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Author Topic: Please recommend gear, $1500 Total Budget.  (Read 8241 times)
N4BCD
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Posts: 8




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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 08:10:39 PM »

If you can hit local linked repeaters with your HT why not continue to use it for those bands and look at rigs for HF through 6m?  That way while you're on HF you can monitor VHF for local chat and DX spots if there's a local dedicated group. 

True the all-mode (read: CW & SSB) capability of rigs mentioned by others would enable VHF DX'ing, but it won't be easy without a directional antenna outside and in the clear - those HOA restrictions you mentioned. 

Good luck on your General exam, take your time making a decision, and enjoy HF!

73,
 Mark   
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W8JX
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Posts: 5443




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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2014, 04:34:15 AM »

If you can hit local linked repeaters with your HT why not continue to use it for those bands and look at rigs for HF through 6m?  That way while you're on HF you can monitor VHF for local chat and DX spots if there's a local dedicated group. 

True the all-mode (read: CW & SSB) capability of rigs mentioned by others would enable VHF DX'ing, but it won't be easy without a directional antenna outside and in the clear - those HOA restrictions you mentioned. 

Good luck on your General exam, take your time making a decision, and enjoy HF!

73,
 Mark   

Good advice.  A all band rig in a box makes compromises. I would skip external tuner and get a rig with a built in one the will tune any reasonably resonate antenna. 
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HURRICAINE
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2014, 06:17:01 AM »

The best advice is not to get a all in one radio.

The Kenwood TS 2000 is a compromise radio, it does a little bit of everything, it just doesn't do it very well.

ICOM is a dirty four letter word around here.

Save your money, do not get in a big hurry, get a job if you have to.

The pictures of the big stations you see in the QST and CQ magazines were not built all in one day, but accumulated over time.

The most important decision you will ever make is which radio should I buy.  The answer must be, the radio that offers the most options for the least amount of money.
By saying options, I open up Pandora's Box, because I am not talking about frequencies.

If you buy one radio that does everything and something breaks, you end up with no radio at all to play with.
The people that recommends the handheld for a first radio shouldn't even be allowed to give advice, because you hamper that persons ability to get on the air and make contacts much past the one local repeater and the experience isn't always pleasant.

Even if you buy the radio and the power supply, you still need a VSWR meter for each band you plan to operate on.  You need a resonant antenna for each band.  You need a coax switch for each antenna, you need coax for each antenna.

My suggestion would be to BUY a Kenwood TS 590, since it has DSP, it's upconversion and downconversion is rated in the top 10 of all transceivers made today.  It has a built in antenna tuner.

Suggested retail price is around $1650.00 from most retailers.

I would suggest you buy some kind of dual band mobile radio to use in the shack, Kenwood, Alinco etc...

Power supply - Astron RS 35M - will cost around $100 used, $180 new...

SWR meter - Diamond SX 600 - will cost around $150.00, you can op for a Daiwa which is comparable in price and quality.

The most often overlooked item is a dummy load..
All hams should have a dummy load.

The MFJ 949 antenna tuner comes with a 200 watt dummy load.
I'm not saying to use the tuner, but you can usually buy one broke for about $50.00 and the dummy load is still good!

Coax - Belden 9913 or LMR 400, good coax pays high dividends in the long run.

You will need some PL connectors - ends for the coax, plan on spending another $30.00

I would suggest that you buy a coax crimping tool - another $50.00
Which is a must if you are going to use LMR 400 or 9913....

You will need at least one HF antenna, I would not suggest that you buy a G5RV - since it really doesn't do anything well.

You will need a dual band UHF / VHF antenna, some pipe, some antenna mounts for the house, there goes another $200.00 +

Did you think about towers?  You might be able to find some used tower for around $35.00 a section at some hamfests or online.

Then you will need to dig a hole, bend some rebar, make a tilt plate, pour some cement.  Erect the tower, dig some deadmen, string some guy wires.

By the time you add a couple of beam antenna's, you are going to have $10,000.00 into everything.

The cheap mobile all band radio will get you a little of everything, but it isn't going to sound as good as the Kenwood TS 590...

If you don't have a power supply and you can't borrow one, you can make one out of a old car battery and a battery charger.  Or you can re purpose one out of a old commercial grade computer.

The coax is the one thing you don't want to skimp on....
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2052




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« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2014, 06:28:43 AM »

I don't even think the OP is checking this post, so we are wasting our time.

I also see  no point in telling him about a $1600 hf radio when he makes it very clear that all he has is $1500 total to spend on everything.  He also needs VHF in his setup, so the radios mentioned in earlier posts are the best fit.
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KG4RUL
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Posts: 2685


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« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2014, 06:29:48 AM »

I cannot troubleshoot this type of gear, though I am very handy with computer components, I am a tech by trade.
Antenna wise I do live in a restrictive HOA so I would have to hide/stealth the antenna.
Power wise, i suspect I do not need much as we have a linked repeater system that I can hit with 4 watt HT baofeng.
I would like to get into DXing, and system will be fixed, non-portable.

FIRST THING - Find a solution for your antenna system or this whole idea is a non-starter.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5443




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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2014, 08:12:42 AM »

And I knew someone was going to wave them LMR 400 flag. It is NOT needed for HF unless maybe you have a 200+ foot run on 10 meters or 6 meters. RG 8x will work fine for starting out.
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AD9DX
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 01:24:12 PM »

And I knew someone was going to wave them LMR 400 flag. It is NOT needed for HF unless maybe you have a 200+ foot run on 10 meters or 6 meters. RG 8x will work fine for starting out.

Agreed.  Most people don't have an adequate antenna system to notice much of a difference.  The only reason to go to ultra premium coax is because
1. you are running high power (something a newbie with a $1500 budget fdoesn't have to worry about)
2. As JX stated, you want to run VHF or have an exceptionally long coax run.
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EX, KC9TRM, KB9IRZ
K5TED
Member

Posts: 692




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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2014, 07:52:45 PM »

In a restricted location, I'd suggest:

FT-7900R  (plain jane FM 50/40w dual bander, $299 new)

FT-450D (HF/6m, DSP filtering, $550 all day long on the auction site)

Astron RS35A (workhorse, $125-ish)

Workman/Comet/Diamond triband vertical (good for local contacts on 6m/2m/70cm, $100)

SGC-230 or 237 antenna coupler. (will match any wire antenna in any configuration you can come up with, within reason, $150-250)




I suspect with some careful shopping on the used market, you could fit all this in for around $1500.

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KD8HMO
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Posts: 228




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« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2014, 08:36:04 AM »

Here is what I would recommend for a $1500 budget

1. A nice old Kenwood TS-520S or 8**S rig. Have a shop refurbish it.
2. MC-50 or D-104 microphone.
3. MFJ-969 tuner
4. A suitable antenna for his location
5. Tigertronics interface for digital fun
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KF7VXA
Member

Posts: 452




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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2014, 06:44:22 PM »

First, I'd visit a couple of stations that belong to other Hams. Ask for their opinions and look at what they have.
Next, figure out what you want to do. Think of the future also as your operating modes may change in time.
Then look for good deals on used equipment.
I started out when I was a Tech with a 2/440 handheld (I bought a Yaesu FT-60 for $150.00 I could have got a china radio, which I did later, but I like the Yaesu far more and am glad I bought it, then got a Yaesu FT-7900, SWR meter, power supply (Got a 36 amp so I didn't have to buy another until much later) and Comet antenna. Got my General and bought a Used Yaesu transceiver, Gap Challenger antenna and a 4 band 10-40 meter dipole, SWR meter. Thinking that going to HF that I would need an antenna tuner, I spent $220.00 for a 300 watt tuner. The Gap antenna does not need a tuner. It stays under 2 to 1 on every band and talks all over the world. The dipole, I cut for the portion of the bands I use the most, again, no tuner needed, the built in 3 to 1 tuner in the radio tunes what I need just fine. Since then, I bought a 600 watt Amp. Now the tuner is of no use. I have used it with some homemade antennas, but the point is, I didn't need it when I bought it. A little checking before the purchase would have shown me to wait and buy one that will handle more wattage when it was needed.The antennas were both good choices for store bought, but you can build your own for much less and have a lot of fun doing it. I just got in a hurry. But build your own antennas and you may or may not need a tuner, check first to see what will be needed with any antenna you buy or build.
In the process of all of this, I did buy things I could have waited on, didn't really need or were an impulse purchase.
Before buying, wait a few days and think about what you are looking at. Decide if you really need it. Will it be something that adds to your station or is it just a toy.
I'd buy quality rather than cheap gear when possible, within reason. No use in buying something cheap that does not work well or do what you need and then having to buy a better quality item of the same thing.

Last, read a lot. It will give you an idea of what you can build as far as antennas and other equipment. Much depends on your knowledge and abilities. I have made a few antennas of my own and really enjoy them. That is one place to save money.

Research, ask, think and then purchase if needed to go to the next step or build what you need. You don't have to have the best or the latest of everything. You can spend a great deal of money just to make contact with just a few more stations than you are now.
If money is not an object, have fun, but do plan ahead. It will save you in the long run.
I know I have not suggested on exactly what to buy, just tried to give you some things to think about before laying down that $1500.

73's John KF7VXA
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 07:11:59 PM by KF7VXA » Logged
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