Geoff G6MZX has tipped me off to the rumour floating around that a UK ham radio supplier is in negotiations with a Chinese manufacturer over the supply of a multi-mode 4 metre rig (70MHz). Although I am somewhat sceptical about the chance of the rumour being true, it is just too exciting a prospect for me not to say something. Geoff who had rung the company to try and confirm the rumour tells me that the rig is in the design stage and will only go in to production if the potential sales are enough to make it worth while. As a fan of both SSB and the four metre band I would probably be joining the queue to buy one and with other countries pushing their respected governments for access to the band demand can only increase.
I do hope the rumour is true. There is a massive untapped potential (if similar rigs are produced for the other bands) and the big manufacturers always play it safe. If we look back to what happened to UK motorcycle manufacturers where when the Japanese came along, they innovated and killed the great British industry stone dead, then I can see the potential for Chinese radio manufacturers to do the same to the transceiver market. I hope they do it, if only as a sort of revenge for what happened to BSA, Triumph, Norton and so on.
As my friend Andy MM0FMF points out there are plenty of reasons to be sceptical. Why would the Chinese make a multi-mode and why 4 metres? Most of the radios coming out of that country are FM and double as business radios. They can be programed and locked to single or multiple frequencies and just happen to include the amateur bands in their range. It is not as if there is any competition from the big Japanese manufacturers on 2 metre or 70cms. How long ago did we see a monoband multimode from the likes of Kenwood, Yaesu or Icom? So why not try those bands where the market is bigger (Worldwide) rather than limited to a few countries with 70MHz?
Those who have read this blog know I suspect the Chinese invasion of the amateur band will take us to new places but this is a case where I will just do what I do at the movies; suspend my disbelief and dream that it will all come true.