Alinco, one of the few remaining and independent Japanese manufacturers, is no more. The company itself isn’t bankrupt (it’s not that bad yet), but development and production seems to be a Chinese affair now.
Alinco’s latest VHF/UHF models are made by…. AnyTone.
The first hint that there was something going on, was when I compared the specs of Alinco radios with comparable AnyTone models. These were identical, often up the the weight in grams.
While the looks are still typical Alinco, inside it’s another story. The Alinco DR-138 and DR-438, two mono-band radios, are incarnations of the AnyTone AT-588 mono-band radios. The ‘all new’ DR-638 dual-band radio is an incarnation of the AnyTone AT-5888.
So why on earth would we buy the more expensive Alinco models instead of the Chinese brands? It might seem pointless to go for Alinco anyway, but here are a few reasons I can think of:
- Warranty. Alinco dealers and service centers are present in most countries.
- Alinco doesn’t use those dreaded-and-hated-by-everyone RJ-45 connectors for the microphone, but a classic 8-pin plug.
- The front panel’s design looks much better, and appears to be better organized.
That’s where Alinco’s advantages end though. Maybe this cross-pollination is our own fault. We wanted cheap stuff, we got cheap (sometimes crappy) stuff. On a price level, a manufacturer of top notch equipment can’t compete with crap. Period.
I’m not saying these particular Alinco radios are bad (I just don’t know, didn’t have my hands on one yet), but seeing the same design over and over again makes one sad. If you would like to see a review here, please let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Domo arigato Alinco, we’ve had a great time together. Let’s have a few minutes of silence, wipe some tears away, and bow to the almighty Chinese manufacturers.