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eHam Forums => Elmers => Topic started by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 10:46:21 AM



Title: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 10:46:21 AM
My "main club" is doing a spin-off (the spin off has tax benefits) that will focus on licensing and getting people on the air the first time.  We have been donated a small clubhouse.

We want to equip the clubhouse with an HF rig.  Here are the things we'd like to see in it:

Coverage at least 80-10, preferably 160-10 and maybe 6.
SSB/CW: don't care about anything else
EASY TO USE, as few menus as possible (cuts out my favorite rig, the K2)
Built in tuner (also cuts out the 100W K2)
Front-panel operated: we're trying to avoid the "operated by mouse click" mentality, and provide an experience that's different from the internet.

Because of the hams I tend to do things with, I know the high end - IC-7800s, K3, FT-5000, etc.  But I don't know entry level.

Thanks,

- k


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 10:46:53 AM
Oh, yeah, and...cost is an object, although we'll pay more for an easier to use rig.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: M6GOM on February 09, 2013, 11:15:02 AM
Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: W8JX on February 09, 2013, 11:17:41 AM
Oh, yeah, and...cost is an object, although we'll pay more for an easier to use rig.

All new rigs depend menus to varying degrees but some more than others. Yaesu is very menu dependent and Icom is not much better. Kenwood is most user friendly of the big three.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 11:24:40 AM
Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?

- k


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: N3JBH on February 09, 2013, 11:27:20 AM
Ten Tec Jupiter pretty easy straight forward radio. With the tuner it has awesome tuning range as well.  Omni 6 series another great rig but no option on a tuner. Both can be had with not to much cost second hand and are still supported by the factory. I never owned the Omni 7 radio but used them and again nice radio and still pretty simple.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: W8JX on February 09, 2013, 11:32:49 AM
Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?


The 480 SAT can be had new under a grand and has a excellent receiver and great xmit audio too. It is a modern analog rig with AF DSP and easy to tune/use. The 590 is a excellent radio but being that it is IF DSP is not a no brainier to do its best. Out of box it is is far from its best and needs to be setup. It is not a rig that you do not read manual on and use and expect good results.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KASSY on February 09, 2013, 11:42:41 AM
Why has nobody mentioned the FT-450?  No tuner?  Difficult menus?  Icom 718?  No tuner?  Too many menus?

- k


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: W8JX on February 09, 2013, 11:56:38 AM
Why has nobody mentioned the FT-450?  No tuner?  Difficult menus?  Icom 718?  No tuner?  Too many menus?

- k

To many menus and a entry level rig and it lacks selectivity in crowded band. It is a cheap DSP design that lacks.  (450)    On 718 it is a entry level radio any optional filters are very pricy.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: K2GWK on February 09, 2013, 04:04:07 PM
Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?

- k

For what you are looking to pay I suggest a Drake TR-4C. You should be able to find one for well under a $1000. They are real easy to use and have great audio. It will be difficult for you to find something modern day that fits your criteria for cheap.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: N4JTE on February 09, 2013, 04:40:27 PM
I would go with the icom 718, great radio with simple controls and good price.
Bob


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: N6AJR on February 09, 2013, 04:56:21 PM
a niced used  TS 2000 or a FT847, both available at around a grand used, and can be set up once for easy use, and then as folks get good, use the other  features. a simple radio may turn folks off.  even a ts 590 would work.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: VA7CPC on February 09, 2013, 08:10:00 PM
Another vote for the IC-718.

You're training _beginners_.  It's a simple rig to operate, most of the controls are on the front panel, rather than in the menus.   Most of the recent ones have AF DSP noise reduction.

With a CW filter (350 or 500 Hz), it will do everything you need it to do for CW and SSB.

.       Charles

PS -- I have a FT-450 at home.  Once the menus options are set, you can leave them alone most of the time.  But you do need to get into them occasionally.  And -- for a beginner -- the DSP functionality is confusing to use.   One button, one knob, and many, many, many different functions that they control.

PPS -- I got an IC-7000 for my club's "emergency" trailer, which is mostly used for Field Day.  Mistake.  Too many options, multi-level menus, too-small front panel.  Too complicated for "occasional users".


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: VA7CPC on February 09, 2013, 08:29:00 PM
Check the reviews on the Yaesu FT-450.  Some people find it easy, others not.

It is one of the simplest current-production rigs on the market.

.              Charles


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: AF5C on February 09, 2013, 09:10:29 PM
A used Kenwood TS850 would be my first choice, or a Kenwood TS930. If you want one that covers 6m as well, then an Icom 736 or Kenwood TS690. 

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: AE7UT on February 09, 2013, 10:24:13 PM
Well being a newbie myself I feel very qualified to help you out!

I've used rigs from a Kenwood TS-830S to an Elecraft K3.
I think the easiest to use and maybe one of the best was the Ten-Tec Eagle.
It has one of the nicest receivers out there and is just plain spartan yet powerful.
It's not cheap but feels bullet-proof.  Nice internal tuner and noise blanker.

73
Stan AE7UT


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: VE7REN on February 10, 2013, 04:24:46 AM
i suggest the icom 718,been around,proven,simple and very nice to use for daily club use


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: W8JX on February 10, 2013, 04:53:23 AM
i suggest the icom 718,been around,proven,simple and very nice to use for daily club use

The problem with a 718 though is selectivity lacks and for price of optional filters you can get a better rig to start with.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: K5MF on February 10, 2013, 05:21:17 AM
I think you are underestimating your newbies.  They are fully capable of using (not necessarily mastering) a general purpose rig - even those with menus.  As has been said, once the menus are set up, most of them do not require tweaking.  It is like playing chess, easy to learn, difficult to master.  But put any of the shack in a box radios on the air and you will have most anyone using them fairly effectively in short order.  I think the 756 series or the 857 are just great little rigs for first time users.  They are not difficult to use effectively and people will enjoy learning one new trick at a time.  "How do I do _______?" is half the fun.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: WD4CHP on February 10, 2013, 06:00:44 AM
An Atlas 210X with the DD6c readout and station consol with the vox unit.

The only change is to realign the 10 meter VFO to cover the CW portion of the band.

I wrote up this procedure in the community section of eHam.

No menues to fool with.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: W7KB on February 10, 2013, 07:44:13 AM
For the price,take a look at the Icom 7200.A good rig,minus all the elaborate bells and whistles that are not normally used by a beginner and a rather simple menu to navigate through.The only real drawback is that it has no internal tuner.I purchased a LDG AT-200 Pro II to use with mine.W7KB


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: NA0AA on February 10, 2013, 09:13:13 AM
New or newer rig?  How much money?

For ease of operation, the FT-2000 has a one time setup menu to get all the various parameters set, then you forget it and almost everything else is a front knob or button.  Should be able to find a used one.

The tuner is only a 3:1, so I'd invest in an outboard tuner for greater range if you need it.

An FT-847 is not too bad, few menus needed but lacks a lot of modern amenities - I know, I own one.



Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: K4RVN on February 10, 2013, 11:45:39 AM
If you elect to buy used, A Kenwood 570DG is very easy to use with knobs and switches in place of a lot of menus. It is not now in production but a nice rig maybe a cut above a 718. Also it is available with the internal tuner. A 7200 Icom is a great little radio with twin bandpass tuning and DSP but no internal tuner. An inexpensive low power tuner would work well for you with it and it is current production. These are both radios that I have owned and suggest for your consideration. I have since upgraded to an Omni 6 plus and an Orion by ten Tec., no internal tuners.

Frank


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KE5DFK on February 11, 2013, 01:41:07 PM
New radios the Kenwood TS-480 SAT (with tuner) or the TS-480 HX (200w no tuner) is about as simple a modern PURE HF radio can be.  TS-590 also.
For older radios.  Icom 730 is about as simple as turn on tune and make contacts.

Carlos
KE5DFK


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KQ6Q on February 12, 2013, 08:12:03 PM
Not sure why it hasn't been mentioned already - Icom 746Pro - 100 all the way to 2m, built in antenna tuner, easy to use mode and menu selections. Mine goes to our group's Field Day every year by popular demand. Easy to use. Bought it myself after finding on on the Queen Mary at W6RO, figuring out how to use it without a manual. A clean used unit will go for close to $1000, but they're a gem.


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: KF7VXA on February 15, 2013, 09:49:41 AM
As a new Ham, the Yaesu 450 AT has been great for me. Once set up, as was stated, not a lot to change. It may not be the best radio out there in a pile up or as sensitive as rigs costing more, but I had it up and running after a read of the manuel. It was the very first HF rig I ever had my hands on. Before that, it was VHF/UHF only.
For the price, it would fit the bill perfectly. Set up, someone could hand a person the Mic and have them start talking. That would be all it would take for anyone to read about how it operates, not especially hard and make good contacts with few problems.
I'd put a good antenna on it, one that the 3 to 1 tuner in the radio would handle. No need for a new person to learn to adjust a tuner right away. Get them talking on a radio that's easy to operate and you will have them hooked. The 450 also has 6 meters. If the band is open, it just might be pretty special to whoever was at the radio at the time.
The small size would make it easy to fit into the space they have set up for the new hams also, this unit is fantastic for it's price, get one and don't look back, it will do all that you require for the new hams and more. They can be had used for a very good price also, saving club money for accessories as needed.

I'm sure I'll upgrade someday, but it won't be for some time. The 450 does all that I ask of it. ;D

John


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: VE7ABC on February 17, 2013, 09:45:45 PM
In my opinion, for newbies, a tube rig may not be the best way to go.  I know that tube rigs once you get to know them are great (I used to own a TS830S), but for the newbie, the learning curve might discourage him.
From the big 3, a late serial numbered TS850S, an ICOM 751A, or YAESU FT990 (late serial number).  A TEN-TEC OMNI V is also a good choice.
All four have great receivers and are simple to use.  I wouldn't make a big deal about a radio with or without an automatic tuner.  I've got one in my FT1000MP MKV and never use it.  Most built in  automatic antenna tuners tune a good antenna, but with their limited range not much else.

Just my two bits worth.

73..Graham


Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: WH7DX on February 18, 2013, 09:16:40 AM
My elmer suggested the Kenwood TS-570 about a year ago or so and it's a great radio for the price.   Easy to use.  Smooth Dial.  Good audio.

You can get it on Ebay for $500-600.   I have the D model and it does 10-160m.. 100W auto tuning.

Get the Astron 35M power supply ($150?) and a Diawa CN-801HP Power / SWR Meter (makes tuning the Amp much easier - $150?)

Get the Ameritron 811H amp for $900 and either a dipole comb or Hex Beam or Spider Beam antenna as high as possible and you're in business.   I'd start with the dipoles.  The Hex and Spider are great but you need a rotor etc..  you're looking at $1000+.   Start with Dipoles over trees etc.   Dipoles are great easy antennas. 

You can get those radio components and an 800W amp that plugs into a regular 120V outlet for the price of a new radio that for a beginner won't notice. 

The amp will get you into more DX especially if your QTH isn't elevated or near the water.   



Title: RE: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig
Post by: WH7DX on February 18, 2013, 09:26:18 AM
Here's a ts-570D on ebay for $4XX now.   The Ts-570S gets 6M I think but I wouldn't worry about 6M for now.   Same for 160M - that a large antenna or specific antenna.

10M, 15M, 20M, 40M & 80M.   A couple dipoles over trees facing different directions plugged into the Antenna 1 & 2 or more than 2 going into a Alpha-Delta Switch or better yet - a Ameritron RCS-8VL Remote Switch - which only brings one coax into the QTH.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kenwood-HF-Transceiver-TS-570D-/310596894428?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item4851047edc