Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Comparative historical prices of Amateur Radio equipment

I quite often hear radio hams complaining about the "rip off" prices charged for amateur radio equipment, but if you look at the historical prices for transceivers then they have never been cheaper. I got my amateur radio licence in 1982. Here is how some prices from around that period compare to todays prices. The comparisons were calculated using the Bank of England inflation calculator.

HF Transceiver

In 1982 the cheapest HF transceiver was the Yaesu FT77 at £459. In today's money this is £1486. Today the Yaesu FT450D is Yaesu's cheapest radio of similar size and costs only £589 - less than half the price.

2m Handheld

In 1981 the Icom IC2E was £159 or £559 in today's money. Today the Yaesu FT-25E is £80 - less than a fifth of the price.

CB Radios

In 1984 I was working in Dixons and we still sold CB radios. The Harrier CB was £49 (£144 in today's money) and the CBX £79 (£233 in today's money). Today a basic CB radio like the Midland-M Mini is £60 - less than half the price.

In 1980 SSB CB radios sold for around £150 (£590 in today's money). Today a Superstar 3900, with very similar features, is £170 - around a third of the 1980 price.

Other consumer electronics

For comparison the cheapest VHS video recorder you could buy in 1984 was £349, or £1029 in today's money. A Sony Betamax machine would have set you back £660, or a massive £2043 in today's money.

The evidence shows that radio prices are cheaper now than they were back in the early eighties which is probably why people change equipment more often.