The end of Alinco as we know it

Anytone-InsideAlinco, 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.

Alinco DR-638

Alinco DR-638 dual-band: AnyTone AT-5888 Inside

Alinco DR-138

Alinco DR-138


AnyTone AT-588, the mother of Alinco’s latest mono-band transceivers

Added value
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.


10 comments on “The end of Alinco as we know it

  1. The Chinese VHF/UHF gear is good enough now, if you want a basic radio then there’s no need to spend the big bucks. I’m anxiously waiting for the review of the VR-6600Pro, since it seems to be a clone of the Yaesu FTM-350 then the Chinese may have the midrange radios cornered too.

    If they ever decide to start making base stations, watch out…

  2. Personally I wish the Japanese “top tier” manufacturers would take notice and start making FCC part 90 compliant radios.

    • Just out of curiosity: why should ham radio manufacturers care about FCC Part 90, which describes regulations regarding land mobile radio, not ham radio?

      • Because here in the US, you are not allowed to use a ham radio (FCC Part 97) on the commercial band (FCC Part 90), even if you have a commercial license, or the right to use a commercial/business/police/fire/ambulance frequency due to your work etc.
        You may use your Part 90 radio on ham radio Part 97 though…


  3. This afternoon, I got my Fall/Winter 2014 Ham Radio Outlet catalog and looked on Page 4 and saw the “new” Alinco DX-10. I knew something was up. It’s basically a rebranded export 10 meter all-mode transceiver like a Cree 8900, without even a proper VFO. Every respectable amateur transceiver has a VFO. $249 is a decent price, but it looks like Alinco has reduced itself to rebranding existing radios across the board. Seriously. An echo setting? Mercy sakes alive. Somebody get C.W. McCall on the line.

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