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Author Topic: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs  (Read 1809 times)

Offline Beerus Maximus

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Buy that Cobra 29 now before they're gone!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/over-and-out-cb-radio-maker-struggles-to-adjust-to-trump-tariffs/2018/09/23/87cf518a-b6b8-11e8-a2c5-3187f427e253_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.93625116e5f1

Quote
CHICAGO ó Cedar Electronics has been selling CB radios to American truckers since the 1960s, helping connect the workers who keep the U.S. economy rolling. But these days Cedarís business isnít exactly trucking along.

The Chicago-headquartered company is racing around Asia looking for other countries to host its manufacturing, after the radios Cedar makes in China and brings to the United States were hit with one of the Trump administrationís 25 percent tariffs this summer, making them more expensive to import.

Rare that CB radio makes any sort of mainstream media appearance so I thought this was interesting. This situation of course has interesting implications across a variety of electronic products sourced from China, not just CB radios.

No strong political comments, please.
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Offline R4002

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 1720 UTC »
I recently visited a website of a well-known CB/export radio vendor (Bell's CB) and they had a disclaimer at the top of the page regarding increased prices and reduced availability of both street-legal 40 channel/4 watt radios and 10-meter/export radios due to the Trump Tariffs.  "Heads up- Many China made items are going way up in price due to tariffs."

CB equipment isn't the only type of radio communications equipment that's made in China. 

Trade wars are easy to win???? [strongest political comment you'll get from me]

The Cobra 29 is a classic radio too.  The original trucker's CB.  Best when peeked and tooned for maximum swing ;)  I have a Cobra 29XLR (made in Japan!) with the DigiMod channel expansion kit installed but the radio is otherwise completely stock and sounds great on AM.  It was one of the first 40 channel CBs widely available on the market once the band was increased from 23 to 40 channels in 1977.   CB may be old school technology, but its usefulness cannot be understated - even in the age of smartphones and 4G LTE.

Are the Ranger/RCI radios still built in Malaysia or are they made in China now too?  I have a Galaxy 959 that was made in Malaysia and a Superstar 3900 from the Philippines but the 3900 is probably about 25 years old.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 1736 UTC by R4002 »
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Offline Josh

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 1819 UTC »
I don't have much sympathy for any of these 1st world companies that are built on the backs of slave labor in 3rd world countries (and thus deny a living wage to 1st world workers at the same time) yet sell their wares in 1st world countries.
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Offline Beerus Maximus

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 2256 UTC »
Josh, point taken but..

Quote
No strong political comments, please.

Let's make this a discussion about observation of pricing trends of radios, availability or radios, and assorted and related parts and accessories. Could help people make a decision on a radio they might have been holding off on.
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Offline Beerus Maximus

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 2326 UTC »
"Heads up- Many China made items are going way up in price due to tariffs."

I've been buying some export radios recently, out of a CB nostalgia and to gear up for the next solar cycle. Had a nice opening on 27 MHz today I worked with a new Lincoln II+. I also have a Stryker and a Connex new in box sitting on the shelf. I hope the tariff thing doesn't kill off what remains of CB.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2018, 0029 UTC »
Luckily I have a sizable collection of junked cb's spanning nearly fifty years. A couple of them still kinda work.

Offline Fansome

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 0805 UTC »
I'm sorry to hear this. In the late 70s and early 80s CB was the most fun I could have with my clothes off, and I had been thinking of trying it again. I'll probably put it off a while longer now...

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2018, 1104 UTC »
I'm sorry to hear this. In the late 70s and early 80s CB was the most fun I could have with my clothes off, and I had been thinking of trying it again. I'll probably put it off a while longer now...

That's an awfully disturbing image for the children who may be reading this board, Al. I doubt your love goats will be happy about that statement, either.

Offline R4002

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2018, 1231 UTC »
"Heads up- Many China made items are going way up in price due to tariffs."

I've been buying some export radios recently, out of a CB nostalgia and to gear up for the next solar cycle. Had a nice opening on 27 MHz today I worked with a new Lincoln II+. I also have a Stryker and a Connex new in box sitting on the shelf. I hope the tariff thing doesn't kill off what remains of CB.

Apparently the President Lincoln II is a pretty great radio, especially for SSB DXing.  I have a modified Galaxy DX 959 (with the Lescomm 120 channel modification and some RX parts upgraded, does 26515-27855 and screams on AM...is okay on SSB but its a Galaxy and sounds like a Galaxy on SSB) and Cobra 29XLR for AM stuff. Of course there's the Uniden 520XL for throw in the trunk emergency radio stuff and both a Superstar 3900 and CRE 8900 (aka Alinco DR-135CB) for export radio/SSB work. 

The Superstar 3900 is killer on AM too, especially with an amplified microphone.  I usually run the 3900 with an Astatic 636L mic on SSB since it has the fine/course clarifier. Course is +/- 5 kHz, fine is +/- 1 kHz, both fine and course control RX and TX frequency which makes the 3900 a lot easier to use on SSB than the Galaxy, which just has one clarifier knob for +/- 5-6 kHz. 

The Galaxy 959 doesn't really need an amplified mic because those radios have so much audio to spare anyway.  I know the Connex rigs are really similar and are nice and loud on AM (they're all made by Ranger/RCI after all).  Even without DX conditions, there's still an active local AM and SSB CB scene where I live and its usefulness in an emergency is undeniable. 

The more middle of the road Cobras and Unidens are probably what will get hit worse by the tariffs.  Hopefully the Ranger built rigs are still made somewhere that's not China. 

Apparently the new Superstar 3900s are made in China...although the one I have is 20-25 years old (this version: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FUyEX4chtv4/hqdefault.jpg) with the EPT3600-11B PCB...apparently the 11B was one of the first versions of the EPT3600 series boards which are in dozens of different radios from the Connex 3300, Connex 4300, General Lee, a bunch of different Galaxy rigs and so on and so forth...
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 1239 UTC by R4002 »
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2018, 2107 UTC »
I see one of two things that can happen here. 1: A resurgence of classic CB restoration, (Which I have a tendency to do myself.), or 2: a golden opportunity of the other up and coming tech countries to take up the slack, like India, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil, Ukraine, etc. China should have never been an all-in-1-basket for cheap tech.  Doesn't anyone remember South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, (And yes!), 1950's - 60's Japan? 
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Offline redhat

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2018, 2224 UTC »
The sad thing is some of the better low end stuff is now coming from Taiwan....I know, contradiction of terms.  But still...

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Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 0927 UTC »
I read the article, but the one thing that wasn't really mentioned was the poor CB sales overall, especially when compared to 15 or 20 years ago. A couple hundred thousand truckers just isn't enough to overcome a spike in pricing and keep a company afloat. It's sad, but it's the overall state of the industry right now. I would wager that some of the ham and SWL radio companies are going to be following suit. The ham radio companies will last a bit longer than the others perhaps, only because the remaining hams are generally well-heeled, but the industry overall is probably going to tank.

Speaking of tanks, I still have my Cobra 148. Made in Taiwan. Built like a tank.
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Offline R4002

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2018, 1520 UTC »
Cobra 148 is a classic CB.  I think the fact that there's just so many radios floating around in the used market as well...I mean how often are truckers, hunters/outdoorsmen and other users of CB buying a new radio?  I have noticed a lot of the newer-style Cobra 29 radios in 18-wheelers but at the same time I've seen older-generation radios (the prototypical Galaxy 99s, etc.)

Even with harsh conditions like daily use in the cab of a semi, I feel like most radios last a while. 
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Offline Josh

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2018, 1906 UTC »
The HAM makers all have their fingers in multiple pies. Gov, mil, maritime, aviation, Icom even made and sold desktop pcs for a while. I expect the Chinese to follow suit taking up any space gained from the major HAM makers, I'd love to see a Chinese clone of the IC7800. You hear me China?!?!
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Over and out: CB radio-maker struggles to adjust to Trump tariffs
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2018, 2232 UTC »
The HAM makers all have their fingers in multiple pies. Gov, mil, maritime, aviation, Icom even made and sold desktop pcs for a while. I expect the Chinese to follow suit taking up any space gained from the major HAM makers, I'd love to see a Chinese clone of the IC7800. You hear me China?!?!

Or a Knight Ocean Hopper!