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Author Topic: Advice Needed Picking An HF Radio  (Read 860 times)
N3SHM
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« on: February 08, 2006, 06:47:27 PM »

i have a budget of just under$2000 and need advice selecting a nice hf transciever. my choices are the ft-1000 mrk5 (1st), kenwood ts-2000 (2nd) kenwood ts-775 (3rd). i am looking for a used rig althought for the price i know i can get a kenwood ts-2000 for under$2000. i want dsp , and i like BIG radios. i am undecided as to which radio to pick. i can use advice from owners of these radios. plus i would like your opinion if i missed a good radio. i like the idea of 6 meters also ...thanks...
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N2IK
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2006, 07:35:26 PM »

How far away are you from an HRO or AES store where you can try these radios hooked to an antenna? That beats a million opinions. Do read the reviews and think some about your needs and wants before you choose. I hope you are saving some of your budget for the antenna and how you hold it up in the air. The antenna does all the work in radio. You can't work them if you can't hear them.

73 de Walt N2IK
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2006, 08:40:09 AM »

What's a TS-775?  Never heard of it.

Of the rigs you listed that I have heard of, I'd pick the Icom IC-756PROII (which you didn't list) simply because I like it better than your other choices and it's a better performing rig than they are.  The PROIII's even better, but close to $3K and not on the market long enough to have depreciated down to <$2K (yet).  The PROII's are readily available for well under $2K, slightly used.

Another good choice is a used Ten Tec OMNI-VI+, available in your price range.  And still another, if you like Kenwood, is the TS-870S, now discontinued but also available in your range on the used market.

These are all big, "full sized" home station transceivers.

Don't forget the antennas do most of the work and the transceiver is just an accessory.  So, if you don't already have good HF antennas, I'd put most of the money into those and spend whatever's left over on a rig.  That division of equity provides more bang for the buck than any transceiver can.

WB2WIK/6
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N7ZXP
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 09:24:45 AM »

I would go for the Kenwood 2K. Why, becouse you can get a new radio with warrentee and all that comes with it. I have many radio's including the new ones and and the main diff is bells and whistles. I think buying used is ok once you have a reliable one. The 2K does it all. What do you have for a 2M. I agree with the other posts about ant. Good ant is #1. I would suggest the Alpha Delta off center 6 bander. I use 2 of them and they work great. Remember with a ant you get what you pay for. Buy cheap and you can talk to the next block. Buy good and talk to the world. Anyway good luck and hope to hear you out there.
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K7VO
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2006, 12:14:35 PM »

The Kenwood TS-2000 does it all... and does it all very poorly.  I had one on loan and was amazed at how high the noise floor is.  The rig would compare favorably maybe with a Yaesu FT-707 or FT-980 or an Icom IC-701.  In other words the internal noise is as bad as a 1980 or 1982 synthesized rig.  I don't want that, especially at VHF/UHF.

You would be much, much better served with a used Ten Tec Orion, which has a fantastic receiver.  Brand new firmware (v. 2.0) was just released.  A brand spanking new Ten Tec Jupiter would have fewer features but also has brand new firmware available.  An Icom IC-746Pro (assuming they've gotten the bugs out) would be a better choice than a TS-2000.  Actually, most things would be a better choice than a TS-2000.  

73,
Caity
K7VO
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N4HRA
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 01:13:15 PM »

I have been running the TS-2000 for over 3 years, with no problems, its a GHREAT all around rig. took it to field day and severial hams have bough one after playing with mine.

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KC1MK
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006, 06:27:59 PM »

Make sure you leave enough money for a decent antenna system. Wire antennas are relatively inexpensive, especially if homemade, and can work quite well if properly placed and installed.
There are a number of reasonable choices for an HF radio. I tend to shy away from rigs that try to do too much and that may not perform all that well (for example, IMO, the Kenwood TS-2000). Personally, I would highly recommend the Kenwood TS-850 as a strong contender. They're very reasonably priced on the used market and could serve well as a main HF rig for many years. I had a TS-850 for about eight years and was quite pleased with it. It's a great performer stock, and if you want to improve it at some time in the future, you can add INRAD filters to it. I installed INRAD CW and SSB filters in mine and it was a superb receiver in crowded band conditions (not that it was a slouch with the standard filters).
Of course there are quite a number of other good choices for a radio. I just wanted to relay my experience with the TS-850.
73,
Jeff, KC1MK
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2006, 06:31:00 AM »

All of the suggestions above are wonderful and make great sense.  One good thing about being a Ham nowdays is that it is like being a kid in a candy store.  There are so many good choices, but as Fred Thompson says in The Hunt for Red October, "A Russian don't take a dump, son, without a plan".

If you spend under 1500.00 for the rig, you will have some money left to put up a used tower and some kind of directional antenna.  I guarantee you it will be a piece of cake to recruit some experienced Hams to assist you in getting things up in the air, and with some steaks and brews afterwards, everyone will end up with big smiles on their faces, and you will be ready to go.

My thoughts about a radio are the Omni VI Plus, the TS-850 or an 870.  I would even consider getting an Omni V full of filters from Ten Tec.  A lot depends on what kind of operating you expect to do.  I've used every one of the rigs I've had on both phone and CW.  People talk about Ten Tecs being the "best" CW rigs, whatever that means, but they work just fine on phone as well.  The original FT-1000 MP is a good choice, as it has better receiver numbers than many later Yaesu rigs, but those Yaesu filters are very expensive, and without those filters, the rigs can be very ordinary.  The 756 Pro II is a great rig, but the knobs are small, and it is not what I would call a big radio.  The filter options are imbedded in the menu, which is fine, but it is very nice to just flip a switch to engage a filter and maybe adjust a band pass filter.  Maybe the best thing about Ten Tec is that you can get on the phone and talk to a human being immediately, and in less than 30 seconds you can talk to someone experienced directly with the rig you are using.  Good luck, my friend!
                    73, Richard, n5xm  
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2006, 11:00:52 AM »

N4HRA:  A Kenwood TS-2000 will seem like a great rig until you put it on the same antenna with another, superior radio and switch between them with an A/B switch.  Then you will definitely hear what I mean.  Kenwood isn't alone in this.  The Yaesu FT-897D and FT-857D (essentialy the same receiver) both have relatively high noise floors, though not quite as bad as the TS-2000.  People swear by those too.

None of these are "bad" rigs.  I mentioned the old Icom IC-701 which does not have a good reputation.  You know what?  I had one.  It had really nice received audio and was a lot of fun on the air.  I made lots of contacts with it and never had a problem.  It got great audio reports.  Everything was wonderful until I compared it to a newer rig in the way I described.  Then the deficiencies in the receiver became obvious.  

Your TS-2000 is certainly better than an IC-701.  It just won't stand up to a comparison with the other rigs I mentioned as superior.  You can't pull out signals someone with an Icom IC-756ProII or ProII can pull out.  Heck, you can't even hear signals the Icom would pull out.

73,
Caity
K7VO
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 11:24:00 AM »

John, NE0P:  A TS-2000 will lose to most everything else in the market in an A/B comparison.  It lost to rigs from the 80s.  The receiver in that radio (at least the one I had) was truly mediocre.

73,
Caity
K7VO
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