Yes, I could spend more and get an used all band but that would be out of budget. Anyway, just throwing this out because I think they are missing out on a large market....
The design, engineering, production, and marketing are known fixed costs -- whether it is $100 or $5,000 radio.They are not missing anything -- cost accounting & economics decides the marketplace.
The amateur radio marketplace in USA is about 700,000 -- the largest it has ever been. However, it is not a population with large disposable incomes (fixed income retirees, shrinking middle-class).
I do appreciate all the comments on this topic and it has given me much to ponder. I may still be wrong, but I still think there would be a decent market for a "Big 3" single band 10 meter ssb that could put out 50 to 70 watts and would cost somewhere between 150-200 dollars.(That's what a new 2m rig would cost you.)
The reason CB radios achieved the ~ $99 price in 1970s was volume (In 1970s, the FCC was processing over 2 million license applications a YEAR).
Interest in 10 meters peaks every decade, and then quickly fades as sunspots disappear. The "Big 3" know this, and its just not a good investment for "one hit" 10-meter radios with LOW profit margins.
Ever wonder why no one has developed a KIT of new circuit board and a handful of parts to take old CBs, strip them of parts to stuff in this new design board?No one desires to spend $100 for parts and then spend hours (couple of weekends building). You also have amateurs, born after late 1960s, with less technical skills as high school vocational programs were shuttered in 1980s with cutoff of federal $.
You can spend $100 to $150 for a Kenwood hybrid that was more features, and repair if broken.