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eHam Forums => Station Building => Topic started by: K0YHV on June 14, 2012, 12:24:27 PM



Title: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: K0YHV on June 14, 2012, 12:24:27 PM
I am interested in what people would consider the most rugged HF or
HF/VHF transceivers (new or used).  By rugged I mean able to withstand the
most abuse (environmental, not operator induced).  This would include being
slapped at times, hit with thrown object, and everything else that might
occur in a chaotic enviroment.  So, which rigs would withstand this
environment with the least chance of being damaged? 

A low price point would also be good in case it was damaged, one would not be out a lot of
money.  I am interested in rigs manufactured for the ham market, not a commercial or military rig put into amateur use.

John AF5CC



Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB2WIK on June 14, 2012, 02:40:10 PM
Offhand, I'd say "none of them."

Amateur rigs have very breakable exteriors and were never designed for exposure to such as you describe.  Some military stuff was and is.



Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: N5RWJ on June 14, 2012, 02:41:58 PM
Try Ten-Tec,www.tentec.com (http://www.tentec.com)


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KCJ9091 on June 14, 2012, 05:45:57 PM
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7200/default.aspx


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB6BYU on June 14, 2012, 07:03:49 PM
As a ham station I'd go for something like the Viking Valiant coupled with a
HQ-180 receiver, or something similar of the same vintage.  I knew a ham who's
angry girlfriend pushed his rig off the table onto the floor:  dented the floor, but
the rig was OK.  The DX-100, SX-101, Globe Chief, Lettine model 240, 75A4
and/or KW-1 might be in a similar category.

But those are separate transmitter/receivers rather than a transceiver.  For a
transceiver I'd probably suggest the Atlas 180/215, the 350XL, or perhaps
the TS-50.  Probably want to stick with an analog dial unless you put
reinforced polycarbonate over the display, which will be a weak point.  The
TS-120 and the FT-7 seemed pretty sturdy, but not the TS-140.  Even a
TS-520 is pretty rugged.

The most fragile parts will be displays, particularly LCD panels, and
protruding knobs and connectors.  Depending on what size hammer
(or what calibre slugs) it is being hit with, many of the metal cases
will take a fair bit of abuse and still protect the circuits inside.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: K0YHV on June 14, 2012, 07:58:44 PM
Try Ten-Tec,www.tentec.com (http://www.tentec.com)

OK, which model Ten Tecs, then?

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: NH6EV on June 14, 2012, 10:49:14 PM
I think what you are looking for is one of those drums used in Africa made out of a tree trunk; then you can bang on it to your hearts content.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB0FDJ on June 15, 2012, 09:49:40 AM
I'd have to agree with WB3WIK, mostly. But......

But if you held a gun to my head and told me to throw one of my rigs out the window of my second floor ham shack,
I'd pick my FT-817ND. I think it would survive pretty well. Second choice would be it's bigger brother, the FT-897D.
After that I'd need some pretty big boxes to collect the parts....... ;D

WB0FDJ Doc


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB6BYU on June 15, 2012, 10:48:34 AM
Quote from: K0YHV

OK, which model Ten Tecs, then?



My old Ten-Tec 525 Argosy has the circuits mounted on a center panel so there is a fair bit
of clearance between them and the metal covers.  That allows the covers to take quite a
dent before affecting the electronics (other than the speaker perhaps.)  I don't know
how many of their later rigs followed this construction method.

The weak point of many of the older Ten-Tec rigs, however, was the shaft that drives the
tuning slug.  The one on my Argonaut failed when it was tossed into a float plane flying between
logging camps in Alaska and took a direct hit on the tuning knob, which stripped out the plastic
gears.  Had to order a replacement coil assembly from Ten-Tec, then solder the circuit boards
back together with a propane torch (which was the only soldering implement available in a
logging camp.)  But even in that remote location I had it back on the air in 10 days, and it
still works fine.


So part of the consideration might be how difficult the rig is to repair after sustaining damage.
Replacing a speaker, for example, is easier than fixing a cracked display panel or circuit board.

You might also consider how you can improve the ruggedness of a radio - for example, adding
a ring of PVC pipe as a guard around the tuning dial of the Argosy would make it much less
prone to damage, as otherwise it is a pretty reliable rig.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB2WIK on June 15, 2012, 04:49:33 PM
To make a rig reasonably "bulletproof," it should be designed for that from the start.

No ham gear I know of ever was, since that adds cost and it didn't need to be.

First thing I'd want to make a rig more resistant to breakage is a hinged metal front cover that could be flipped up over the displays and all the controls and latched in position to protect all that stuff.

I'd want something like AIRINC connectors for power and peripheral attachments.  They are resistant to most environmental influences and very robust, but they take up space and are expensive.

I'd also probably want shock mounted PCBs.  That's not terribly expensive to include, but the shock mounts take up space and usually violate grounding, so engineering considerations are important.

We manufacture stuff that goes into high altitude UAVs and the Air Force calls it "COTS" (commercial off the shelf) equipment.  Yeah, right.   A home PC can cost $300, the airborne equivalent is $50,000. :D


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: LA9XNA on June 16, 2012, 02:03:34 PM
Get some Mil gear.
Battle conditions is probably one of the roughest environments.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KH6AQ on June 16, 2012, 03:09:44 PM
Yaesu FT-857D.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KC0UKR on June 19, 2012, 07:55:58 AM
I have my 706 & 7000 mounted inside a Pelican case with my universal radio mounting system where they can be used by simply opening the lid,the body is in the box and the Control Head is mounted to the lid.

This makes them pretty well waterproof and immune to much of the danger lurking out there I think and it would be fairly simple to further shock mount everything in the case if I wanted to.

I have used this setup in several outdoor events and in Joplin after the Tornado and it works flawlessly and you just don't have to think about whether to bring it along or not based on hazards at a site.

I have also done this for our club 706 and also with 857's for friends.

Off the top of my head I thought the SGC radios were marketed as being more rugged?

I also feel like the 857.706 and 7000 are pretty sturdy based on the abuse I have put them through?

Ed


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: TANAKASAN on June 19, 2012, 08:53:16 AM
Two ideas:

http://www.rigpix.com/military/ra195.htm

http://www.rigpix.com/military/yaesu_vx1200.htm

Tanakasan


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: W7RUE on June 26, 2012, 06:19:07 PM
I think one of the most rugged tranceivers for amateur radio would be the old SGC 2020. None of them are made to abuse but the SGC 2020 is fairly close. They have a pretty tough case and were made for portable use.  My two cents...

W7Rue


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: K1ZJH on June 27, 2012, 01:16:10 PM
I think one of the most rugged tranceivers for amateur radio would be the old SGC 2020. None of them are made to abuse but the SGC 2020 is fairly close. They have a pretty tough case and were made for portable use.  My two cents...

W7Rue

Plus 2 for SGC.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: K6RQR on June 29, 2012, 04:39:18 PM
Look up HF ManPack and see if this is what you are looking for. The description says that it is noted for its ruggedness. I also know of some hams who use them as pedestrian mobile rigs by making up a special harness to accommodate the rig and the antenna. Good luck in your search.

73,
Bruce  K6RQR



Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB2WIK on June 29, 2012, 06:10:22 PM
I think one of the most rugged tranceivers for amateur radio would be the old SGC 2020. None of them are made to abuse but the SGC 2020 is fairly close. They have a pretty tough case and were made for portable use.  My two cents...

W7Rue

Too bad they sound like hell on the air. ;)

I bought a 2020 about six years ago.  No matter what I did, it sounded terrible.  So I returned it and got a new one, under warranty.  Different S/N.  Sounded the same as the first one.




Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: W7RUE on July 01, 2012, 05:54:52 PM
I've heard that before.... However, he wanted the most rugged transceiver and the 2020 fits that bill. I understand that the 2020 works best when you are away from any interference caused by civilization. Having said all of that, currently NO ONE that I know of, makes a real rugged rig unless it is a converted military rig. I wonder if any of the big three (or five?) have done a market study on the feasibility of coming out with one.  W7Rue  ??? 


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KCJ9091 on July 02, 2012, 07:06:52 AM
I guess nobody bother to check out links.

Yes they do, Icom.           "Rugged design for outdoor use
The rugged design of the IC-7200 means your enjoyment of this rig is not limited to your shack only."

It may not be "milspec" for shock and vibration BUT at least one manufacturer is making something more
sturdy than your normal radio.

http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7200/default.aspx


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: W8JX on July 02, 2012, 03:50:56 PM
What it offers in implied ruggedness, it sacrifices in selectivity.  Very simple receiver. 


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KB5ZSM on July 03, 2012, 11:13:14 PM
When it comes to the 706 or the 7000 I can not agree. I own a 7000 and really like it but the way it is manufactured is not top notch. The audio and data jacks are surface mount and too delicate for rough handling. I have already had to repair three jacks (Speaker out and video out on the back and speaker out on the control head. They break loose from the circuit board rendering them useless and a pain to repair without a fine tipped soldering iron, time and patience.
Sorry for the negative input.

Win (KB5ZSM)
Tip Top TV


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: K7RBW on July 04, 2012, 11:56:45 PM
What about the VX-1210?

http://www.vertexstandard.com/ap/vx-1210.html


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KCJ9091 on July 05, 2012, 06:10:26 AM
What about the VX-1210?

http://www.vertexstandard.com/ap/vx-1210.html

Didn't mention it because he said "I am interested in rigs manufactured for the ham market, not a commercial or military rig put into amateur use."

The 1210 does not have a either a VFO or a low price point. It is programmed prior to issue and operates from selectable memory channels.  The operator cannot (easily) change frequency to other than a programed memory.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: N5RWJ on July 05, 2012, 07:46:50 AM
I would look at the tentec.com, for their Eagle radio, and talk with ten-tec about one of their military/Gov box's, if they say no way, then ask of help.


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: KZ1X on July 06, 2012, 09:29:39 PM
Really, like Steve 'WIK said, no amateur market gear meets the described requirements. 
You have to go to the mil stuff.  (Yes, I saw he wasn't asking for mil gear ...)
Something like this:

http://www.mobat-usa.com/manpack_remake.htm (http://www.mobat-usa.com/manpack_remake.htm)



Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: WB4IUY on July 28, 2012, 07:18:37 AM
From personal experience dragging rigs to field day and special events, operating mobile, etc...I've had the best luck with some of the older analog solid state rigs like the TS-120. If you don't mind a tube rig, I've had good experience with the old Heathkit SB-101s. They're cheap, too.

Conversely, my IC-756 and Yaesu FT-901 were the worst and always seem to come home broken :-(

Just my $.01 worth

Dave Wb4IUY
www.WB4IUY.net


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: NO2A on July 29, 2012, 02:02:29 PM
Didn`t Yaesu have a mil-spec rig in the 1990`s ? It was built with the ham bands but copied mil-specs. I just can`t remember the name. It was a rare rig,and you didn`t hear much about them. I wanna say something in the model number range of 800-900?


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: AF6WL on July 29, 2012, 02:39:54 PM
FT-70G

BCD decade switches to set the frequency :-(



Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: NO2A on July 30, 2012, 02:22:07 PM
FT-600? I remember seeing ads for this but never heard anything about it. A mil-spec designed rig for the ham bands circa 1990`s?


Title: RE: Most rugged HF transceivers
Post by: ZL1BBW on August 11, 2012, 11:31:37 PM
How about this..

Weight: 40 lb.
Frequency range: 'A' setting 2–8 MHz; 'B' setting 229–241 MHz. Master Oscillator controlled.
Modes: AM, MCW, CW.

So good for 80/75 and 40, built like a brick outhouse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Set_No._19

AND if you find one with the initials KW written underneath, it will be one that my dad worked on, they are truly built like a tank, oh they were fitted in a tank.