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Author Topic: Advice for Purchasing Used Amateur Radios  (Read 3502 times)
N1IRF
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Posts: 37




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« on: December 07, 2012, 08:42:41 AM »

I am interested in purchasing a used HF transceiver and I was looking for advice on what to look for and stay away from.  I know that I can get used equipment from auctions like ebay or from established retailers like Ham Radio Outlet.  Are there things I should be looking for or asking about when shopping for a used radio?  Is it better to purchase new?  Any advice or suggested would be appreciated.  Thanks. 
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AC4RD
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 09:21:55 AM »

One thing to do--I say this all the time--is to get to know other hams in your local area.  Go to the local club meetings, help out at a public service event or two, join the local 2m ragchew net every now and then.  Buying a used rig is MUCH easier and safer if you know and can trust the seller!  I've had some VERY bad experiences with online auction sites, but not everybody does.  I've also bought used rigs from HRO/AES/Ham Station, big vendors like that--full guarantee so you know the rig will be working right, though you pay a little more than you would at a hamfest for the same rig.   Used rigs CAN be a really good way to upgrade your radio and save money at the same time, but you need to be sure the radio works well and you get it at a reasonable price.  (Yeah, I know--easier said than done.)   GL and don't hesitate to email if I can help with anything specific.  73!  --ken ac4rd
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K8AC
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 01:09:32 PM »

The safest thing to do is buy new if you can afford what you want.  The second best is probably to buy used from one of the major vendors who offers at least a short term warranty.  I've been buying and selling gear for 50 years and can usually repair any problems I find by myself.  That's been a big plus because 100% of the rigs I've purchased from people on eBay or QTH.com have had at least one problem.  In recent years, I've not had much better luck even when buying from a local on a face-to-face deal.  Some of the problems I'd have to attribute to downright dishonest people who are dumping a rig with problems they can't fix.  But, I also believe that most amateurs today just don't have the technical knowledge to be able to recognize a defect when it's right in front of them.  And then there are the rigs with chronic problems that the manufacturers either would not or could not fix.  For example, Icom IC-781 power supplies, Yaesu FT-1000 family key clicks, Yaesu FT-102 relays, and many many more. 

It can be very difficult for someone not familiar with a particular rig to determine that it's completely trouble-free without a lot of experience and a well-equipped workshop to carry out the basic tests.  So, I'd stick with the major vendors for now, unless you can buy from someone you know and who will refund your money if you discover a problem.  There was a time when no one would think of selling a rig that they knew had a problem.  Unfortunately, that time is long past.

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KC0RZW
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 01:11:32 PM »

Do you have an eye on any particular rig?  Certain rigs have common flaws that may or may not be expensive to fix, or may not have part availability.  I'm no expert myself, but a lot of folks here have had a lot of rigs.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20634




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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 03:40:52 PM »

I am interested in purchasing a used HF transceiver and I was looking for advice on what to look for and stay away from.  I know that I can get used equipment from auctions like ebay or from established retailers like Ham Radio Outlet.  Are there things I should be looking for or asking about when shopping for a used radio?  Is it better to purchase new?  Any advice or suggested would be appreciated.  Thanks. 

I'd always ask: The most appropriate rig is usually one that covers the frequency bands you can operate based on what antenna(s) is/are available.  So, what you do have for antennas?
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N1IRF
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 03:52:24 PM »

Thanks for the advice.  A rig that I was looking at was the Icom IC-707.  I was also considering these rigs:
1. Icom IC-706/MKII
2. Kenwood TS-50s
3. Icom IC-718

I was searching for a basic solid state HF transceiver.  I wasn't looking for anything too fancy.

As for a antenna, I really don't have a station.  All I have so far is two dual band handhelds (FT-470 and FT-60R).  Since I live in a apartment, I may have to set up a random wire antenna.

As for joining a club, I recently went to a local amateur radio club meeting and talk to a few of the members.  I inquired about finding an "elmer" to give me some advice and a little knowledge exchange.  I found that most of the member were friendly but they didn't seem interested in assisting me.  They directed me to go and join the local net.  I think I might have to try another club.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 03:56:06 PM by N1IRF » Logged
WX7G
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Posts: 6202




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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 05:10:24 PM »

Those are all good radios. If you want new but don't want to spend much take a look at the Alinco HF transceiver. It's $530 at Ham Radio Outlet and even comes with a CW filter.

You will need a 12 volt, 20 amp power supply for any of these radios and I recommend the Astron RS-20A. It's a good, solid power supply and runs $110 at Ham Radio Outlet. In an apartment an antenna tuner is invaluable for getting just about any piece of wire on the air. The MFJ-901B at $100 is a good one.
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N4NZM
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 06:42:34 PM »

You may as well buy a new rig, as most hams think their used gear appreciates over time. I have bought used stuff on ebay, and what not. Everything worked as advertised, so I guess I am lucky. I just finally figured out it was better to just buy a new rig, and not pay out the ying yang for a twenty year old outdated rig. If you want a basic HF rig, then you can't go wrong with an Icom 718. Mine does everything I need, and I got it for under $650. 
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VE3WMB
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Posts: 289




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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 05:46:25 PM »

Stephen :

If you don't have any luck finding an elmer I suggest that you consider contacting the NE QRP Club.

http://newenglandqrp.org/

Much of the activity is around the Boston area and I know a lot of guys in the club who I am sure would be willing to give you a hand ... you might even develop an interest in low power (QRP) operation. Seriously the NE QRP Club has a great bunch of guys .. many I have
met in person at LOBSTERCON.

Cheers

Michael VE3WMB


As for joining a club, I recently went to a local amateur radio club meeting and talk to a few of the members.  I inquired about finding an "elmer" to give me some advice and a little knowledge exchange.  I found that most of the member were friendly but they didn't seem interested in assisting me.  They directed me to go and join the local net.  I think I might have to try another club.
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