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Author Topic: Game over for Icom/Yaesu HF Sales on the High end?  (Read 8904 times)
WA4D
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« on: September 08, 2012, 08:25:23 AM »

Recent  grumbling about the coming Kenwood TS-990 from the usual suspects in Ham Radio.

" looks nice but totally useless and uncalibrated."

"an S-meter is just eye candy"

Amusing observations gents. But  irrelevant. Kenwood did not make the radio for RF technicians.  

They designed and  built the radio for the vast majority of hams who are appliance operators.

Kenwood is a recognized market leader in building consumer ham radios. I  think it's highly likely  the Kenwood TS-990 will dominate the  high end market, for the foreseeable future. Just as the 830 did in it's time and the 940 (perhaps the most popular Kenwood radio of all time) did as well.

The vast majority of hams will be more than pleased with the feature set.  Real Engineers and the features they seek are relics in Ham radio.

Kenwood doesn't need any "luck" on this rig. They designed the radio with a specific and (unlike most ham manufacturers) FUN feature set. The retro visual display features are operationally insignificant but reflect that lots of hams like the "eye candy" deemed worthless by others.  

The 990 looks to be an IP addressable device. (One of the corporate videos reveals an IP/ DHCP  line in the menu). You mean you don't have to kluge together 3rd party gadgets for routine IP connecticity?!!!  

I'm betting AES and HRO among others are feeling the blues right now. As the drawn out introduction of the 990 continues, sales of the  Icom7800/7700  and the Yaesu 5000/9000 series must be "Dead in the Water".

Most Current Video HERE:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXKFyRf0X1o&list=PL32ECD38E86850C49&index=6&feature=plpp_video

mike/wa4d
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 08:39:09 AM by WA4D » Logged
G3RZP
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 12:28:00 PM »

Something that puzzles me is 'Where do all those old radios go?' There aren't that many new hams, so do people end up with several transceivers, do they part them out, do they rot in barns and garages, or do they go to landfill?
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NO2A
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 08:22:10 PM »

Good question. I`d like to know where all the Saab cars I`ve seen at dealers go to?... Huh
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TANAKASAN
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 01:04:27 AM »

Well, one of them is parked on my driveway. My first Saab lasted half a million miles and this one is still going strong at just under 200K.

Tanakasan
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NA0AA
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 07:52:42 AM »

Kenwoods and card tables just go together.

Somehow, I doubt that Yaesu/Icom are trembling in their boots because at last Kenwood has come out with a modern radio.

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M6GOM
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 09:02:30 AM »

Kenwoods and card tables just go together.

Somehow, I doubt that Yaesu/Icom are trembling in their boots because at last Kenwood has come out with a modern radio.

Really? So what is the TS590? The TS590 hammered FT950 sales and the Icom 7410 is hideously overpriced especially when it doesn't even come with any filters.
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KK4CPH
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 11:38:10 AM »

Something that puzzles me is 'Where do all those old radios go?' There aren't that many new hams, so do people end up with several transceivers, do they part them out, do they rot in barns and garages, or do they go to landfill?

I think they end up in the attic or garage and a couple times a year are brought to a hamfest in hopes of selling them for big bucks. 


Good question. I`d like to know where all the Saab cars I`ve seen at dealers go to?... Huh

To their rightful place... the crusher!  I've had 3 and will never buy one again!
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 05:42:18 PM »

I remember reading some pop science book about chaos theory and attractors and such stuff.
It said in the end, some situations are stable, while others are not.
One stable situation was two vendors who roughly split market share.
Another was one dominating vendor.
Nowhere did I see three.

If you think about it, it sort of makes sense.
VHS/BETA, Blueray/HDDVD, Microsoft PC/Apple Mac, IPAD/Others.

So if you take this into the ham radio world, it seems that Yaesu and Icom roughly share the market.
Kenwood is the "other" in this scenario, and would probably remain so unless they radically change their posture.
From the Ipad experience, it is possible to become a dominant vendor if conditions are correct.
But to become one of the two sharing, or one dominating, would require more than one product.

In the current economy, and since high end anything always has fewer buyers than the cheaper stuff, I wonder if this is enough.
Also, a company needs to have deep pockets and be willing to grow a user base over the long term.
If you don't last the distance, it will fail.

I am not anti-Kenwood (my favourite current rig is a TS430S!), but it takes more than one product to change a market.
Perhaps this is Kenwoods new strategy, and if so, I wish them loads of success.
But since it is early days, and sales are not even established, it is dangerous to see too much blue sky and wishful thinking.

BTW, I like eye candy too, and inbuilt IP connectivity is way overdue.

73 - Rob
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YO9IRF
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 10:02:42 PM »

BMW/Mercedes/Audi is an example of 3 companies sharing a market equally and in a stable manner, and it's not unique.

Back to ham radio though, the big 3 get most of their income from the cheaper products, not the top end contest-class expensive transcievers like this one. Kenwood is just as legitimate as Icom and Yaesu, their problem is they took a break from contest-class for 15 years, jumped the TS-970 completely and tried a different aproach with the TS-2000. That might have been OK for sales for some time but it wasn't good for the image at all, so they're back with the TS-990 to continue where the TS-950 left off.

It's normal that the sales drop a bit for a company when the competitor announces a new product, people are expecting to see what it's all about before pulling the trigger on the purchase, it doesn't mean Kenwood killed Icom and Yaesu; it is true though that the TS-990 will probably be the top dog for a few years, it's fighting 7-9 years old models from the competition and it will be some time until those will be replaced.
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W7ARX
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2012, 05:47:59 PM »

Something that puzzles me is 'Where do all those old radios go?' There aren't that many new hams, so do people end up with several transceivers, do they part them out, do they rot in barns and garages, or do they go to landfill?

Alot of folks just hang on to gear or sell it nowadays on Ebay where they can command a higher price (usually) then from some dealer that won't offer you much more then what pawn shops offer their clients.  Swap boards, are a possibility but someone really wanting your particular radio model will typically bid more then it's "blue book" price on Ebay.

I know a good number of ops that just hold onto their gear these days.  Then don't get much for them in a sale unless fairly recent model with very few hours, so they elect to hold them. 

Most dealers don't have much used gear and consignment sales are usually a good way to go either.  No refunds and not sure what you end up with.....
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2012, 02:02:14 PM »

Something that puzzles me is 'Where do all those old radios go?' There aren't that many new hams, so do people end up with several transceivers, do they part them out, do they rot in barns and garages, or do they go to landfill?

It had long been a mystery, so I followed some old rigs once and it seemed they all ended up in Africa, like the dying elephants.

That's a real shame because we could use more activity from Africa.  I think we should start sending some newer rigs there. Wink

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K0JEG
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2012, 08:57:19 AM »

I remember reading some pop science book about chaos theory and attractors and such stuff.
It said in the end, some situations are stable, while others are not.
One stable situation was two vendors who roughly split market share.
Another was one dominating vendor.
Nowhere did I see three.

73 - Rob

The marketplace isn't true chaos though. You don't buy based on flipping coins or random number generators, and sellers don't sell using those methods either. You don't know the reasons why Kenwood chooses to build and sell radios. It may have nothing to do with making money. I would think a certain number of their engineers in other departments are hams, and getting radios with the company logo might be  a source of pride to them. Not saying they don't want to make money either, but maybe they're willing to accept lower margins than with other products. And Kenwood's never been as big a player in any of their markets than say Sony or Panasonic.

And judging by the number of d7, d72, d700s, and d710s on APRS I'd say they aren't doing too bad.
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STAYVERTICAL
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 06:32:29 PM »

I remember reading some pop science book about chaos theory and attractors and such stuff.
It said in the end, some situations are stable, while others are not.
One stable situation was two vendors who roughly split market share.
Another was one dominating vendor.
Nowhere did I see three.

73 - Rob

The marketplace isn't true chaos though. You don't buy based on flipping coins or random number generators, and sellers don't sell using those methods either. You don't know the reasons why Kenwood chooses to build and sell radios. It may have nothing to do with making money. I would think a certain number of their engineers in other departments are hams, and getting radios with the company logo might be  a source of pride to them. Not saying they don't want to make money either, but maybe they're willing to accept lower margins than with other products. And Kenwood's never been as big a player in any of their markets than say Sony or Panasonic.

And judging by the number of d7, d72, d700s, and d710s on APRS I'd say they aren't doing too bad.


What you say is quite true.
There seems to be a lot of "stickiness" in purchasing decisions.
So you have the ICOM zealots, the Yaesu apostles and the Kenwood fanatics.
The same holds true in car purchases.

If you get good results with one manufacturer, many people stick with the status quo - until they get a bad experience.
Its like the old marketing paradigm " It's easier to keep existing customers, than to win new ones".

By the way, from a personal perspective I sort of equate Audi with Kenwood.
Nice car, but it does not have the three pointed star or the BMW front grill - which is what people really buy anyway.

73 - Rob
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 06:34:04 PM by STAYVERTICAL » Logged
N6YW
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2012, 12:46:09 PM »

Kenwood doesn't need the market share occupied by Icom and Yaesu. Kenwood's bottom line is consumer electronics, namely entertainment.
That's well noted. They are much more diversified in this regard. If Ham Radio died tomorrow, Kenwood would still be making money.
Kenwood produces a new radio as they see fit and they know the market will accept it. This strategy may irk some people but if you think about it, they are pretty savvy.
They don't have as much money tied up in R&D and manufacturing of numerous Ham Radio related products as Icom and Yaesu and they likely benefit from the warranty and service aspect.

Take a look at Yaesu. They have quite a lineup of gear in production and their own technological footprint.
The same holds true with Icom and God only knows what Icom has invested into the D-Star platform!
Personally, I don't own any recent Kenwood or Yaesu products except for my THF-6A which is still going strong 11 years after I purchased it.

I'm sure Kenwood has done their homework and the 990 will be a great radio. As to the remark about "appliance operators" allow me to comment. We should all be so happy for the "appliance operator". They keep our hobby and the radio business thriving. Not everyone can build a plate modulated AM transmitter from scratch but when you call CQ and a friendly voice pops out of your speaker, a great QSO is had and when it's all said and done, the last thing on your mind is wondering if that person was an appliance operator. In fact, that term is very base and a slap in the face to some very earnest participants in our wonderful hobby.

73, de Billy N6YW
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N6JRZ
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 08:22:53 AM »

A very nice rig indeed however, I think it will be way too expensive for the average ham with a mediocre income such as myself. I believe the new Yeasu FT 3000 will be the better seller at a reasonable price. Last I heard, it was going to be available for just under 3k where this new Kenwood will most likely be in the 5k -10k price range. I hope I am wrong on that price range because if I could get this new Kenwood for under 3k, I would.
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