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Author Topic: HF rig w/ or w/o vhf capabilities....do you lose something?  (Read 1550 times)
KC9RCG
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« on: June 26, 2011, 11:45:11 AM »

I am close to getting my first HF rig. However, a person who has been in the hobby and much more knowledgeable than me stated that you give up some things with having vhf there. I have been looking at the FT-450d and the ft-857. I like the the first because it has a build in tuner. However, the second has vhf.

So, does having a rig with everything cause you to lose other capabilities.


Thanks
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N6AJR
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 01:13:22 PM »

Well , it kind of depends.   As  a side note the Yaesu FT 857 is probably the least expensive way to get on the air with an alll mode, all band radio.  I have 2.  I use 1 in my car for mobile use.

I have I think 9 hf radios, and several do either vhf or uhf/vhf.  I actually use those quite often.  My most used in the shack is the Kenwood ts 2000 which is 2m/440/6m and hf .  mostly I use it for the 2/6/440 setup with 100 watts and 50 on 440 mhz, and it has vox so I can rag chew with my friends and not  have to worry about keying the rig. ( I am really lazy).

The shack in a box do have some limitations, as in its hard to monitor an HF frequency while monitoring a couple of repoeaters. but all in all either way is ok.  I have seperate 2m/  and 2m/440 , 220 and 900 mhz and 1.2 g radios along with the ts 2000 for a couple more 6/2/440. I haver a 746 pro which does 2m/6m/ and hf. I have a flex 1500 which is qrp but does hf and 6 meters, and On my orion I have added a 6 meter transverter.  there is qalso a pegasus, Ft990 the second 857, and an icom 740. I don't remember the rest.

So I say get the 857 first, and that gives you 2m/440/6m/ 10-160 m and cw, fm ssb, rtty psk31, fm and am and has changeable outputs so you can use several antennas to set up the output from the rig.  It is a bit small for a shack radio, but when you get your next rig, the 857 can go in the car.  Used with the ATAS 120 antenna it will do 2m/440/6m and 10-40 m mobile, all on the 1 antenna.

The other option is to look around for a good "older" hf rig, and some mobiles for the uhf/vhf stuff and build fro there, but saving up for a new or used ft 857d  will be cheeper over all at under $700 new and usually around $500 -$550 used.  nice litle radio,  and the work well.. you only need to add a 20 amp powersupply and an antenna, and you are good to go.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2011, 01:22:27 PM »

There's no reason to "lose anything" adding VHF-UHF bands to an HF rig, since the added VHF-UHF circuits required are totally separate from the HF circuitry anyway.

Unfortunately, though, the little rigs like the FT-857D (and others) "lose" many features, both performance and operationally, simply because they're so small.  They have a lack of panel knobs, so resort to a dozen extra multi-function" buttons and an (often complex) menu system to make routine adjustments.  Due to pure lack of real estate, they don't have sophisticated front end bandpass filtering that many "larger" desktop rigs do  Their heatsinks are smaller and ventilation limited, so they resort to sometimes noisy cooling fans, and often still run quite "hot" even with the fans running.  They typically cannot run full power on FM or RTTY like many "full sized" rigs can, although on SSB the duty cycle is pretty low and they do okay there.

One thing I find annoying about all the "small" rigs (not to pick on any particular one) is it's so easy to bump something and get lost in "menu hell" without even meaning to!  Imagine operating your computer and accidentally hitting a button that takes you into a setup menu that you didn't want to be in, and may not even know how to escape easily.  Many smaller rigs can be like that.

For "home station" use, it's hard to beat the "larger" rigs.
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W8JI
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2011, 01:32:38 PM »

Picking a radio is like picking a wife. Size, looks, ergonomics, performance, mamory, and ability to handle multiple functions all balance against cost. You just have to decide what you like, and that is what will be the best thing in the world in your opinion.

As a general rule HF radios going to 2 meters or above are never that good, but there are some nice HF-6 meter rigs. As a general rule really small cabinets and low prices means a compromise in performance.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 01:38:41 PM »

Picking a radio is like picking a wife. Size, looks, ergonomics, performance, mamory,

I think "mammory" has one more "m."

Oh, and the o is really an a.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 01:42:14 PM by WB2WIK » Logged
AC5UP
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2011, 02:17:28 PM »

Picking a radio is like picking a wife.

Here we go..................................... At least the radio has an " off " button.  Tongue
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W8JI
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2011, 02:36:17 PM »

Picking a radio is like picking a wife. Size, looks, ergonomics, performance, mamory,

I think "mammory" has one more "m."

Oh, and the o is really an a.




I meant to type memory, so the a should be an e
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M6GOM
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2011, 02:44:03 PM »


So, does having a rig with everything cause you to lose other capabilities.


Thanks

Yes. They are typically either deaf on HF or VHF or both. And the FT857 is a dog to use and will put you off.
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G8YMW
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2011, 03:24:28 PM »

My Icom 706 Mk2G isnt deaf but does suffer under strong signals. I put that down to having wide FM receive capability thus having a very wide filter at the 1st IF also living down Brant Road in Lincoln doesnt help.
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73 details Tony
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2011, 06:17:57 PM »

I have operated an Icom 7000 here in the past. I found it lacked some what on VHF/UHF receive when compared to a FT-7800 I had at the same time.

On HF, I did not find it lacking in any department.

So I would say yes, you might get short changed a wee bit, but not that much. If you are not into working long range simplex on the VHF/UHF bands you will be ok.
JMO
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2011, 06:50:41 PM »

I've noted the lack of sensitivity in some of the "DC to daylight" small rigs like 706s, 857s, 897s, 817s, 7000s etc on VHF-UHF also.

Which at first surprised me since extremely good low-noise UHF transistors cost like a dollar.

However, these rigs often have a much higher than expected noise figure on VHF-UHF, by actual measurement and not guesswork.  Looking at the circuity, I think a lot of that is due to lossy switching networks.  A good VHF "front end" is only as good as the loss between it and the antenna, and if you add 3 dB in switching losses, the noise figure is raised by 3 dB.

But that wouldn't affect HF.
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2011, 09:05:19 PM »

Quote
However, these rigs often have a much higher than expected noise figure on VHF-UHF, by actual measurement and not guesswork.  Looking at the circuity, I think a lot of that is due to lossy switching networks.  A good VHF "front end" is only as good as the loss between it and the antenna, and if you add 3 dB in switching losses, the noise figure is raised by 3 dB.

That may be why the IC-706 has two antenna connections -- one HF, one VHF.  No switching circuits.  But I haven't checked the circuit diagram.

                Charles
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K2DC
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2011, 01:29:10 AM »

I've had two "shack-in-a-box" rigs, an IC-706MKIIG and a TS-2000.  I used the Icom primarily for HF SSB mobile and it seemed to work reasonably well.  The few times I used it for fixed portable, I noted that the sloopy stock IF filters made it almost unusable on a busy CW band.  And the noise blanker was one of the worst I've ever used in terms of enhancing splatter from strong adjacent signals.

I bought the TS-2000 when I was doing some satellite work to replace my TS-570 and aging FT-726.  I was reasonably happy with it on HF.  The digital filtering was not great on SSB, but did well on CW until you cranked it in to 250Hz or narrower where it rings like crazy.  Soon after I bought the rig, several of the better birds went dark.  And then I moved and never got around to putting the VHF and UHF boomers and the AZ/EL rotors back up.  And I wanted more HF receive capability so I now have a Mark V Field with the roofing filter, two 1.8 SSB filters and a 500 and 250 CW filters.

So that's my experience with all-in-one rigs.  Your mileage may vary.  Best to try to network with other hams and try a few different ones out if you can, to see what suites you best.

GL & 73,

Don, K2DC
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K5WCF
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2011, 08:30:46 AM »

From a happy owner of the FT-897d once you learn the menu it's not so bad, as to being deaf on HF, or VHF, or both, last time I checked without a good antenna event the most expensive rig is going to be deaf. Look at it this way if you want to save having to put a mobile 2mtr 440 rig (additional cost) along side an FT-450 to keep up with the locals then get the all in one rig. Sure an all in one might not compare to a committed HF rig but the ft-450 doesn't compare to say the FTDX-9000 but I'm guessing your're not planning on running out to buy a 9000 instead. So get the radio that you want to get, and can afford to get, and build a great antenna, and get on the air so you can tell those who say your rig doesn't do as well, that it gets you where you want to go.
 Above all else have fun.
K5WCF
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2011, 09:25:06 AM »

Quote
However, these rigs often have a much higher than expected noise figure on VHF-UHF, by actual measurement and not guesswork.  Looking at the circuity, I think a lot of that is due to lossy switching networks.  A good VHF "front end" is only as good as the loss between it and the antenna, and if you add 3 dB in switching losses, the noise figure is raised by 3 dB.

That may be why the IC-706 has two antenna connections -- one HF, one VHF.  No switching circuits.  But I haven't checked the circuit diagram.

                Charles


Charles, it still has switching circuits!  They all do, at minimum to switch a single antenna between the VHF receiver and the VHF transmitter in the rig.  If that was a zero-loss 50 Ohm coaxial relay, that would be great.  But it never is.  It's either a PCB relay or diodes, and often not well optimized for VHF performance (although I'm sure some effort is made in that regard).
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