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Author Topic: "But I really don't want a new radio!"  (Read 2985 times)

Posts: 1190

« on: September 23, 2002, 05:57:52 PM »

My wife whose love for me is undeserved and unjustifiable insists that I tell her what I might want for my birthday, rig wise. I am very happy with my 520s but she thinks that I should get a new
radio,so in order to make her happy, for which my failure rate is very high, I set out recently to find out what I might be interested in. Bear in mind that beyond my 520s and my dads ten tec I have only seen pictures.  So off to the closest  Outlet For Ham Radio I went.  
        This place seemed more sinister from the outside than an Adult bookstore but none the less I bravely entered, off to my left was a low counter that ran about 25 feet along the wall with about 12-15 hf rigs  arranged on two levels none of them had mics hooked up which follows the same rationale as a gun shop not having bullets in the weapons. I commandeered the best looking of the "secretary chairs" and cautiously lowered my 300 lbs into it as the hydraulic piston hissed, the chair settled  rather close to the floor  but I was still able to see over the counter and reach the radios so I made my first choice.
        I reached for the ic 718 and moved it towards me and determined that most of my sandwiches weigh more, I then looked around for  a while and assessed that the radio had only one knob worthy of the name , aside from about twenty or so push buttons the only other things approaching the definition were two pencil sized protrusions one of which made the radio hash louder . I now decided to   try and tune in some activity , and figured 20 meters would be good  so I started to rotate the dial , after about 1000 revolutions I had covered what to me seemed to be about 3khz I figured I must be doing something wrong and started poking at the buttons hitting about 3 at a time with my knockwurst sized fingers , eventually I settled on 14.300 but heard nothing no where did I hear anything ,  that's when I realized  the antenna switch on the wall was dialed to a different rig so I flipped it to the 718, wonder of wonders the maritime mobile net came to life but no matter what I did I couldn't really bring it out of the noise.
          Giving up on that I went to the 735, and then shifted to the Kenwood offerings and finished up with Yaesu.  I really heard nothing of merit on any of the rigs and came away secure in the knowledge that knobs are not wanted  by today's designers, its the pushbutton that is King !
   On my drive home I figured out the reason for the demise of amateur radio. The radios don't look like radios,they don't feel like radios,they don't smell like radios, no one wants to push buttons! You give a baby a knob and they will turn and tweak it , give them a push button  and nothing happens. Now close your eyes and think of a radio operator in your minds eye, what do you see,....yep!    a guy turning.....KNOBS !    
           Now having bored you all with that and for those still reading here is my question, What are the last radios that were made with man-sized knobs, metal cabinets, and limited use of pushbuttons that might make a good upgrade from my 520s ?    Think  TS 520 with warc bands and let me know, thanks !      
            BTW when I got home I hugged my 520s and I operated all night and didn't have to push a single button !    

Posts: 8

« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2002, 06:22:40 PM »

You could get a well cared for TS-820, find a copy of QST Feb 1983 and add WARC bands to it, get a SM-220 with a pan adapter (if you're into "eye-candy") and some add-on filters and you'd be happy as a pig in a poke.  On top of that, you'll have saved enough to get that wife of yours a great gift for HER birthday!


Posts: 9930

« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2002, 08:18:10 PM »

I have a kenwood 570  and like it pretty well, it has a couple of big knobs on it, and they feel right when you turn them.  it does not have great DSP filtering on it but its better than a FT 101 ee, and almost as good as a ft 101 ZD.. good luck, I hear good things about the Mark 5 too.  73 tom N6AJR

Posts: 29

« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2002, 09:26:53 PM »

Your article is fun reading, but represents circular reasoning. You start out with the premise that you do not want a new ham transceiver and then support your premise with the argument that newer transceivers do not meet your pre-conceived selection criteria; for example push buttons not as desirable as knobs. If your 520 had pushbuttons and modern transceivers knobs, would you then consider pushbuttons better than knobs (who would want to twist knobs late at night when they could push buttons)? Your evaluation of potential replacement transceivers is also very biased (no prior investigation of modern transceiver features versus your old transceivers features; never approaching a sales person for advice; no mention of discussions with fellow hams who have modern equipment). If your investigation of modern equipment versus your old equipment was less biased, you would not be using a 520, as your main transceiver today.

73 AD6LR


Posts: 238

« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2002, 09:50:48 PM »

the FT990 is a great rig, can be bought quite reasonbly, and has lots of knobs that a big guy's hands can work comfortably. There are buttons for controls that only need to toggle in and out, but you can twiddle all the main controls to your heart's content all night long.  PLUS, it has great front end!!

Posts: 220

« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2002, 09:57:33 PM »

The 520 is a classic, and was a great radio - in its day.  Why not try something radically new?  Like QRP operation?  Plenty of choices here, particularly if you like building.  Many are lusting after the Elecraft K2.  For a plug-n-play, consider Ten-Tec's latest "Argonaut".  Another opportunity like yours might not come in just one lifetime.

Posts: 3585

« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2002, 10:21:12 PM »

Hi: Personally, I know where you are coming from, but the real problem with many rigs is "too small, too close together, too many %^&*()_ MENUS, too much aggravation, too little performance!

If I had to choose just one rig, and budget was a consideration, I would choose another TenTec Jupiter.
I may have to, my wife has taken over mine!

Unlike a dozen other rigs around here, the Jupiter's menu system is logical and does what I expect it to do. The DSP filtering is excellent - as is the automatic tuner upper remover. Audio quality is also excellent. Initially, the Jupiter had a few warts, but they are being taken care of by new software downloads. Provided free by TenTec!

And the relatively few push buttons are large enough, and far enough apart, that they don't interfere with operating the radio. And yes, it does have ears. So both my strictly non-technical wife and I are satisfied with it's cosmetics and its performance.

73  Pete Allen  AC5E


Posts: 16

« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2002, 05:21:42 AM »

Wait a minute! Your WIFE is telling you to buy a new HF rig!?! There's not even room to start complaining or worrying here...let me state this again...YOUR WIFE IS TELLING YOU YOU NEED A NEW RIG! Sir, you have NO WORRIES. ICOM 746 is a nice advanced rig, the Yaesu FT900/990 are nice, and the Kenwood TS2000, although a little pricier, are nice rigs, too.
A know nothing of the Ten Tec Jupiter's performance but I did see one at a hamfest. I was NOT impressed. You complain that the 718 is tiny and weightless..well, the Jupiter is, in my opinion, constructed of light weight material and the push of a button would cause the rig to scoot across the desk.
So, if you are looking for something between a Yaesu FT817 and an FT1000D I think the 746, 990 (both now out of production but can be found for good used prices) or TS2000 would be nice.
Also consider an FT920.
Good luck and go get your wife a gift just for being so supportive of your hobby!

Posts: 426


« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2002, 05:53:02 AM »

Hi Dave N3BIF:

I have to first say that this was a great read and your EHAM bio cracked me up!!!  It was great and I think we all get too serious with this Ham stuff at times and need a good is good for the soul and you gave me a good laugh reading this and your bio...thanks!!

Now about your so called dilemma (if you even have one or are serious..haa) I think your title says it all...You really don't want a new rig and the old 520 does the trick, and that is great!!  They were and still are a great rig in my view.  I have to say I did pick up a few things though that might indicate that you really might want something do love the Kenwood and Kenwood looks I can tell, you love BIG rigs and knobs, you would like an antenna tuner in a rig, you want the WARC bands and last but not least you are not impressed by any of the new rigs that are out in todays market.  So if you really are serious about this here is what I would suggest you give a look at (btw of course they are all Kenwoods):

The Kenwood has big knobs is the next level up from your 520...has tubes yet...looks like a radio you are used to looking at....has WARC bands and still are around in good shape...used price from $300 to $400

The Kenwood has big knobs is the next level up from your 530s...has tubes yet...looks like a radio you are used to looking at.....has WARC bands and still are around in good shape...used price from $375 to $450


**THE KENWOOD 930SAT ...this rig set the standards for most rigs today....they are a workhorse of a rig...easy to use...all solid state NO TUBES....HAS A BUILT IN TUNER....HAS is a BIG radio with BIG easy to use functions and knobs....a DXer Dream and this baby is easy to use and operate...ALL BAND ALL MODE & Gen Coverage RX also...a classic rig and some still are around in good shape...used price from $450 to $600 and well worth it (just watch what you buy..where a few problems with this rig like any but do your homework and you will get a GREAT rig)

Hope to hear the old 520 of yours on the air sometime and again your post here and EHAM bio made my day but really I think you would like any of the rigs I just mentioned and a new rig with all the buttons and bells and smaller size might not fit you or your fingers!!haa

GL om de kb9umt Don Peoria IL EN50


Posts: 21757

« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2002, 11:00:58 AM »

I ditto the TS-830S.  If you love your old TS-520 and want something just like it but with WARC bands and all-around better performance, but retaining the exact same look and feel (and knobs), the TS-830S, which is about 5-6 years newer than the 520S and works better, is the perfect choice.


Posts: 2080

« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2002, 11:44:25 AM »

Sounds to me like you're perfectly happy with the '520.  If that's the case, why not ask your wife to give you an amplifier, auto tuner or other nice accessory for your birthday?  My wife stopped trying to buy me specific ham equipment years ago because I had many of the same bonds with some of my old gear that you apparently have.  If the WARC bands aren't all that important to you, give the XYL a "wish list" of accessories and keep the '520.  You are a lucky man.


Terry, WØFM

Posts: 89

« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2002, 01:24:22 PM »

I have a Ten Tec Jupiter and it's the best ham investment I ever made.  The Jupiter is not an FT-1000 with all the bells and whistles, but its not meant to be.  It has what 99 percent of hams need and not too much more.  Still a world-class rig in my opinion.  Simple to operate, big knobs, huge frequency display, only one menu that's simple to operate and a great 34-step DSP filter controlled by turning a KNOB.  Its up to todays standards (especially for the price) and will be up to tomorrows standards as long as Ten Tec keeps updating the software (they will).  It's like getting a new rig, for free, with new features or bugs fixed every few months.  Just download the file from their site, plug the serial cable from your computer to the rig and follow the directions... simple.  

None of the Japanese rigs I know of do that... thier rigs are designed to be obsolete soon after you plopped down your hard-earned cash.  To get new features or bugs fixed, it will cost you.  That's how they make the bucks.

Ten Tec has it right.  They are a great company to work with, and really do serve the ham community.  If you don't like the rig within 30 days, they will take it back and refund your money.  They will take payments and send you the rig as soon as they get the first payment.  Pretty easy to just call them at the factory for questions, etc.

I put my money on Ten Tec.  Another great feature is that they're made in the USA.

73, Marco, W7WIK


Marco, AA5ET

Posts: 17352

« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2002, 03:12:03 PM »

I'd suggest a Johnson Valiant or Heathkit DX-100 along
with a National NC-300 or Hammurlund HQ-180.  Lots of
knobs, no funny buttons or menus, nice big front
panels, won't slide around on the desk if you bump it.

Something with real iron in it...

Posts: 54

« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2002, 06:53:36 PM »

David, I know *exactly* how you feel. I am absolutely a 'knob turner' which is why there is always at least one Yaesu FT-101ZD/901DM in my shack at all times. Yes the 101ZD/90DMs have a few pushbuttons but they go 'clunk' when pressed, not like those wimpy 'Capacitance' buttons made by Tupperware. Want knobs? I also have a Hammarlund HQ-180.  Sometimes that ol BA takes two hands to operate! I'm in hog heaven!

I agree with the others that if you want to stay with Kenwood the TS-830S would be the best choice. Might want to look at the Yeasu 101ZD/901DM series tho. Those gots lotsa knobs too!

Posts: 17

« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2002, 10:23:58 AM »

I also like the big knobs. I have several of the newer smaller radios but am partial to the Ten-Tec rigs. The OMNI V, Corsair, Paragon have good knobs, good performance, and are pleasant to the the ear. Some of the above are on the used market at affordable prices.       73,
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