Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Change of emphasis?

I have never owned a Ten-Tec transceiver (although I once built and used one of its transverter kits) but I always thought that the thing the company's products were most renowned for was their good support for CW operation and excellent QSK. So I was surprised to visit the Ten-Tec website a few days ago and see beneath the logo the slogan "The SSB Company." Obviously CW isn't seen as so important these days.

In the last couple of years Ten-Tec has dropped its kit range, its QRP Argonaut transceivers and most recently has been in the news for announcing that it will be rebranding the Chinese-made HB-1A QRP CW transceiver as a Ten-Tec product. I suppose someone somewhere has decided that this makes commercial sense but it doesn't seem to me like the way to hold on to a reputation as an innovative indigenous American manufacturer of quality radio products for the discerning amateur.


Theodore said...

Ten Tec are just the latest company to follow this path. I can't see this changing, and wish them well, although I suspect it will not end successfully.
It sounds like the "suits" have decided that a new motto will save a declining company, and this is usually where the trajectory takes on a ballistic character.
Perhaps Ten Tec has been outclassed by Elecraft who certainly have a great product, and are are still an American concern. Too bad, as it seems that Ten Tec may soon be joining those other great, past icons of American engineering.

In my opinion, its the fruits of corporate greed. Any gardener knows that if you only take out of the soil without giving something back, you will gradually get nothing. So it is with todays economics, if you take away all the local high tech jobs, who is going to buy your stuff.
Henry Ford paid his workers over the standard rates as he wanted them to be able to buy his cars.

Not many Ford's left today it seems.

Paul - PC4T said...

Hello Julian, though Ten Tec has a good reputation, when I look to their instruction videos on Youtube I lost my confidence. Bad quality for video and audio. It's a bit amateurish. It a shame that Ten Tec and Icom no longer have QRP rigs in their line up. I think there is a market for good QRP rigs. Now I bought a QRO rig but I prefer a QRP rig instead. There enough kits for monobanders and most of it CW. But I want a complete rig for a reasonable budget.

Jeff, KE9V said...

I have no idea why TenTec has chosen to position themselves as "leaders" in SSB rather than CW technology but here's a thought...

Among CW enthusiasts there are two camps; those who will purchase and use high-end gear and the QRPers. Of the two, it isn't difficult to believe that the QRPers comprise a considerably larger group. And you don't have to look far to see that they've spent much of the last couple of decades evangelizing about how well CW works at low power, with ultra simple gear, and with very marginal antennas.

I believe this has served to significantly devalue the market for higher-end CW equipment. Mind you, I can't disagree with that message, but perhaps the unintended consequence of all those mailing lists and blogs that promote QRP CW is to deliver a message to commercial vendors that there is no money to be made in this market segment?

If that is true, then a manufacturer like TenTec might look for very low-end CW equipment to sell (like the Chinese stuff) and position their higher-end offerings to a different market (SSB).

Just a thought...

73 de Jeff, KE9V

Dave said...

I think it's more of an attempt by Ten-Tec to broaden their market... they already have a (well-justified) reputation in CW circles, but they want everyone to know that their products are just as good on SSB.

I doubt they could build the equivalent of the HB-1A in Sevierville, so it probably is a decision to either go the re-branding route, or abandon that segment entirely.

73 de Dave, KQ3T