing. In many states, these economic development offices are partially
    funded by the local Chamber of Commerce. It is my opinion these offices
    function as intelligence gathering units to forewarn their members of any
    possible competitor entering their area. If small business is truly the
    economic growth engine of the United States it is apparent to me why we have
    growth problems if we depend on these organizations to help us as

    It seems ironic that the company named TEN TEC for Tennessee Technologies
    can't get any assistance at all in Tennessee considering the state's
    advertising of their "Tennessee Technology Initiative".

    If you are wondering why I wrote all this above it is to head off the
    endless string of expert recommendation that I contact TVA and the local
    economic development. I've done it and nobody is going to help Ten Tec in
    the State of Tennessee.

    To get back on track, I stated above we are moving the remainder of this
    month. You all know what that means. Service will be slow this month.
    Robert decided not to have you send in radios this month so we wouldn't have
    to move them. There is no cause for alarm or speculation. Service will
    continue just as soon as we are moved.

    I hear and read all kinds of gossip and complaints and this and that about
    our service, and none of it even close to accurate. We have serviced
    hundreds of radios this year and have a bunch of happy customers. You will
    see in the reflector some guy complaining or saying he is worried and then
    five people saying everything was fine. I'm so sick of it. Really it is so
    frustrating, especially when some of you call or write me up in Ohio about
    your twenty year old radio. I can't help you. I'm not in Tennessee. The
    people there run things and do their job essentially under Boyd's
    supervision. I don't want to sound condescending or aloof or unreasonable or
    unfriendly but please see this from my perspective. There are thousands of
    you and one of me. I am responsible to run this company and pay the people
    who work here whose families depend on me. I am an electrical engineer and
    my time needs to be spent getting the new products developed and out the
    door, not with a dial string for your old thing that I neither sold you or
    received any benefit of selling to you. Can you directly call the president
    of Icom? Does Eric answer the telephone when you call Elecraft? It is just
    not possible for me to answer every email and every telephone call about
    service issues. If you call me at Dishtronix and leave a message asking me
    to call you about your Ten Tec I'm not returning your call. If I answer I'm
    going to tell you we have put up the procedure that you email
    service@.... Yes, I have a telephone at Ten Tec and no, you can't
    have it.

    We are short staffed because we do not have sales volume at this time to
    support a large overhead. This way, Robert can go through all of the email
    and respond at one time in the morning, then spend the rest of the day
    shipping radios and parts orders without being interrupted. He is there
    three days a week, so you don't get answers on Monday or Friday. Sure, I
    know some of you don't like it. There is no need to tell me about it. I
    don't like it either, but until we start having a lot more cash flow that is
    the way it is going to have to be. For those that complain about how long it
    is taking, please understand this is a million dollar endeavor and money
    like that just doesn't grow on trees, at least for me. Of course any of you
    wealthy gentlemen looking for a good cause to donate some money to - I
    would love to have the cash on hand to turn things around tomorrow. Until
    then I'll be working 16 hours a day seven days a week with no days off and
    scrimp and save and spend carefully and build up slowly just like every
    other hard working guy has to do.

    What I am going to try to do next is set up sort of an email hotline for
    critical cases with Bob if he will do it. I just thought of this and have to
    talk to him about this.

    OK, enough about that. Let's get on to some better stuff. Many of you know
    that under RFC and RKR Ten Tec quit doing their PCB assembly in house.
    Those of you who have known me over the decades at Dishtronix know my shop
    suffered heating issues that made it tough for the machinery to run in the
    end of January to February arctic blasts. Well, I have a new and very nice
    double insulated, heated and cooled free span metal building where I've
    moved my PCB assembly operation and this is something I'm very excited
    about. The building has a metal skin totally covering the inside with good
    overhead fluorescent lighting and conduit encased electrical outlets every
    12 feet around the perimeter. I have retired the older Contact Systems
    placement machines in favor of newer MYDATA (Micronics Sweden) placement
    machines. I installed the first MY9 machine this last June and have been
    using it to build boards for the RX340 commercial orders we have been
    fulfilling. Ten Tec did have a MY9 when they were building boards in house.
    The MYDATA machines are the choice for high mix medium volume production,
    especially when equipped with the Agilis quick change feeder system. Feeders
    usually cost more than the machines in this business, and I've been growing
    my collection all year. I am about a third of the way to having the
    collection of feeders I would like to have.

    Earlier this month I got lucky and was able to purchase the bar code
    software which will allow me to load and unload components from the machine
    by just scanning with the barcode reader, and it is done off line. It will
    help with inventory control and component management which is a real
    nightmare considering Ten Tec has over 7000 different line items.

    TheMY9 machine has a capability to hold up to 96 different components and
    has a single mounting head. As I write this, an air ride big rig is getting
    closer and closer to Ohio, hauling a MY19 machine in from San Francisco
    which can hold an additional 160 different components (total 256 8 mm tapes)
    and has 8 mounting heads! Hopefully this machine will be brought online
    successfully and not be damaged or in bad shape as I've bought it sight
    unseen. I've also moved the 8 zone, lead free capable, pin chain conveyor
    equipped Electrovert Bravo 8105 oven to the new building last weekend. This
    gives us the capability to process double sided surface mount and the
    ability to reliably process BGA chips. I've also purchased this summer but
    not yet installed an X ray machine to do 100% inspection of the BGA reflow
    soldering process. With the existing equipment (stencil printers, board
    washers, etc.) this will give us what I believe is the most well equipped
    and modern PCB manufacturing of any amateur radio manufacturer in North
    America. I believe the other guys outsource their board assembly. It may
    be the smart thing to do, but I personally prefer to buy and house my own
    components in house and to have total control over my assembly process. I
    find it requires more time to outsource and get constant bids for things
    like this than to just own the equipment and do it myself. I think you get a
    better product at less cost.

    Of course the best reason in my opinion for doing it all in house is I can
    do as small of a production run as I want, IF I am willing to spend the time
    to set up and do it. Hence the decision for the quick change capability of
    the MYDATA system.

    So, all in all what this means is the Phoenix is rising. I am rebuilding Ten
    Tec and preparing to do some serious manufacturing, which brings me to my
    next point.

    Most of you know we have been bogged down and overwhelmed with the
    commercial side of our business this last year since I officially assumed
    the helm in January. With trying to replenish the hard to get / long lead
    time / last time buy / obsolete parts, rebuild the PCB assembly
    operations, moving, and so on we just haven't had the horsepower to build
    any amateur transceivers. Well, the good news is we have caught up on our
    commercial contracts. Be glad we did this. You know all the stuff I wrote
    about above? The commercial contracts paid for that. Without this TEN TEC
    would not exist right now. We are at a very important cross roads right now.
    What do we do next?

    Some of you know we are developing new products. Those are still off on the
    horizon. What I need to know is how many of you would purchase Eagles if
    they were available? I'd like to do a run of 100 of them next. It is a
    great radio. I like mine every bit as well as my Orion II. The DSP
    function is superb. We have to talk a little bit about price. When the
    Eagle was launched it was a $2100 radio with no accessories. You all know
    the story of the blow out sales and the liquidation as the previous owners
    sold everything that wasn't nailed down on their way out. Some of you got
    fully loaded radios for $1299 or whatever. You know they didn't even cover
    their assembly cost on that, right? Some of you got real bargains. Of
    course only the last 35 radios or something were sold at that price but you
    get the point. You will never see a price like that again. If I have to
    sell an Eagle at that I will close and lock the doors and be done with it.
    A strip model needs to sell at 1699 at least. The more you are willing to
    pay for a radio the faster the new radios can come out. We want to build
    radios and sell them so we can keep the production team in place so we can
    meet the demand when the new radios come out. Everything we do tomorrow
    depends on how much you support us today.

    I'm certain some of you have heard that I and two partners acquired Alpha
    and that I've been officially at the Helm since August. It is a separate
    company from Dishtronix / TEN TEC. Of course I will be building the circuit
    boards for those products as well. I'm after something business people call
    economy of scale, essentially having enough product flow through the doors
    to totally occupy the machines and infrastructure. I'll be making a post on
    that reflector as well to update those customers also.

    By the way, we do have RX340s available to build on short notice now. Let me
    close by wishing you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving holiday, one of my
    favorites and of course the reason I see my dentist in November for my
    pre-feast tune up.

    The Sevierville team and I appreciate your support for TenTec, where we
    believe we are once again Making America Great - One Radio at a Time.

    KS9Q and KN4RA like this.
  6. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wish him the very best, I hope this works out.
  7. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, instead of bellyaching about Sevier County's substandard commercial space and "business incentives", why not move? You have Blount, Knox, Jefferson, Cocke, and Hamblen counties adjacent and within easy commute distance, if that is even a factor. Surely one of them has a suitable building for rent plus the ample corporate welfare that you seek.
    K8AI likes this.
  8. WB4YAL

    WB4YAL Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't want to sound cruel but I tend to agree with Steve. I come from that area and maybe Sevierville is not the best option. If I were trying to make a go with a business in that area, I would make contacts with some of the other counties. Then make the trip down there to work out a better deal for Ten Tec. If Sevier County feels no loyalty for Ten Tec, then Ten Tec should feel no need to continue business in that county. As the old saying goes, "It's nothing personal, just a business decision."
    KN4RA likes this.
  9. WA4CZD

    WA4CZD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's a lot of machining & manufacturing to the W. on the Plateau - Putnam, Smith, White counties...I'm sure one of those counties would be more receptive than Sevier.
    KF5JOT and KN4RA like this.
  10. KN4RA

    KN4RA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is leaving TN an option?

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