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Author Topic: Looking to get my first Ham Radio  (Read 5788 times)
KN4DWJ
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Posts: 3




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« on: October 28, 2017, 03:10:22 AM »

Im looking for advice on my first ham radio. I just got my tech. Should I go with a HF/VHF/UHF all in one transceiver?
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KC3RN
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2017, 04:29:12 AM »

Welcome to the hobby!  You'll get a lot of different opinions here, since this question comes up frequently.

What's your budget?  Interests?  Antenna possibilities?  All these questions will affect the possibilities.  The Yaesu FT-991A is a really nice rig that covers 160m-70cm, all modes.  The radio, power supply, antennas, coax, etc. will cost you at least $2,000.  The Icom IC-7100 has the same coverage, and can be found for around $700 used, and not much more new.  But, you'll probably need an outboard antenna tuner for HF, power supply, etc., so you're still looking at approx. $1,500 all in.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can find a used 2m mobile rig for around $100.  I use a Kenwood TM-281A.  It's a mobile rig, but I use it at my home shack.  It's a very capable rig for the price.  For HF, there are a ton of used rigs in the $500 (or less) range.  I use a Yaesu FT-450D, and I'm quite happy with it.  I also have a Kenwood TS-130 that's great fun to use, but it's an older rig.  You can find those for around $300 or less.  You'll still need to budget for antennas, an antenna tuner, power supply, coax, etc.  Other possibilities are the Icom IC-718 (not my favorite, but it works) or a Kenwood TS-50.  There are a bunch more out there, but these are the rigs I have personal experience with.

Personally, I would shy away from the Chinese VHF/UHF stuff.  I have a couple, and they work, but they don't sound very good, and are usually a little under powered.  I'd stay with something from Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu or Alinco.  These rigs sound pretty good on the air, and are pretty reliable.

Get yourself a decent power supply.  A switching PS is fine.  The cost is lower than a linear supply, and they're physically a lot smaller.  Get one that can deliver at least 25 amps continuous, so you can power just about any rig.  I use a PowerWerx SS-30DV, which powers both my HF and VHF rigs.

Lot's of decisions for you, but that's part of the fun of ham radio.  Again, welcome!
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KN4DWJ
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2017, 05:42:46 AM »

what do you think about the Kenwood TS-2000
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KC8KTN
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Posts: 1381


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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2017, 06:06:43 AM »

CONGRATULATIONS. Get the best forget the rest... Icom 718. The Best .A#1. 1000%,The perfect one. Talk around the world.Invest in a really good antenna . Watch out for Crazy neighbors. Take Care 73sss..


Yet another imperfect being created by THE perfect God. Thank you .........W.T.T.C.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 06:11:03 AM by KC8KTN » Logged
G3RZP
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2017, 06:25:15 AM »

TS2000 is now an old radio. Not that is necessarily bad, but there may well be parts in it that are now 'unobtainium' if for any reason they fail. I seem to remember that it wasn't very brilliant performer on V/UHF.
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KC3RN
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Posts: 200




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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2017, 08:33:09 AM »

CONGRATULATIONS. Get the best forget the rest... Icom 718. The Best .A#1. 1000%,The perfect one. Talk around the world.Invest in a really good antenna .

Here's my experience after having lived with a 718 for a while -

The bad:
1. No 6m capability
2. Lacks built-in auto tuner
3. Receive sensitivity not quite as good as other rigs in that price range
4. Very limited DSP (noise reduction only, no variable bandwidth filters)
5. Terrible receive audio (budget for an external speaker for a vast improvement)

The good:
1. Strong 100 watt output
2. Decent transmit audio (especially after a simple mod to the stock mic)
3. Built like a tank
4. Dead simple to use

Investing in a good antenna is very, very good advice.

I can't comment on the TS-2000, as I've never used one....
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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2017, 08:57:16 AM »


The 718 has no FM capability.

Kraus
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K8AXW
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Posts: 6312




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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 09:44:52 AM »

3RN pretty well covers the necessary questions you should address.  Only after you make your determinations should you ask for recommendations.

Most Techs that I know buy a dual band HT and that's their total interest and go no further.

Others will start out on the 2m repeaters but plan to continue their studies and get their General ticket which means you should consider a rig with HF capability.  If this is the case then I'd buy one of the cheap Chinese HTs (which in my opinion does very well and if it breaks, throw it away) and  save my money for at least a half decent HF rig.

I spent BIG bucks for a Kenwood HT and then later a Kenwood mobile rig and found the programming process so convoluted I never was able to master it.  Fortunately I had a buddy who was able to program the HT and the mobile rig is programmed with my laptop.....or it would be either gone or on the shelf collecting dust.

One other thing to consider.....the more bells and whistles you get on a rig means that it will be a bitch to program/operate due to menus and sub-menus.  And, chances are you won't use 80% of the features anyhow! "BEST" doesn't mean it will do everything but fry eggs in the morning!
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K0UA
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Posts: 1368




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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 10:32:43 AM »


The 718 has no FM capability.

Kraus

More importantly it also has no 6 meter capability.  Smiley
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K0UA
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Posts: 1368




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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2017, 10:44:29 AM »

The biggest thing we need to know is how much money do you have to drop on a radio.  And even more importantly is can you put up an an antenna?  This ranges from a 100 foot tower and HF beam with lots of room for wires on 40,80 and 160 meters, or are we talking about some dummy load on a stick in the back yard or some wire thrown in a tree you have to take back in at dawn?  We have no idea of your financial situation or your real estate situation. You must understand, that operating HF is about building and setting up a Station.  Not just buying a rig. I have been working on improving my station for the 15 years I have lived here.  It is better now than it has ever been, but I am not done.

My previous location had a larger station with a 100 foot tower and a large 4 element triband beam. As well as an AZ-EL satelite station.

It is all about doing what you can with your resources, including financial and environmental.  It could be all you can do is pickup and use a dual band HT.  That might be it. Or you could build a "superstation"   Look up W0GJ on QRZ for just one example of a superstation.

Ham radio means many different things to many different people.

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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2017, 06:05:29 PM »


The 718 has no FM capability.

Kraus

More importantly it also has no 6 meter capability.  Smiley

But that FT-891 has both. Right?

Now there's the radio for newcomer and oldcomers alike.

Kraus
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WZ7U
Member

Posts: 573




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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2017, 07:13:31 PM »

CONGRATULATIONS. Get the best forget the rest... Icom 718. The Best .A#1. 1000%,The perfect one. Talk around the world.Invest in a really good antenna .

Here's my experience after having lived with a 718 for a while -

<snippity snip>

4. Dead simple to use

Investing in a good antenna is very, very good advice.


So, are you saying, in light of the other quote, it's as close to '3 knob radio' simple as it gets? 10-4


The advice about antennas is spot on regardless of which radio system you choose. The antenna is everything, it is king. Spend the most there and you will be a happy camper, guaranteed.
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================================================
WZ7U ~ originating from CN86jc +/-

Yet another imperfect being created by THE perfect God. Thank you Jesus!
K0UA
Member

Posts: 1368




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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2017, 07:35:58 PM »


The 718 has no FM capability.

Kraus

More importantly it also has no 6 meter capability.  Smiley

But that FT-891 has both. Right?

Now there's the radio for newcomer and oldcomers alike.

Kraus


Yes, it does Kraus, yes it does.   Smiley And it has effective DSP too and variable bandwidth too.. It even has a pretty decent speaker for no bigger than it is. It actually sounds pretty good. And you can slip the whole thing in your coat pocket.  If you have a big coat pocket.
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KN4DWJ
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2017, 07:51:26 PM »

I figure when I get my tax return. Ill spend 7 to 800 on just a radio. I'm no stranger to HF. Ive done some hf in the military. But from what im reading. im not going to get a decent hf/u/vhf in that price range. So maybe just for now. Ill get a fm/u/vhf. Ill still be able to talk around the world with that and save up for a hf radio later. or are there any decent all in one transcievers.
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 1368




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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2017, 08:00:13 PM »

I figure when I get my tax return. Ill spend 7 to 800 on just a radio. I'm no stranger to HF. Ive done some hf in the military. But from what im reading. im not going to get a decent hf/u/vhf in that price range. So maybe just for now. Ill get a fm/u/vhf. Ill still be able to talk around the world with that and save up for a hf radio later. or are there any decent all in one transcievers.

Pretty close, if you really want an all in one box. you can get an FT857D for $839, but it is getting a little long in the tooth.  Let me tell you something.. get a cheap VHF or VHF/UHF  FM box .. some are not much over $130 bucks new, and can be found used  for less. and get an FT891.  for $579.  It is a deal.  I have one, and it is just about the best deal out there for a 100 watt HF+6 meter transciever.  Yes it is small, and yes it has menus, but it has a "boatload" of features.  But for $579 is is worth it.  It is a modern rig, with modern features.

But don't forget the antenna system.  You didn't say what you could do there. Antennas are way more important than the radio hooked to it.
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