The death of the American ham radio industry

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4ZD, Jul 24, 2019.

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  1. KE0ZU

    KE0ZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maintaining the skills and tools of self sufficiency, be it as an individual or a nation, are the best defense against bad times, caused by economics, fammon, or pestilence. And of course those skills like all else in life are not free. Tariffs are but a small cost to help get our financial priorities back in order.

    Hopefully there will be a resurgence of Patriotism, Pride and self determination, like what was seen in the 80s.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    KA1SHU and NL7W like this.
  2. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Machines. And that’s a good thing.

    Technology advances allow less time to be spent on low level activities of any kind...from sending a message to building a canal to manufacturing.

    This creates more income and leisure time for those doing such activities. For those with skills that were displaced by the machines, new opportunities open up in service industries and such.
    WD4IGX likes this.
  3. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Flex radios are no more expensive than similar class Japanese rigs.
  4. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    IOW, "Would you like fries with that?"

    What happens to these corporations when they've off-shored or automated the last people who had the money to buy their junk?
    K8AI, KA1SHU, WD4IGX and 2 others like this.
  5. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Machines will do it, more cheaply and with much better quality and uniformity.

    As labor becomes more expensive, investing capital in machines makes more economic sense. This has already happened in countless situations in advanced economies. Workers don't paint or weld new vehicles anymore, robots do it. Even the remaining labor intensive steps in agriculture such as weeding and picking fruit are in the process of being automated because very few workers in an advanced economy will do those jobs for the wages offered.

    Take a radio. They used to be assembled from discrete parts with point to point methods by people using hand tools. Circuits were designed using hand calculations and slide rules. The few circuit boards used were laid out by a person using tape on a piece of vellum and photo reduced to make masks, and then boards, by several other people. Then someone stuffed the board, and someone else soldered it. And the parts took a lot of manual effort to produce as well.

    Now most of the circuitry is in chips made in huge volumes by automated equipment, based on computer simulations and designs by a relatively few people. The boards are multi-layer, simulated and laid out by one person using a computer, which are then produced by automated machinery. Depending on volumes, much of the final assembly is automated and very little needs to be done by a human.
    NL7W and KX4Z like this.
  6. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    The little uBitx series, assembled in India using modern pick and place machines (that might not be the right name) and with crystals hand-picked by otherwise-indigent individuals who create value by simply measuring and sorting crystals, is one example. The little radio has had its ups and downs! -- but it is continuing to improve and has been a fabulous tool for many amateurs in the "developed world" to actually learn what goes on inside of a radio.

    gordon kx4z
    WS4JM and N0TZU like this.
  7. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You and I agree on a lot of things Steve, but I have to disagree with you on this one. First, I don't think Ten Tec is making any commercial receivers, at least not the ones they show on their site. The reason I say this is because those are really old analog designs and the world has moved on, SDR are cheaper, faster, better, and I can't imagine a large scale need, or even a small scale need for old HF radios by anyone.

    Next, the Omni VII+ is left over inventory from the RKR buyout, the same stuff that RKR got from RF Concepts, and the same stuff RF Concepts got from the Ten Tec buyout. All they did was some final assembly and add a front panel, performance is identical to the legacy Omni VII, which is by the way, a very old design.

    Lastly, If you go to the Alpha web site, all of their amplifiers say "out of stock". I suppose they might be able to build one for you while you wait, but why do that when you can go to several other manufacturers and get a top quality amplifier right now, and for less money? You say they are clawing their way back, I honestly don't think their claws are long enough to get up and over the hill of obsolescence.
  8. AC3GO

    AC3GO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah I watched that theory play out at GE where I was a machinist.

    Robots were put in place of men. We had meetings with the brass telling us no one was going to lose their job.

    Good example:

    The line I worked on, called Crowns, which are the tops of giant piston heads for diesel locomotive engines.
    We had 12 men for all three shifts producing X number of crowns in 24 hours. The robots came in displacing Six men leaving just Three men to man the Crown line for all three shifts. Production went down 50% and the Nine displaced men bumped others until the bottom guys went on the streets.

    This happened to every line in that plant to the point Jeff Immelt--GE CEO at the time-- was calling out our plant saying, "did you people forget how to make diesel engines".

    I was one of the lucky ones with age and time GE bought me out and I retired for good. Since then Immelt was fired and GE sold that plant to Wabtec Corporation. 500+ people lost their jobs permanently. The remaining workers lost benefits including additional accruals of their GE pensions and had to switch over to a pension where you work till about death.

    Progress in action. Bring on the Robots and the American job future.:rolleyes:

    WD4IGX and W4NNF like this.
  9. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Global Economy...woo woo! "Shareholders" and corporations make the money now, not people unless they play the stock market.
    K8AI likes this.
  10. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You could be right. I'm trying to remain positive.
    Hoping TenTec does a better job of communicating... something akin to marketing.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019

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