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Author Topic: What transceiver would you buy??? $1500 budget  (Read 1240 times)
KB3PTB
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Posts: 2




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« on: December 26, 2007, 08:06:33 PM »

Hello Everyone,
I am a young ham and I just got my general and enough cash to invest in my first rig. If you had about $1500 what transceiver would you buy that has:
-HF, with some VHF thrown in
-DSP
-New
-No size restrictions
-Anything else

Any rigs under the budget are ok too Smiley

Thanks to all,
Dom
KB3PTB
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 01:27:24 AM »

Kenwood TS-2000.   No question about it. The best "Do it all" radio out there.

About 1100-1250 good used, Around 1475 or so brand new.
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AD5X
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Posts: 1432




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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2007, 04:39:03 AM »

Take a look at the Elecraft K3/10-watt semi-kit.  You can start out with an excellant basic radio, and then upgrade it as time goes on (100 watts, 2nd receiver, more filters, etc).

Phil - AD5X
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AB8XA
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2007, 05:01:09 AM »

If $1,500 was all I had, I'd set at least a third of it for an HF antenna, radial field if needed, feed line, lightning arrestor, shack ground rod, sufficient copper to bond that ground rod to the electrical service ground as well as the arrestor to it.  I'd hold off on the 6m antenna, feedline, and lightning arrestor 'til later to put more money in the transceiver now.  If the radio had to have 6m VHF,  I'd look at the Yaesu FT-450 without auto tuner ($829) and a substantial power supply capable of running not only it (22 amps), but also a mobile VHF/UHF radio in the shack down the road.

If could stand to operate by accessing most functions in a menu, rather than much more convenient dedicated knobs and buttons (I can't), I could even get the VHF/UHF in one unit with an Icom IC-706MKIIG, or Yaesu FT-857D or 897D.  If I had to have VHF/UHF now, I'd opt for the less expensive FT-857D since it's the same circuitry as the 897D, to give me some money for a VHF/UHF antenna.

If you have more money for the antenna system and power supply, and can spend the entire $1,500 on the radio, plus will have a source of income to do the upgrades, the 10 watt K3 sounds like a fun route.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2007, 05:26:35 AM »

Considering he asked for a recommendation on a "rig", I would also have to put in my vote for a TS-2000.
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AB3CX
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Posts: 630




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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2007, 10:00:53 AM »

     There are so many choices here. Rig prefernece is one of those things heavily influenced by opinions, and disagreements can run strong. There are so many nice rigs, you have alot of good choices. I would try to decide if you want to get something that you would learn on, with a plan to upgrade later, or if you wanted the best rig you could afford now. To me, the dual in band receivers on the Yaesu rigs are a big DXing plus over the simple split A/B VFO designs.
     I agree that a very good antenna is important. A great joke with lots of truth is that the best transceiver is the one connected to the best antenna.
     Be careful about buying USED on eBay; for the same money a reputable dealer like Burghardt or The Ham Station will give you a 30 day warranty from the store. Look at B Stock items, you get a full warranty. At your age, you don't want to get burned for your $1500, it took a long time to save it.
     I'm a Yaesu guy. For $1500 take a good look at the Yaesu FT-950, or a used Mark V Field (you might land a 200W version at that price if you look hard.) For a bargain nice rig, look at an FT-900 CAT, no DSP but really does a job and can be found for $600 or less. The lower priced Yaesu FT-450 and the IC-7000 rely on menus. Knobs are nice. You would have a few dollars left over buying a used IC-746 PRO and PS-125. Cant go wrong with a K2 or K3.
     Take a trip to a Ham Store and sit down and play with a few rigs before you decide, or visit some of the locals shacks.
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N5XM
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2007, 02:24:22 PM »

You could easily buy an Omni VI+ with several filters for such a price.  I've seen a lot of good buys on QTH.com recently, and the ARRL website has some good listings for used gear.  I've seen several Knwd 850s going for 7 to 8 hundred.  I've worked a lot of folks using the TS-2000, but if you look at the reciever numbers listed for this rig, you might be sad later on if you got one.  I love Knwds, but not this one.  I've also seen FT-1000MPs going for under 1200.00.  The Ten Tec Jupiter might be something to consider, as might the 920 Yaesu.  The only thing I haven't liked about Yaesu is that unless you have a full box of filters, the recievers are only ordinary, at least IMO.  Good luck to you, man, and I agree.  Save some money for some aluminum to be put up in the air!  
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20611




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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2007, 03:36:13 PM »

Congrats on the upgrade, it's not even posted yet.

If you're all set for antennas, I agree the TS-2K is not a bad deal at all: A lot of radio for not much money.

If the $1500 budget must include antennas as well, I'd:

1.  Find a local Elmer or two who are very experienced HF operators and get some help;

2.  Allocate at least half of the $1500 ($750) for antennas*;

3.  Install good, working, well engineered antennas first, and then go for the "rig."

A lousy old HF rig with excellent antennas will work the world; a brand-new, state of the art HF rig with lousy antennas will not.

(*Antennas = antennas themselves, plus supports, transmission lines, rotators, rotator control line, ground rods, lightning arrestors, rope, pulleys, baluns and so forth.  Even a $10 "dipole" can take $200 to install properly.)

WB2WIK/6
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KB3PTB
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2007, 08:15:11 PM »

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.
I appreciate your time and experience with the matter, and it appears I have a lot to think about.
I agree I should put a nice chunck aside for a good antenna.  I have heard from alot of people about the Kenwood TS-2000, also one of my close friends have had pretty good luck with the Icom IC-706MKIIG. I hope I will see you on the air soon. Thanks again.
Sincerely,
Dom
KB3PTB
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KI8DJ
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Posts: 190




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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2008, 01:37:29 PM »

Get a kenwood ts 480sat,its a very good radio and covers 6 meters.I think the flexibilty and performance is superior to the other small radios,and you could put the leftover cash toward antennas. I've had a lot of rigs in the low to mid price range and this one is the best,also super easy to use, basically only one menu and dedicated buttons for most common functions. The receiver is rated in the ts 870's class.
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W4KVW
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Posts: 501




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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2008, 02:44:27 PM »

ICOM 746 PRO without a doubt!GREAT 32 bit DSP for QUIET receiver!GREAT transmit audio with 100 watts on HF,6 meters,as well as 2 meters.I do NOT use or need 440 band here so NOT a PLUS for the TS-2000.In my opinion BEST bang for the $1500 is the ICOM 746 PRO.

Clayton
W4KVW
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 55




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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2008, 10:30:09 AM »

I put my money on the 746pro. from Burghardt, $1099
looked like new, works better than new, has the ic151 mod, comes with warranty, and they take trades, very satisfied with this rig so far. Agree, antennas need to be in place first though.
73
K0UA
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KE5OKQ
Member

Posts: 193




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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2008, 05:54:01 PM »

Everyone thinks their choice is the best, and i'm no different.  I bought the Kenwood TS480HX for several reasons:
1) 200 Watts PEP.  The only radio that has that kind of power in the price range.  Every little bit helps, especially in DX pileups

2) Good reeceiver/DSP

3) Easy to install and operate Kenwood propriatery PC control if desired.  Works fabulous, especially the graphic display of receiver filters!

4)Takes up minimal space.

5) Very easy, intuitive menu system.

At $1100 plus $230 for two MFJ 4125 power supplies you get a great rig for DX and ragchewing.  With a puny ground mounted vertical I worked Australia, Japan, Russia on 20m SSB.
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