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Author Topic: Returning to HF on a budget and looking to build versatile home/portable hf kit  (Read 3719 times)
KD7SKY
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Posts: 16




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« on: September 24, 2017, 03:30:04 PM »

Fair warning, this is likely to be a long post.  I'll be as concise as I can.

My household is slowly recovering from a series of events that devastated us financially over the past few years.  Without going into ugly details, I will say that the causes were medical expenses, job losses, and loss of a nice rental home due to a landlord choosing to sell.  I was forced to sell what I could of my amateur radio gear--at least, that which would bring in a decent amount of money.  I had to sell off a Kenwood TS-570DG, Icom IC-761 (loved that radio!), FT-817nd, Buddipole deluxe antenna (with long whips) and several other items.

Today's Situation

Things I still have include: Yaesu FT-2800m, Astron SS-30 power supply, Yaesu FT-60r handheld and drop-in charger, a Comet mobile trunk-mount antenna for my older Toyota Camry, a G5RV full-size antenna, a Cushcraft R-8 multi-band vertical antenna.

My wife and I are currently living in a mobile home park that has lots of trees on a hill directly behind my unit.  Several months ago I returned to a field that I had a lot of experience in--Pest Control.  I'm fairly good at it and the company I returned to is looking to promote me to a management position--something they were thinking of offering me when I left in 2013.  Even so, our household income is currently only half what it was when my wife was able to work.

Cut to the chase...


I'm 47 1/2 years old and I like to get outside when I can.  I am looking to create a versatile HF radio situation where I can have a small-ish HF station that I can use at home and also take out into the field for portable operations, including SOTA activations.  I am a lifelong hiker/backpacker and have a fairly high level of endurance for carrying 30-50 lb pack loads for long periods of time, so carrying heavier (modern) radio gear for a one day or overnight operation does not worry me.

Right now I'm giving some serious thought to the Yaesu FT-450D.  It seems to have all that I'm looking for in a home/portable HF rig, including some CW filters.  I plan to work on CW this winter in anticipation of next year's summer SOTA activation season.

So, I open it up to y'all.  What do you think?  What other things would you suggest for my station building with versatility in mind--assuming that I can only afford to get ONE HF rig to do home and portable operations?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Jody, KD7SKY


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N0YXB
Member

Posts: 1122




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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 05:56:59 PM »

You'll get some predictable negative comments about the FT-450, but it really is a good entry level or reentry level rig. You may also want to check out the FT-891 too.

I'm also looing to get into SOTA in a year or so, and I'm looking at the FT-817 and the KX2 for that. Good luck.
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KC4ZGP
Member

Posts: 1637




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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 06:06:42 PM »


Good things are looking up for you.

I'm having phone and Morse fun with my Alinco SR-8T.
 
I use a delta loop for 20 meters and my big 500+ feet horizontal loop for 160.

160 is opening up. Sun setting sooner. I am going to love Morse 160 this Fall/Winter.

Say hey to the family.

Kraus

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K6AER
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Posts: 4671




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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 06:41:31 PM »

What is your budget for an HF radio. You can get much better bang for the buck buying a used radio. You will need at least 100 watts. An antenna tuner (under $90 used) and some wire antenna with a counter poise. Used IC-718 have been listed for under $500. IC-706 MKII for the same price. TS-570G for under $440. A lot out there.
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 1380




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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 06:56:58 PM »

You'll get some predictable negative comments about the FT-450, but it really is a good entry level or reentry level rig. You may also want to check out the FT-891 too.

I'm also looing to get into SOTA in a year or so, and I'm looking at the FT-817 and the KX2 for that. Good luck.

As a former owner of an FT45at and current owner of a FT891 I would agree with this.  Used Ft450's are around $500 and a brand spanking new FT891 with warranty is $579 right now.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 8126




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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2017, 03:23:26 AM »

Assuming that for SOTA you will be hiking up to the summit, a 100watt radio will need either a fairly heavy battery or a generator - could be a lot to carry.
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NK7Z
Member

Posts: 1838


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2017, 04:22:02 AM »

Take a look at an FT-817ND...  Very small, portable rig, get an external amp and you have a 100 watt rig for home, and a SOTA rig for portable ops...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
W8JX
Member

Posts: 12080




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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2017, 06:28:59 AM »

Right now I'm giving some serious thought to the Yaesu FT-450D.  It seems to have all that I'm looking for in a home/portable HF rig, including some CW filters.  I plan to work on CW this winter in anticipation of next year's summer SOTA activation season.

Take a hard look at a Kenwood TS 480 and optional MB-480 carry bracket than mount head in front of main body and adds a carry handle to it. It is a much better rig than 450 which is a cheap IF DSP rig with limited selectivity and performance (many think that all IF DSP is pretty much equal and promises good performance but this is far from truth)  The 480 is noticeably smaller than 450 and weighs slightly less even with MB-480 attached. Add a optional CW or SSB filter and you will run with rigs costing 2 to 3x more and leave a 450 in dust. (I know I own a 480 with both filters and MB480)
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KC4ZGP
Member

Posts: 1637




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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 01:30:54 PM »


News Flash!!

The Kenwood TS-480HX is on sale for $1049.99 at Ham Radio Outlet (HRO.

I might buy two.

Kraus
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W9IQ
Member

Posts: 1706




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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 01:35:40 PM »

Quote
The Kenwood TS-480HX is on sale for $1049.99 at Ham Radio Outlet (HRO.

It seems that the IC-7300 is placing significant pricing vs features pressure on the marketplace. It has undoubtedly slowed the sales of any other $900 and up HF/6 meter radios.

- Glenn W9IQ
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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
W8JX
Member

Posts: 12080




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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2017, 02:47:01 PM »

Quote
The Kenwood TS-480HX is on sale for $1049.99 at Ham Radio Outlet (HRO.

It seems that the IC-7300 is placing significant pricing vs features pressure on the marketplace. It has undoubtedly slowed the sales of any other $900 and up HF/6 meter radios.

- Glenn W9IQ

The actual sales price of TS480 series rigs has changed very little last several years and 7300 has had no real effect on it. The 480 HX is the only 200 watt compact rig made and 100 watt 7300 is no real competition to it.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
W9IQ
Member

Posts: 1706




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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2017, 02:55:54 PM »

Ah, yes. But if I refer to the many (wrong) postings about coax cable loss, 3 dB can hardly be heard down range...

- Glenn W9IQ

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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
W8JX
Member

Posts: 12080




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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2017, 03:33:28 PM »

Ah, yes. But if I refer to the many (wrong) postings about coax cable loss, 3 dB can hardly be heard down range...

- Glenn W9IQ

Well the effect of 3db is indeed debatable on HF but none the less there are no other 200 watt rigs out there and a 200 watt rig should be able to do 100 watts key down 24/7 if need be too. Plus mobile/portable with compact/inefficient antennas 3db could help at times. Furthermore, once at 200 watt level, going to 500 watts or so with amp  is just a little over 3db (vs 6db+ over 100 watts) and of little added value
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
W9IQ
Member

Posts: 1706




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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2017, 04:01:04 PM »

I will put a PostIt note on that comment for future reference regarding coaxial cable losses on eham...

- Glenn W9IQ

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- Glenn W9IQ

I never make a mistake. I thought I did once but I was wrong.
KC4ZGP
Member

Posts: 1637




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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2017, 07:22:01 PM »


Gentlemen,

Three decibels can be a matter of getting through or not getting through.

One-hundred watts to two-hundred watts is a bigger gain than one watt
to two watts.

I want a TS-480HX so bad but I'm playing with my EB-27 and EB-104
amplifiers I cannot justify it. Not a multi-band guy either. I would be buying
a lot of unused radio.

JX, A capacitor was not blown. I missed soldering one end. Man surface mount is tiny. All
along one FET was not getting signal thus an imbalanced condition existed in the push-pull
configuration. Waiting new FETs.

Almost there.

Kraus
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