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American made (not political)


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Taking a little bit of a short cut by asking the group.  I tried searching the forums and did not get any hits.  Is there any company that actually makes their radios in the USA?  

 

So far I have researched that Midland, Motorola and Btech (BaoFeng Tech?) are based in the USA.  But I can't find, as of yet, an actual statement that any of them are made IN the USA.  Midland's website says that their radios are made BY Midland (inferring that since they are based in KC MO that they are made there), but no actual IN the USA statement.

 

Same question for antennas?  Have not started researching those yet.

 

What ever your political ideas are, that's not the point of this post.  Just looking for information that will help influence my future purchases.

 

Thanks!  ;)

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I see your point...  Just purchase the best radio at your price lever and enjoy the radio with all the features you wanted... Not by brand or status you think it will bring.  Now I will hold my tongue.  

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I see your point...  Just purchase the best radio at your price lever and enjoy the radio with all the features you wanted... Not by brand or status you think it will bring.  Now I will hold my tongue.  

 

I'm not trying to poke the bear with this question.  I would like to spend my money on American products where I can.  At least on a USA based company, preferred manufactured here too.  It is not the only decision factor but one that I try to include in my pros and cons list when weighing my purchase decisions.  If hypothetically, everything the same, I would pay a few extra dollars for something that I knew was based and made in the USA rather than all overseas.  I will still buy stuff from overseas if it is by far superior in every way and fits my needs.  I'm not brand loyal yet, since I am still very new to GMRS and I have not been about buying something for status since I was a freshman in high school LOL.

 

Thanks!

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Everything is made overseas, but may have USA offices. The Japanese stuff is superior to the Chinese made stuff. Stick with brands that support public safety 

(LEO & FD) like Motorola and Kenwood if you want things to last and put up with the abuse. There are kenwoods running right now that use a DOS programming software.... that old.

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I'm not trying to poke the bear with this question.  I would like to spend my money on American products where I can.  At least on a USA based company, preferred manufactured here too.  It is not the only decision factor but one that I try to include in my pros and cons list when weighing my purchase decisions.  If hypothetically, everything the same, I would pay a few extra dollars for something that I knew was based and made in the USA rather than all overseas.  I will still buy stuff from overseas if it is by far superior in every way and fits my needs.  I'm not brand loyal yet, since I am still very new to GMRS and I have not been about buying something for status since I was a freshman in high school LOL.

 

Thanks!

 

Motorola Solutions is HQ in Chicago, built overseas

JVC Kenwood is HQ in Long Beach, CA, built in Japan

 

All are the same, Alinco is CA, Btech is KS, Midland is KC, but none are manufactured here.

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Anything electronic is built overseas. Even Motorola doesn't do much in the USA except assemble parts built elsewhere. 

 

There's a pretty big issue with component supply right now due to some of the political wrangling that's been going on, tariff's, etc. There was a fire at a semiconductor factory in Japan (AKM) that's causing all types of trouble for Kenwood - but it's supposed to be affecting other products like some Ford Trucks and Tesla that have idled assembly lines for certain models.  Rumor has it that another chip manufacturer had a plant fire in March - Renasas in Japan.  Most of the rare earth metals are being mined in China. Batteries and semiconductors are not "green" when it comes to manufacturing. The USA has effectively off-shored most of it's pollution by having everything built overseas.

 

I'd purchase what fits my budget - with an eye towards resale value. If it's $100 but has zero value once used, it is junk. If you want to support US business - consider your local radio shop. They probably have some well built equipment hiding on the back shelf that would work well for GMRS. 

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Of the GMRS radios I looked at, all were made in China with the exception of a pair of Midland Xtra Talk (Bubble Pack) handhelds I have, which were made in the Philippines. While there may be some very limited production of U.S. made electronic products, I haven't seen it for many years in the realm of radio.

 

The exception, when it comes to radios, is the other topic you mentioned, antennas. There are some U.S. made antennas, mostly handcrafted by hams looking to capitalize on their creations.

Signal Stuff makes the Signal Stick antennas in Utah, I believe KB9VBR makes antennas in Wisconsin, and I also believe Ed Fong antennas are made in California.

 

In the ham radio world, it is very common for hams to build their own antennas, so there are plenty of U.S. made antennas. Of course, most of them are not commercially available.

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so when it comes to truly made in the USA radios the options are 1. low powered and very expensive.

 

Alinco used to be made in the US, but not any longer, having outsourced production to China... <sigh>  :unsure:

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I think Smiley antennas and Arrow antennas are substantially made in the US.

MFG makes meters analyzers and antennas over here.

Cushcraft makes some antennas here.

 

Elecraft makes their ham radios "substantially" over here.

If you build it as a kit the assembly will surely be here.

 

Electronics can be very hard to pin down origin the of.

(I'm not necessarily talking about radios here - just any electronics.)

The design could be done here.

The bare boards may be fabricated in Asia then "stuffed" or assembled over here.

Or the boards entirely made in Asia and then assembled into the case over here.

 

Even for the products that I designed myself I would have trouble saying what percentage American they are.

Some of our products were almost entirely designed and built in China - only the software done here.

Others were mostly done here with sheet metal and machined parts in addition to electronics.

 

With consumer grade "walkie talkies" or mobile radios I'd be surprised if there was much US involvement other than the styling and specs.

Companies like Cobra and Midland probably have a couple engineers overseeing the work and contributing at least minimally.

But at least that is some contribution.  Better than nothing.

 

Vince

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If i recall in order to label "Made in USA" the majority of the product needs to be made/sourced from US companies and the final product assembly must be done in the US. Being radios are mostly electronic devices and virtually all electronics are outsourced overseas you will likely never find any radios with "made in USA" branding. 

 

I believe Midland does do much of is manufacturing/assembly in the US but not the majority of parts. 

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There are quite a few "board stuffers" here in the US since it is almost totally automated.

They just load the reels of parts and set up the stencil and align/orient it.

The CAD files give all the part locations.

So there is more board assembly here than you might think.

Most of the products I designed were all built over here... with some or many foreign parts of course. 

 

Most of our low-mid volume boards were populated right in Oregon.

The blank boards themselves were more often fabricated in Asia.

Caps and resistors are almost free but the boards themselves can get expensive... $2-$15 depending on size, # of layers, etc.

 

We made educational science equipment so had all different volumes of products.

Some things were almost entirely US made and other things entirely Chinese or Thai.

It's a very complicated business.

If you buy parts in the US then send them to China for assembly and bring them back the import duties get very complicated.

You can end up paying duties twice on the same part. 

Then the finished products were sometimes sold to China and charged another duty.

So we started keeping stock in China for sales there. 

(Yes, there are American companies selling electronics devices to China.)

 

I would guess that hand held consumer radios are entirely made in Asia.

The designs could be done either here or Asia... but likely China.

The chip makers do most of the radio design since it entirely revolves around the chip for that function.

Only the support circuits (power, control, etc.) are done by the maker.

 

When I worked at Maxim (chip maker) many wafers were made in the US then tested and packaged into chips in the Philippines. 

I trained a couple of Filipino engineers in RF test back in the late 90's.

We made a lot of cell phone chips back then.

The chip designs were mostly done in the US

 

Basically, I'm just saying its a very complicated picture.

Hopefully somebody found this interesting. :-)

 

Vince

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Part 90/95 radios built in USA in the last 20 years? I'm not aware of any. If Ham gear is in question, Elecraft comes to mind.

 

They're not common, but you can find them. EF Johnson and Harris are the main ones. My 5300ES mobiles have "Made in Texas, USA" printed on the bottom.

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I guess that depends on your definition of "Made in the USA".

 

Many products are the combined result of design and manufacturing teams around the world. A radio maybe designed in the USA, the firmware software programming team located in India with the final product assembled in Asia someplace. For example Kenwood is a Japanese company but all my radios show they were manufactured in Singapore.

 

Then you have US companies, that for whatever reason, can't or won't spend resources on designing a cheap low end product. One example that comes to mind was HP (Agilent - Keysight) sold a low cost digital scope with their name on it. One person looked at the firmware update they got for it and found the name "Rigol" embedded in it. That company by the way makes a series of test equipment and is Chinese.

 

https://www.rigolna.com/

 

With companies contracting out design and manufacturing then re-badging the equipment you need a score card to keep track of who did what and where.

 

An example of that is a company called "BearCom" which sells a radio model "BC130", but supposedly manufactured by Motorola as the "Mag One" but in a very slightly different looking case.

 

https://bearcom.com/media/wysiwyg/page/bc1301.pdf

 

https://www.buytwowayradios.com/downloads/dl/file/id/1119/product/4224/mag_one_motorola_bpr40_product_sheet.pdf

 

However when you look at the FCC ids for the radios you find they are exactly the same, AZ489FT4873.

 

When you look at the sample name plate required by the FCC to be affixed to the radio you find the name "Yanapa" with some other model number listed. The country of manufacture is shown as Korea. Again you find the same FCC id at the top left of the name tag.

 

https://fccid.io/AZ489FT4873/Label/ID-LABEL-504621.pdf

 

Confusing isn't it?

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When you look at the sample name plate required by the FCC to be affixed to the radio you find the name "Yanapa" with some other model number listed. 

 

That is "TANAPA", which is Motorola's way of assigning a number to identify a sub-assembly, full assembly or sometimes even a completed product.

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