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Author Topic: Kenwood "Big Iron" Radio and Marketing  (Read 24075 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 6682




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« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2012, 01:53:06 PM »

A couple of comments. First, the deposit for the Flex 6000 pre-orders are refundable and has nothing to do with "keeping you from changing mind".

Maybe but you are less likely to change your mind with money on table. There is marketing statistics on this. (my daughter is a few months away from her masters in marketing and thinks it is shady) 

Second, these deposits are not "venture capital"...believe me as I'm in the venture capital business. Instead, pre-orders with deposits are an excellent way to gauge customer interest. This is particularly true with a new generation product if you are not a large consumer electronics product company.

Actually it is venture capital without the "venture" (having to pay a investor a return on investment) It is a sure sign of a company strapped for cash.

Third, if you're assuming Flex needs deposits to build the initial 6000s I don't know how you can make that claim. You don't have access to their financial statements or operating budgets. You're simply disparaging the company with willful speculation.

If Flex did not need the cash there would be no need for deposits. This is a no brainier. How many deposits has Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, Alinco taken? How many flex products have you seen given away and Hamvention???  Last year Kenwood gave away ten 590's and this year 5 more. You a simply looking at Flex with rose colored glasses. Time to take them off.

As for the "long battle with software because they lack funds to hire a proper software development group", again how do you know this? You don't. You don't know how staffing assignments are made per project and you don't know their development methodology or what tools are used. Yes, I too suspect the software team is relatively small. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Now to put this into some comparative context, Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood's amateur products divisions probably have larger budgets than Flex and possibly Elecraft, yet they too have been sluggish with firmware and software updates for their various rigs to address a variety of bugs. Consider that the USB drivers for Icom's IC-7410 don't support audio adjustment under XP and the rig has been on the market for over a year.

Several years ago i did some contract work for a company that built computer controlled test equipment. They cut corners on software support to maximize profits. If flex had deeper pockets and more programers and engineers they would have better resolved issues long ago. It is safe to say that Flex has shallower pockets than any of other major players by a wide margin.

On the example of Icom drivers for XP I personally do not see this as a big problem. XP is 12 years old and dying and from a programmer point of view you can easily support Vista and 7 with same basic code/drivers but not XP as newer OSes supports features that older OS does not and why waste time writing for a old OS that is on last legs of support from MS?  It is two generations removed and soon to be 3 generations removed.  I would be far more concerned if it DID NOT fully support Vista and 7. When MS went to Vista there was major kernel and driver changes as well to work with new shell/kernal. 7 is basically a tweak of Vista and so it is easy to support both.

Bottom line: all rigs and all vendors have their issues. Flex and Elecraft are no different. To get back to my original comment,  one doesn't have to spend $5000-$10,000+ for a rig with outstanding receive capabilities. A high-end rig doesn't have to be one of the more expensive rigs or require an Interstate weigh station to ship it.

Excuse me Flex is very different. How many complaints have you heard about other rigs compared to Flex? How many others are so RFI sensitive. Flex has always been a potential can of worms. You either love them or hate them. Flex's critical mistake was to depend on a user supplied PC to work. Not only because of widely varying PC configurations possible but also because of BIG RFI potential as well. If flex had only sold them with their own PC with enough resources and RFI hardened (system and cabling) they might have avoided a lot of problems.

Again time to take off rose colored glasses.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
WE1X
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Posts: 360




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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2012, 05:49:19 AM »

John,

Again you are taking liberties with use of language. Venture capital has a very expressed use...investment funds with the expressed purpose of a significant return on investment. That return is a financial return, not a radio. You can twist it, posture, dress it up any way you like and even take it out on a date, but you are wrong.

Again, you continue to be disparaging of a company without having any solid information about their finances, product management, development processes, etc. Maybe they are strapped for cash, maybe not. You can think what you want, but you don't know.

Maybe there's a reason Kenwood gave away 15 TS-590s. Maybe Flex doesn't have to. Yes, could be cash related, but then maybe not. Again, you don't know. By the way, how many Icom IC-7410s did Icom give away? How many Yaesu FT-2000s did Yaesu give away? Speaking of Yaesu and the FT-2000, here is a great example of a huge electronics company doing an incredibly lousy job with the design and implementation of their 3KHz roofing filter. Refused to acknowledge the problem. Yet, a couple of guys led by AC0C had the drive and ambition to develop an aftermarket solution using a Network Sciences filter.

How many complaints have I heard about other rigs compared to the Flex? Spend a few minutes with the FT-2000 Yahoo Group and the FTDX-9000 Yahoo Group. In both instances these rigs were close to being complete trash until (a) Yaesu finally came out with a major firmware upgrade for the FT-2000 (took a couple of years, but then again they're a big electronics company) and (b) the FTDX-9000 series went through major hardware and software upgrades under the threat of lawsuits and Motorola's instance the corrections being done (again after several years of user complaints, but then again they're a big electronics company)..

There are no rose colored classes worn here. Again, Flex and Flex radios have their issues like those from any other manufacturer. I go back to my repeated statement that one doesn't have to spend big bucks for a big radio to have good receiver specs.

You and I have taken this thread way off topic. Maybe it's time to give it a rest.

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W8JX
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Posts: 6682




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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2012, 09:17:20 AM »

Again you are taking liberties with use of language. Venture capital has a very expressed use...investment funds with the expressed purpose of a significant return on investment. That return is a financial return, not a radio. You can twist it, posture, dress it up any way you like and even take it out on a date, but you are wrong.

I am not twisting it at all. The "bad" thing about venture capital is investor want a return making it a loan of sort with interest and then some. By seeking big deposits for your products you as raising capital for your "venture" still only using a different venue which is interest free. Even if you change your mind later they still used your money in their "venture" interest free. Who would not like a interest free loan?

Again, you continue to be disparaging of a company without having any solid information about their finances, product management, development processes, etc. Maybe they are strapped for cash, maybe not. You can think what you want, but you don't know.

Their actions show that of a company strapped for cash. I could be wrong but I think Flex's early hey days are well behind it and it is a sink or swim situation. Being that they are privately held they can hide balance sheet. Lexis Nexis shows 3 full time employees.   

Maybe there's a reason Kenwood gave away 15 TS-590s. Maybe Flex doesn't have to. Yes, could be cash related, but then maybe not. Again, you don't know. By the way, how many Icom IC-7410s did Icom give away? How many Yaesu FT-2000s did Yaesu give away? Speaking of Yaesu and the FT-2000, here is a great example of a huge electronics company doing an incredibly lousy job with the design and implementation of their 3KHz roofing filter. Refused to acknowledge the problem. Yet, a couple of guys led by AC0C had the drive and ambition to develop an aftermarket solution using a Network Sciences filter.

Yes there is a reason they do not give anything away, it is call MONEY.  They cannot afford it. Giving away product is great PR specifically if they are good products. If you have a buggy or flaw product by design you would not want free one out there giving you a bad name

How many complaints have I heard about other rigs compared to the Flex? Spend a few minutes with the FT-2000 Yahoo Group and the FTDX-9000 Yahoo Group. In both instances these rigs were close to being complete trash until (a) Yaesu finally came out with a major firmware upgrade for the FT-2000 (took a couple of years, but then again they're a big electronics company) and (b) the FTDX-9000 series went through major hardware and software upgrades under the threat of lawsuits and Motorola's instance the corrections being done (again after several years of user complaints, but then again they're a big electronics company)..

You will find no other radio with such a "colorful" and troubled line. Yaesu or Icom or even Kenwood may of had a few models with issues over the years but not their whole line of radios.  Flex's software kinda reminds me of old Windows Me. Lot of eye candy but never worked as promised.

There are no rose colored classes worn here. Again, Flex and Flex radios have their issues like those from any other manufacturer. I go back to my repeated statement that one doesn't have to spend big bucks for a big radio to have good receiver specs.

Again flex radio has issue that not other brand experience in magnitude or frequency. They are VERY RFI prone and software buggy. Which other radio brands are so RFI sensitive or computer dependent and can suddenly lockup and reboot?  You cannot compare them to the other major brands because they do not have these problems.

You and I have taken this thread way off topic. Maybe it's time to give it a rest.

It started when someone tried to put Flex in same league as Kenwood....
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
K4CMC
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2013, 04:54:01 PM »

SRI but I agree with a lot of what is said about the FLEX problems.   For instance, they took years to resolve their CW latency problem despite hundreds of customer complaints.   I had an earlier FLEX 1000 that I never could get to work due to some driver issues and they were not much help, to say the least.   I have talked to numerous FLEX users who complain about major problems in the initial software setup of the FLEX radios.   When they are working most users seem to like them, but getting them to that point sometimes can be tricky.   You should not have to be a software engineer to use a radio.   While later versions of SDR software may be fine, I ended up selling the rig due to my major frustration.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 997




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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2013, 08:37:24 PM »

Another problem is now that many hams are such emotional delinquents. When they buy a product they dont want to criticize or say anything bad   about the products that they own. They become very
hostile towards others who raise the  faults of products that they own. Its made even worst by moderators of groups who deliberately resort to censoring  and curtailing any discussion  by any  individual who raises these issues.

The Icom IC7700 PA failure issues that  has been an ongoing problem It seems that Icom and its groupies are all trying to silence discussion on this issue. You cant  discuss this issue without being censored on various Yahoo groups. This kind of heavy handed tactic to silence critics has no place in open democratic free internet. It seems that these owners are more interested in protecting their investment than saving some poor guy from blowing his hard
earned money on a radio that has design faults.

We get better products by making them better by fixing up  and discussing design faults and issues. We dont fix these issues by being silent  or by  attacking those who report or who want to discuss these issues in a open manner.
People who try and censor discussions are behaving like ignorant fools who deserves the position that they hold because they are not being scientists or engineers but rather company lapdogs.
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AH6ZZ
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2013, 11:08:51 AM »

Remember that none of the major manufacturers sell their products in the US at Japan prices.  The TS-480sat sells for $1618 in Japan but in the US for under $1000 -- the 590 sells for $2352 in Japan -- when introduced was $1900 here and can now be purchased for $!500 and change.  Within a year the 990 will be somewhere under $6k.

Of course all of this is Monday morning fun.  I have my 590 and couldn't afford a 990 if I wanted one -- so I remain,

Happily yours

Tom ah6zz
Honolulu
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