Dishtronix, an electronics design and manufacturing company, has purchased the assets of Amateur Radio equipment manufacturer TEN-TEC from RKR Designs. The company, headquartered in Bellefontaine, Ohio, manufactures and, among other things, makes and markets the “Prometheus” solid-state Amateur Radio amplifier. No formal announcement has been made by either company, and details of the purchase are still being finalized. RKR Designs announced last April 2 that it had acquired the assets of TEN-TEC and Alpha Amplifiers from RF Concepts, less than 1 year after the two lines had merged under the RF Concepts in an asset sale. Dishtronix owner Steven M. “Mike” Dishop, N8WFF, told ARRL that, while TEN-TEC has had different owners over the years, he is in it for the long haul.
“Dishtronix has been continuously operating for 17 years, is financially stable and will continue managing in a manner that promotes and maintains financial stability. My vision is strictly long term,” he said. Dishop said that TEN-TEC production would remain in Sevierville, Tennessee.
According to its website, Dishtronix was incorporated in 1998 to design, develop and manufacture electronic controls and products, serving smaller manufacturers that lack electronic design expertise. Dishtronix said that it “seriously committed” in September 2001 to enter the Amateur Radio market with high-power, solid-state amplifiers and accessories. Dishop said Dishtronix has other new products under development, including a new legal-limit, solid-state amp that he expects to debut at Dayton Hamvention® in May.
“When I have capacity, the next step is to run the first batch of Omni VII+s, which is the Omni VII with some minor cosmetic changes and improvements, such as a flat metal front for improved shielding,” he added. He also expects to post some firmware updates as soon as possible, once the new TEN-TEC website is up.
Dishop told ARRL that he’s had to make “some tough decisions” to ensure the company’s long-term viability. He confirmed a recent TEN-TEC reflector web post by former TEN-TEC Engineering Manager John Henry, KI4JPL, whom Dishop has retained on a contract basis, that indicated a new service policy is now in place, with a $140 minimum charge just to look at a radio, even if it is not repaired. This includes items already sent to RKR for repair. Dishop said owners were shipping their radios to TEN-TEC for diagnosis, then asking that the unit be returned without incurring any charge. Owners should be prepared to pay approximately $265 for labor, plus parts and return shipping for a typical repair, he added. “If you are not prepared to spend $140, do not send your radio in,” Dishop told ARRL, noting that TEN-TEC’s service department had been operating at a loss.
In addition, TEN-TEC will charge customers for “any telephone call or e-mail that consumes more than 5 minutes of technician time,” according to the post, which also appeared on QRZ.com’s news crawl. Dishop told ARRL that the days of discount prices are no more. “The blow-out sale prices are over, and any outstanding orders at those prices are terminated,” he said.
Dishop asked the Amateur Radio to be patient during the transition. “I am fully committed to bring TEN-TEC back to a sustainable state,” he said in his earlier web post. “This will take some time.”