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Author Topic: What to buy?  (Read 1123 times)
KD4Q
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Posts: 54




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« on: June 05, 2005, 03:30:15 PM »

Hmmmm...

I got my General ticket in 1975...went inactive in 1979 and now want to slowly work my way back in.

I've had a couple of bad experiences on ebay...I bought a Heathkit SB-100...which arrived with a broken tube...and after I got that replaced (Which took weeks to receive)...all I hear is chirps on all bands.

So, I bought a Kenwood 820S...which didn't ship for weeks and when it did, it never arrived.  (At least I got my money back for that one.)

So, meanwhile I ordered a J-pole antenna...that took a month to get -- and I had to threaten the seller to even get it.

I also bought via the Internet an SWR/Dummyload box and an 'apartment antenna' so I could quickly put an antenna outside in a HOA environment.  Weeks later I got the meter/load but am still waiting for the antenna.

Sigh...at this point I've spent over $1,000 and have nothing that even begins to work.

If you only wanted to spend $1,000 more (and you were me) is there anything that can be purchased new...from a reputable dealer over the Internet...that is solid-state (or tubes for finals if that is better)??

I primarly like CW on 20/40 and voice on 20.

Thanks!
Bob
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AA4PB
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Posts: 13033




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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2005, 07:40:00 PM »

Look at the used equipment list at AES. I've never had a problem with them. Supposedly everything is checked out in their shop before it is sold and it comes with a warrantee. I expect some of the other dealers have a similar policy. E-bay is not the place to purchase ham gear in my opinion.

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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20669




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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2005, 01:55:00 PM »

YZA, since it looks like you have the makings of a flight simulator there, are you a pilot?

Whether yes or no, there's no reason to be buying stuff sight unseen on eBay when there's lots of places you could go check the stuff out and be perfectly satisfied with it, before paying for and driving (or flying!) home with it.

eBay might be fine for very experienced buyers, but I've been buying, selling, trading and using ham gear for 40 years now and I wouldn't even think of buying anything on eBay.  It's a great deal for sellers, and could be a rotten deal for buyers.  No way to know.

eHam.net, QRZ.com, QTH.com, ARRL.org and many other resources list ham gear for sale along with the seller's name, callsign and address so you can peruse the ads looking expressly for "local" deals -- stuff being sold by people close to you.  Make contact with them, go check the stuff out, and buy it once you're satisfied with it.  Why buy something you've never seen, and pay shipping for it?  This is nuts.

I agree that AES does sell "reconditioned" and guaranteed used gear, and I have always been perfectly happy with anything I've purchased from them, used or new.   They stand behind the used stuff and offer a warranty on all of it.

Of course, there's some "new" stuff you could have purchased for far less than $1000, too.  A brand new IC-718, not a bad HF rig, is about $700 brand new, with new equipment warranty.  Ten Tec sells thier Jupiter for $1200-something and offers a 30 day "free trial" (test drive) of everything they sell; if you don't like the rig, return it and lose only the UPS cost.

Similar deals and situations abound.  Leave eBay to the pros, it's not a place to get your feet wet again in the hobby.  There are hundreds of "I'm so happy with eBay!" stories, but I guarantee there are far more stories just like yours.

WB2WIK/6

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KD4Q
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2005, 02:54:49 PM »

WIK,

Thanks!  I see your point.

I am a pilot.  That picture is of a friend's airplane. Back in 1979 I had to choose one or the other (flying or ham radio) as I couldn't afford both; and I started flying in 1980.  Now it's time to finish what I started with ham radio.

What are the relative differences in the ICOM and Jupiter...i.e....what more do you get for the additional $500...and is it worth it?

Thanks!
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20669




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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2005, 03:47:07 PM »

There's lots of options when it comes to rigs.  I wouldn't spend "anything" on an SB-100 at this point --it's too old and quality was in the hands of the builder, and that happened probably 40 years ago.  It doesn't cover the WARC bands and isn't comparable to any of the new rigs.  Besides, the good old RCA American-made tubes used in the rig haven't been American made in many, many years.  Replacements are either used American tubes (iffy) or new foreign-made tubes, which are also iffy.

Rigs like the TT Jupiter are heavily software defined, which means they can be updated via downloads of new code from the internet, as the code becomes available.  That's cool.  The IC-718 is much more basic, with fewer frills and not software defined.  Still, it seems to work well.

A step above that is the IC-746PRO which has DSP functionality, a built in automatic antenna tuner and 50/144 MHz coverage as well as HF.  Or the Kenwood TS-570D(G).  Or lots of stuff.  I wouldn't avoid used rigs as long as I could try them out first and got a good feeling (up close and personal, after meeting) from the seller.  But I'd avoid 40 year-old stuff.  I'd probably also avoid 30 year stuff.  Stick with rigs made since 1985 or so and you're better off.   The older rigs, unless very meticulously maintained, are all failures already occurred or just about to occur, and serviceability and replacement parts can be a problem.

Welcome back!

WB2WIK6










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KD4Q
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2005, 06:25:11 PM »

Thanks for all your help.

I just ordered the TT 'Get on HF Now!' package.  I'm relieved to be starting from a known-good position.
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W4UDX
Member

Posts: 21




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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2005, 07:32:29 PM »

I went to Dayton Hamvention and bought a used Icom IC-740 with internal supply and two CW filters AND the SM-8 desk mic all for $250., and it works too! I also bought a new LDG Z-100 automatic antenna tuner new from HRO that only worked for 4 tune-ups then quit. Bummer. Waiting for RPL unit to arrive from LDG. They have great service and nice products... I am sure mine was a fluke.
  Good deals on used equipment are out there, you just have to wait and watch to find them and not jump the gun when buying. My friend, WR4F got a really nice Icom IC-735 for $250 and a 20 amp switching power supply for $40. Not bad! Once at Dayton I bought an Icom IC-745 that was fully loaded with all the options, and it included the SM-6 desk mic and the AT-500 auto tuner all mint in the original boxes for $500. The tuner alone now sells for over $300 on eBay. Keep your eyes peeled, you'll find some good deals on working gear.
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K7VO
Member

Posts: 1010




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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2005, 02:08:24 PM »

I bought a Ten Tec Argonaut V at Dayton new, my first new HF rig in a long time.  It cost <$800 and in terms of receiver performance it runs circles around all my older gear.  The IF DSP bandwidth filters are a joy.  The receive audio is fantastic.  QSK is silky smooth on all Ten Tec rigs.  If you're a CW op that alone is reason enough to go with Ten Tec over what the Japanese are currently offering for HF.  20W is ~1.5S unites below 100W so most of the time the lower power level won't make one bit of difference.  I am totally impressed with this little rig so far and, like the Jupiter, you download firmware upgrades to update the radio.  The Argonaut V also has the RS-232 interface built in for computer control of the rig and PSK-31 support built in (just add data cable) with no RigBlaster or equivalent to buy or build.  It's an excellent value.

The Jupiter is the next step up the line.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
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KD8AWZ
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2005, 03:34:59 PM »

I think YZA has finally bought a rig, but I saw mention of the Icom 718 and had to say something. I got my tech ticket in February of this year, and upgraded to general in March. I went to the Maumee OH hamfest and bought an Icom 745 off a ham that was president of the local ham club in Maumee - and the radio was a piece of junk! I dumped it and I bought the Icom IC-718 while on special with the free DSP for about $525 delivered. It is the biggest sleeper around! It does EVERYTHING well - not great, but very well. If you are looking for an HF rig and are on a budget, you have to at least take a look at the 718!
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K7VO
Member

Posts: 1010




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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2005, 08:56:07 PM »

A less expensive option from Ten Tec is their Argonaut V (model 516), which I bought at Dayton this year and absolutely love.  Don't let the 20W output power scare you off.  That a whole 1.5 S units or less below a 100W rig and you'll probably make 98% of the contacts you'd make with a 100W rig and get very similar reports.  The receiver is absolutely fantastic and the IF DSP bandwidth filters are very well thought out and work fantasically well.  There is no need for additional filters which would cost extra on an IC-718.  Like the Jupiter the Argonaut V is software defined and can be updated.  I am running the latest version 1.08 firmware with mine which means my rig was 60m ready right out of the box, something an Icom IC-718 isn't.  A digital interface is also built in on the Argonaut V so all you do is add the optional cable between the radio and your computer and you're all set for PSK31 and other digital modes.  That, too, would be an extra, and an outboard extra at that, on the Icom.  The Ten Tec Argonaut V is $795 new.  Plan on adding the fan option ($30) if you're going to run digital.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
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