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All Good Things Come To An End, Someday – Radio Transceiver Models Discontinued 11 - July - 2013

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, FlexRadio Systems, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Eventually all good products run their course and for various reasons go out of production.

This spring saw the outstanding FlexRadio Systems Flex-5000A radio discontinued as the combination of being overshadowed by FlexRadio System’s Flex-6000 series and market place economics due once standard parts having become legacy items available only at premium custom run prices collided.

According to news shared by fellow blogger Jeff KE9V TenTec found itself in a parts availability/cost pickle leading to the end of production of the Orion II.

Jeff KE9V reported:

Got a note from TenTec today that included this — “On a rather sad note, about the time you read this message, we will have sold out of the last 566 Orion II transceiver. Unfortunately, due to the availability of some very critical parts plus skyrocketing prices for difficult components, the staff at TEN-TEC decided to discontinue this product. This does not mean we will not trade or sell used and demo Orion’s and Orion II models. We will continue service and support this product as we have done in the past with all TEN-TEC products. Is a new Orion III on the horizon? There are plans for several new TEN-TEC products lined up for the future but at this time no concise decision has been made for another Orion transceiver.”

If you recollect the Orion II was the result of the original DragonBall processor being discontinued, as well as an opportunity to upgrade the product during the redesign.  The DragonBall Super VZ 66 MHz processor of the Orion II seems to have disappeared as well.

Less substantiated is the the rumblings about Icom’s IC-7800, which some Icom representatives have mentioned to present IC-7800 owners that production is unlikely to continued when present inventory is depleted.  There is no word what might replace this nearly 10 year old product.  I wouldn’t stake my reputation on exactly when the IC-7800 new sales cease, as even the list price is matter of confusion with retailers quoting list pricing of $10,000 to $13,500 and “street prices” of $9,800-10,500

Even weirder rumblings surround the button heavy Kenwood TS-990S, mostly that the radio is Kenwood’s “Swan Song” last offering before it leave the Amateur Radio Market.  Despite the performance reports suggesting the TS-990S is basically a TS-570D in wolf’s clothing, it is just odd that a product would come to market with a “last hurrah” storyline.  It is pretty clear that the TS-990S is a brand-satisifaction product and not a performance leadership product.

Interesting higher end of the market.

Maybe there are some neat new products ready in the wings?

Interesting….

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Comments»

1. Razvan YO9IRF - 11 - July - 2013

Some eye-opening observations here; It would be sad to se Kenwood leave the maket, they’ve had some emblematic rigs and there are still some niches somebody should fill (or the chinese will, in the end).

k9zw - 11 - July - 2013

Hello Razvan YO9IRF

A good number of the name brand radios are already reported to be Chinese built. Even some of the flagship prestige radios, like the IC-7800.

WHat appears to be coming to market is Chinese built radios directly marketed under Chinese brands.

I’m personally unlikely to buy a several thousand “generic Chinese brand” HF transceiver from an eBay sellers Asian based store. While I’m ok with spending $100 on an extra HT bought that way, I am not eager to risk $5,000-$10,000 for a contest grade HF rig on the same basis.

It looks like we will see a lot of changes over the next five years in the HF market. Interesting times!

All best and 73

Steve
K9ZW

Adam VA7OJ/AB4OJ - 10 - July - 2014

Hi Steve,

The IC-7800, like all other Icom radios, is built in Icom’s highly-automated factory in Wakayama, about 100 km SW of Osaka. Icom build all their radios in Japan; only certain accessories are imported from other Asian countries.

I have toured the Wakayama facility and seen several well-known Icom models being built and tested.

73, Adam VA7OJ/AB4OJ


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