Where does the money come from???

For some time now there has been a rumour of a new radio coming out from Kenwood.
In Japan Kenwood is anouning a new addition to the family of radios. They are saying the TS990S will be released Feb 2013.  It's a great radio with many features and great specs...but it comes with a very steep price tag.....9,138.78. I am just not sure how folks come up with the cash for rigs like this.

View of the TTF on the TS 990S
For more spec's TS 990S
Independent DSP filtering for each receiver
7 inch TTF display
3.5 inch TTF sub display
independent receivers
Updates via the internet

Below are some rigs with similar spec's and price tag to boot.
IC 7800
200 watts
independent receivers
7 inch TTF screen
FTDX 9000D
Has a TTF 6.5 inches
200 watts
Sub receiver
Of these and other companies who offers rigs under 2,000

Yasue has 5 HF radio's under 2,000 and 9 rigs above, Icom has 4 rigs under 2,000 and 4 rigs over. (not including IC 7100 as it's not out yet) Kenwood has 5 under 2,000 and one above. Ten Tec 4 rigs under 2,000 and 2 rigs over. As for Elecraft 2 rigs under 2,000 and no rigs over 2,000 ( I did not include the kit rigs as with Ten Tec as well)  Lets not forget Flex radio they have 2 rigs under 2,000 and 3 over 2,000 this includes the just released 6500 and 6700 series rigs. The market for Amateur radios under 2,000 is fairly decent but that still is a steep price for a rig. Lets not forget with a lot of these radios there are extras that may have to be purchased to have the rig you want. So just as there are Roll Royce and Bentley's so there are also the high end radio gear and they must sell  or they would not produce them.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

8 Responses to “Where does the money come from???”

  • Jeff KK4ETK:

    I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’m struggling to get my shack setup for less than $500.00! I made my own antenna, and I’ve been making my own stuff from kits. 4SQRP has been a mecca, as has Mr. Hendricks. Unfortunately, other than my Baofeng UV3 I have no radio yet. Really wanting to get on HF and not knowing CW yet, I’m struggling to find a kit for under $100.00. In the end I’m going to build a BitX20.

    Are sales figures for these types of rigs posted anywhere?

    My point – I wonder how many new hams (or prospective hams) see the glossy advertisements, look at the prices for these types of rigs, and just decide amateur radio is to expensive? There are plenty of sites on the Internet where hams “paying it forward” post schematics and plans, but for a budding ham like myself they’re still in a language I barely speak. Again, do some future hams look at prices, technical schematics and just say “to complex or expensive”?


    I agree 100% . The companies are making radios that are unafordable by most all hams . The used market is where to find a good deal . I am sure that Kenwood will sell these to different militaries and governments . They will be the big buyers . I would rather have money in the bank and food on the table .

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Jeff, I want to start off by saying welcome to ham radio and you are going to have a blast!! As for the rigs I started off with some used gear, one reason being the price and the other I was not sure what part of the hobby I wanted to spend a lot of my time in. (CW, Digi or SSB) Once that was looked after (and it’s CW) I was then able to fashion a rig for my needs. It is true as you said the spec sheets are very impressive but they are to me as well in another language!! I guess that is the tech side I have yet to grasp in the hobby. Jeff keep me posted if you find a kit and it’s true it is hard to find one under a 100.00. Learning CW has it’s moments but one you get the hang of it….it’s a great mode. There are many clubs on the net that are more than happy to mentor you along your CW journey the FIST club has a buddy program for learning the code. Look FIST up on the net and see what you think of the buddy program.
    Thanks for stopping by the blog Jeff and have a great week.

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Hello Chuck, funny thing there is a market out there for these rigs and all the radio companies do their homework before investing time to design and build these radios. It’s true food on the table and in the bank is very important for sure. One way I found to get the funds together for a mid range rig was to look around the shack and sell the stuff that is just sitting there taking up space….you would be amazed how much $$$ you can get.
    Thanks to taking the time to comment Chuck and have a nice week.

  • LarryW2LJ:


    I have always wondered the same thing. I remember back to times when I would listen to the local 2 Meter repeater and would hear guys talk about having the latest mega-dollar rig and then getting rid of that for yet the even latest mega-dollar rig. These guys were changing rigs on a schedule like the rest of us were changing our underwear – it seemed like every day!

    I had my Novice rig for a year. When I upgraded to General, I got my next rig, which was a Heathkit SB-104A which I built myself. I had that for many years until I sold it to buy an Icom IC-751A that was on close out. I had that for 10+ years until I bought my K2 (which took me over a year to save up for) and I had that for 8 years until I got my current K3, which I bought with some money my Mom left me.

    I’ve never owned anything like a IC-7800 or “super rig” of that type. I have no idea how anyone could afford one of those. I suppose if you’re a retired brain surgeon or rocket scientist and the kids are all grown up and the house is paid off …………..

    73 de Larry W2LJ

  • k8gu:

    Rumor has it that Icom sells less than 100 IC-7800s per year in the US. There is a certain segment of the population with high-end tastes. They drive expensive cars. They wear expensive clothes. Some do it for the status symbol, some do it because they like the performance/feel/etc of something finely made. I do not judge them, but that’s not my style. The other thing to remember is that demand for luxury goods typically remains robust through all economic conditions because the wealthy are not impacted in their ability to “survive” like the rest of us are as jobs and markets sag.

    I suspect that foreign governments do form a subset of the customer base, but I wonder how big that is? And, I wonder how many of their requirements actually drive the design?

  • Larry VE8NX:

    First radio was a used HW-100, then a brand new TS-450SAT which is still on my desk after 21 years.

    I am thinking of a new radio, likely a TS-590, but do not see the point of $10k+ rigs. But to each his own.

    For me a new sub $2k rig every 20 years will be just fine.

    If you *really* want to spend your $ get into astro-photography. I was just looking at an amateur observatory where the fellow’s two mounts were in the $12k range, each. Add to that the several scopes, eyepieces, computers, cameras….. easily had $75-100k invested.

    I just do not have those kind of money issues 🙂

  • Jeff KK4ETK:

    Thank you for the encouragement and CW advice Mike. I’ll most certainly ping you as I journey along with my attempts to come up with an inexpensive totally home built system from kits as a mid-40’s year old new ham. You’ve inspired me to create a blog to document it all too – good and bad. Creating that blog is on the list of things to do this weekend.

    Jeff, KK4ETK

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