Posts Tagged ‘China’
Up to now, the Japanese “big boys” such as Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu have pretty well dominated the amateur radio market, but the Chinese are on the march. Only last month I bought a 30W pep all mode rig for 10m: this was made in China. See also yesterday’s post about 40m Pixie kits at ridiculously low prices.
Be in no doubt: within a few years we will see the amateur radio market flooded with quality products made in China with low prices. At this point, the traditional Japanese brands will die out or be made in China. By the next solar minimum in around 4-5 years time the dynamics of the commercial amateur radio market will be very different. The writing is already on the wall.
Up to now most Chinese amateur products have lacked the finesse of Japanese products but this is rapidly changing. We are fast approaching the time when Chinese made amateur products will be every bit as good as Japanese products, but at very much lower prices.
In the end competition is healthy but this is likely to result in the death nell for all manufacturers not in China. We could well see the death of Ten Tec and Elecraft unless they design in the USA and make in China. The volumes of loyal customers who would be willing to pay USA manufacturing prices would be far too low, sadly.
Of course, we have already seen this with most consumer products and white goods. In the end, China will become too expensive and we will look for slave labour rates elsewhere. Sadly we live in a very odd world. This cannot go on for ever, but we are all complicit. At the moment we are exporting most of our manufacture to China.
This came in from Steve, G1KQH, today. It is often cheaper to buy the completed, built modules from China than to buy the parts in the UK! What is the world coming to?
I bought 5 LM317s on PCB with heatsinks for a fiver:
x-LM317-Adjustable-Voltage- Regulator-Step-down-Power- Supply-Buck-Module-Board-/ 221577652687?pt=UK_BOI_ Electrical_Test_Measurement_ Equipment_ET&hash= item33970ea9cf
Why bother building it any longer, that used to be half the fun! The heatsinks would of cost a Quid each over here, never mind the LM317 and the PCB with connectors..
73 Steve G1KQH
See http://www.aliexpress.com/store/331885 . This website has some very low cost rigs for sale. An example is a 40m Pixie at around $10 post free. You’d be hard pressed to buy the individual parts for less!
UPDATE 1430z: I have just ordered a 40m Pixie kit from them. Should be here in 2 to 3 weeks time. I hope I can manage to build it with my clumsy soldering currently.
UPDATE 2000z: G1KQH has found the same Pixie at an even better price:
Greetings RogerI could of saved you a fiver out of your pension but you had to rush in:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DIY-
KITS-PIXIE-HAM-RADIO-HF-40M- CW-QRP-TRANSCEIVER-7-023-7- 026MHz-/121521131018?pt=LH_ DefaultDomain_0&hash= item1c4b394e0a
Last week, BBC’s Panorama programme did a frightening documentary on factories used by Apple in China and on their tin supply chain in Indonesia. If such poor conditions are used by Apple, many other products will be produced in even worse conditions. As a user of Apple products I am appalled.
Of course, we in the West milk the low costs that such poor working procedures/conditions permit. With time, conditions will improve and the West will look to other low cost manufacturing areas for our low cost products. Sadly, our greed feeds this process.
Frighteningly, other products we buy are probably made in places that are far worse.
Andrew G6ALB tells me of a friend in the automotive industry who visited a Chinese supplier where he found workers using ordinary sun glasses to protect eyes from welding gear. After 6 months the workers were totally blind. So they just got fresh workers to replace them!
Thanks to Steven G7VFY for most of this information.
UPDATE 1740z: Sadly many (most?) of our electronics components will be made in sweat shops in the Far East. It is very hard to get away from this problem.
G1KQH informs me this Chinese transceiver is available for an introductory prce of £399.99. Personally I think this is MORE than I would expect. To me it still looks like a “back shed” design. I notice this supplier has sold out.
This is an introductory price for the basic version without TCXO and noise blanker. The FT817ND is now available for well below £500 with cash back offers and, to my mind, is a well proven MF-UHF design.
The X108 claims ” minimalist industrial design”. Read NO industrial design in my book! Still waiting for the Chinese “killer” radio to out-smart the Japanese. This, in my opinion, is not it.
G1KQH has told me that the 9-band multmode transceiver, the X108 from China, can now be ordered on-line.
Personally, I’d prefer the FT817 but, even with shipping to the UK, taxes and duty , the price is attractive, even if the product looks rather ugly (to me). It still looks “back shed” design to me. Personally I’d rather wait until the Chinese are really there with their designs. Others may disagree, but the industrial design of this product certainly lets it down.
Also, this is a kit, but with very little soldering.
Steve, G1KQH has sent this link about a new Chinese multi-mode transceiver. See http://www.brickolore.com/ . Prices start at 2800 Yuan apparently. It is called the Xiegu X108. There is a video and some pictures of the rig.
To my mind, this still looks like a “back shed” radio, rather than a mature, well engineered and thoroughly well tested radio. I may be wrong. I am still waiting to see when the Chinese launch a proper Yaesu or Icom competitor. These will come but I’ve not seen one yet. Maybe in the next 12 months?