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Author Topic: The Time is Now...  (Read 4901 times)
KK4AXX
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« on: February 08, 2012, 10:08:16 AM »

The time has come for a new radio.  It will be my first truly new radio.  Currently I'm running a fourth hand ICOM 751.  (Note the lack of any additional modifier on that model number.)  The old radio works after a fashion, but the knobs are loose and some of the minor features simply don't work.  There have been some mods to it over the years as well, but I haven't a clue exactly what.

I'm looking to spend about $1000 - give or take a bit.  Less would be great considering I'm a disabled veteran with four kids at home.  Right now the ICOM 718 is in the lead, but I'd really like to have 6 Meters.  Of the models that offer 6M, the Kenwood TS-480 (either sub-model) leads.

Thoughts?
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 11:28:21 AM »

I own a 480 and have for close to 3 years now. A lot more radio than a 718 and with rebate from Kenwood a 480 SAT can be had for under 1 grand out the door. Stock 480 has better selectivity than 718 and a built in tuner too. Optional filters are also considerably cheaper than for a 718 which badly needs one for SSB at time. The 718 is not a bad very basic radio but the is a LOT of difference between a 600 buck radio and a 1000 dollar one.
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K8AC
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 02:28:09 PM »

I'd also vote for the TS-480 SAT.  There's one for sale at this moment on QTH.com classifieds, supposedly like new and unused, for $800.  Might be able to get it for less.  I've used one mobile and here at home for 6 meters and also used it as a vacation rig for CW on the HF bands.  The SAT model has the tuner, the HX doesn't. 
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K2OWK
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 03:39:03 PM »

Hello KK4AXX, It is not an ICOM, but I have been using a Yaesu FT-450AT for a few years now with great results. The new FT-450D is the same as my FT-450AT with some good improvements (additional filters, flip up front feet for base use, better knobs). It has a built in tuner that will match antennas with an up to 3 to 1 VSWR, not great, but better then no tuner. This transceiver is less then $1000.00 complete with a fairly good hand mike. What ever radio you decide to buy, check the reviews for it on Eham. This helps a lot and gives you some idea of what other hams think about it.

Just an opinion.

73s

K2OWK
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 03:51:03 PM »

They "problem" with a 450 is that it is VERY menu dependent. While a 480 has many features and functions that can be accessed directly via front panel (power output, processor etc) the 450 requires you to access menu to change them. While 480 has a menu they are a lot of things you can change without ever needing menu button.  480 also has dual menus meaning you can set up some complex menu features one way for SSB and another way some say DIGI modes and swap menus as easy as swapping VFO's
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NR9R
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 03:05:26 PM »

I recommend against the IC-718.  While it is a simple, reliable radio it is going to be a step down from a fully functional IC-751, which is a good performing rig.  The IC-718 is a very basic menu-driven rig without many QRM fighting features--only one (expensive) optional filter slot available.  If you are after a modern digital radio then you have some good choices between the IC-7200 and FT-450D.  The TS-480SAT mentioned is a good performing radio but it is a bit dated, with audio DSP and the need for crystal filters, and the smallish remote head is not for everyone.

I also suggest looking at the used market.  Although there is some temporary thrill to opening up that band spankin new rig, you can pick up some pretty sweet IF-DSP based radios for under $1k used at this time.  A few that come to mind are the IC-756PRO, IC-746PRO, IC-7000, FT-450.  I'd look at the used/demo equipment available at hamstation.com, dxstore.com, and hro.com, then e-classified ads on qth.com and eham.

Best of luck.

 
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W7ETA
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 06:58:47 PM »

This rig seems to be well regarded and might fit your budget:
TS-850S
http://www.w2xc.com/TS-870S_Notes.htm

One can read QST reviews:
http://www.arrl.org/reviews-listed-by-manufacturer

They also have QST report on how to interpret their measurements.  I don't remember if it was 2000 or 2004?

I know quite a few people enjoy 6 meters. In the past, around the peaks of sunspot cycles, I've thought about getting on 6 meters. I wind up telling myself that I have a lot of HF bands that I enjoy playing around on.  Playing around on 6 meters would involve not using 10 or 12 meters.  Plus if I got on 6 I would be looking for another antenna and probably an amp..  The end result is that I've never bothered with 6 meters.

My opinion is to get a very good receiver vrs getting a rig that includes more bands.

73
Bob
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 07:55:26 PM »

  If you are after a modern digital radio then you have some good choices between the IC-7200 and FT-450D.  The TS-480SAT mentioned is a good performing radio but it is a bit dated, with audio DSP and the need for crystal filters, and the smallish remote head is not for everyone.

I would not call the 450D or 7200 a modern DSP radio. You cannot put IF DSP in a radio for 1000 bucks or so today and make it worth a crap. Plus, IF DSP chips and designs date much much quicker than mature analog rigs do. Also while unlike rigs like 718 that badly need a option filter than 480 does not but when it has one it will have sharper/steeper skirts than are possible on on budget IF DSP rigs. And as far as smallish head it has more direct access button functions and a much bigger and fuller featured display than other rigs mentioned here.
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N0YXB
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 08:25:34 PM »

The DSP of my FT-450 works pretty well.  It's really a great value for the price, in my opinion.  I don't find it to be menu intensive either. 
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Vince
W8JX
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2012, 08:55:33 PM »

The DSP of my FT-450 works pretty well.  It's really a great value for the price, in my opinion.  I don't find it to be menu intensive either. 

It is very menu dependant compared to a 480 and to get good IF DSP you need at least a 590, K3 or 7410 not a 450. You get what you pay for. BTW you can change per, processor setting, noise reduction setting and many more on a 480 without hitting menu button. Try that on a FT450.
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K9KJM
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 11:23:25 PM »

A real upgrade from your 751 would be an Icom IC756PRO (Or even better the PRO II or PRO III)  The plain IC756PRO sells good used in the 900 dollar range, And they include 6 meters.

If you want a radio that can truly "do it all" consider the Kenwood TS2000, Which also covers VHF and UHF, Plus can cross band repeat them all!   A really neat feature!
The TS2000 also sells in the 900 dollar range good used.

I agree that the IC 718 is not much of a step up from what you already have......
Watch out for the IC746PRO, Those had lots of problems!
And I also agree that many of the radios mentioned are mostly menu driven. Something you may want to avoid. I sure do!

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W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 06:22:18 AM »


If you want a radio that can truly "do it all" consider the Kenwood TS2000, Which also covers VHF and UHF, Plus can cross band repeat them all!   A really neat feature!
The TS2000 also sells in the 900 dollar range good used.


I am a hard core Kenwood guy but would not recommend a 2000 because while it does a lot of things it does not do any of them well because the IF DSP technology is is based on is very primitive and VERY dated.
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N0YXB
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2012, 07:22:57 AM »

The DSP of my FT-450 works pretty well.  It's really a great value for the price, in my opinion.  I don't find it to be menu intensive either. 

It is very menu dependant compared to a 480 and to get good IF DSP you need at least a 590, K3 or 7410 not a 450. You get what you pay for. BTW you can change per, processor setting, noise reduction setting and many more on a 480 without hitting menu button. Try that on a FT450.

Of course spending that much more will likely result in better DSP, but for the price, the FT-450 is a very nice rig.  The more time I spend using it, the better I am able to use the DSP to make signals more readable, so it does work.  I highly recommend it for a starter or back-up rig.  When I upgrade to a new rig in the next couple of years, I'll be keeping the FT-450. 

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Vince
WX7G
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 09:16:33 AM »

I had an FT-450 and liked it although it did get crunched very badly during 160 meter CW contests but most radios do. It is a casual rig and not a contest rig. I upgraded to an Elecraft K3.
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W8JX
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 10:12:08 AM »

The 450 promises a lot but it lacks front end and selectivity needed when conditions are tuff/tight. It cannot be done at that price level and IF DSP. All IF DSP is not created equal and some are pretty weak in implementation. 
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