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Author Topic: High End used HF rig - need info  (Read 7203 times)
VE3VID
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« on: May 30, 2010, 02:49:21 AM »

I would like to put a second HF rig in my shack and am considering a used rig from either Yaesu, Icom or Kenwood.  What I'd like is a top end rig, up to about 10 years old.  I'm not really familiar with which rigs had the best performance and features.  This is where I'd like some reader input.  I could never have aforded one of these rigs new, but I figured a top end rig used would be good money spent.  But which one???

I've seen IC-756s going for $1000;  FT-1000s going for $1300.....many different models of these radios, and many others which I am likely unaware.  The only thing written in stone is the rig must run from 12vDC power since my shack is off the grid.  I'll be using it for SSB and a few different digital modes.

Any comments or help in choosing a rig would be really appreciated

David
ve3vid@arrl.org
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K9KJM
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2010, 10:56:07 PM »

You will not go wrong with one of the Icom 756PRO series (Original PRO, PROII, And PROIII)
The original IC 756PRO sells as low as 8-900 dollars good used, The PRO II around 12-1400, And the PRO III in the 1400 and up range.
Just like Corvettes, The newer they get, The better the IC 756PRO series is, So get the newest and latest you can afford.
(Do avoid the plain IC756  (Non PRO). That one did have some problems.)

The great spectrum scope on the IC756PRO series is just super. Once you get used to using that, You will not be without it!

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W6CD
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 11:18:34 AM »

Icon PRO III - good ones for somewhere under $2000 - features, reliability, capabilities, etc. make a great favorite of many.
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VE3VID
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 06:54:54 PM »

I've heard lots of good things about the Icom 756 pro III.  Does anyone have comments about the Yaesu FT-100mp?  IC756proIII were made later than the Yaesu rig............is the Icom rig just hands down a better radio?
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2010, 02:56:36 PM »

I've heard lots of good things about the Icom 756 pro III.  Does anyone have comments about the Yaesu FT-100mp?  IC756proIII were made later than the Yaesu rig............is the Icom rig just hands down a better radio?

I think you mean "FT-1000MP," as there wasn't any FT-100MP.

If you're off grid, that rig won't work for you: It's AC-powered (uses higher voltage PA transistors).  Ditto for the original FT-1000D, the Kenwood TS-950SDX and many other "highest end" rigs. 

Frankly, for a "high end" used rig that can be powered by 12Vdc, I'd pick the Ten Tec Orion.  The 756PRO series has its spectrum scope as one of its finest attributes; but if you don't care about that, there are better choices.
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WB8YYY
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 09:23:28 AM »

I suggest listing your requirements - what you really need in this rig - including its role vs your other rig.  Maybe there are limitations in your other rig you wish to overcome. 

Make sure you also evaluate new rigs that are available - it is a diminshed number but the FT-950 and IC-7000 are close to your price target - but with very different man-rig interfaces.  Yes how a rig is used by the operator (you) is another factor to consider along with the ergonomics of its controls. 

Also note that while the FT-1000MP has a nice user interface, to match the performance of modern medium priced rigs it requires add-on filters (roofing and IF) - so do examine if these are included or add their cost to your purchase. 

To try out some different rigs I suggest visiting and operating at a nearby Field Day site.  While I cannot own all these different rigs - I have used many of them at field day and expect to operate 1-2 rigs this year that are different than I have previously used. 
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AH6RR
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 09:37:28 AM »

See if you can find a Kenwood TS-850 the price is right it runs on 12V and has a very hot front end. I really like mine. I have installed the Inrad roofing filter and have it loaded with Inrad filters and I have compaired it to my Buddy's K3 only difference is no DSP or second receiver.
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W0FM
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2010, 11:11:57 AM »

Of all the rigs that I've owned and given up, I miss my TS-850S/AT the most.  Smooth operating radio with a very user-friendly layout.   Sad

Terry, WØFM
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KG6YV
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 02:16:07 PM »

Sure, consider an FT-1000 either an MP or a MKV.  Both are excellent high-end radios for their technological age.
Another would be a late FT-1000D.  I love my 1000D for CW or SSB.  Plenty of receiver features and very nice audio.

My one consideration would be that anything around 10 yrs old will be non-supported by now so I personally would avoid radios with fish-finders since a display dying would almost certainly mean its dumpster time.


Greg
KG6YV
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K3AN
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 12:54:02 PM »

I owned a FT-1000MP and now I own a Pro III. I bought both of them used. Both have their shortcomings.

The MP has HORRIBLE AGC performance, making it almost impossible to pick out callsigns in a pileup. Even a K call in South Carolina generates an occasional pileup in the November Sweepstakes! I once connected the audio output to the computer and opened Audacity, the freeware audio file recording and playback program. The AF level on the Audacity "VU Meter" read -18 dBm whether the signal was just barely tickling the first segment of the radio's S-meter or S9 + 20. Also it is my understanding that Yaesu no longer supports the MP (or any of the 1000-series) and some parts are unavailable. So if your MP dies you may just have an expensive doorstop.

The Pro III is a nice radio with much better AGC. You will probably get quickly addicted to having a bandscope. But compared to the Yaesu's dual IF filtering scheme, I'm not sure how well the Icom's DSP filters will hold up in a contest as I haven't owned mine long enough. The Pro III has some well-known failure modes, including excessive susceptibility to electrostatic discharge. The Pro III Yahoo group is full of threads about how the poster's transmitter suddenly died, or worked one day and not the next and yeah, he heard some distant thunder. The problem is greater in arid or desert regions, so you should not have to worry too much if you're in Ontario. How many thunderstorms or dry, blowing snowstorms do you get in a year?

You pay your money and take your choice. If my budget had allowed it I would have bought a K3.
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W4KVW
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2010, 04:34:58 PM »

The FT-1000 is an HF "ONLY" rig & has no REA TIME bandscope.The bandscope is a BIG PLUS as well as the EXTRA band(6 meters)with the 756 PRO series rigs.NO BRAINER choice!

Clayton
W4KVW
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W9OY
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 02:11:11 PM »

If you have a good computer get yourself a Flex 3K

73  W9OY
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KC2ULJ
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2010, 04:38:53 PM »

Hello, I was in the same boat a few weeks ago. I have had several low and mid priced rigs in the last few years. I just picked up an FT-990 and all I can say is, amazing. This radio is in great shape but it is still many,many years older than any of my other current radios and out performs all of them in receive and transmit audio. The AT tunes fast and almost anywhere, and its actually a joy to listen to on ssb or AM. It has actually become my main radio for now.
If you trust the source or better yet can see the rig first hand, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase an old rig and lastly don't rule out an old Kenwood Hybrid 520,530 etc. Just my two cents. Have fun.73 w2waw
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W8JI
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2010, 01:29:11 AM »

The FT1000MP is available in 12 volt and 120 volt models. The 120 volt models can be operated from 12 volts. It would be a good rig for your application since it can run on 12 volts and works great on digital modes and SSB, which is all you said you wanted.

The FT1000MP MKV and FT1000/ FT1000D can NOT be operated from 12 volts.

The radio people like varies with how they operate and where they operate, and even with the QTH.  I won't use a 756Pro series here because the receivers have terrible close spaced dynamic range. I work mostly weak signal CW on crowded bands and that makes some receivers, like the pro series, useless to me. If I operated casually, had higher local noise, and never worked bands close spaced weak and strong signals, a pro series would be fine. A Pro series would be fine for you because you said you want only SSB and digital modes, providing the power source you have can handle it.

Speaking of power source, when limited to 12 volts and no mains as the original poster suggested he was, I would think about power consumption. Something like a K2 Elecraft might be better, or some other very simple basic rig with good performance. I doubt anyone on 12 volt supplies is going to want to use an inverter and waste 300 watts while receiving running computers, or running power inverters. That mostly leaves less than high end radios, like the 756 Pro, FT1000MP or some of the many less than high end  Yaesu's.

Since this is SSB and digital mode only, almost any radio that fits the power requirements would all be the same. No need for a high end radio that would waste power running unnecessary things.

73 Tom
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KL7IPV
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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2010, 10:40:56 PM »

See if you can find a TenTec Delta II. It has a Jones variable filter that is hard to beat and is a very quiet receiver.
Frank
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