Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4ZD, Jul 24, 2019.
Finally, a decent conversation!
What happened to US Radio manufactures is the exact same thing that happened to US TV manufactures. It has all shifted to Asian companies. Japan and South Korea crushed the US manufactures. Today shifting to China for the same reason. Money goes where it is welcomed and respected. It comes down to where it can be made cheaper, better, and faster. Today there is no TV or Radio that can claim to be made in the USA, it is impossible as all the components are made in Asia. 99% of all TV and Radios come from Asia markets.
This question was stirred up by Trump and Politics. On 2-23-16 Trump claimed radio and tv manufacturing was dead in the USA. Of course Dems object and pointed out 3 US manufactures of Tv's. Elements a manufacture who claims to be US made is a manufacture for Walmart and Target. The TV's are made in China, shipped here, inspected, have a Chinese made memory board installed, re boxed, and sent out for distribution. If Elements claim of 1000 sets a day are true would mean less than 1% of the USA market.
The other two companies Seura assembles TVs with screens that turn to mirrors when the sets are turned off, and waterproof units for use outdoors or in bathrooms. The other company Sun Brite, assembles waterproof outdoor sets that vary in price from $1,495 to $24,995, according to its website. It also makes jumbo screens that are used at Disneyland and Dodger Stadium. It also makes jumbo screens that are used at Disneyland and Dodger Stadium. Both of these companies only make the screens, all their components come from Asia and are high end niche market.
Bottom line is the USA cannot compete in consumer electronics period.
The older U.S. companies including Collins, National, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund made a lot of their money selling stuff to the government (defense agencies, embassies, et al.) and when contracts ran out and they found themselves unsuccessful bidders on new ones...oops.
The DoD and most U.S. government entities don't buy "offshore" unless they have to, when there's no acceptable American bidder.
Some of the smaller and even not-so-small American ham gear manufacturers died off when their founders died off, as there was no one at the helm to keep them going. Such was the case with Gonset, Clegg, Swan and Drake. Brilliant founders who were all engineers, but their kids weren't, or maybe weren't interested or maybe no kids, whatever.
Heathkit's founder died before they even got into the ham market, and they were highly successful for many years, but at least had a roadmap that worked and engineers to keep it alive. When those guys got old, retired or died...oops, again.
One thing about Japanese companies, they seem to have "long range" plans. No need to make a profit at first, just develop a name and reputation -- profits will follow eventually, and the path forward, including future generations, is all laid out.
Elecraft and Flex seem to be doing fine, and of course MFJ, while not a major "rig" manufacturer, has been amazingly successful in the ham market selling just about everything except big radios. Martin had a plan, and it worked. He's getting old and I surely hope has the roadmap to sustain the company once he's gone. He probably does, he's a smart man.
Ten Tec is trying to make a comeback, but it's been very slow. That's still in the "we'll see" category.
I have some JA rigs here. FT-736R for VHF-UHF, IC-9100 for HF/VHF, TS-850S just because it still works and I bought it new; FT-857D for mobile/portable; but "most" of my shack is all American-made stuff: 75A-4 which is nearly as old as I am; TR-7 which is 41 years old and works perfectly; T-T Jupiter which I use a lot; T-T Orion which I also use a lot; T-T C/21 "just because" it's cute, small, CW-only and reminds me of simpler times; Ameritron amps; Hy-Gain rotators; M2 and Tennadyne beams; U.S. tower; etc. I try to "buy American" when I can.
Manufacturing moving offshore and away from America has been going on a really long time and it ain't coming back. Best way to stay in the manufacturing business here is to develop products to sell to the government, rather than the general public. They have some restrictions which are helpful to American business.
I proudly run a FlexRadio in my shack. 100% designed made in Austin, TEXAS, USA.
I also own and drive two Teslas, made in Fremont, California, USA.
USA designed and made is still alive if you know where to look.
And have enough money!
"The death of the American ham radio industry"
The "death" of some the big names mentioned Hallicrafters, Collins, Heath, etc. happened some years ago. Today I would consider it more of a memorial service.
You can buy a Texas built flex today for less than a Japanese made IC7610.
If you have that much to spend. If you have a budget of $1000-1500 what US -made options are there for a serious piece of gear?
That’s a big big 10 four
A used Flex-6300