Price gouging or free market?

Sorry in advance for the rant

14 May 2015

To an extent, the big 3 have seen they can ask a higher price for their equipment because no one else has come along to challenge them by offering similar items at lower prices AND have the quality to back it up. So why is it even today when we can build or buy a home computer for $200 that can do more than ever, why are ham radios still stuck in the 1980s with exorbitant prices and inflated profit margins? Some say it is the free market, which I understand to some extent, but with this modern day global market when we have have a cheap low quality, everyday normal regular item, as well as diamond studded equivalent of almost everything, why are our only choices for ham radio equipment either the cheap low quality, or the high end diamond studded equivalents, with no middle ground?
This is also propagated when hams so used to the exaggerated prices continue paying the higher prices new, and then sell the older versions for slightly less than what a brand new one costs, which then again other hams pay that exorbitant price for the used unit too. Perfect example is Yaesu FT2900 units. We can get a brand new FT2900R for $130-160 after rebate, or used FT2900R or M for the same or higher price. Or a FT8900, which can be bought for $390 new, or typically sells for $300-400 used. Why would used working equipment sell for the same or sometimes more than brand new? Does known working used equipment somehow equate to increased value? May be possible since some people have more money than brains. For those people, I have a nice cleaned up like new AthlonXP computer with fresh Windows XP loaded on it for sale at $300 if anyone is interested, which is $300-500 off its original new price 14 years ago. Should run fldigi, serial port PTT devices and more!
Baofeng and similar companies are only getting started and this is a new century with new technology. I suspect a company like Baofeng or Anytone will come along and produce some SDR-based unit for half the price of the big boys that will be just as reliable... With the new 8R line, Anytone is shaping up to become that middle ground with reasonable prices for quality products. Now if they could work their way into a single band 30-50W VHF mobile around $100-120, and dual band VHF/UHF mobile units in the sub-$200 price point. Sure there is TYT and Powerwerx and others in the same or lower price range but they are the low end poor quality units going for way more money than they're worth. I am aware of the Anytone AT-5888UV which typically sells in the $275-300 range but that is playing the game of the big 3, asking more than the unit is worth. How can a dual band 8W HT go for $60, yet a decent quality dual band mobile unit cannot be found for any less than $250? No I am not talking about the $150 Leixan VV-898 10W dual band, I mean a reasonable dual band VHF/UHF mobile unit for under $200 that can do around 35-50W output. There is 8W (BF-F8HP) for $60, 10W (VV-898) for $150, 40-50W for $200-300 for low end cheap Chinese units, yet even with all this modern technology and manufacturing processes, someone still refuses to come up with a quality unit for much less than the big 3?
I suspect this is due more to so many with egos that needs stroking and blind brand fanboys, that without ever using or touching it, they will automatically claim "it is junk" or more precisely it is "cheap chinese junk". Then when a few bad units come along, they will claim that is proof of its junk status, yet they ignore reports about their precious Yaesu or Kenwood or Icom also having some bad units. So many of these people have gone far beyond brand loyalty unto the grounds of blind fanboy to the point where they troll anyone ho disagrees or uses anything but what they want.
It will take one of these other companies to come along and shake things up. We won't be able to persuade the blind fanboys, but for the rest of us, if there is a multi-band 160-10m 100W unit that is stable and can do HF all day for $150-200, what will the response be from the big 3? How about a $110 single band 2m and $190 dual band VHF/UHF unit? I suspect at first they will continue on business as usual, until they start realizing that they are in trouble and losing a lot of sales (or making far fewer new ones). Then, and only then will the realm of the big 3 become the big 4 and they will have to either adapt, or become a niche high end high priced company that fewer can afford to buy from causing shrinking profit margins. As demand drops and they move more towards niche overpriced products, their profits drop and the entire market gets shaken up.
So Anytone, Baofeng or who ever, it is your move, time to step up quality control and release a high quality unit for a lower price than most units available that can chip into the profits of the big boys. Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Toyota and others have done just that at some point in the past 40 years, starting off as some cheap low quality brand and working into some of the most reliable vehicles around, so on a smaller scale, doing the same for both amateur radio and commercial radio sector should be very possible, just need a company or two to step up and actually do it.
Happy hunting and good luck! Mike de K4ISR!

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