Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The decreasing cost of Amateur Radio equipment.

The cost of amateur radio equipment, in real terms, has fallen by three quarters since the early eighties.

When I started in Amateur Radio in 1981 the cheapest 2m handheld transceiver available was the Trio (Kenwood) TR-2300 at £166. The Icom IC-2E had just come onto the market and cost £199. These were synthesized radios. There were still a few cheaper crystal controlled radios like the FDK Multi Palm IV, which sold for £99, but these incurred the additional cost of crystals.

Prices have got progressively lower over the intervening years. If we put the TR-2300 price of £166 into the historic  inflation calculator it is equivalent to £561 in today's money.

If we ignore the cheap Chinese handhelds, which are really broad band PMR radios and of dubious quality, then the big four manufacturers of amateur radio equipment have 144MHz hand helds starting at £99 from Alinco and £120 from Yaesu, Kenwood or Icom. There are also budget models from Intek and Midland selling for £69. Moonraker sell one based on the cheap chinese designs, but more closely tailored for amateur use for £59.

Today's Kenwood handheld at £120 is the equivalent of £35 in 1981, less than a quarter of the price of a TR-2300 back then. The Moonraker handheld is the equivalent of £18 or about one ninth the cost of a TR-2300 in 1981.