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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: KJ6ZOL on October 19, 2013, 11:12:13 PM



Title: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 19, 2013, 11:12:13 PM
Once I get some debts paid, I'll be looking to upgrade my transceiver. I would ideally like it to not have tubes or electromechanical switches (like band or mode switches are on my TS130) and cost under $500. I know that it will be used. I'm hoping for something that the manufacturer will still be able to fix. Any suggestions?


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: M6GOM on October 20, 2013, 02:20:32 AM
Assuming the standard $1=£1 price conversion that there seems to be on new gear applies to used gear...

In the UK you can buy a used Kenwood TS480SAT for under £500. They're a rock solid radio still in production that has no known common faults. Its easy to use and has a cracking receiver - just read the reviews on eHam.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 20, 2013, 07:38:09 AM
Assuming the standard $1=£1 price conversion that there seems to be on new gear applies to used gear...

In the UK you can buy a used Kenwood TS480SAT for under £500. They're a rock solid radio still in production that has no known common faults. Its easy to use and has a cracking receiver - just read the reviews on eHam.

I checked QRZ swap and it seems like the going price for the 480 is around $700 or so. In addition, some hams include power supplies, etc. that raise the price by a few hundred bucks. Close, but no cigar.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W4KYR on October 20, 2013, 08:15:06 AM
I have seen the Icom 718 selling for $500 used. It is a good reliable HF rig that has an accessory jack in the back that you can use for computer control or digital communications. It is still being made today. 


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 20, 2013, 08:23:06 AM
I have seen the Icom 718 selling for $500 used. It is a good reliable HF rig that has an accessory jack in the back that you can use for computer control or digital communications. It is still being made today. 

I too have seen used Icoms going for good prices. I really don't like Yaesu, I owned a FRG-8800 for a while and whenever the AC burped the radio would act funny for a while, even if it was turned off at the time. I finally put it on a separate surge protector and turned that off when the radio was not in use. Kenwoods seem pricey.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: K8AXW on October 20, 2013, 08:25:07 AM
ZOL:  

Although I've been a ham for 57 years I am always trying to learn something new each day.  

Quote
I would ideally like it to not have tubes

I understand this.  No problem.

Quote
electromechanical switches (like band or mode switches are on my TS130

However, I don't understand this one.  I thought all radios had electromechanical switches.  Or do you mean a menu driven radio?  


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: NO2A on October 20, 2013, 11:12:07 AM
I think he means no mechanical bandswitch,or switches that are prone to wear out. The IC-718 would be a great choice,for a used rig.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 20, 2013, 11:44:55 AM
I think he means no mechanical bandswitch,or switches that are prone to wear out. The IC-718 would be a great choice,for a used rig.

Exactly. I have a hard time getting my point across sometimes. What I meant was a mechanical bandswitch/menu switch. On the old Kenwoods these tend to wear out, and when they do the radio cannot be fixed.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: K0OD on October 20, 2013, 04:11:29 PM
Quote
What I meant was a mechanical bandswitch/menu switch. On the old Kenwoods these tend to wear out

Not from my extensive experience with a 1977 TS-820, a 1982 TS-430 and a 1992 TS-850. Mostly caps leak and are fixable.   


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KA5IPF on October 20, 2013, 05:12:28 PM
Quote
What I meant was a mechanical bandswitch/menu switch. On the old Kenwoods these tend to wear out

Not from my extensive experience with a 1977 TS-820, a 1982 TS-430 and a 1992 TS-850. Mostly caps leak and are fixable.   

1 out of 3 is good for a baseball player. The 820 is the only one you listed with mechanical bandswitches.

Clif


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W8JX on October 21, 2013, 03:05:44 AM
Try a Kenwood TS 570. A solid rig that was in production until about 6 years ago and has a easy to read large display. I used one for many years and still do.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W8GP on October 21, 2013, 08:09:08 AM
Icom IC-735


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 21, 2013, 08:22:12 AM
Icom IC-735

That's a little cheaper than the 718. The 735 goes for around $350 on QTH swap.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W8GP on October 21, 2013, 08:28:26 AM
I've had my '735 for over 20 years and although I don't use it that much anymore, it's still one of my favorite rigs for it's simplicity and more than adequate performance.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: N3HFS on October 21, 2013, 06:50:45 PM
With some judicious shopping, an older Yaesu FT-450 would still be quite modern, and probably in the $5xx range (used, of course).


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: AG6WT on October 22, 2013, 02:31:41 PM
If you want something that is definitely serviceable by their manufacturers and your hard limit is $500, I think your choices are limited to the FT-450 (original version) and the IC-718. If you can relax the servicing requirement, consider the IC-735; they are built like tanks.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 22, 2013, 03:55:17 PM
I want a radio that doesn't have to be babied, due to old age. The 735 was made from 1985 to the early 1990s, and doesn't seem to have switches that can loosen, or tubes to be replaced. That's good enough for me. The bandswitch on my Kenwood 130 is loose, and has to be "jiggled" for a contact to be made. I've used Yaesu rx gear before (FRG-8800) and was unimpressed. The 8800 came out in 1985, and didn't have switches. I don't understand the craze for old tube gear, personally. Lots of elderly hams with too much money wanting to get that Collins rig they dreamed of when they were 12. Tubes are hard to find, and some components may be nearly impossible to find. Electrolytic caps with the farad ratings necessary for tube gear are really difficult to get. I didn't realize how hard it was to find parts and how much rebuilding a tube rig needs until someone gave me a SB-102. If that floats your boat, cool, but some hams just want it to work.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KA5IPF on October 22, 2013, 05:06:00 PM
Take your 1.5mm allen wrench and tighten the coupling on the 130. It's loose. It's the one at the back of the bandswitch before the final compartment.

Clif


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: K7AAT on October 25, 2013, 06:05:00 PM
If you truly want a "modern transceiver"  I would not begin to suggest the reliable IC-735.  It was developed only 5 years after your own radio.  As others have suggested,  the IC-718 or Yaesu FT-450 would be my choice.  I have operated both and each has its own merits, but both are certainly modern  ( still in production ).  If you want the better performer, in my opinion, I'd suggest the Yaesu.  If you want the easier to operate I'd suggest the Icom.  I don't think you'd go wrong with either.

Ed   K7AAT


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 25, 2013, 06:40:07 PM
Thanks everybody. It seems that many hams don't like the Icom IC-718 OR the Yaesu FT-450. Each seems to have significant problems. The IC-735 seems to have issues too-some have bad soldering, and the tuning pot tends to seize up. I think I'll just stick with my Kenwood TS-130S for now, and put the money I save towards something else. I have owned Yaesu gear as a SWL (FRG-8800) and I really didn't like it, I had to ship it to Yaesu several times to be serviced. I've heard that Yaesu HT's have lots of problems too. I really don't want to spend $1000 on a used radio.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W4KVW on October 26, 2013, 09:18:47 PM
Kenwood TS-50's are easy to find for under $500 & are GREAT little radios.Not a lot of stacked menus either. {:>)   ;D

Clayton
W4KVW


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: G3RZP on October 27, 2013, 03:52:00 AM
The one thing that worries me is "for how long will spare parts be available?"

That suggests you want a rig that has been on the market for about 6 to 12 months (so the early production bugs have been fixed) or you get enough spares to be able to fix it.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W4KYR on October 27, 2013, 05:38:21 AM
Thanks everybody. It seems that many hams don't like the Icom IC-718 OR the Yaesu FT-450. Each seems to have significant problems.  I really don't want to spend $1000 on a used radio.

I have the IC-718 with DSP and have ZERO problems with it and it doesn't cost $1000 new or used.  It is regularly listed from $500 to $550 on E-Bay used. Is the IC-718 the greatest radio in the world? No. But it is modern, still in production, built solidly, has accessory jacks in the back for direct connection to the Tigertronics Signalink USB Interface. For everyday use it works great and is a solid performer.

I don't think I have read any reports of any significant problems with the IC-718. Out of 391 reviews on the eham it is rated at 4.6 out of 5 which it is as good as it gets. It seems many hams do like the IC-718 even though it doesn't have FM, but then again neither does the IC-7200. The 4.8/5 rating of the IC-7200 makes it one of the highest rated rigs out there with the most reviews for its rating, 149 reviews.

Yes you can do better than the IC-718...for more money. We could sit here for hours and discuss the pros and cons of various rigs. What we really need to do is to compare the radio up close and in person, either at another ham's house, at a ham radio store or at a ham radio club.





Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KH6AQ on October 27, 2013, 05:24:24 PM
You can get a brand new Alinco DX-SR8T from HRO for $529.95 with free shipping.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: K7AAT on October 27, 2013, 05:51:46 PM
GOOD POINT !  We tend to forget about the 4th Japanese manufacturer, Alinco....at least I do.

Ed   K7AAT


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: AG6WT on October 28, 2013, 06:42:41 AM
It seems that many hams don't like the Icom IC-718 OR the Yaesu FT-450. Each seems to have significant problems. The IC-735 seems to have issues too-some have bad soldering, and the tuning pot tends to seize up.

Neither the IC-718 nor FT-450 have "significant problems". They have pretty high ratings in the eHam review section for a reason. Being low priced entry level transceivers, however, they do have "significant" limitations compared to rigs in the $2000 and up category. If you read between the lines in the reviews, complaints about the IC-718 and FT-450 are from hams who probably use a FT-1000, IC756ProIII, or K3 as their everyday rig. If you have a good wire antenna high up in the air and aren't working a contest, an IC-718 or FT-450 will serve you just fine.

BTW, the IC-735 can have problems but within the scope of very cheap used rigs, it has fewer problems and the nature of those problems are easy to repair.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KJ6ZOL on October 28, 2013, 08:27:55 AM
It seems that many hams don't like the Icom IC-718 OR the Yaesu FT-450. Each seems to have significant problems. The IC-735 seems to have issues too-some have bad soldering, and the tuning pot tends to seize up.

Neither the IC-718 nor FT-450 have "significant problems". They have pretty high ratings in the eHam review section for a reason. Being low priced entry level transceivers, however, they do have "significant" limitations compared to rigs in the $2000 and up category. If you read between the lines in the reviews, complaints about the IC-718 and FT-450 are from hams who probably use a FT-1000, IC756ProIII, or K3 as their everyday rig. If you have a good wire antenna high up in the air and aren't working a contest, an IC-718 or FT-450 will serve you just fine.

BTW, the IC-735 can have problems but within the scope of very cheap used rigs, it has fewer problems and the nature of those problems are easy to repair.

I think you're right, and I misinterpreted the reviews. The main problem with the 718 seems to be that the internal speaker is overdriven. The 735 seems to have trouble with the tuning pot grease going bad. However, I noticed that repair services are available for these older Icoms, while nobody seems to repair older transistorized Kenwoods, either they fix newer rigs or hybrids. I like the 735 the best, and will probably buy one once I get the money.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W8JX on October 28, 2013, 09:10:09 AM
Kenwood TS-50's are easy to find for under $500 & are GREAT little radios.Not a lot of stacked menus either. {:>)   ;D

Clayton
W4KVW

Easy to find because they lack a lot of features and many get rid of them. My biggest gripe with it is poor selectivity.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: KG6BRG on October 28, 2013, 11:06:30 AM
For what it's worth, I've owned an Icom IC-718, IC-735 and currently, the Yaesu FT-450.  I think a nice FT-450 is the best of the three, (about $500.00 for the non-ATU).  The IC-735 was a nice rig too, I sold it and am looking for another to replace it, I miss it.  The IC-718 was my least favorite and I don't miss it at all.  As pointed out the Yaesu is a current model, currently supported by Yaesu, but there are several highly regarded service centers for older Icom's, so service really isn't a problem.  good luck.  cheers.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: N9KX on October 28, 2013, 12:45:03 PM
Once I get some debts paid, I'll be looking to upgrade my transceiver. I would ideally like it to not have tubes or electromechanical switches (like band or mode switches are on my TS130) and cost under $500. I know that it will be used. I'm hoping for something that the manufacturer will still be able to fix. Any suggestions?

if you can somehow find $300 or so more, you could pick up a used Ten-Tec Jupiter http://tentecwiki.org/doku.php?id=538 (http://tentecwiki.org/doku.php?id=538) and have a really good rig. As an added bonus Ten-Tec is in America.  There are older Ten-Tec models you could pick up far cheaper ...


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: AI4HO on October 29, 2013, 11:25:26 PM
Have you considered the Kenwood TS-450S?  They are older, still can get parts, has decent selectivity, can be set up for CAT control, digi modes.  Has a hell of a receiver, and probably one of the best auto tuners I've had the pleasure to use.  Since going to resonate antennas I don't need the tuner as much, except when I use my G5RV.  The 450S is still a contender, don't count it out, and can be had in good to great shape for $500 or less.  I bought mine this past spring, with the MC-60 desk mic for $500.

Had the TS-130, not a bad rig, good for field day, a bit long long in the tooth for my tastes, you might even consider the TS-440, another decent rig.  Or, maybe save a bit, and get that couple hundred extra, get a bit newer rig, The TS-480SAT is an outstanding rig, I use its big brother te TS-480HX 200 watts as my mobile rig. Only difference is the SAT has the internal tuner, the HX is 200 watts, both have the same guts, hell of a rig to be sure.  Even that new Alinco SR8T, from what I've read isn't a bad deal either, lots of choices, good luck.

73 de Mark
AI4HO


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: AF5CC on November 02, 2013, 11:10:56 PM
I would look for an Icom 706mKII or MKIIG.  You get HF plus 6m plus 2m all modes, and even 70cm in the MKIIG.  They come with a built in keyer, and both can have DSP (standard in the MKIIG).  Easy to get filters for them, and easy to install the filters.  They are a heck of a radio for that price, and not many issues with them.  The Yaesu FT100D is also a great radio for the price if you find one with the needs mods done to it.

John AF5CC (Icom 706mKII owner)


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: N4GKS on November 06, 2013, 04:19:14 PM
I don't think it will be too long before China follows their dirt cheap ht's with an HF rig for around $300-500. Japan will go into full panic mode.


Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: W4KYR on November 06, 2013, 06:53:25 PM
I don't think it will be too long before China follows their dirt cheap ht's with an HF rig for around $300-500. Japan will go into full panic mode.

There is a manufacturer is making HF walkie talkies, a mass produced HF rig for under $500 is not out of the realm. Already there has been an 10 watt HF rig selling for $299 and $399 called the KN-920. But it is in limited release.

http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,91651.msg702026.html#msg702026



Title: RE: Best, most modern transceiver for under $500?
Post by: N6AJR on November 13, 2013, 12:14:50 PM
ft 840