Tag Archives: TS-990S

All Good Things Come To An End, Someday – Radio Transceiver Models Discontinued

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?




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Why did Dayton 2012 have so many Vaporware Phantom New Product Offerings?

Why did Dayton 2012 have so many Vaporware Phantom New Product Offerings?

  • Kenwood had a stage-prop mock-up of what their new FS-990S should look like, but no actual radio, specifications or even pricing. They do have Photoshop created adds in the radio magazines and have been hinting at new “executive class transceiver” for a couple years.
  • Alpha didn’t even had their mock-up of what their new Alpha-4040 Automatic Antenna Tuner would look like when Dayton 2012 opened its doors, though fairly complete hardware models did arrive later during the show. Software apparently isn’t ready, so an operating product wasn’t ready. Alpha had been avoiding pinning down delivery dates for this tuner, but has had a pre-order list taking system up since November 2011.
  • The third is more a pre-announcement and advanced showing, as the product was not announced until Dayton. Flex-Radio had hardware prototypes and panadapter software simulations running of the Alpha Stage hardware & software for their new Flex-6500, Flex-6700R and Flex-6700 series. In all fairness there was no expectation of anything more – just a preview from Flex-Radio on where their next product was going.

What is all this about?

In the case of Kenwood one can only guess. They have hinted for at least five years that they had this class of radio coming out. I listened to the salesman at Dayton who said this new model will be “almost as good” as the other top end rigs out there, but “for a better [lower] price!” Whoopee, I can take out a home equity loan to have a runner up in performance but shave a few bucks off the dollars needed. Can’t say this inspires me in any way.

Alpha seems to mean well and may end up with a great product. The early announcement of a not yet ready product seems to be to create a buzz and do some positioning in the marketplace. I know I didn’t buy a new tuner awaiting this new Alpha – though it is again supposed to be pricey it offered the potential of being the last tuner a ham might ever need to buy. Credit has to be given to not pushing product out before it is ready, though Alpha should have had a better handle on its development time.

Flex-Radio intended to “drop the big one” on amateur radio with a “game changer” and never promised more than a chance to preorder a new radio when production starts in six-eight months (or so). They needed to gauge the support for bringing this technology to the amateur market, and I would guess took away a lot of potential buyers for other premium rigs at Dayton with their deposit for a production slot strategy. They never promised anything but announcements and really delivered more with some prototypes and illustrations of what the software might look like.

So the phantom gear at Dayton 2012 would seem to be each a unique case – Kenwood struggling to find its market and simply not having a ready product – Alpha having good intentions buy not having development far enough along to match real product to marketing’s promise – and Flex-Radio who only promised they would have an announcement only to actually have much more to show.



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Dayton Hamvention 2012 Run Up

Just a few days to Dayton 2012, and some rather interesting pre-announcements and events. A few that I have noticed are:

  • Kenwood to have a new TS-990S Transceiver with widely circulating pictures out of a very button heavy machine.
  • Flex-Radio teasing the market about a “Game Changer” that makes the complex simple. So something new in SDR.
  • Hilberling PT-8000 should be available to Dayton attendees with the first USA versions of this $20K radio.
  • Alpha should have their new Alpha 4040 Tuner available.
  • Ten-Tec is said to have their new amplifier ready.

I am sure there will be more!

This year planning to take in the DX Banquet and the Flex-Radio Banquet.



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