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Author Topic: Best Budget CW set up  (Read 8254 times)
AA2CB
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Posts: 12




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« on: November 21, 2011, 01:51:54 PM »

Im crammed up for space here-- dont ask. I was looking at the Alinco DX R8T receiver. I was thinking I can copy CW plus listen to some shortwave broadcasts. Then I saw that for only $25.00 more I can get the Alinco DX SR8T which is the full transceiver. But I read some reviews that are critical of the CW filters. Then I said to myself maybe I should just look for a used Century 21. I dont know. I have been off the air a few years and want to get back on. What is the best CW radio for around $500.00 currently available? Something to hold me over until I can set up my OMNI again. Thanks for the QRM.

AA2CB
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N2EY
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 02:28:39 PM »

Unless I missed something, it appears to me that the Alinco doesn't have a sharp CW filter, nor provision to add one. I wouldn't pay $50 for such a rig for CW use, let alone over $500.


73 de Jim, N2EY
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AA2CB
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »

Yeah. I already have WAS CW and all the "easy" countries. Im looking for zones in the Pacific region so a good 250khz filter would be great and of course full QSK.
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AL7MM
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 05:03:03 PM »

You could run an outboard filter, like the NEscaf.  I have one and I like how it works.

73,
Mike, AL7MM
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AA2CB
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 07:44:25 PM »

Mike... Never heard of that. Do you have a link?

Also, I saw on TenTec's site they offer a 2 band QRP rig-- real small for $249.00 I wonder if anyone out there has tried it?

Rosario

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K3STX
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 07:48:11 PM »

I don't understand. You already HAVE an Omni but don't want to set it up? How much money do you want to spend? The Elecraft K2 is a great CW rig.

But what do you want: SMALL or CHEAP or QRP or Huh

FWIW, the SCAF Audio Filter by Idiom Press works very well.

paul
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K8AXW
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 09:06:00 PM »

http://www.idiompress.com/scaf-1.php

Take the time to listen to the audio files they have on this link.

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AA2CB
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2011, 12:20:08 AM »

Thanks for the info on the scaf and the elecraft. Ill check them out. I dont have room to set up my Omni. I have a small amount of desk space. Its sad but just the way it is right now. Hope to have more room in the not too distant future. I'm probably leaning towards small QRP.
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N2EY
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2011, 02:55:45 AM »

http://www.elecraft.com/

If you want small QRP, look at the KX1.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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HFHAM2
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 05:20:11 PM »

The Alinco DX-SR8T/E has a 2.4 KHz SSB bandwidth with a 500 Hz CW Narrow (Audio) Filter and a 1KHz  SSB Narrow (Ceramic) Filter. These are standard equipment, not expensive optional extras. They do not offer accessory crystal filters.

Audio filters can cause audio "pumping" with very strong nearby strong signals, but this can generally be tamed by upping the audio gain and reducing the RF gain (this rig has an RF gain control).

It also has IF Shift and you can switch between the upper and lower side of the carrier to further escape QRM. In addition, it  has adjustable sidetone frequency, a keyer and full/semi/auto break-in (relay), adjustable AGC and the afore-mentioned RF Gain Control.

Apparently QST weren't too impressed in a recent review, but most of the reviewers on this site reckon it's a perfectly capable rig along the lines of an Icom IC-718, and a steal at current prices. I've currently got one on order.

Other budget CW rigs? Well, most of the old Ten Tecs from the eighties are good and the CW only Century 22 has a brilliant stock variable bandwidth filter (don't see many for sale though).

QRP Rigs? I love my OHR-500.

I can't really recommend the Idiom Press SCAF-1 though. I had one, it was quite expensive for what it is, and is not nearly as good (or narrow) as the SCAF on the SGC SG-2020 that I used to have. Although the filter bandwidth on the SCAF-1 is variable, there was really only one  position that I used; it wasn't much good on SSB either (muffled). The NeSCAF sounds like a better (and cheaper bet).

The SGC ADSP2 speaker is wonderful for both SSB and CW, having both effective noise recuction and narrow SSB and CW DSP filters.

In fact, an SGC SG-2020 with ADSP2 might be your solution. Only caveat is that it doesn't sound that great for AM shortwave broadcast reception as it's SSB/CW only.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 05:36:36 PM by HFHAM2 » Logged
K3STX
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2011, 05:48:55 AM »

I'm probably leaning towards small QRP.

The Elecraft QRP rigs are indeed small, they are great rigs, but they are not cheap! If you want CHEAP and GOOD (and small) check out the Small Wonder Labs SW series of 3 watt transceiver kits. Read the reviews on eHam. I have the SW40+ (40 meters only), it is GREAT. I use it all the time for portable operation but also use it at home sometimes. Look at my webpage www.k3stx.com under "Pauls Portable Station" to see the whole set-up; talk about SMALL!!

It would get you by till you set up your REAL station. No point spending tons of money when you have a great rig sitting in your closet right now.

paul
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AA2CB
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2011, 07:29:07 AM »

Hey Paul... You have a nice webpage there and a great set up. Your probably right-- just have to wait my time out and set up what I have. Its rough when the kids come home to roost!
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N2EY
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2011, 08:34:37 AM »


The Elecraft QRP rigs are indeed small, they are great rigs, but they are not cheap! If you want CHEAP and GOOD (and small) check out the Small Wonder Labs SW series of 3 watt transceiver kits.

I think "cheap" depends on what you want.

The Small Wonder SW series are indeed good and cost only $90 IIRC. But what you get is a bare-bones single-bander - doesn't even have RIT in the base version, let alone a keyer. OTOH, a rig like the Elecraft KX1 gives you two bands in its base form, keyer, RIT and many other features. It can be expanded to four bands and an internal ATU and battery pack added.

All depends on what you want and what you have already.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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WB0FDJ
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 05:05:50 PM »

I'd agree with Paul. While the SW series are "basic", they are very effective. In fact I just finished a long QSO with a guy in Oregon (I'm in MN) on 20 meters and these rigs are super. I've built both the SW20 and SW40. Theres a great yahoo group dedicated to these radios. Compared to the cost of commercial rigs, these are a steal. If you are thinking QRP, cheap and small, there ya go.
Good luck, 73. WB0FDJ Doc
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K9AIM
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 06:28:24 PM »

What is the best CW radio for around $500.00 currently available? Something to hold me over until I can set up my OMNI again. Thanks for the QRM.
AA2CB

This is slightly higher priced, but a great rig you might keep as a back up and it is very portable. 20 watts max...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TenTec-Argonaut-V-Model-516-/300627953475?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fed28743

You could also buy a Ten-Tec Scout (555) that is in good shape & just get the band modules that interest you most.  It is very portable, 50 watts, and also has Ten-Tec's great QSK, but for CW the Argonaut V is a lot nicer.

If you like older rigs you could also pick up an Omni C (546) that is in good shape for maybe $300
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