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Author Topic: Icom or Kenwood HF radio?  (Read 13826 times)
KD7TDA
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Posts: 33




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« on: March 30, 2011, 09:48:57 AM »

Well, I've searched for and read about all I can find here and other places on the web for info to help me decide on a new HF radio. I have narrowed it down to I think 3 radios now. The Icom IC-7200, the Icom IC-718 and the Kenwood TS-480SAT. I realize the 718 is more of a basic radio and this is sorta comparing apples and oranges but the price looks good. I'm looking for a reliable radio that will be used mostly for SSB voice. I don't need anything more than just the HF bands.
The IC-7200 sounds nice and looks like it has quite a few features.
The IC-718 looks like a good basic radio. Not rated as high but there are a lot more reviews.
The TS-480SAT has very good reviews and the highest rating but maybe not as many features as the 7200??

I would love to hear from anyone who has owned one or more of these radios and see what your thoughts were on them. Especially a comparison from folks who have owned all three Grin

Thanks!

73's
Dustin KD7TDA
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K6AER
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 09:54:35 AM »

Before any one can guide you they need to know your operating needs including bands and modes. Your antenns, noise conditions , etc.
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KK7KZ
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Posts: 464




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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 10:06:31 AM »

I  currently use a 480 and recently bought a 7200. I sold the 7200 after three months. I do a fair amount of just listening and the 480 is pleasant to listen to for long periods. The 7200 employs IF DSP and the audio is just plain harsh and hard on the ears. After twenty minutes of listening it drove me up the wall. I tried different speakers, headphones and adjustments but after twenty minutes I had to shut it down. I like mellow audio that is pleasant to hear and my TS850 makes ham radio pure pleasure. The 480 is darn close to the 850.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 10:08:15 AM by KK7KZ » Logged
2E0OZI
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Posts: 270




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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 01:59:26 PM »

Love my 718. Its simple to use, sounds OK according to all reports, and does what it needs to do. Right now I am working on my operating and antenna......
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Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
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KG6MZS
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Posts: 476




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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 02:22:00 PM »

I'm curious why you wouldn't consider the Yaesu FT-450 at that price point?
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 02:37:04 PM »

Well 450 has no internal antenna tuner nor does 718 which is very nice to have while 480 does in 100 watt model and they also have a 200 watt model (which Yaesu or Icom does not offer) without a built in tuner. I have owned a 480 SAT for 18 month and never regretted getting it.
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KD7TDA
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 03:03:19 PM »

Wow, Thanks to everyone for the quick replies! K6AER, I would like to operate mostly on 20m, 17m, 15m, and some 40m and 75/80m. This will be a base station in the house so noise will not be much of a problem. I'm leaning toward a G5RV or maybe End Fedz mono band antennas for a couple of the bands.
KK7KZ, I have heard this before about the 480. It really sounds like a great radio. I just wish I was closer to a HRO so I could see and try the radios in person! Grin
M6OZI, The 718 does sound like a great deal. I have a friend that bought one and likes it.
I never looked at the FT-450. I do have 2 Yaesu radios and can't really fault them but have heard some real bad reports about dealing with the company which has concerned me. I actually have owned Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu radios.

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KG6MZS
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Posts: 476




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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 03:13:45 PM »

Well 450 has no internal antenna tuner nor does 718 which is very nice to have while 480 does in 100 watt model and they also have a 200 watt model (which Yaesu or Icom does not offer) without a built in tuner. I have owned a 480 SAT for 18 month and never regretted getting it.

The FT-450D has the auto tuner built in.  Plus IF DSP and a 500hz and 300 HZ CW filter included in the base price. 
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 06:20:27 PM »

The FT-450D has the auto tuner built in.  Plus IF DSP and a 500hz and 300 HZ CW filter included in the base price. 

Sure about that? The 450 only had a built in controller for a EXTERNAL tuner. Not sure D is that much different.  Also if D is like regular 450, it requires menus access for most radio control functions rather than buttons.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
KD5UDE
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 07:04:15 PM »

well i just got in a brand new icom 718 and it works perfect and now lookin at some of the icom sm series desk mics and are wonderin how it will sound withone of them but either way the hand mic is gettin awesome audio reports! i love my little radio it just works...
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KE5OKQ
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Posts: 201




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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 08:15:30 PM »

I started out with a IC 718 and it was a great starter radio for HF but the receiver was wanting.  I graduated to a TS 480 HX (200 watts) and the diffference in receive was enormous.  The 200 watts also helped.  Dont fixate on the built in tuners.  Buy an outboard tuner.  They are more efficient and you can keep it when you sell the radio.  The TS 480 is one of the best values in ham radio.  The menus are simple to operate (unlike Yaesu) , the noise blanking is great and it is built like a tank.  There is a reason yaesu is discontinuing the 450

You dont have to spend big bucks on a IC 7700 or a FT 2000, conversely dont skimp on your first radio either as you may quickly outgrow it.   
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2011, 01:50:12 AM »

Since IF DSP  is here, and not very expensive, I wouldn't buy a new rig without it.  So no TS-480 for me.

The FT-450 was available without tuner, and with tuner (FT-450AT).

I believe the FT-450D (an upgraded model) is only produced _with_ tuner.  But a look at any retailers' web site will make that clear.

The tuner is limited range -- about 3:1 SWR, maximum.

Aside from that, either the old or new FT-450[D] is a very good rig.  The feature set is considerably better than the IC-718, but not as good as the IC-7200.  The menu is extensive, but it's "flat" (not hierarchical) and easy to learn.  And many common features _do_ have knobs and buttons.

To be brutal about it:

. . . If you want to do SSB, and don't intend to win any contests, and aren't using "gain antennas",
. . . _any_ radio will work OK.


         Charles

PS -- I own an FT-450 (original) and may be biased.
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2011, 04:12:07 AM »

Since IF DSP  is here, and not very expensive, I wouldn't buy a new rig without it.  So no TS-480 for me.

IF DSP does not guarantee a good receiver and IF DSP that does not cost much or is poorly implemented can perform worse than a good analog radio.  Granted the 480 does not have IF DSP it has a very clean low noise front end and mixer and sharp skirts with optional xtal filters and a decent AF DSP that can enhance selectivity and audio and has excellent noise reduction too. To be honest I myself never even remotely considered buying a 480 until I played with one and listened to it and I was sold. It has a cleaner receiver than many rigs costing twice as much.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
KG6BRG
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2011, 06:02:24 AM »

Just my opinion, I have owned the 718, from new (3 years) and although it seemed to have good TX audio the receive audio was so harsh and tiring to listen to.  Also another common fault was the volume pot, it was impossible to turn down to a low level, at a certain point it was off or too loud.  It seems this problem still exists.  If you listen a lot I think the receive will wear you down.
You didn't ask, but I did buy the FT-450 used for $500.00 and love it.  The receive is a pleasure to listen to, and the IF DSP is really worthwhile when necessary.  A lot of radio for the money.  The IC-718 is really an old design radio now.   
I can't comment on the ts-480, except on TX they sound good.  I considered it before the Yaesu, but did not like the panel and body separate thing.  Cheers.
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KQ4YA
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2011, 07:48:09 AM »

The poster who said that any of these radios would work out just fine for you is right in my opinion. I do like the little FT-450D. I use it as a back-up rig and it's surprisingly nice on receive. But you're going to get as many opinions as there are radios and, in a way, everyone will be right. Most modern rigs work just fine and please the folks who use them. The really trite advice - it's true but sort of predictable - is to worry more about the antennas that you use than the radio.
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