National Amateur Radio Equipment Manufacturers Recommendation

Last week the National Amateur Radio Manufacturers’ Association met in Orlando, Florida.  The annual invitation-only event is an industry get-together of major companies that make amateur radio equipment where trends in technology, standards, and the overall direction of amateur radio is discussed.

This year the industry group released an official recommendation regarding amateur radio equipment obsolescence, urging all amateur radio operators to replace all their rigs on an annual basis.  Several manufacturers spoke about the recommendation and the reasoning behind it.

Elecraft spokesman Ed Jabloski advised hams to follow the recommendation due to performance concerns.  “We released the K3S in May 2015 to address the now mediocre performance of the K3.  The K3S, which is nearly a year old, is approaching obsolescence.  We intend on releasing the K3S+ soon in which we improve several key performance metrics by at least a two tenths of a dB.  Amateurs not using this new and modern technology risk their QSOs while using substandard and aging rigs, like the K3.  But also, regardless of new model releases, having new rigs each year will insure that you have the latest and best performance from new components and software.”

Kenwood representatives had a different take on the annual rig replacement recommendation.  “We see it as more of something that gives hams peace of mind.” stated John Finley, of the Kenwood sales and marketing group.  “Take for example the Kenwood TS-590S.  That rig had a RF output power spike bug.  While we have a factory modification to correct the power spike issue, we released the updated TS-590SG which doesn’t have the nasty power spike.  Do you really want to be on the air with a rig with a output power spike problem?  I mean, it’s just very, very risky….very scary.  If you have a TS-590S you really should destroy it and buy a brand new TS-590SG.  And really, do this each year with all your transceivers.  It’s irresponsible to sell old rigs on Ebay.”

Baofeng attended the manufacturer event for the first time this year.  “We already support the annual rig replacement methodology.” noted Alex Taylor, a US Baofeng representative.  “Our rigs tend to last about a year anyway, and getting a new, fresh rig annually is common for our customers.  We’re proud that we have supported the annual rig replacement initiative from day one.”

The recommendation will undoubtedly have radio amateurs scrambling to refresh their hamshacks with new rigs, and may have a positive impact on Dayton Hamvention 2016 vendor sales and attendee numbers.  All manufacturer representatives at the National Amateur Radio Manufacturers’ Association event stated they were ramping up production to be able to support the recommendation and meet the demands of hams.


Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to

17 Responses to “National Amateur Radio Equipment Manufacturers Recommendation”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    I already replace my rigs every year. Last year I replaced my old Wilson 2M handheld with an Icom IC-2A, and this summer I’m going to get a Drake TR-4 to replace my aging TR-3.

  • stewart km4apn:

    Kenwood,elecraft and like company’s need to get prices in check if they are recommending annual replacement of equipment for the average person like myself.

  • Nick aa7qk:

    can I have your old rigs?

  • Rory ZL3HB:

    What a load of old bull!!! Who do these guys think they are? Or we are! We ain’t that rich!!
    Old rigs work just fine and provide years of fun. Modern rigs are great for those that like software gear but I like real knobs I can actually use rather than try & remember where that menu option is buried.
    These manufacturers need to get a grip & find out what Hams really want – not what they want to foist on us.
    Life’s great down here in Godzown with our older but fantastic rigs.

  • Mitch N0DIM:

    Great post! Enjoyed reading it on this first day of April.

  • Lynn wh6erv:

    Radio manufacturer are starting to sound like cell phone companies. Guess this type of sales pitch will be effective with the Millennial crowd.

  • Mike N2DEQ:

    What a load of baloney! I can’t believe these guys really believe what they are stating. I don’t know what these guys are smoking, but I need to get some.
    If you make a good product it should last for years built with firmware that can be upgraded to improve performance or design glitches. If the manufacture has a design problem that cannot be corrected by firmware, they should step up to the bar with a no charge factory fix. We all know that technology changes and availability of parts after several years can be difficult, but buy a new rig ever year! Give me a brake!

  • Dave, K4CTV:

    I was surprised at the number of comments that actually thought the recommendations were real – some of the community must have forgotten it was the First of April!

  • Kelly N3hsy:

    Good one man can’t believe so many people fell for that one “Hook Line & Sinker”😂

  • Mike, , KEØGZT:

    tango, golf,india,foxtrot…
    alfa,papa,romeo,india,lima -foxtrot,oscar,oscar,lima


  • David WB4ONA:

    These “April Fools” posts are a true waste of time and bandwidth. Get a life…

  • Jerry VE6CPP:

    Great for the Ham Stores and Mfr.’s if anyone ‘Falls for it though’ ! ;o)



  • Warner K4UAT:

    Some folks don’t have a sense of humor!

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Even on April 2nd it started to take me for a ride.
    73, Mike

  • Bill W8LV:

    In a related story, the Big Three agreed to continue to release wholly incompatible Tower of Babel digital operating systems, now at a rate of every six months instead of annually.
    “Give them Version 1.1 of anything we cook up, and they will beat a path to our door!”

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