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220 MHz Radios and Region 2 Hams

Nigel - ITU Region 2 includes all of what geographers call the western  
hemishpere, including South America. As you surmise, the US has about  
3/4 of the hams in Region 2. Region 2 has about a third of the World's  

I suspect that several thousand 220 MHz multimode rigs could be sold,  
enough to recoup development costs and have a bit left over for  
profit. If an existing platform were used as a basis for the rig, or  
220 MHz incorporated into other VHF/UHF multimode rigs development  
costs would be low.

US Ham gear manufacturers Elecraft and DEMI both make 222MHz  
transverters and in Elecraft's case they integrate nicely with the K2  
to provide what nearly transparent operation controlled by the K2.  
They still are separate boxes though.

The US manufacturers are victims of the return on investment paradigm  
embraced by many modern companies. They have limited resources and  
those resources are used to address the big markets, high performance  
do everything HF transceivers and smart HF linears. The development  
funds never make it down to the demand for secondary ham markets like  
VHF/UHF multi mode rigs, nor to tertiary or niche markets like 220 MHz.

The trend towards putting lots of functions into firmware that can be  
revised also drains resources away from development resources for the  
secondary markets. The Ten-Tec 6N2, a nice duo band rig, was dropped  
by Ten-Tec when resources were diverted to support the Orion, even  
though the 6N2 was well thought of by hams and sold reasonably well.  
With this happening to a reasonably popular rig, imagine the  
difficulty in getting development of a 220 MHz rig started. The 6N2  
was leveraged from the Argonaut.

The 222 MHz band suffers in the USA from an uncertain future and has  
for the last 25 or 30 years. This uncertainty has limited interest in  
the band, both by potential users and by potential manufacturers. It  
enjoyed a brief stint of popularity in the late 70s as a refuge from  
the crowded 144 MHz band during the FM explosion of the 70s. A number  
of companies dipped their toe into the 1.25 M waters including  
Vibroplex and Sears Roebuck. Then UPS made a proposal to the FCC to  
take the band for a communication, location, and tracking service.  
This pretty much stopped any manufacturer interest in producing 220  
MHz equipment. And that slowed interest in the band by hams. The FCC  
finally gave UPS the bottom 2 MHz of the band and they promptly  
abandoned any plan for it. People are atill unusre of what the future  
holds for the band.

Not all Americans that reside in the USA are the jingoistic egotists  
you imagine. Most are not. The current low exchange rate has made that  
painfully clear to most of us, as have rising energy costs. We live in  
a global economy. In the long run, that benefits everybody. I would  
like a 220 MHz multimode rig. I don't care where it comes from. I  
realize that most of the World's hams, including you, could care less  
about this. I don't have a problem with this. The rise of Japanese  
radio manufacturers was a contributing cause of the demise of ham  
radio manufacturing in this country. Some of us would like them to  
realize that they have most of the ham radio market here and that  
providing a rig that provides 220 MHz capabilities for an area in  
which they dominate the market is not too much to ask. They could  
probably make a buck or two on the deal in the meantime. - Duffey

James Duffey
Cedar Crest NM

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