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Author Topic: Newbie Question: Where's the magic in the high end transceivers?  (Read 32823 times)
G3RZP
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Posts: 4713




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« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2013, 08:19:22 AM »

Even the 50 volt ones aren't as good as the last valved PA rigs. The ones that are good are the Yaesu ones running Class A and a lot of heat.
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W1VT
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Posts: 841




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« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2013, 08:40:00 AM »

I once ran a 5 watt class A final in Sweepstakes, a domestic contest with a long exchange of information.  Not only did I do well in the contest, but I got a glowing report on my audio from an audiophile after the contest.  The rig did not have a speech processor.

Zack W1VT
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W4KYR
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Posts: 567




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« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2013, 06:00:23 AM »



Quote
What makes the KX3 cost $1000 compared to something like a $330 YouKits transceiver?

Their successful Youkits HB1B series are basically small convenient 'trail radios'. 
The KX3 is an entirely different radio than the HB1B. 'Trail radios' like the HB1B have their place in the ham radio world. They are small and weigh nothing and are great minimalist radios, the MFJ cub is also very good in this respect as well. Some have said that the MFJ cub has been in mud, under water and in all conditions and if you just dry it off. It still works. 

The KX3 has more features, more power, more bands and that more than justifies the $700 price difference. Some have addressed concerns that they are apprehensive in taking out the KX3 into the field and have it exposed to rain, mud, snow and the elements. What I would like to see is a more rugged version of the KX3, but that is for another subject. However the KX3 will HEAR things with less interference and better selectivity than the YouKits or the MFJ cub. 

What is 'high end' anyway? Some hams say a $10,000 HF rig is high end. Others will say anything over $2000.  'Low end ' would be something like the Icom 718, selling around $550 to $700 used or new. The 718 while being a good entry level radio;...during contests like 'Field Day' it would be more difficult to separate signals and combat interference. Higher end radios have great filtering and can reject interference much better.  But all these radios have their place in the ham radio world.


Quote
What's stopping YouKits from making a KX3 quality device for say $500

I don't know if they can, but they might certainly try. I think rather than trying to copy the KX3, they are going for another segment of the market. Youkits is planning for the TJ2B MK2 5 Band SSB Handheld Transceiver to be released soon. 


Quote
I realize "name brand" is part of the answer, but if that was the main answer, then I would ask why more people or companies aren't building kits with the same (or better) quality as the KX3, but for cheaper.


It is not just features and price alone that makes a good radio. It is quality and reputation of a good manufacturer that makes a good radio, and Elecraft (which makes the KX3) is well known for it's quality products. A name brand just doesn't just imply familiarity, it  usually implies quality products. I don't think Youkits could top Elecraft in the quality department. Youkits (or some other company) might try to copy the KX3. But it would not be the KX3.

As I stated in another article. I would like to see all the great features of the KX3, FT 817, FT 897, IC 703, SG 2020 and the VX 1210 all be incorporated into one radio. Maybe the Chinese manufacturers can attempt to do it.
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2013, 07:33:48 AM »



Quote
What makes the KX3 cost $1000 compared to something like a $330 YouKits transceiver?

Their successful Youkits HB1B series are basically small convenient 'trail radios'. 
The KX3 is an entirely different radio than the HB1B. 'Trail radios' like the HB1B have their place in the ham radio world. They are small and weigh nothing and are great minimalist radios, the MFJ cub is also very good in this respect as well. Some have said that the MFJ cub has been in mud, under water and in all conditions and if you just dry it off. It still works. 

The KX3 has more features, more power, more bands and that more than justifies the $700 price difference. Some have addressed concerns that they are apprehensive in taking out the KX3 into the field and have it exposed to rain, mud, snow and the elements. What I would like to see is a more rugged version of the KX3, but that is for another subject. However the KX3 will HEAR things with less interference and better selectivity than the YouKits or the MFJ cub. 

What is 'high end' anyway? Some hams say a $10,000 HF rig is high end. Others will say anything over $2000.  'Low end ' would be something like the Icom 718, selling around $550 to $700 used or new. The 718 while being a good entry level radio;...during contests like 'Field Day' it would be more difficult to separate signals and combat interference. Higher end radios have great filtering and can reject interference much better.  But all these radios have their place in the ham radio world.


Quote
What's stopping YouKits from making a KX3 quality device for say $500

I don't know if they can, but they might certainly try. I think rather than trying to copy the KX3, they are going for another segment of the market. Youkits is planning for the TJ2B MK2 5 Band SSB Handheld Transceiver to be released soon. 


Quote
I realize "name brand" is part of the answer, but if that was the main answer, then I would ask why more people or companies aren't building kits with the same (or better) quality as the KX3, but for cheaper.


It is not just features and price alone that makes a good radio. It is quality and reputation of a good manufacturer that makes a good radio, and Elecraft (which makes the KX3) is well known for it's quality products. A name brand just doesn't just imply familiarity, it  usually implies quality products. I don't think Youkits could top Elecraft in the quality department. Youkits (or some other company) might try to copy the KX3. But it would not be the KX3.

As I stated in another article. I would like to see all the great features of the KX3, FT 817, FT 897, IC 703, SG 2020 and the VX 1210 all be incorporated into one radio. Maybe the Chinese manufacturers can attempt to do it.

I understand what you are saying.  I actually just ordered a KX3 kit a couple days ago.  I'm also buying a YouKits handheld.  I think it's time some players come in and start offering great performing radio hardware, at a price that makes more sense in today's world.  I was explaining to someone else on this website, that it's hard to convince my friends to get involved in ham radio with their kids, when they are going to have to pay $1000-$2000 to get started in HF with decent gear.  That's a major barrier to entry for a lot of people.  Hell, I make a good living and I've asked myself several times if I want to put that kind of money out. 

There will always be a market for the high end, but telling people they have to buy used gear in order to get a decent rig on the low end is silly in the year 2013.  While it may be common for long time ham radio ops, it's a major turn off for people who are tech savvy, but new to radio.

I've seem some other companies making interesting little SSB and CW transceivers as well, experimenting in the market.  I think this is very good for all of us in the long run, and I'll support it with my dollars more than I will the "Big Three" corporations.  Your mileage may vary, but I'm coming into this brand new, and I'd like to see it much more accessible.

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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
W1VT
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Posts: 841




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« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2013, 08:34:56 AM »

The high entry cost of HF ham radio has been a concern as long as I can remember.  I recall a famous old timer at a club meeting saying that his first really good receiver cost him 4 months pay!  

The entry cost of HF ham radio has been steadily dropping through the decades I've been a ham, assuming you factor out wacky exchange rate issues beyond the control of the manufacturers.

Zack W1VT
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 08:44:48 AM by W1VT » Logged
G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4713




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« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2013, 09:42:55 AM »

In 1947, a war surplus BC348 receiver would, in the UK, cost something like 6 or 7 weeks of the average pay packet.

In 1964, a tubed, UK made SSB transceiver was about 4 months average pay - and at the factory, they would have a line of maybe 20 guys every Saturday, lining up to pay cash. Analogue frequency readout, eleven 200 kHz bands covering 160 to part of 10, no CW filter, no external VFO capability...

In 2013, a TS990S in the UK represents 3 months average pay - but look at what you get for that, while an FT950 is around 2-3 weeks pay.

So Zack is right, although the reductions are beginning to bottom out a bit.

Me? I'm using the transceiver my father bought in 1983, just before he went SK. Much modified, but with very good RF performance.....not much in the way of bells and whistles. It's done a lot of the work to get me on the DXCC Honor Roll....
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K1DA
Member

Posts: 513




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« Reply #36 on: October 04, 2013, 08:13:53 AM »

Why some oof these new wizzbang radios hear CW as well as a   Drake R4C with the usual mods.   
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 971




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« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2013, 02:11:07 PM »

cost comes from engineering and reworking as the bugs come up.  the assemblers at whatever island was above water a month ago get nothing.

part of that engineering goes into parts made from Unobtainium.  which is mined by tame trolls from the bottoms of mountains on shifting sand.  you'll know the difference two models later when you try and get the display replaced Wink

but I digress.

no, I dont.
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G3RZP
Member

Posts: 4713




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« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2013, 02:33:28 PM »

K1DA,

I guess that with accurate comments like that, you won't be number 1 favourite with the suppliers or dealers....

But let's face it, an instantaneous dynamic range of about 100dB is all (if not more than) 99% of hams ever need. The rest of the features are 'bells and whistles'.......

Ask Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood people ( and even Elecraft, although I'm not so sure about them) at a hamfest as to how their phase noise performance in reality supports their receiver IMD  and thus 'dynamic range claims' and you'll get lots of blank looks.....
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K5TED
Member

Posts: 741




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« Reply #39 on: October 06, 2013, 06:42:13 PM »



Quote
What makes the KX3 cost $1000 compared to something like a $330 YouKits transceiver?

Their successful Youkits HB1B series are basically small convenient 'trail radios'. 
The KX3 is an entirely different radio than the HB1B. 'Trail radios' like the HB1B have their place in the ham radio world. They are small and weigh nothing and are great minimalist radios, the MFJ cub is also very good in this respect as well. Some have said that the MFJ cub has been in mud, under water and in all conditions and if you just dry it off. It still works. 

The KX3 has more features, more power, more bands and that more than justifies the $700 price difference. Some have addressed concerns that they are apprehensive in taking out the KX3 into the field and have it exposed to rain, mud, snow and the elements. What I would like to see is a more rugged version of the KX3, but that is for another subject. However the KX3 will HEAR things with less interference and better selectivity than the YouKits or the MFJ cub. 

What is 'high end' anyway? Some hams say a $10,000 HF rig is high end. Others will say anything over $2000.  'Low end ' would be something like the Icom 718, selling around $550 to $700 used or new. The 718 while being a good entry level radio;...during contests like 'Field Day' it would be more difficult to separate signals and combat interference. Higher end radios have great filtering and can reject interference much better.  But all these radios have their place in the ham radio world.


Quote
What's stopping YouKits from making a KX3 quality device for say $500

I don't know if they can, but they might certainly try. I think rather than trying to copy the KX3, they are going for another segment of the market. Youkits is planning for the TJ2B MK2 5 Band SSB Handheld Transceiver to be released soon. 


Quote
I realize "name brand" is part of the answer, but if that was the main answer, then I would ask why more people or companies aren't building kits with the same (or better) quality as the KX3, but for cheaper.


It is not just features and price alone that makes a good radio. It is quality and reputation of a good manufacturer that makes a good radio, and Elecraft (which makes the KX3) is well known for it's quality products. A name brand just doesn't just imply familiarity, it  usually implies quality products. I don't think Youkits could top Elecraft in the quality department. Youkits (or some other company) might try to copy the KX3. But it would not be the KX3.

As I stated in another article. I would like to see all the great features of the KX3, FT 817, FT 897, IC 703, SG 2020 and the VX 1210 all be incorporated into one radio. Maybe the Chinese manufacturers can attempt to do it.

I understand what you are saying.  I actually just ordered a KX3 kit a couple days ago.  I'm also buying a YouKits handheld.  I think it's time some players come in and start offering great performing radio hardware, at a price that makes more sense in today's world.  I was explaining to someone else on this website, that it's hard to convince my friends to get involved in ham radio with their kids, when they are going to have to pay $1000-$2000 to get started in HF with decent gear.  That's a major barrier to entry for a lot of people.  Hell, I make a good living and I've asked myself several times if I want to put that kind of money out. 

There will always be a market for the high end, but telling people they have to buy used gear in order to get a decent rig on the low end is silly in the year 2013.  While it may be common for long time ham radio ops, it's a major turn off for people who are tech savvy, but new to radio.

I've seem some other companies making interesting little SSB and CW transceivers as well, experimenting in the market.  I think this is very good for all of us in the long run, and I'll support it with my dollars more than I will the "Big Three" corporations.  Your mileage may vary, but I'm coming into this brand new, and I'd like to see it much more accessible.



If you are worried about the cost of entry level gear, then you should find a cheaper hobby. Seriously.
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2013, 07:45:52 AM »


If you are worried about the cost of entry level gear, then you should find a cheaper hobby. Seriously.

I have several expensive hobbies that I don't mind putting money into where the expense is completely justifiable.  As someone who has been working with computer technology and programming for 20 years, I find the pricing of entry level HF gear to be too high in general, given the state of technology today.  I'm asking why it has to be so, and the answer seems to be that it doesn't have to be so... it just is.

One of the reasons I posed the question was because I've heard people ask why so many new hams get their license, and they promptly go inactive.  Cost is certainly a factor, and so is the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to matter now, as I see that there are plenty of people and companies who are getting involved with designing hardware and software for future radio applications that are much more affordable.  We can thank SDR for this, and it's likely to drive pricing for transceivers down across the board in the coming years.  Some of this is happening completely independently of amateur radio, such as the new HackRF board (they are planning a daughter board with HF in mind).
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 08:16:44 AM by KK6GNP » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
W4KYR
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Posts: 567




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« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2013, 10:08:02 AM »


If you are worried about the cost of entry level gear, then you should find a cheaper hobby. Seriously.
I find the pricing of entry level HF gear to be too high in general, given the state of technology today.  I'm asking why it has to be so, and the answer seems to be that it doesn't have to be so... it just is.

One of the reasons I posed the question was because I've heard people ask why so many new hams get their license, and they promptly go inactive.  Cost is certainly a factor, and so is the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general.


I have seen used rigs such as the Icom IC-718, Kenwood TS 50 and the Alinco DX-70TH sell $475 and up on E-bay.  Other rigs like the IC-725 and the Yaesu FT -840 can be had for  $425 and up.

My first rig, the Icom IC-730 I bought used for under $400 back in the early 90's. I have seen the IC-730 sell for as little as $300 in varying working conditions, usually the preamp relays go on it (like mine did).

Dual band VHF/UHF radios however have dropped like a rock. Back in the 90's they would sell $350 to $450 new. Today the major manufacturers sell basic V/U radios $150 and up and the Baofengs for sell for $35.



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AA4PB
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« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2013, 10:43:56 AM »

If you are comparing cost vs technology of consumer products like computers to HF ham radio equipment their is one huge difference - the potential quantity that can be sold. Price goes way down when you can build and sell millions of units. In addition, the RF part of ham radio equipment is still analog and requires a live technician to properly align the circuits after it is built. Most computer boards can be machine built and require no hands on alignment.

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KA5IPF
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« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2013, 10:48:29 AM »


If you are worried about the cost of entry level gear, then you should find a cheaper hobby. Seriously.

I have several expensive hobbies that I don't mind putting money into where the expense is completely justifiable.  As someone who has been working with computer technology and programming for 20 years, I find the pricing of entry level HF gear to be too high in general, given the state of technology today.  I'm asking why it has to be so, and the answer seems to be that it doesn't have to be so... it just is.

One of the reasons I posed the question was because I've heard people ask why so many new hams get their license, and they promptly go inactive.  Cost is certainly a factor, and so is the disorganized and dated nature of the presentation of this hobby to potential newcomers in general.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to matter now, as I see that there are plenty of people and companies who are getting involved with designing hardware and software for future radio applications that are much more affordable.  We can thank SDR for this, and it's likely to drive pricing for transceivers down across the board in the coming years.  Some of this is happening completely independently of amateur radio, such as the new HackRF board (they are planning a daughter board with HF in mind).

The biggest cost is in engineering, both mechanical and electrical. No matter if it's a computer, stereo, or ham radio. BUT with a computer or stereo you can divide the costs among millions of units and with ham radio hopefully 10,000 units. Just do the math and figure out which is going to be cheaper.

Clif
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N2EY
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« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2013, 11:32:46 AM »

Why some oof these new wizzbang radios hear CW as well as a   Drake R4C with the usual mods.   

Yes, they do.

But consider this:

Back in the early 1970s a new R-4C would set you back US$500 or so - without speaker, optional filters, or extra crystals. That's about $2700 in today's money - for a RECEIVER.

Look at what you can buy new today for $2700, and how it performs.

73 de Jim, N2EY



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