Dual economies and QRP

Juma TRX2A

Juma TRX2A

Two new QRP rigs from two different countries provide an insightful look into the vast differences between those two countries’ economies and cultures.

The recently available X1M Pro is a fully-built 5-band SSB/CW rig from China. It puts out 4 watts, has a general coverage receiver, built-in keyer, RIT, 100 memories and comes with a microphone.

The soon-to-be-available Juma TRX2A is a 9-band SSB/CW kit from Finland that has a 10-watt output, general coverage receiver, built-in keyer, RIT and three selectable receive filters.

The already-built Wouxan X1M Pro costs $360 and the Juma TRX2A kit is $675.

Not available on the spec sheets for each rig is the quality of components and engineering  expertise that goes into each rig and the rig’s design. I’m skeptical of most products from China until proven otherwise.

Wouxan X1M Pro

Wouxan X1M Pro

For a long while now, Juma seems to have struggled to get off the ground. A recent update to their website mentions that sales of their kits will now be handled by a third party. Meanwhile, China is producing a growing variety of HF kits and fully-built rigs (and an even larger number of V/UHF rigs) with varying degrees of quality.

Ten-Tec recently re-branded a Chinese YouKits rig that gets rave reviews from almost all its owners; other rigs from China either fail to materialize or arrive with bugs (X1M will operate split on SSB but not on CW!) and/or user-unfriendly software (like my new Boafeng HT).

The Chinese Method seems to be: Throw enough crap at the wall and something will eventually stick.

I hope Juma gets it going this time. Their rigs are beautiful and I’d love to build one, especially if their prices become just a bit more reasonable.

And, truth be told, I’d rather support Finnish culture than one that puts its children to work (this littler toddler is good – he didn’t get that way by going to school). This is simultaneously amazing and sad:


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  9 comments for “Dual economies and QRP

  1. Charly
    January 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I did a study of the Chinese transceiver as a marketable product and its price remains too high for what is offered. A used TS-50 is has more power and features and costs in same price range USED. Of course, China will someday be the world supplier, but not quite yet.

    • January 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      I seriously considered buying an X1M Pro and am so glad I read the manual before I took the plunge. Future iterations will no doubt have a few of the current production’s rough edges removed but, as you said about China overall, not quite yet.

  2. January 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Hi,

    Culturally Finish and Chinese will also design things differently.
    Chinese want something good looking outside with flashy display, even if inside it’s crap.
    Most westerners want good engineering inside and quality parts even if outside it looks like an unfinished prototype (and that’s not the case of Juma products).

    73,
    Yan.

    • January 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Interesting assessment, Yan.

      Based on sales of Chinese products in western countries, I’d say westerners primarily want a cheap price on a product and they’d rather pretend not to know the ugly details like copyright infringment, child labor violations or environmental/pollutant violations.

      • January 19, 2014 at 6:38 am

        Yes John, you are right. I was talking from the engineers point of view. The marketers now only talk about pricing, and the main specification of a product is its price.

  3. Alan Dove - N3IMU
    January 21, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Modern Chinese culture, especially with respect to things like labor and safety, isn’t very different from US or European culture of a century ago. Lung-clogging coal smog, child labor, disregard for intellectual property? We’ve certainly been there and done that.

    That said, I’ll probably skip both the cheap Chinese and expensive Finnish QRP rigs. I have a Weber Tribander awaiting construction, and hope to pick up the next version of Steve’s MTR as well. Those seem like happy mediums between the two commercial extremes.

    • January 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

      You’re right, Alan – different cultures certainly do advance at different rates. And I’m also waiting for Steve’s announcement for a new round of MTRs.

  4. Jonathan W6GX
    January 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I visited China for the first time and I’ll say that I was impressed by what I saw! You are correct in that they haven’t gotten their act together yet but I’m sure they will eventually. The country has accomplished so much in the last twenty years to become the second largest economy in the world. They are far from perfect (child labor, copyright, etc). But over time I expect them to move forward just like everyone else including the U.S. Let’s not forget the U.S. had to endure the same issues (slavery, segregation, sexual inequalities, etc.)

    Great video by the way! It reminded me of something I saw while I was in China- a toddler who made a perfect basket on a piece of trash into a trash can from the back seat of a scooter moving at 20mph.

    • January 21, 2014 at 10:29 am

      I have no doubt that all the quirky radios will mature into fine rigs – probably sooner than we expect.

      Years ago, I wanted a large-format 4×5 camera but couldn’t even come close to being able to afford one. So I bought a new-at-the-time Shen-Hao for a fraction of the US/German prices being charged by makers of that format. The camera was not only fantastic in operation but it was beautiful too. I kick myself for selling it, but film was on its way out and I couldn’t justify keeping the camera. Sold it and bought my first D-SLR.

      Check em out – the cameras themselves are works of art:

      Shen-Hao 4X5: http://www.shen-hao.com/

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