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Author Topic: Starting over  (Read 678 times)
N5YPJ
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Posts: 642




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« on: May 07, 2004, 02:05:32 PM »

Hi

I recently "lost" my FT-100D. I am starting over as this was my only rig. I sort of have a bad taste in my mouth from my experience with this ultra compact rig and the ability to get it repaired. USPS didn't help by banging it up and damaging it further(TG for insurance).

 Present finances allow me to purchase an older rig or I can finance a new one. I'd like to hear from some folks out there regarding their opinions on the older solid state rigs ie: Yaesu 747, 757 , Kenwood TS-430, 130, etc before deciding to own my radio outright or taking the plunge and joining the $10 a month for life club hihi. Any opinions on the older rigs and reliable sources for obtaining older equipment would be tremendously appreciated
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2004, 05:36:26 PM »

Having owned a lot of these rigs back when they were new (but not any longer), my impression of them is very similar to my impression of, say, Honda Civics.  Absolutely wonderful when new, but almost throw-aways 100,000 miles later, when virtually everything begins to fail.  

So, I'd only buy one of the older YaeComWoods if I knew a lot about the rig, or had some kind of warranty of performance as can only be offered by a dealer, on used equipment.  (AES, for example, used to offer a warranty on all used rigs sold -- I think they still do.  TenTec has a "store" where they sell trade-ins and stuff, and I'm pretty sure they warranty all those, too.)

OTOH, for the same price as some of these used rigs, you could buy a brand-new IC-718 and have a new equipment warranty.

WB2WIK/6
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N5YPJ
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2004, 09:53:42 PM »

Yes, that's sort of what I was afraid of - buying someone else's problem. I just got the feeling that this was treated as a "throw away" radio. Hate to cry over spilt milk, but this am the original owner, the radi is less than three years old and has seen little use. I wonder if the compactness of the rig has anything to do with this? I bought an assembled Heath HW 5400, used it for several years, had it realigned and minor repairs - no problem. Looking back I found it more bullet proof than the FT-100D, although not near as technically advanced. I guess what I would really like is to get a rig that can be serviced when it gets sick. $900 for the rig and only three years use sort of riled my XYL when I started looking at new rigs.
Thanks for your opinion.
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2004, 11:12:48 PM »

I guess, as much as I respect Steve, WB2WIK, I'm going to disagree with him.  My current primary rig is a Kenwood TS-430V, the rather rare QRP version of the TS-430S.  I paid $250 for it.  I also have a Kenwood TS-660.  That one cost $165.  Tell me where you can get a new rig for that kind of money and I'll head right on over there.  Both rigs are decent performers even by today's standards and both are known for reliablity.

Oh, and sorry, but my last Honda Civic was junked after 245,000 miles.  250,000 miles on a well maintained Civic is very common nowadays.  It's all about how a car or a rig are maintained, isn't it?

I will say that both rigs came from a friend (the same friend, in fact) so I knew that they would be exactly as described and well looked after.

IMHO, inexpensive but reliable older rigs which perform well include:  Icom IC-730, IC-740, Kenwood TS-430, TS-530, TS-830, TS-130, NCG 10/160M, Yaesu FT-902DM.  I would avoid the Yaesu FT-757GX or GXII.  I borrowed one for a while and thought it needed work.  It was deaf as a post with the preamp turned off and so-so with it on.  I later learned that they are all that way.  The FT-747GX and FT-77 have excellent receivers but no QRM fighting tools (meaning no IF shift or PBT and limited filtering), which means an outboard DSP becomes a necessity.  All of these rigs, with the exception of the IC-740, should be in the under $300 price class unless they are about pristine and/or have lots of options and accessories.  The IC-740 has both PBT and IF Shift (if an optional filter is installed) and a fantastic receiver so, IMHO, it's worth a bit more.

73,
Caity
K7VO/4
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2004, 02:16:24 PM »

Hi Caity,

Well, knowing the source of equipment surely helps, and I did mention that.  I'd avoid eBay buys from sources unknown, mostly because they are sources unknown and there are about as many "bad" stories as there are "good" ones regarding buyer satisfaction with ham gear purchased that way.

As for the Honda, yep, with continuous service they'll run forever.  It's just the R.O.I. usually gives out after 100K.  I've owned a few Hondas and that's surely what happened in every case: By the time you've replaced the C-V joints a couple of times (common problem with all front-wheel drive cars, but even more common with Hondas), done a transmission rebuild, recored the radiator and so forth, the maintenance costs can easily exceed the monthly cost to simply replace the vehicle, especially since I can buy a new one for zero down and $199 a month, almost anywhere.

Then, I can compare that history to say, my Volvo 740 Turbo, which, after 389,000 miles, has all its original parts save the timing belt, battery, brakes and tires.  Still have the original water pump, alternator, starter, radiator, fuel pumps, transmission, motor mounts, struts & shocks, exhaust system, catalytic converter and so forth, all still running just fine, and of course it hasn't any C-V joints to wear out, since it's rear-wheel drive (much easier to service, not to mention less costly).  And I can make a U-turn in a much tighter radius circle than can be done with any front-wheel drive car in the world.  And I can use it to tow a 6000 lb trailer, and have -- many times.

As soon as its annual cost for maintenance reaches about the level of the annual cost to finance a new one, out it goes!  But in my experience (a lot, having owned about 25 cars, now), this occurs with Hondas much faster than it does with Volvos.  Just an observation, not a knock.

Getting back to ham rigs: If you buy used gear from a known source, and you can try the gear out before any money exchanges hands -- this is the best way to do it.  And there are some *wonderful* deals out there!  Every month at our local (TRW) ham swap meet I'm astounded by the deals I find.  Picked up my Drake 2B in pristine conditon there (and I did get a chance to plug it in and try it out, on site) for $100, and was offered $200 for it over the air on the drive home.  But nah, it's a great toy and a fine example of 1960 American workmanship!

WB2WIK/6
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NA4FM
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2004, 10:55:15 AM »

IF you are not a well experienced user of eBay, you need to read everything you can about how to do business and protect yourself buying and selling on eBay before actually investing in something so expensive as a ham radio.  When you know what you are doing it is a great place.  

That being said, while bargains are available on eBay, they aren't always easy to find and if you don't know how to read between the lines so you know how to ask the seller the correct questions, you will find yourself with a piece of gear that was not well represented, if not actually misrepresented.

I have found some really good deals on eBay, but ham radio appears to draw a premium on there most of the time.  I have seen 2-year old rigs sell for $50-75 less than retail.  

If you aren't an experienced eBay buyer, I would suggest getting on the local repeaters and talking to local hams about what might be available for sale.  Then if you need to purchase one, consider a new rig from a reputable dealer.  HRO is my favorite since I lived down the street from them for 5 years and they are still the closest Ham Radio Store to me. They offer free shipping on most sales over $100 and have an exchange warranty for 2 weeks which extends your factory warranty two weeks too.

AES and others may be good choices for you as well.

The way I saved up for the rig I now have was to setup a can with its picture on it.  I cleaned out my pockets daily and threw all my loose change in it.  When possible, I put bills in it or wrote myself a check and deposited it into the can.  Every week I would bid the amount of my can on the rig I wanted until finally, I won an auction for the amount I had.  

If you are saving for a new rig, you would just keep checking the current prices and bonuses available for the rig you want until you can justify adding the difference and order the rig.

The 718 is a good starter rig, but I would suggest that you look into what you really want, bite the bullet and hold on until you can afford it.  If you want to go mobile, the 718 may not be the best rig for you.  Save up for the 706 or whatever best suits your needs.

Of course, depending on how long it might take, you might want to buy a lesser rig temporarily until you can afford the bigger rig, especially if you are saving up for the 7800 Wink.

I bought an atlas 180 as my stepping stone rig.  Now that I have the rig I want, I plan to take the atlas to my neighbor that has been inactive for about 10 years to see if I can encourage him to get back on HF.

Good luck in your decision.  If I can help, look up my email and write.

Buck
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2004, 02:46:43 AM »

I think Buck covered eBay brilliantly.  I have gotten some fantastic deals on eBay and picked up some very rare radios there. My Mizuho SB-2M and my Kantronics KT-120, both purchased from hams in Canada, immediately come to mind.  So do my Icom IC-302 and Toptek PA-65U amp, bought in one auction from a ham in Maine.  

I also wouldn't recommend purchasing from another country (including Canada) unless you really know what you are doing.  I spent years working in the international freight transportation business (granted, as an IT Director, but I still know the business) and I know how to exercise due caution and how to make things get through customs smoothly.  If you don't know the ins and outs I'd say just don't do it.

In addition to Buck's comments I have two pieces of advice for would-be eBay bidders.  Bid once what you believe the item is worth for you.  Don't bid again.  Either you win or you don't.  Too manu people get caught up in bidding frenzy and pay way too much.  Also, if you don't know the item make sure you research it and what it's worth thoroughly.  Some stuff on eBay goes for amazingly inflated prices.  

73,
Caity
K7VO/4
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N0XAS
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2004, 06:05:18 PM »

I have to offer my experience here as well.  I have owned several used rigs...  come to think of it, I have only bought one new radio, ever, if you exclude kits.  That's the TM-G707a in my truck.  I've had and still have several used import rigs that have been trouble free, dependable performers.

There was the TS-520s bought used from a local dealer (I don't miss it), HW-2036 mobile 2M, FT-470 (still using it), the FT-757GX complete station, still have an Oak Hills OHR-400 and the Kenwood TS-930SAT I picked up at a hamfest, cheap because the previous owner thought the finals were bad.  Spent a few days tracking down various power supply issues that these rigs are famous or infamous for, built a new regulator, and still use it regularly.  The rig has a simply awesome receiver, a CW operator's dream.  I run CW, PSK-31 and SSB at anywhere from 1 to 120 Watts.

I've seen some real pieces of junk for sale at hamfests and on eBay, spanning all manufacturers and types.  Tec-Tec, Heath, Alinco, YaeComWood, you name it, it can be trashed.  Personally, the only thing I have ever bought that qualified as a true piece of crap was the Alinco DR-510T.  What junk.  Yick.  I'd give it away, but would hate to make an enemy.  Bought that from a friend, just goes to show you.

Anyway, if you know what you're looking at and wht to look for, and are willing to take your time, eBay, rec.radio,swap and hamfests can be a good way to go.  Buying used from a dealer like AES doesn't look too practical to me; their prices are amazingly high.  Just use your head; don't buy unknown stuff from people you don't know and whose reputation can't be established.  If you're just getting started and don't know what you're doing, look for a local ham with a good reputation, and have a buddy or two check the rig out before buying.  

Oh - and if it's broken, FIX IT.
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