eHam

eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: AA2CB on November 21, 2011, 01:51:54 PM



Title: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AA2CB on November 21, 2011, 01:51:54 PM
Im crammed up for space here-- dont ask. I was looking at the Alinco DX R8T receiver. I was thinking I can copy CW plus listen to some shortwave broadcasts. Then I saw that for only $25.00 more I can get the Alinco DX SR8T which is the full transceiver. But I read some reviews that are critical of the CW filters. Then I said to myself maybe I should just look for a used Century 21. I dont know. I have been off the air a few years and want to get back on. What is the best CW radio for around $500.00 currently available? Something to hold me over until I can set up my OMNI again. Thanks for the QRM.

AA2CB


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: N2EY on November 21, 2011, 02:28:39 PM
Unless I missed something, it appears to me that the Alinco doesn't have a sharp CW filter, nor provision to add one. I wouldn't pay $50 for such a rig for CW use, let alone over $500.


73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AA2CB on November 21, 2011, 03:23:49 PM
Yeah. I already have WAS CW and all the "easy" countries. Im looking for zones in the Pacific region so a good 250khz filter would be great and of course full QSK.


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AL7MM on November 21, 2011, 05:03:03 PM
You could run an outboard filter, like the NEscaf.  I have one and I like how it works.

73,
Mike, AL7MM


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AA2CB on November 21, 2011, 07:44:25 PM
Mike... Never heard of that. Do you have a link?

Also, I saw on TenTec's site they offer a 2 band QRP rig-- real small for $249.00 I wonder if anyone out there has tried it?

Rosario



Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: K3STX on November 21, 2011, 07:48:11 PM
I don't understand. You already HAVE an Omni but don't want to set it up? How much money do you want to spend? The Elecraft K2 is a great CW rig.

But what do you want: SMALL or CHEAP or QRP or ???

FWIW, the SCAF Audio Filter by Idiom Press works very well.

paul


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: K8AXW on November 21, 2011, 09:06:00 PM
http://www.idiompress.com/scaf-1.php

Take the time to listen to the audio files they have on this link.



Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AA2CB on November 22, 2011, 12:20:08 AM
Thanks for the info on the scaf and the elecraft. Ill check them out. I dont have room to set up my Omni. I have a small amount of desk space. Its sad but just the way it is right now. Hope to have more room in the not too distant future. I'm probably leaning towards small QRP.


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: N2EY on November 22, 2011, 02:55:45 AM
http://www.elecraft.com/

If you want small QRP, look at the KX1.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: HFHAM2 on November 22, 2011, 05:20:11 PM
The Alinco DX-SR8T/E has a 2.4 KHz SSB bandwidth with a 500 Hz CW Narrow (Audio) Filter and a 1KHz  SSB Narrow (Ceramic) Filter. These are standard equipment, not expensive optional extras. They do not offer accessory crystal filters.

Audio filters can cause audio "pumping" with very strong nearby strong signals, but this can generally be tamed by upping the audio gain and reducing the RF gain (this rig has an RF gain control).

It also has IF Shift and you can switch between the upper and lower side of the carrier to further escape QRM. In addition, it  has adjustable sidetone frequency, a keyer and full/semi/auto break-in (relay), adjustable AGC and the afore-mentioned RF Gain Control.

Apparently QST weren't too impressed in a recent review, but most of the reviewers on this site reckon it's a perfectly capable rig along the lines of an Icom IC-718, and a steal at current prices. I've currently got one on order.

Other budget CW rigs? Well, most of the old Ten Tecs from the eighties are good and the CW only Century 22 has a brilliant stock variable bandwidth filter (don't see many for sale though).

QRP Rigs? I love my OHR-500.

I can't really recommend the Idiom Press SCAF-1 though. I had one, it was quite expensive for what it is, and is not nearly as good (or narrow) as the SCAF on the SGC SG-2020 that I used to have. Although the filter bandwidth on the SCAF-1 is variable, there was really only one  position that I used; it wasn't much good on SSB either (muffled). The NeSCAF sounds like a better (and cheaper bet).

The SGC ADSP2 speaker is wonderful for both SSB and CW, having both effective noise recuction and narrow SSB and CW DSP filters.

In fact, an SGC SG-2020 with ADSP2 might be your solution. Only caveat is that it doesn't sound that great for AM shortwave broadcast reception as it's SSB/CW only.


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: K3STX on November 23, 2011, 05:48:55 AM
I'm probably leaning towards small QRP.

The Elecraft QRP rigs are indeed small, they are great rigs, but they are not cheap! If you want CHEAP and GOOD (and small) check out the Small Wonder Labs SW series of 3 watt transceiver kits. Read the reviews on eHam. I have the SW40+ (40 meters only), it is GREAT. I use it all the time for portable operation but also use it at home sometimes. Look at my webpage www.k3stx.com (http://www.k3stx.com) under "Pauls Portable Station" to see the whole set-up; talk about SMALL!!

It would get you by till you set up your REAL station. No point spending tons of money when you have a great rig sitting in your closet right now.

paul


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AA2CB on November 23, 2011, 07:29:07 AM
Hey Paul... You have a nice webpage there and a great set up. Your probably right-- just have to wait my time out and set up what I have. Its rough when the kids come home to roost!


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: N2EY on November 23, 2011, 08:34:37 AM

The Elecraft QRP rigs are indeed small, they are great rigs, but they are not cheap! If you want CHEAP and GOOD (and small) check out the Small Wonder Labs SW series of 3 watt transceiver kits.

I think "cheap" depends on what you want.

The Small Wonder SW series are indeed good and cost only $90 IIRC. But what you get is a bare-bones single-bander - doesn't even have RIT in the base version, let alone a keyer. OTOH, a rig like the Elecraft KX1 gives you two bands in its base form, keyer, RIT and many other features. It can be expanded to four bands and an internal ATU and battery pack added.

All depends on what you want and what you have already.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: WB0FDJ on November 23, 2011, 05:05:50 PM
I'd agree with Paul. While the SW series are "basic", they are very effective. In fact I just finished a long QSO with a guy in Oregon (I'm in MN) on 20 meters and these rigs are super. I've built both the SW20 and SW40. Theres a great yahoo group dedicated to these radios. Compared to the cost of commercial rigs, these are a steal. If you are thinking QRP, cheap and small, there ya go.
Good luck, 73. WB0FDJ Doc


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: N9KX on November 23, 2011, 06:28:24 PM
What is the best CW radio for around $500.00 currently available? Something to hold me over until I can set up my OMNI again. Thanks for the QRM.
AA2CB

This is slightly higher priced, but a great rig you might keep as a back up and it is very portable. 20 watts max...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TenTec-Argonaut-V-Model-516-/300627953475?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fed28743 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/TenTec-Argonaut-V-Model-516-/300627953475?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45fed28743)

You could also buy a Ten-Tec Scout (555) that is in good shape & just get the band modules that interest you most.  It is very portable, 50 watts, and also has Ten-Tec's great QSK, but for CW the Argonaut V is a lot nicer.

If you like older rigs you could also pick up an Omni C (546) that is in good shape for maybe $300


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: KE7WAV on November 23, 2011, 07:55:12 PM
If you look around you might find a ten tec Argosy 525A or 525D.  A nice clean rig, and very fun to operate.  It gets you 80/40/30/20/15/10 CW/SSB from QRP-50W out.  I bought one a while back and I have had a ball with it.
Have fun with whatever you get!
KE7WAV


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: VA7CPC on November 23, 2011, 11:09:43 PM
A used FT-817 ?  5 watts out / all bands / CW/SSB/AM/FM  / built-in keyer.  Not a "backpacking rig", but small compared to any normal desktop radio.

           Charles


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: N3QE on November 24, 2011, 06:38:07 AM
I dont have room to set up my Omni.

This is sounding like the old lady at the grocery store who wants all her groceries in one bag, but it can't be heavy.

I think every rig named so far weighs less than 20 pounds and takes up less desk space than a standard keyboard. Stand its on its side if you have to.


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: KC9QQ on November 25, 2011, 09:16:39 AM
I would suggest the Elecraft KX1 or K2.  I built a basic K2 which I really like.  I use it exclusively for CW and run between 5-15 watts.  It has an excellent low noise receiver, which I find more pleasant to use on CW than my ICOM 756 Pro 3.  It has a little more power than a true QRP transceiver which also seems to make a difference. 

Fred, KC9QQ


Title: RE: Best Budget CW set up
Post by: AE6ZW on November 25, 2011, 05:31:23 PM
I use TEN TEC OMNI-V paid $600 pls shipping, it is good rig for CW.  I suppose FT-757GX2 sell used around $300-400 come with 600 Hz narrow filter , GX1 does not come with narrow filter however.   or any other older radio come with CW narrow filter around 500 Hz would be good buy , such as IC-718, FT-100D ( D version come with 500 Hz filter standard ) , 
in my opinion cheapest , and low cost way to operate radio is to learn how to fix the radio.   because often buying broken radio is cheaper ,  and older radio are cheaper than newer radio, but older radio are not as reliable as newer one, so to stay away from getting repair radio by professional shop , one have to work on own radio to keep cost low. 
when I first had HF radio FT-757GX2 in 1998 , I got it cheaply, but need to repair and maintain it, same time I learn about electronics of HF radio. so if you look at the way, you got cheap radio and got opportunity to learn HF radio electronics you got good of both world.