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Author Topic: Returning to HF on a budget and looking to build versatile home/portable hf kit  (Read 3695 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 12080




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« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2017, 07:44:59 AM »

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

You do that and DO NOT forget that line loss on HF looses signal and noise equally and since noise is limiting factor obHF receive lower line loss will not help you.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KC3RN
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2017, 01:05:29 PM »

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)

At current street prices:
TS-480SAT - $850
SSB Filter -   $120
CW Filter -    $120
Carry Bracket - $47
Total - $1,137

I agree that the 480 is a good rig, but not comparable to a $3,200 rig, and really not in the "budget" class, either.

I would give serious consideration to the Yaesu FT-891, with an outboard tuner.  The 891 is around $550 new.  Add an auto tuner for $150 and you're good to go for around $700.  My daily driver is an FT-450D, and while the DSP is mildly effective, it's rather clumsy to use.  According to what I've read, the DSP in the 891 is an improvement over the 450.  If I were going to buy today, I'd probably choose the 891 over the 450.
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 12080




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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2017, 01:37:36 PM »


I agree that the 480 is a good rig, but not comparable to a $3,200 rig, and really not in the "budget" class, either.


I bought my 480 used 6 years ago with both filters installed for about 750 of Ebay. It has been trouble free. With filters installed it will indeed hold its own on selectivity against rigs costing 3 grand. May not have whistle and bells of a 3 grand rig but it will run with best of them on selectivity with optional filters. (better IF DSP rigs have filters too under the name of roofing filters) Kenwood redesigned filters with 480 and they have very sharp skirts with a shape factor of better than 2 to 1 (500hz filter is 60db down at 820 hz wide and 1.8 SSB filter is about 3khz wide at 60 db down) I can pretty much reject even a SSB strong signal 2 khz away. Few IF DSP rigs can do much better.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
K0UA
Member

Posts: 1380




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« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2017, 02:13:33 PM »

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)

At current street prices:
TS-480SAT - $850
SSB Filter -   $120
CW Filter -    $120
Carry Bracket - $47
Total - $1,137

I agree that the 480 is a good rig, but not comparable to a $3,200 rig, and really not in the "budget" class, either.

I would give serious consideration to the Yaesu FT-891, with an outboard tuner.  The 891 is around $550 new.  Add an auto tuner for $150 and you're good to go for around $700.  My daily driver is an FT-450D, and while the DSP is mildly effective, it's rather clumsy to use.  According to what I've read, the DSP in the 891 is an improvement over the 450.  If I were going to buy today, I'd probably choose the 891 over the 450.

Having recently owned an Ft450 and presently own an FT891, I can testify that the FT891's DSP is quite a bit better than that on the 450.  And it should be, it is several years newer.  No knock on the 450, it is just an older design.

As for "boatanchors".  I don't know what the fascination is with them.  I have owned many HF SSB rigs over the decades. and discarded them as soon as they became obsolete.  That is right, I DISCARDED them by finding a "fish" and setting the hook.  Many hams hold on to every rig they ever owned.  They hold some nostalgic purpose for them.  I have always sought out new technology.  New technology radios have much more to offer.  Sure my Yaesu FT101 was "state of the art" "back in the day". More or less. Now I would call it a big "pile".  It might serve at the end of your anchor chain.  Its receiver is as wide as a barn door.  And a tube type final is sure a lot of fun. NOT.   Oh well.  A lot of hams enjoy old junk radios.  Just why, I will never know.

As noted earlier a lot of people enjoy old cars, especially when they are restored to like new status.  Sure they are nice to look at, but as actual transportation, they are ALL big POS's. They are unsafe to ride in, they handle like big turds, and they drink gasoline like it's water. Even the best of them.  Oh sure they can go real fast in a straight line, if the front end doesn't float around too much, but show them a curvy road, and many of them become extremely unsafe.

Someone once told me "it would be a poor old world if everyone liked the same thing".  I suppose that is true. 
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 12080




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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2017, 02:30:24 PM »

Having recently owned an Ft450 and presently own an FT891, I can testify that the FT891's DSP is quite a bit better than that on the 450.  And it should be, it is several years newer.  No knock on the 450, it is just an older design.

A lot of older analog rigs can easily outperform a 450. It not just a old design per say, its a cheap design as it cost a lot more than price of a 450 for decent IF DSP.
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--------------------------------------
Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
KI4ZUQ
Member

Posts: 22




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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2017, 04:29:38 PM »

Elecraft still makes and supports the K2. Build it yerself for about 750. Add the 100 watt module later.

Karl
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KD7SKY
Member

Posts: 16




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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2017, 05:15:18 PM »

Thanks for all the replies everyone.  You've given me some stuff to think about and research.  Much appreciated.

Jody,
KD7SKY
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