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Author Topic: "Best" Sub $1000 HF Rig, New or Used?  (Read 18611 times)
KW4GT
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Posts: 72




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« on: June 23, 2017, 06:33:00 PM »

I'm selling off a few things and am looking to update my HF rig, what are some suggestions for under $1000?  Ideally I'd like to be able to get on all bands 160 - 10 (modifiable to work 60 would be a plus), a general coverage receiver would be nice, and I'm thinking I'd like to have 6 meters also (although it wouldn't be the end of the world to get a separate rig for 6 m).

I don't really car about bells and whistles, but am looking for reliability and solid performance.  In all of my years of hamming I've never used a rig with any kind of 'modern' filters on the receive end (my current rig is a Collins 32S-1 / 75S-1, and that was a big step up from the Drake crystal rig I started with), so I'm totally open to suggestions on what I should be looking for. 

thanks
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“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” ― Isaac Asimov
AD7VB
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 07:52:13 PM »

You can find a used ICOM IC-7410 now for under a $1000.  There are IC-7200's out there as well.

73,
Todd
AD7VB
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KC3RN
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2017, 04:30:13 AM »

You can find a used ICOM IC-7410 now for under a $1000.  There are IC-7200's out there as well.

73,
Todd
AD7VB

I look for a used IC-7300 instead.  It's been the "flavor of the month" since it came out last year.
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K2TPZ
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2017, 04:56:58 AM »

The best bargain going on the used market is the TS590S(G). I've seen the TS590S selling as low as $850 and the SG right under a $1000. It's a great rig. Other excellent rigs selling under $1000 are: 

IC 7410
IC 7200
IC 7000
FT 450 and 450D
FT 890
Ten Tec Eagle and Corsair

The above rigs would make any ham happy. I've used each of these rigs at one time or other and was very satisfied.

Good luck.

Mike
K2TPZ




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KS2G
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Posts: 732




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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2017, 05:14:06 AM »

Kenwood TS-590S ... selling for $800 or less these days on the second-hand market.
Was best bang-for-the-buck when new.
Still best value on the used market.
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W8GP
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Posts: 353




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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2017, 06:28:17 AM »

Yaesu FT-950
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KW4GT
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2017, 01:28:41 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions.

One more question.... Since I've been away from hamming for over a decade I'm not at all up on the features and capabilities of 'modern' rigs.  What would I be giving up by going with something somewhat less expensive (say an Icom IC-736 for instance) instead of the newer rigs which have been mentioned so far?
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“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” ― Isaac Asimov
KC3RN
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 05:38:26 AM »

The best bargain going on the used market is the TS590S(G). I've seen the TS590S selling as low as $850 and the SG right under a $1000. It's a great rig. Other excellent rigs selling under $1000 are: 

IC 7410
IC 7200
IC 7000
FT 450 and 450D
FT 890
Ten Tec Eagle and Corsair

The above rigs would make any ham happy. I've used each of these rigs at one time or other and was very satisfied.

Good luck.

Mike
K2TPZ


I bought an FT-450D a couple of months ago.  $780 new, and about $500-600 used.  I've been quite happy with it.  It replaced an Icom IC-7100, which I was never really impressed with.
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AD7VB
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 08:56:33 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions.

One more question.... Since I've been away from hamming for over a decade I'm not at all up on the features and capabilities of 'modern' rigs.  What would I be giving up by going with something somewhat less expensive (say an Icom IC-736 for instance) instead of the newer rigs which have been mentioned so far?

Support from the manufacturer when it breaks, DSP based filtering, single USB cable for rig control and digital modes. Possibly more reliability issues because of the age of the radio.

73,
Todd
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W8JX
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Posts: 12080




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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 07:14:40 PM »

The best bargain going on the used market is the TS590S(G). I've seen the TS590S selling as low as $850 and the SG right under a $1000. It's a great rig. Other excellent rigs selling under $1000 are: 

IC 7410
IC 7200
IC 7000
FT 450 and 450D
FT 890
Ten Tec Eagle and Corsair

The above rigs would make any ham happy. I've used each of these rigs at one time or other and was very satisfied.

Good luck.

Mike
K2TPZ


I would scratch all but 7410 and 7200. 890 is know to blow finals, 7000 is not that great used and tends to run hot, 450 is a bad joke (kinda a CB with a VFO), and TenTec is not a bad radio but has questionable long term viability.

TS480SAT can be had new under 1 grand and is a solid rig. I have owned one for over 7 years now.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
WW7KE
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Posts: 581




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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2017, 07:41:55 PM »

I bought an FT-450D a couple of months ago.  $780 new, and about $500-600 used.  I've been quite happy with it.  It replaced an Icom IC-7100, which I was never really impressed with.

I've had one for just over a year.  I love it, although it is far from perfect.  It certainly is not a contest radio, either on CW or SSB.  It just doesn't have the selectivity, and the DSP is rudimentary.  I've used it for SSB contests, including Field Day this weekend, but it has issues with both IF selectivity and audio quality.  But for what mostly I use it for (digital modes, connected to a PC), it works great.
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GM1FLQ
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Posts: 794




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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2017, 03:08:23 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions.

One more question.... Since I've been away from hamming for over a decade I'm not at all up on the features and capabilities of 'modern' rigs.  What would I be giving up by going with something somewhat less expensive........

Nothing greatly important.......you may even find that your enjoyment is inversely proportional to how much your radio costs.
(for clarity I am of sufficient means to afford any of the latest models - just to knock any retorts about envy etc. on the head)
One suggestion - JRC JST135 albeit less common to find.

If you are easily impressed with flashy colour screens and feel the need for a "trophy" radio there are of course quite a few sheeple models that commoners gravitate towards.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 03:20:28 AM by GM1FLQ » Logged
KC3RN
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2017, 06:33:45 AM »


I've had one for just over a year.  I love it, although it is far from perfect.  It certainly is not a contest radio, either on CW or SSB.  It just doesn't have the selectivity, and the DSP is rudimentary.  I've used it for SSB contests, including Field Day this weekend, but it has issues with both IF selectivity and audio quality.  But for what mostly I use it for (digital modes, connected to a PC), it works great.

I agree about it being less than perfect, but I find it's a fun rig to operate.  And yes, it shines on digital operation, but I've used it for contesting as well, on both CW and SSB.  Agreed that it's not a top of the line radio, but it's certainly no slouch either.  The selectivity is no worse than other comparably priced rigs.  It's on par with my old TS-520 (with filters installed), and much better than my TS-50 or an IC-718...

The TS-480 is a sweet rig as long as you can deal with the two-piece ergonomics, which doesn't work for me.  It also needs to have the mechanical filters installed, but if they're in there, it works great.  I'm a Kenwood fanboy, and still have my "vintage" Kenwood rigs (TS-520, TS-50, TS-130 and TR-9000), but the Yaesu has really grown on me, modest as it is.
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W8JX
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Posts: 12080




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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2017, 06:49:19 AM »

I agree about it being less than perfect, but I find it's a fun rig to operate.  And yes, it shines on digital operation,

Shine like maybe a very dim light bulb. The only thing that salvages it there is sound card selectivity because rig does not have it anf has few menu options for it too.


The TS-480 is a sweet rig as long as you can deal with the two-piece ergonomics, which doesn't work for me.  It also needs to have the mechanical filters installed, but if they're in there, it works great. 

My 480 has been "one piece" for nearly as long as I have had it. They make a MB-480 mount assembly that rig bolts to the has a side carry handle and it also mounts head or rig directly in front of body and it comes with a short cable to connect it too. For some reason in some countries it ships with MB-480 but in states its a option (about 45 bucks)

On filters, "mechanical"Huh  I have the optional Kenwood 1.8 khz SSB and 500 hz CW xtal filters in my 480 and they perform extremely well. Unlike past generation filters they have very steep/tight skirts and a shape factor of better than 2 to 1. ( 60db down bandwidth is less than twice the 6db bandwidth) When installed the 480 will easily keep up with rigs costing far more. I can pretty much reject even a strong signal that is at least 2kc away on SSB with 480 using optional filters and IF shift. AGC on rig is not easily thumped either.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
WW7KE
Member

Posts: 581




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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2017, 10:47:58 AM »

I agree about it being less than perfect, but I find it's a fun rig to operate.  And yes, it shines on digital operation,

Shine like maybe a very dim light bulb. The only thing that salvages it there is sound card selectivity because rig does not have it anf has few menu options for it too.

And you know this from owning one and using it for a long time, or just borrowing one for a bit?  I agree with KC3RN, and that is based on over a year of using it on the air.
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He speaks fluent PSK31...  One QSO with him earns you 5BDXCC...  His Wouff Hong has two Wouffs... Hiram Percy Maxim called HIM "The Old Man..."  He is... The Most Interesting Ham In The World!
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