This is still very much on topic, so I’ll add a personal observation. I also like to buy American when possible, but when it comes to electronic products, particularly radios, that’s a tall order indeed. That’s why I find the whole “cheap radios from China” mantra a bit meaningless these days.
Taking off my BTWR hat and putting on my own personal “just another ham and GMRS consumer” cap for a moment, it kind of bugs me when some of my fellow consumers label all imports as “cheap chinese junk”, when there is an elephant in the room that everyone is aware of, but refuses to acknowledge, and that is that most all of this stuff is manufactured overseas, or at least incorporate certain components that come from China. This is no big revelation. It’s just a simple fact, it’s public knowledge, and everyone knows it.
Now, is there cheap import junk out there? Absolutely! And there’s a lot of it, too. Are there substandard clones and counterfeit product made with little or no quality control and minimal to no standards? Of course! And that’s the stuff you want to be completely aware of.
However, having said all that, there are also some reputable factories and brands in China that put real effort into their manufacturing processes and do manufacture good quality products, with collaboration or some quality oversight of domestic brands and companies. Motorola and Midland all do this. So do we. Examples of reputable brands we do business with are Wouxun and TYT. Both companies have a long standing positive reputation.
We get solicitations from Chinese manufacturers almost on a daily basis. I have an inbox full of emails from them. Most of it really is junk. Occasionally we’ll purchase a demo or two to test ourselves and it will go through a rigorous vetting process. Danny, Anthony and I all have shelves full of these demos in our offices, and a lot of them are products that don’t meet our standards. Those are radios we don’t sell. Sure, you can get them on Amazon. But we’re not Amazon. We have standards. And that’s why you won’t find those products on our site.
Fifty years ago the same thing was said about products “made in Japan”. It became sort of a cliche for poor quality. Now when I hear recommendations for top quality ham radios, it’s either Icom or Kenwood. Both of these companies are based in Japan. Last I heard, Japan is still an asian country.
On the flip side, I’ve purchased my share of products made in the USA that are also junk, so I don’t put that much meaning into origin labels anymore. I concentrate on the quality of individual manufacturers, brands and their products.
So, when someone says “it’s all chinese junk”, it’s a bit of a misnomer, because it’s a blanket statement that doesn’t necessarily apply to every chinese company.