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Author Topic: What a time to be in the market for a HF radio....  (Read 5650 times)
KD5UVV
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Posts: 54




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« on: August 27, 2013, 08:22:16 PM »

 Man ol man, what a time to be in the market for a HF radio. Now this is taking into consideration that you’re ok with buying used too. I’ve been looking lately and see a lot of what I’ve always considered to be top class transceivers for sale alone with some new rigs at prices under $2000 dollars. For example:

Kenwood TS-590’s are selling used for $1,100+ and new for around $ 1,499.00.

Kenwood TS-950SDX every now and then for around $ 1,700 +

Yaesu FT-1000 MP’s for around $1,200 +

Yaesu FT-1000 Mark IV’s for $ 1,700 +

Icom 756 PRO III’s for $ 1,700 +

Icom 775DSP around $1,800 +

Ten Tec Eagle’s for $ 1,500 +

Ten Tec Orion 565’s for around $ 1,800 +

Ten Tec OMNI VII around $ 1,800 +

Also a few others to mention are the:

Ten Tec Jupiter under $ 1,000
Yaesu FT-950 under $ 1, 000
Icom 746 Pro under $ 1,000

  Now I know some of these have 6 meters and some don’t but from what I’ve read, the Kenwood TS-590 seems to be the deal of all the radios listed, since it’s a newer rig and cost less and preforms as well as most of the older rigs on the list. But I guess this is open for debate hi hi. I’m open to all radios listed above. As I know I will be buying something in the future to replace the TS-940, just don’t know what!

  This is just a few of the rigs that I was interested in at one time or another. I know I’ve missed a few others too, so don’t jump on me. Mention what you think is a good rig and why if not on the list, I'd love to hear about it. These are just some I've some that I’ve considered. I run a very late model 20 million serial number, Kenwood TS-940SAT now and as others, I always think about replacing it with something I think I would like better.

  Now don’t get me wrong, I think the 940 does everything I want (I think) as I’m a very casual operator and this is the only radio I own, but I always think about getting something else to try (as I know many others do too). Just as I like to try different antennas. I just hope that when I do replace my 940 I won’t be sorry.

  So as you can see from the list there are many very nice radios at the present time that run about the same amount of money. I would like to hear what you all think and what would you buy and why? I’m sure this would be interesting for others in the market as well. I think it’s a great time to be in the market for a HF radio. Chime in and let me know what you think.


73, Dale KD5UVV
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N3HFS
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 04:22:29 AM »

Hear, hear!

I recently replaced (well, supplemented) my original-owner TS-440SAT with a TS-590S.  The level of technological progress in parallel with lower prices is indeed worthy of note! 

There's lots of very fine equipment out there at amazing cost, and there always seems to be more good products (and some relative clunkers) in the pipeline.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 621




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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 04:33:57 AM »

 I'm not going to recommend a particular radio. But I suggest looking into what manufacturers are offering discounts and or rebates and maybe that might narrow your choices.

If you are thinking buying new, look for manufacturers monthly discounts. For instance I see at Gigaparts they currently have discounts (some up to $250 off) for Yaesu and Kenwood.

Some of the radios are on E-Bay are way overpriced, some of them are great deals. I have had better deals with Buy It Now than auctions. But other people got better deals from auction.

You might want to ask members in your local ham radio club if they plan to be selling their radios or might be interested in a 'cash and swap deal'. Swap your current radio and some cash in exchange for a better radio. Ask a member if you can come over and try out their radio, or have them bring it down to the club.


Getting a newer radio usually means newer technology. Some of the newer rigs have USB ports which facilitate digital communications. If you aren't into digital communications, you might be into it later. While you can do digital communications with most rigs that are 30+ years old. The USB Port can make it easier. Newer radios have all sorts of digital filtering.

I would write down what you want in a radio now and also write down what you think you might want later on. And get a radio that has those capabilities now. Instead of having to trade it up a year or two from now.

Read the eham reviews and look for the good and bad in the radios that you are interested in. Also read some of the Yahoo groups for issues and praises of the radios you are interested in.


Also more importantly, look for complaints about the LCD screens fading, blown finals (club), bad boards, encoder issues, 'cracklies' popcorn sounds even when the antenna isn't connected, warranty issues, manufacturer denies that there is a problem.  Even some of the best manufacturers have produced some questionable rigs in the past.

Good Luck


« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 05:15:51 AM by W4KYR » Logged

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K9IUQ
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Posts: 2078




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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 08:15:06 AM »

Also more importantly, look for complaints

This may not be quite the right approach. Here is why. Hams that have problems with a radio get on the internet and complain loudly. Meanwhile there may be 1000's of users that are completely happy and say nothing on the net.

The Kenwood TS-590s is a very good example. Many hams complain about the power meter not going as high as their other radios or the ALC spiking or SSB lacking "punch". If you believed these complaints on the net you would not buy the radio. In reality many of these complaints are unfounded because of lack of knowledge from the complainer.

I am in the market for a new radio myself. I have owned the TS-590 for a couple of years. While it is an outstanding performer I miss the "Icom way". I have owned a Icom 751a, ProII/III, 706MKIIG and a Icom 7000. I love the way Icoms work.

The problem is I want to get a radio that will perform better than my TS-590s. To do this I would probably have to buy a IC-7600. However the 7600 is getting long in the tooth and I am afraid if I spent the $3400 to get a 7600, next Hamvention, Icom would announce the new and improved IC-7600 MKIIG..  Cheesy Cheesy

I have looked at the Yaesu 1200/3000D but my next radio is going to have 2 RX's or at least dual watch.

Stan K9IUQ
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W4KYR
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Posts: 621




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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 11:46:38 AM »

Yes,  reviews can be biased and misleading. I remember reading a review for the IC 706MKIIG and someone actually gave it a 0 because it only had 100 memories, not 500. (Page 19 of the 'Reviews Summary for ICOM IC-706 - All flavors'  here in eham).

 I have avoided some radios because of the complaints. The Yaesu FT 100 because thermal runway problems, grounding issues and other reliability issues . When you get comments that a manufacturer no longer 'supports that platform' and 'refuses work on the radio'...that is the last thing you want to hear from a manufacturer when you need to get the radio fixed. The eham reviews peg it at 3.7 out of 5 rating.


There were recent issues with the FT857 producing popcorn 'cracklies' sound even with the antenna disconnected. If you bought the radio new and had issues, it was covered under warranty. If you bought it used and it had the issues...that was a different story.

Also the Icom IC 703 because of the bias and  reliability problems including issues with the refurbished units ..that and I can't see spending $500 to $700 on a radio that was closed out not too long ago for $400.


And then there are complaints about the expensive screen fading out on some of the Icom radios including their commercial radios.

That said ,both Yaesu and Icom have made fine radios over the years, although not every model was up to the manufacturer's usual standards. If you buy used, you need to ask around and read some reviews (and sort through the hype). If you buy new, it will be covered under warranty and you you should be all set.

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AK7V
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Posts: 251




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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 02:29:15 PM »

I bought an Icom 756 Pro 3, used, a couple years ago for a little more than the price you have listed there.  It's fantastic.  Don't regret it one bit -- it is my primary radio and I have never had any trouble with it.

I do also have an Icom 703 and have had the PA fail.  It has been repaired but I don't know how reliable it is, long term.
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2703




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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 04:27:01 PM »

KD5UVV while you’re basically correct I think your prices are not giving the whole picture.
You may get lucky and get some of those rigs you listed for those prices but most of them will have Caveats attached.
For instance at those prices most of the auctions say "My _____  passed away and I am selling his equipment, I have no way of testing it".  That's typically what I see on FT-1000 Mark V at $1500 - $1700 or Icom Pro III's at $1700.
The auctions that are marked "Tested and Working 100% with 9 out 10 on looks" will typically be a few hundred more.

I caution people because I know several older Hams that have old radios and amps sitting in their original boxes in a closet and most have been there for years gathering dust. They got there because they developed a problem and the Ham could not bother get it repaired or worst they tried to repair it several times and failed or found out the repair costs more than it’s worth so they just boxed it.

Then the guy goes SK and months later the family pulls out the boxes and thinks they have hit pay dirt.  

Anybody that is selling a radio and say that they have not tested it, is a person I would avoid!  It's hard to imagine that anybody would sell equipment and not plug it in, since the simple act of power it on and being able to say “It powers up” and being able to show pictures of it “On” can increase the Value by 20-40%.  The fact that they say they have not turned it on to me means that they have plugged it in and they know it's not working. So by denial of testing they create a situation in which they can get out of doing a refund when the lead weight hits your door step.  BTW these kinds of ham radio sales happen everyday; but most people are just too embarrassed to go on forums and talk about how they got suckered on what they thought was a good deal.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 04:34:00 PM by KD8MJR » Logged
K9IUQ
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Posts: 2078




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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 04:59:47 PM »


For instance at those prices most of the auctions say "My _____  passed away and I am selling his equipment, I have no way of testing it".  

I caution people

Anybody that is selling a radio and say that they have not tested it, is a person I would avoid!  

Very good advice, excellent in fact. Now I have this radio I want to sell. It worked the last time I used it.    Wink  Cheesy  Cheesy  Cheesy

Stan K9IUQ
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W4KYR
Member

Posts: 621




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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2013, 05:28:58 PM »



Anybody that is selling a radio and say that they have not tested it, is a person I would avoid!  It's hard to imagine that anybody would sell equipment and not plug it in, since the simple act of power it on and being able to say “It powers up” and being able to show pictures of it “On” can increase the Value by 20-40%.  The fact that they say they have not turned it on to me means that they have plugged it in and they know it's not working. So by denial of testing they create a situation in which they can get out of doing a refund when the lead weight hits your door step.  


I see this a lot for CB radios. They say they have no way of testing it. Yet 12 volts is available from any car battery. A coat hanger in the antenna jack will get channel 19 just fine.

Another one is those estate sales where they are selling a boat load of radio equipment and they have no way to test anything. Inexplicably none of the items in the estate  contained a antenna or a power supply. I guess the person who originally owned the equipment found some unique  way to use ham radio without power or antennas and took the secret with him to the grave.

In one auction that had a "I have no way of testing it" deal...the HT they were selling had a AA battery pack. They could have bought some cheap batteries to test out the HT and then sell it with the radio.  

And then from time to time I see  "parts only,  not working" radio selling for ...or almost the same price as if the radio was tested and working properly.  

And the...."It worked the last time I used it" is a classic....In fact I saw it on E-Bay today...it said  "It worked fine 8 years ago" .
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 05:41:57 PM by W4KYR » Logged

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KD5UVV
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2013, 05:47:47 PM »

  KD8MJR, yes I know what you mean about some of those used rigs for auction, but just a note, all above listed prices were from here (eham) and QTH.com and QRZ's website. None listed was from that big auction site. I just went through the for sale listing and got these prices the nite I posted this.

  But yes as with anything used, it's best to try to check it out as best you can or build some rapport with the seller to find out as much as you can and make a decision based on that info. As a matter of fact, the TS-940SAT that I have now came from a ham that Son-in-law had just bought the station (radio, speaker, and phone patch) and then passed away a short time later.

  So this ham had it stored and before he sold the station he sent the radio off to Kenwood to have it checked out and updated if needed. He had receipts from Kenwood showing this also. Now I know this is rare, but it did happen in this case. So I was very happy about that. But again, thanks for the heads up.

73, Dale, KD5UVV
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AD9DX
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Posts: 1519




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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2013, 06:17:20 PM »

As much as we all love to complain about modern radios, they all even the worse are light years a head of rigs of our youth. 
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
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