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Author Topic: Looking for better VHF station  (Read 964 times)

Posts: 860

« on: February 27, 2010, 10:52:37 PM »

OK, so the 817 is not all that great for weak signal work.  So I need another rig for that purpose.

I don't want to shell out the $$$ for a new IC-9100.  And the 910 is gone.  

So, I have the Kenwood 2000, IC-7000, IC706MKIIG, or the Yaesu 857/897.  


Yaesu are compromise receivers like 817, so what is the point there?
Kenwood 2000 is supposed to be super, but it is $1400.  The IC-7000 is nice, but almost as expensive as the Kenwood 2000.  That leaves the 706MKIIG at just under a grand.

Will I get weak signal perf from the 706, or should I just bite the bullet and get the Kenwood?  I love the 570 and I am a long-time Kenwood fan.


Posts: 20542

« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 12:16:52 PM »

Have you considered using any old HF transceiver (as long as it works) with high quality VHF transverters?

That combination outperforms every "VHF" rig on the market today, and of course it's flexible since you can add bands as needed, from 50 through 10,368 MHz.

My best six meter rig, for example, was a Kenwood TS-830S (c. 1984) operated in the transverter mode on 10m, with a Microwave Modules MMT50/28S transverter and a 6m transmitting amplifier (typically used my 4-1000A).  It ran rings around anything actually made for six meters "in the box."  I added 2m with an SSB Electronics model LT-2S transverter, then 70cm, 33 and 23cm with other SSB Electronics transverters.  To switch bands all I had to do was flip a coax switch to put the "next" transverter on line.  The drawback is you can only use one at a time, so you can't talk on 2m while listening on 6m; but you can't do that with "most" rigs, either.

Posts: 2416

« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2010, 10:42:02 PM »

The Kenwood TS2000 is by far the "best bang for the buck" radio on the market today. And it works just fine on VHF/UHF for the average user, Almost as good as the Icom 910 (Which I consider overpriced for it's very slight advantage over the TS2000) Of course the TS2000 is actually TWO radios in the one box, That can operate/monitor HF bands at the same time as VHF/UHF. Which the other radios you mention cannot.

Good used TS 2000 radios are selling in the 1100 dollar range, And around 1400 brand new with warranty.

The "transverter" system mentioned by WIK IS superior in performance, But not ease of use, And by the time you add up all the parts to need to equal what the TS2000 can do, You will have spent a lot more money.  For the average user, I really doubt the slight performance advantage would be worth it.

Posts: 9

« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 11:31:54 AM »

I have a TS-2000 that I am currently setting up for use on weak signal VHF/UHF. This was an upgrade from my old multi-mode FT-857D. The nice thing is that I will have a little more power on VHF (100 watts) and 50 watts on UHF. The FT-857(d) only boasted about 50 watts on VHF and 20 max on UHF. I think the Icom 706 (MK etc.) has about the same specs.

With all that being said I have also invested in better feed line and antennas. I was using a small loop for both VHF/UHF and only lousy RG-8X for my feed (appx. 70 feet). Not very efficient is what most of the weak signal guys are thinking as they read this.

As I said above my improvements are better antenna's, on 2 I will have a 7 element beam and on 70 cm a 18 element beam, the feed for the 2 meter side is LMR-400 and the UHF beam will have LMR-600UF (expensive by the way, cant afford to eat for a week after this purchase!!)

The whole point of this was to improve where it counts. The radio means very little as I would have done just fine with my FT-857D and the feed line and antennas that I mentioned. Having the TS-2000 and dedicated ports (one for VHF and the other an "N" connector on UHF will be a very nice change.

Every improvement helps, feed line and antennas, height are all big considerations on VHF and above.

Others please feel free to correct or add to my comments.


Posts: 625

« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 02:45:00 PM »

How about improving your antenna and feedline.  Its easy to compromise your station with a lossy feedline.  Antenna gain and height is very important at VHF.  Finally consider a mast mounted preamp with T/R switching.

I used to do OCSAR 10 with and SB102, a transverter and an antenna mounted preamp.  The TX feed line was a piece of Heliax.  The magic is all in the antenna feedline and preamp.

Posts: 2416

« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2010, 10:27:47 PM »

Yep, Those are good comments.  The antenna system is all important. Good antennas as high as possible with short lengths of very low loss coax feedline.

If money is a problem, A home brew antenna like the "Quagi" can be made for close to free. Coax feedline can be had for close to free from a cable TV construction crew (Spool ends of hardling "trunkline" of 3/4" or so.

TIMES LMR 400 IS great coax for lengths under 75 or so feet for normal operations.
Times LMR 600 is also great coax, BUT the price of it plus the high cost of it's connectors is out of sight when compared to simply getting (Better) Heliax of 7/8" or so good used at a swapfest or local two way radio dealer for less money.....     The real deal, Andrew LDF5-50A 7/8 heliax sells good used for around a buck a foot, Good used connectors about 20 bucks each.

Posts: 22

« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 12:40:51 AM »

Hi Mark, may I suggest you look at a clean used Kenwood TR751E. Excellent receiver, very sensitive and it's robust not being a wideband design.
The used price is really good, only problem is the volume / power switch, but it is repairable with a bit of dexterity.
I have a couple of these radios and they have never played me up, touch wood.

73 John G8KHS

Posts: 329


« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 10:30:37 AM »


And we have a winner AGAIN!   You're starting to be my hero, Steve! a FRACTION (a SMALL fraction!) of the cost of a UHF ricebox, you can get a world class receiving converter.  This is how we did all our weak signal ionospheric radar work at HIPAS.

Ancient Chinese proverb still applies:  "If you can't hear 'em, you can't work 'em."


Posts: 20

« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2010, 02:24:18 PM »

You can pick up a Ten Tec 2510B which is a 10 watt 435mhz transmitter with a 2 meter receive converter that plugs into your HF radio and its output is around 29.1 mhz. It has a built in GasFet preamp with a very low noise floor and these go for about $90 on the used market.
Simple mic configuration with good output, I use mine every day for the AO-52 passes and it does an extremeley nice job.
Other radios you can use for the AO-7 downlink and for future use would be a IC-290A and perhaps a FT-790RII. Satellite stations can still be had on the cheap, you just have to look.

Glenn, VE3OQC/XE1

Posts: 106

« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 11:51:39 PM »

Buy a used 910 or a 275 h
Buy a used yaesu allmode from QTH .
Buy Yaesu azel rotors and some cushcraft oscars.
Go to Youtube and take a look at their stations.
Admittedly the big three have not done a good job of marketing their products.
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