That moment when you speak your mind …

You can view this article from one of two view points (or both) …

1.  The self-entitled, new millennium view that none are allowed to speak the truth if it is critical of (and may upset/offend) someone.

2.  Amateur radio manufacturers and outlets prey on the captive audience of folks that partake of our niche hobby by inflating prices artificially.

So what am I ranting about today?  Well, I’ve just found myself removed from the Facebook group of a well known re-distibutor of digital amateur radio goods – specifically the Dv-Mega DSTAR (sic) group run by M0KSP alongside his business as the UK distributor of DVMega items.  What for?  For speaking my mind of course!

What I objected to was the price of an item being advertised. Why should it bother me you may ask?  Well, when the item in question is being advertised as a new case for the DVMega at £13.95 (postage extra) DVMega Caseand a captive audience of older generation hams who, judging by the daily posts requesting assistance, aren’t *that* tech savvy and may not be aware of other options available to them, jump on the thread asking for more information, I think it only right I should point out it’s the official Raspberry Pi case with a hole drilled in the lid for the DVMega’s antenna – available for £6 (with free postage) from PiHut!!!  Yes you have to measure and drill your own hole.  I wasn’t the only one to point this out.  But I may have also been critical of the pricing strategy – indeed, I termed it a rip off!

To add more than 100% markup for the privilege of having a hole predrilled (and a sticker applied) is ludicrous!  EDIT: my apologies, also included is “a stand off that holds the radio shield in place.” – valued at a maximum of £1, also from PiHut!

Karl, if you’re reading this, I have no axe to grind with you.  You do a lot of good work enabling folks easy access to DMR and D-STAR with the DVMega and supporting them after their purchase, which I recognise, but you do need to learn to take criticism better; this isn’t the first time I’ve seen you react this way!  Whilst my comments may not have been particularly healthy for your business, equally censorship of free speech is not healthy!  Also, revisiting your pricing strategy is never a bad thing.  I would pay a small premium for having the hole pre-drilled, and recognise some markup is appropriate, but not £7.95 plus postage!  Also, why is the stand off supplied; I got one with the DVMega in the first place?!?!?!

I notice Martin Lynch (and sons!) have recently started selling DVMega items – a bit of competition isn’t bad for business – but I see they are employing the same unfortunate pricing strategy …

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5 thoughts on “That moment when you speak your mind …

  1. I have found the marketing methods a little harsh at times too – I read the DVMega UK website and, already owning a RPi3, enquired about the single band option to use what I have. Was told ‘buy this option’ instead of the one I wanted. Hang on…..it’s my cash and I’ll spend how I like – so I sourced elsewhere.
    As for the pricing of equipment in general – it’s extortion of a niche market as it always has been and always will be . It’s hilarious that you can often buy cheaper by importing it yourself via eBay, etc.

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    1. In the past I’ve managed to source items from foreign outlets – including international shipping it still works out cheaper sometimes!

      As for the dual band shield – great if you have a radio that is capable of VHF only (commercial VHF band DMR sets?) – that is the only reason to get the dual band radio shield. Even if you have a radio capable of dual band operation (ID51 / THD74) – it still doesn’t make sense!

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  2. Well then there’s the holy war over DMR, D-Star, Wires, etc. Me, I see DMR as winning because you can now get DMR handhelds for less then $100. It’a Chinese radio sure but the quality is up to snuff.

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    1. Hi Guus,

      Thanks for the comment. Agreed it is for the customer to decide. This customer (me) decided it was a little pricey for a hole! As for Combitronics selling the case at EUR15 with or without the predrilled hole, well, we have a saying in the UK – “At least Dick Turpin had the courtesy to wear a mask!”

      Over the years, one thing I (and others) have come to realise – purveyors of Amateur Radio equipment are nearly always amateurs themselves looking to make a profit from their “hobby”; by it’s very nature “niche” which means a captive customer-base. Amongst this customer-base, there are those that do not possess the skill set to build, so have to buy. I look at the various forums and see just how many folks fall into that bracket by their pleas for help. It seems prices are kept artificially high to take advantage of this fact. Take for instance a CobWebb antenna (I use this as an example as I built one!) In its day, it was sold commercially for about £200 to £300 however the version I made cost me about £50 to build from bits.

      To take one of your own products as another example – the DVMega radio shield (and I mean no insult to you personally – I’ve bought 2 of them and they are excellent bits of kit!) however, for the convenience of having a pre-built board you currently ask EUR90. Those of us involved in the MMDVM project have built hotspots based around the ADF7021 chip at half this price – a couple of circuit boards from China with a few replaced components came in at EUR40. Cobble them together with a custom carrier PCB and a customer version of the MMDVM firmware and it does exactly the same thing as the DVMega (and one could argue more if you consider P25).

      So, yes I fully agree, it is for the customer to decide; buy or build. The thing that sticks in my throat is the $PROFIT$ margin that some try to make at the expense of others.

      Tony

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