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Author Topic: Recommendations/advice  (Read 603 times)
KD0EXQ
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Posts: 23




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« on: August 30, 2008, 08:18:17 AM »

As you can see, I have my tech license. I am a new "old" ham. Working hard to study and move up to General.  

I am trying to decide whether to start with an older rig (I'm thinking Kenwood 520, 530)to get started.  Will start with SSB, but I am seeing the merit of learning CW/morse.   I've read the previous posts regarding on this subject (new vs classic).  I see the allure of a radio with tubes and real knobs/dials instead of a "computer" with buttons.  My electronics skills are limited, but I'm willing to learn.  Eventually I'd like to explore digital (so many chocies, so little money)

It looks like I can get Kenwood that would fit my budget (around 400$), but the lowest price ICOM is now only about $600, and I could probably make that stretch.

Advice anyone?
Thanks

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AA4PB
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Posts: 12788




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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2008, 10:28:18 AM »

There are lots of modern solid-state radios that have "real knobs". Unless you are really into wanting to restore an old tube radio, I wouldn't recommend starting out with one as your "only" radio. For the most part, the older tube radios don't have the frequency stability nor the resolution on the frequency readout that most of the modern stuff does.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12788




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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2008, 10:35:14 AM »

By the way, if you get a stable radio with a good frequency readout it won't cost much to do digital modes (provided you have a computer with a sound card). All you need to add is an audio interface between the radio and the sound card and that's a real nice do-it-yourself project that can be built for $15 or less.

If you get a boat anchor, you'll probably never be able to sucessfully use it with digital modes like PSK-31 because of the poor stability.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 02:16:40 PM »

When budgeting, don't forget antennas.  Rigs don't work by magic, and signals don't come in through the wall socket (hi hi).

Antennas needn't be expensive, but they can be a lot of work to build, install, prune, tune and get working well.  So the budget isn't all about "money," but it may involve a real time investment, and those of us with smaller lots might have to do more "planning" than those on farms or ranches with a lot of space to experiment.

Good luck with the upgrade, and definitely learn code!

WB2WIK/6
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W5RKL
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Posts: 891




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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2008, 06:51:33 AM »

Hello Richard,

You mentioned a few Kenwood hyrbrid, 520, 530 etc. These radios, in good condition, are excellent first radios. However, when considering all of the HF bands, not all Kenwood hybrids provide WARC band coverage. The TS-520 and TS-820, for example, do not cover the WARC bands but the TS-530 and TS-830 do.

There are some modern day radios that can also be considered good first radios. However, it's important to know that most, not all, modern day radios require an external 12VDC power supply which adds to the cost. This doesn't mean to eliminate these radios. It simply means these radio's have an added expense for an external power supply, nothing more.

If sound card digital modes such as PSK-31, RTTY, Amtor, etc., are of interest, stability is important. Sound card interfaces for digital modes is another expensive you should consider. You can save if you build your own interface which can be less than $15.

I fully understand your concerns about your budget. These days who's not concerned about their budget. However, a first radio does not have to ruin your budget.

The radio you choose should be one that is right for you and your budget which also includes the type of antenna you plan to use.

Take your time, select the radio that fits your needs and budget, and design your antenna system for optimum performance.

73
Mike
W5RKL




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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3721




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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2008, 08:14:19 PM »

hi Richard,

The kenwood ts-570 is also a nice radio,
I have one.

I also own the ts-520 and the ts-530,
both work fine and are stable on the digital
modes psk31 and sstv.

our members in the group below often have
clean tested radios for sale.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TS-520_820_530_830/

73 james
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KD0EXQ
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2008, 01:46:04 PM »

Thanks to all who replied.  Great ideas.  Hmmm... more to think about
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