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Author Topic: QRO TO QRP  (Read 5786 times)
WA2ASQ
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« on: December 12, 2011, 03:46:58 PM »

I need some advice from some ops who are more up to speed on "modern" rigs than I!  I have some extra money to buy a new rig for myself for a Christmas present, and I am very excited as I have saved a long time to get to this point.  I also cannot tell you the last new rig I bought as it was really old school and was a long time ago.  Things have changed quite a bit since my last purchase!

I operate QRP 90% of the time but I would like the ability to use 100 watts now and then.  I have narrowed down three rigs in my price range: Icom IC-7000, Yaesu FT-897D and the FT-857D.  Can all of these be turned down to 5 watts output?  How do you do it, or is it a hassle with the new menu screens?  My old rig is easy, you just take down the RF power control while I watch the watt meter.  I only operate CW, never any phone, but I do operate some digital modes with  my Small Wonder rig.
I appreciate any advice that anyone has.

73
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N2RRA
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 04:55:44 PM »

Hands down the IC-7000 but.....

If you like to portable QRP nothing beats the ICOM 703+, Elecraft K1/K2 models ,or YAESU FT-817/ND model. Comes down to weather your actually gonna take hikes for SOTA (Summits On the Air) ,or to the beach, park and vacations if the wife doesn't beat you for ruining it with radio time. As if you don't get enough at home she'll say. Wink

Now if it comes down to casually operating QRP where you'll always have constant power without concern of power depletion that's where the IC7000 investment for a modern high tech fully complete package of a radio comes in. No matter what anyone tells you the FT-857 and 897 can't compare. I will say that despite it's weight and bulkiness the FT-897 has the optional batt pack for portable 25watt operation which is cool, but no one is lugging that on a QRP operation trip.

Don't think to much and take the plung!

73!
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N2RRA
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 05:09:12 PM »

Forgot one thing!

I can see myself and will purchase a Elecraft KX3 not yet for sale till sometime next year. That will more likely be the king on the block.

73!
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WA2ASQ
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 03:18:17 AM »

TNX for the reply.  How hard is it to adjust the power down on the IC-7000?  Is it a bunch of menu driven commands?

I do have a portable station but I am not really much into the back packing and such.  I do on occasion crank it up to 100 watts that is why I do not want to go with the QRP only rigs.
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N2RRA
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 05:41:43 AM »

It is not difficult at all. All modern rigs today and in the future will be menu drivin. That's just the way it is. You can't go into buying a modern radio today thinking their too difficult. Might as well stay stuck in the 80's and 90's.

Other than turning down the power you get an AV output on the radio so you can use a external monitor to make operating a lot easier than most other compact rigs, or just use HRD as a rig control. Sometimes people don't realize it's not the operating that's difficult but the ability to see clearly and easily making it seem it's the radios functionality. It frustrates people so just blame the radio. Doesn't have to be anymore.

Once you get used to it it becomes a breeze. Then after that you get blown away by what the radio is capable of bringing ten times the enjoyment. You feel like a kid again being WOW'ed with eyes wide open. It's so cool...LOL!

The most pain in the butt (difficult) radio I've owned and I've owned many is the YAESU FT-817 ,but I got by it with patience and just fine. Even during a contest like this past Dec. ARRL 10m contest I managed to run through the menus fine.

Good luck on your pick and have fun. 73!



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N3LCW
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 06:52:52 AM »

I would give the IC-7200 serious consideration.  I've found it's IF DSP comparable to the IC-7410.  It is a surprisingly easy rig to operate and great for QRP and QRO.

Andy
N3LCW
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N2UGB
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 08:37:17 AM »

If you are looking for portability, the FT-857 is fine. Fits in a Pelican case for overhead storage if you are flying. Menus a bit cumbersome but once set up pose no problem. I like mine.
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WA2ASQ
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 06:23:15 AM »

TNX for all the advice.  I really had not looked at the IC-7200 until Andy N3LCW suggested it.  I looked at it, downloaded the manual and I am giving it some serious thought.  Thank you for the great idea! It really looks like something you can master in a few days of button pushing.  I embrace the new technology, I do not back off, I just do not want to make a mistake with hard earned money.  It is rough out there these days for us working guys to scrape together the jingle for a new rig, much to hard to waste it on a rig that did not work out for you. 73
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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 08:24:56 AM »

If portability isn't a requirement, I would stay away from the three radios you've identified and go for a more desktop placed rig like the 7200, or even something larger that has more buttons and is less menu-centric.  At your home station you will quickly tire of having to sift through menus to change even the most basic of settings like power or keyer speed, even if the menus are simple and intuitive.  Not to mention you'll have one tiny display, and cabling with a small rig is a mess.  I'm not terribly impressed with the receive performance of a lot of these mobile rigs in a fixed-station environment.  If I were going to cash in the farm on a single rig I'd want it to actually be an upgrade rather than a compromise.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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N2RRA
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 12:42:25 PM »

Just looked at that IC-7200 and reminded me I've heard good things about it. That's one Hell of a beefy mil spec radio. Nice looking too!

So many flavors to choose from and not enough cash. Think most of us can relate.

73!
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 12:44:28 PM by N2RRA » Logged
WA2ASQ
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 04:23:27 AM »

TNX for all the help here; Eham is great!  I have decided on the IC-7200.  It is very easy (according to the instructions) to throttle down to the QRP levels even all the way down to 2 watts.  I love to work down to the 2 or 3 watt level so this fits that bill and if I want more power in a contest then I can juice it back up.  Casual work is 100% QRP here, but in some contests I enter at the higher levels.  I am not a big "out on the field guy", but it is not so big that it would be a pain to carry around.  My portable station is mostly set up for indoor ops in various locations as I travel around for business, so it nice to have a little bigger rig for the tables.

The best yet is that it is still in my price range, so it makes my budget.
A new rig in the works for an old hand like me; fantastic stuff!!  73
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WA2ASQ
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 04:32:15 AM »

A follow up: TNX N3LCW for the suggestion! I purchased the IC-7200 and it is fantastic.  It is Icoms hidden secret. Very easy to turn it down to QRP levels, great receiver and great performance.  The filters are all built in and I find it to be a great QRP rig.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 05:07:12 AM »

    All my qrp rigs are cw,so I use my IC-7200 for qrp/ssb .(Hidden Secret) is right,only wish more hams would test drive one and see for themselves.
73  Jim
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