Ten-Tec Sold to Mystery Owner


A post from John Henry KI4JPL (reprinted with his permission):

Thu, 3 Dec 2015 06:12:00

I wanted to bring people up to date on what is happening right now.

I had a discussion with the new owner last night, and I wanted to relay some information.

He is now officially the new owner of TEN-TEC.

He is planning the rigs and amplifiers and other accessory products to engineer and to manufacture for the coming year to cover the purchase and expenses for the year, working on the details of the various plans for service, sales, and marketing, etc.

Don’t underestimate the amount of time and planning and effort that this business strategy planning maintaining overhead etc stuff takes.

Learning lessons from the past to help the future of the company be more viable.

What will you see? and when?

Planning on having the OMNI-VII back in production in 1st quarter 2016, hoping to ship in 2nd quarter 2016.

Dayton, He will be there, going to try to get the same TEN-TEC booth/booths as possible. Showcasing the existing products, and possibly something new based on the existing products, time will tell.

He did say that he will either bring back the Orion II or have an Orion III. Time frame is tbd. could be as early as end of 2016 or Dayton 2017????

There might be improvements/changes to certain rigs, e.g. maybe there will be an OMNI-VII+ maybe an OMNI-VIII in a year???

The Eagle will go back into production some time after the 1st OMNI-VII run.

Prices will return to the original pre liquidation sale prices when the new website is up so that each will be at a point that will make enough profit to make the company viable. Other features will get added where possible.

TEN-TEC was actually shipping a $200 bill with every one of a specific model that it sold this last year.

There were so many ways that TEN-TEC has been hemorrhaging over the last couple of years, and even back a bit further, that changes will have to be made. Some the public won’t like, but then the alternative is that TEN-TEC would close forever.

Also remember, it was made public that the two owners of RKR were looking for a new owner, and how many stood up to say “I’ll buy it/fund it/save it”. This gentleman did and will do what he has to do to keep the brands alive.

There are plans to bring back some VERY good products, items that have been big sellers for TEN-TEC just a few years ago, and were profitable and have been requested for quite some time.

Also, there are still commercial orders coming in that will be there for maybe another year or two using the same RX331/RX340 platforms that will help him maintain a cash flow that will help realize amateur market production runs. There might be a need in the future to try to raise some more capital if certain plans come to fruition with commercial and FEMA customers, if those work out, may need to raise some cash to buy the parts, so there might be a gofundme funding campaign set up, where amateur customers can help donate to purchase the parts, and then part of or all of or x times the amount of the donation is taken off of their next order of a TEN-TEC product > a certain dollar amount.

No, don’t look for exchanging your $100 donation to cover 1/2 of a Rebel, that won’t happen, Talking a major product, e.g. an OMNI-VII, or a high powered amp….. To do this first class, we need a 200K capital infusion for a new factory building and some new equipment to replace what was liquidated if anyone cares to step up and accelerate our success. 400K would give us the facility, equipment and capitol to put everything back in production to a stocking basis and allow us to complete the Orion III. If 400 people will give us 1K each, we will commit to the Orion III of your dreams in 18-24 months and give you 2K off the target price of 5K as well as engrave your name and call on a plaque on the new building that says you helped build it and save TEN TEC.

Where do I fit in?

No, I’m not the owner, but I am going to do whatever I can in the evenings to ensure that TEN-TEC is a success. I want to see it be a success, and maintain what can be maintained of the people, and improve it’s image/products/etc back to where they were years ago. The owner is quite insistent that I remain intimately involved with TEN-TEC even if it is on a part time basis. It is my choice of how much or little I spend on TEN-TEC and the door is assuredly left open for me to come and go as I please. He wants me to be the VP of Engineering, but, well, time will tell how all of
this plays out.

I am also working on digital modes for HRD, so, my evenings are quite interesting.

In the future, who knows?

Where do you fit in?

Be patient, this is a total reboot of a company, ripping away the excess that bleeds it dry (e.g. high rent, using an MRP system that costs $$$$ monthly when something is already in place to take care of it, changing to a cost effective internet/phone system, so many “luxuries” will be removed and put in their place the necessities to get business going profitably), and building the business and products with the key employees to make it strong again. You build the employees, the employees build the company. But it will take time.

The products are there, the technology is also there for the future (some things that were in the works that no one in the public knows about) that the new owner has a plan to finish soon.

Actually, TEN-TEC does need to take the time it will take to make it a success. Otherwise if he runs headlong into this as was done in the past, he will fail. If people buy rigs and amps and tuners and other accessories elsewhere in the meantime, well, that is their decision. The market continually has new and continued customers. existing customers periodically look for something new, enough of a continual market that should sustain itself for years.

The new products coming out that are planned include continuances of good known technology, and of course some are a step ahead of what is in the market today, and you will see those in 1-2-3 years.

I will not divulge nor answer speculation on anything further than what I have stated above as to what products, when, etc. I can also tell you is that the owner has emphatically stated to me that this the last time Ten Tec will change hands for the next 15-20 years or so as he is my age and plans for us both to operate it until we are in our 70s or physically unable to continue, so Ten Tech could not be in the hands of anyone more SERIOUSLY long term goal oriented. He has wanted Ten Tec for a long time for the excellent DSP AGC technology built in to our transceivers so I
think it is safe to say that there will be future generations of the Omni, and Orion style units as finances permit. But again in order for this to happen it is critical that YOU support TEN TEC by purchasing existing TEN TEC products. Look for the Omni 7+ next year.

So, whereas he still wants to remain anonymous until his formal announcement in the first quarter, I myself am convinced that this will work, enough so to help him wherever I can, and so are the key core employees at TEN-TEC. If anything, our message at this time is please be patient with the negativity. There are other things happening behind the scenes which can not yet be publicly discussed before they are finished.

If this sounds like cheerleading, well, then so be it, I care about TEN-TEC, the people, the legacy, and will do what I can to make it a success, and, if this fails, well, we will give it a valiant effort.

Please understand that I have other commitments from now until Monday next week that I may not be able to respond/answer questions until then. But do realize, that I have disclosed about as much as I can for now. This statement came from a draft I created, and the new owner gave me inputs on, which items he felt like disclosing now, etc. So, there may be some he/I/our’s mixed up, but I hope the message from him is clear. TEN-TEC is something he is passionate about, and is committed to making it a success. Yes, there are trials and tribulations, but, he is convinced he
can do it, and I will do whatever I can to assist, and so will various core TEN-TEC individuals.

73, KI4JPL

John Henry

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

17 Responses to “Ten-Tec Sold to Mystery Owner”

  • Roger G3XBM:

    I wonder how many other companies are close to going under? It would not surprise me if this included some of the big names in Japan. The real threat in the future is from China. Here in the UK almost everything we buy says, “Made in China”.

  • Garold. N0fIB. No Fib:

    Never tried Ten Tec. Yet if hD what i needed for a good price. I would buy
    I have heard a lot of them on the air. And sound good

  • william - ka0rsn:

    Just a quick thought. I think if Ten Tec were to offer up some quality kits, transceivers, SWR meters, etc, at a decent price, that would be a quick way to start infusing some capital. I think the homebrew inclined people would jump on that quickly!

  • Joe Cro N3IBX:

    I wish you and Ten-Tec the very best of luck. I own many Ten-Tec products and would be real sorry to see the company go out of business. There are many of us who are very loyal to the brand!

  • k8bec:

    Good news! I have fell in love with TT and can’t wait to see what comes out in the near future.

  • David WB4ONA:

    Prices were outrageous before – and no, it wasn’t the “China Syndrome” that caused it. That said, I wish TT all the best. I will pay a premium for a home-grown brand. But only if it is first and foremost innovative and true value for money. I am a Capitalist, and proud to say so: May the best company win.

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    I’m a proud owner of a Ten-Tec Jupiter. I’d like to see them bring the Jupiter back with maybe with 6 meters added. The Jupiter has one of the quietest receivers out there. I would definitely buy another one.

  • John KB5HCT:

    I have heard many stories of the TEN-TEC of old, and have wished to own one until my eyesight declined to the point that I need assistance to perform the most basic functions. Unfortunately there is only one Japanese manufacturer that makes radios that are accessible to the visually impaired or blind ham. I hope that this rebirth will eventually lead to products that will allow me to fulfill my wish to own quality home grown radio equipment.

  • Brian KJ6PBX:

    I had not heard of Ten-Tec’s difficulties nor any liquidation but certainly hope the new owner enjoys a huge success. If the quality of old is there, along with an innovative product, I would certainly consider adding one to my shack.

  • Don, W4DON:

    Support and buy Ten-Tec rigs and save American jobs.
    Ten-Tec user since 1975.



  • Ten Tec acquired by Heathkit! Details at 11!


  • Don KB2YSI:

    I hope to have my TT 540 on the air in 2016, and wish the new ownership the best. I would love to have a modern TT too! That SDR QRP radio is quite interesting to me. It will be great to see what is to come.

  • Randy Prewitt, K4LJA:

    I feel good about Ten Tec’s future knowing that John Henry, KI4JPL will remain actively involved with the company. I grew up in Alcoa, TN — not many miles at all from Ten Tec. Best of luck to all involved. I have a ton of Ten Tec gear — and love it all.

  • Tim - K7XC:

    I love Ten Tec’s past commitment to solid performing CW radios. Early on a Century 21 was the first modern radio I owned.

    Their support of Legacy Equipment was second to none with any part of any vintage radio in stock. The latest owners sold off that trust and I hope the new owner’s can bring that back.

    Best of luck!

    73s de Tim – K7XC – DM09jh… sk

  • Chuck K8CPA:

    Why can’t he just tell us who he is?

    Why secrecy nonsense? Unless it’s a big fat lie, which I suspect it is.

    Besides all that, ten tec hasn’t made a good product in years. Remember that amp of theirs, the one that the bandswitch arced like crazy?

    Why bother with them? Let the thing die already…

  • John, W5LNI:

    I own a corsair II, an OMNI 6, and an Orion II, as well as amp and antenna tuner. TenTec is best CW equipment I have used. I am excited about the prospect that TenTec will return to the great customer focused company it was. I will be in line for the new Orion III.

  • James cook:

    I have a ten tec omni 7 which has a couple of issues. Am looking to have it serviced Do you service radios. thanks wd4iyi

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