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Author Topic: First HF Rig  (Read 16454 times)

Posts: 115

« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2012, 07:57:41 AM »

    I've used the 817, 897D, and 857D.  I like the 857D the best.   Although its fans make more noise when transmitting, the lighted buttons and control layout can become second nature after some use, and the display is easier on my eyes.  There are good CW filters available from W4RT and INRAD for a lot less than the equivalent Yaesu.   The stock Murata K14 SSB is 2.4 KHz wide and although it's response is not perfectly symmetrical, it does a good job (especially when compared to the wider unit (K5 @ 2.9 KHz) used by Icom in the IC-718 and by Alinco in the DX-SR8.
     I've put a TCXO-9 into my 857D but it was fine without it as well.   A 20 hertz warm-up drift (about 15 minutes) at 15MHz seems quite reasonable.   I use the MH-59 control mic and have learned its functions.   The TX audio seems to get through well.  The pre-2008 radios were 'tinny', but not a problem now.
     Now the down side.  The 817, 857, 897 and the Kenwood TS-2000 radios have the "new" ROHS AM filters in them.   Neither Yaesu , nor Kenwood have placed the DC blocking caps into the circuit for these new filters.  Quite a few of the guys buying these rigs now have had to pay for repairs that still don't have the needed parts.   Therefor, some have paid more than once to get rid of the loud random popping noises that the filters can eventually make when DC votage is applied to their terminals.  Unless you are well skilled in working with surface mount parts,  I simply could not advise the purchase of any of these rigs till these Manufacturers do their job updating thier radios.
     So, here's my monkey wrench.    When you get a chance to trial the new rigs, spend some time with the IC-7200 and the FT-450D.    They both cover 160M<>6M. For the dollars spent, they do a very good job.   This does mean that 2M (or 2M/70cM) will need coverage from a separate radio (additional $$$).
      Best regards,    Tom Howey  WB1FPA   

Posts: 2100

« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2012, 09:08:31 AM »

    Don't get hung up on added filter or DSP cost.Just build an inexpensive NeScaf filter.I use one on my IC-7200,less noise and better cw tone than built in DSP.(and yes I know how to use the DSP/Notch functions on the 7200.)Good luck on your choice of rig.


Posts: 206

« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2012, 10:12:12 AM »

Thanks for the additional information. I'm also considering a FT-450 (or something similar) and a dual band mobile to cover VHF/UHF.

Posts: 2243

« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2012, 10:13:34 AM »

The original poster said:
"First HF Rig", not "First Brand New-out-of-the box HF Rig".

There are a lot of great discontinued
rigs out there that are outstanding performers.
Just a few don't get all pissy if I
leave out one you really like:
Kenwood TS-440 or 450 (I like the 940
and would not hesitate to sell one
in goof shape to a newbie, but they are
long in the tooth
Yaesu FT-840
Icom IC 746 Non Pro.

Avoid any used "mobile rigs", especially
if they HAVE been operated mobile. I've
found that a lot of these types have been
"Rode hard and put away wet" so to speak.
73, Ken  AD6KA

Posts: 2415

« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2012, 09:22:48 PM »

I'll give the Kenwood and ICOM a look also. I have looked at the FT-8800R as a mobile radio, it looks nice as well.

How useful is cross-band repeating?

Once you discover how well cross band repeat works, Most folks are sold on it.  It allows you to walk all around your home, Neighborhood, etc with just a micro size hand held radio and talk out THROUGH your base station radio.  So if you have a Kenwood TS2000, That means you can walk the dog around the block and talk and monitor 75 meters with your handi instead of being "stuck" in front of the radio.  OR you can monitor 6 meters for a  band opening with your hand held (And talk back if the band suddenly opens up)
Or if VHF to UHF you can reach distant repeaters or simplex stations with the small hand held at very low power. Cross band repeat is in effect, A "personal" repeater of your own that allows very extended range with a small hand held.
Sit on the back deck enjoying the weather with a handi, Watch TV, Work in the garage, etc etc etc while STILL monitoring and being able to take part in nets, etc! Some HF nets really get long winded and it can take a very long time until your "turn" to talk comes up. I dont enjoy being stuck in front of a HF radio for all that time.....
Think of it as being a "wireless microphone" (and remote radio speaker) with super long range.
When the Kenwood TS2000 first came out, I was one of the first to "knock" it's less than stellar performance specs.
But after a few locals got them and I learned more about all the things the TS200 is capable of doing, I swapped some stuff off for a used one. Now I would never be without one! 
I am not afraid to admit that my first impression of the TS2000 was wrong.

If I could have only one radio, It would be a TS2000.  Now selling good used in the 900 dollar range.

NO, The TS2000 is not a high performance HF radio. But they work plenty good enough for the average user to have LOTS of fun with and make lots of contacts!
In fact I bet that many hams are not able to utilize the higher performance features of higher performance radios! 
I really like the little micro size hand held radios, And have been using a Yeasu VX3R for many years now, Along with cross band repeat to really range out for distant simplex two meter contact via cross band repeat.  I also frequently use a Yaesu FT8800R for cross band use VHF to UHF on the handi. 
Just got one of those 45 dollar Baofeng hand helds for cross band use, And so far love it.
Like the Yaesu VX 3, The Baofeng uses the super low cost (Less than 5 bucks each including shipping) NP60 camera batteries. A very refreshing change from the overpriced normal hand held battery prices!

Posts: 2808

« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2012, 09:56:52 PM »

Nobody has mentioned the IC-706  (various sub-models over the years) !

Its skirt selectvity isn't ideal, but it will handle 160m - 70cm, 100 watts, all modes.  Add a narrow filter for CW / RTTY, and it becomes a reasonable all-purpose rig.

Since it's out of production (replaced by the IC-7000), used rigs should be fairly inexpensive.

A gazillion of them were made, and they've been carried to everywhere, by everyone. 

.              charles

Posts: 1484

« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2012, 04:10:24 AM »

Nobody has mentioned the IC-706  ...Since it's out of production (replaced by the IC-7000), used rigs should be fairly inexpensive.

I was just talking about this with one of the local hams; it seemed to both of us that prices on used 706s are still pretty strong--that they're selling for a little more money than we would have expected.  That may reflect the fact that it was such a popular rig--lots of people know them, have used them, etc.  The one in my car is 8 or 9 years old and it still works great.  :-)

Posts: 206

« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2012, 08:15:48 PM »

Thanks for the other options, I have a lot to think about.

Posts: 182

« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2012, 02:45:34 PM »

I just sold my TS2000. I really like it but I am going to either the TS480HX or TS590. I know I will be lost for a while. I doubt I would ever use the 2 meter and 440 sides that much. I have plenty of 2meter and 440 options for FM.

Posts: 2527

« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2012, 03:02:09 PM »

I poked around on the Sherwood Engineering receiver site for a while and saw that the IC 706 had a pretty good receiver and as and added bonus it is HF, VHF, and VHF rig. 

The few prices I saw for used ones seemed reasonable?

I do not have any experience with it.  But, if I wanted to play around on VHF and UHF and be able to get on HF, I would put that one on the top of my list and then start looking to see if I could find something better than it.

Best from Tucson AZ

Posts: 12619

« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2012, 03:08:57 PM »

I just sold my TS2000. I really like it but I am going to either the TS480HX or TS590. I know I will be lost for a while. I doubt I would ever use the 2 meter and 440 sides that much. I have plenty of 2meter and 440 options for FM.

I have had a 480SAT for close to 3 years now and it has a excellent receiver that is very "clean". (much cleaner than a 2000)   I have always gotten excellent audio reports out of it too. Funny thing is I never even considered one until a played with one 3 years. I was really impressed to it. I run mine at 50 watts all the time. When I need more power I switch on amp.

Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..

Posts: 127

« Reply #41 on: February 20, 2012, 12:51:23 PM »

If you want QRP just turn DOWN the output power on a 100 watt rig.You will NOT have that OPTION on a QRP rig should you decide you want too get thru  pileup! NONE of these rigs would have been on my short list(ICOM 7000 or ICOM 706MIIG)but whatever brand makes you happy.Make the RIGHT choice the 1st time & there will be NO REGRETS later!  Wink


Posts: 2243

« Reply #42 on: February 20, 2012, 01:14:03 PM »

I poked around on the Sherwood Engineering receiver site for a while and saw that the IC 706 had a pretty good receiver and as and added bonus it is HF, VHF, and VHF rig. 

It is HF and VHF and UHF except for the very first
(2m VHF and 440 UHF All modes)
plain IC-706, which did not have 440.

Watch your serial numbers that you do not get
an early model 706 or 706 MkII or MkIIG.
Sorry, I forget what the cutoff was, but Icom completely
redesigned the PA board and changed the PA devices
mid production run in the MkIIG.

The early PA devices and PA Boards are UNOBTANIUM
unless you find a "parted out" rig. The newer board
is NOT compatible with the early serial number radios.

I have seen a website where a guy fit one of the
new PA boards into an early model 706-MkIIG,
but it involved major surgery to the new $500 PA
board from Icom. Not for the faint of heart.
We are talking about actually drilling and changing the shape
of the new PA board, cutting and re routing many traces,
realignment, etc.

Also, the 706 Series is notorious for having a huge
leading edge power spike on key up. Steve, WB2WIK
measured his at 100+ watts with the rig on it's
LOWEST power setting. No wonder it east finals.

I had an early model MkIIG and it's finals blew.
Ended up parting out the rig as it was just a pretty
door stop.
Ken  AD6KA

Posts: 546

« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2012, 10:26:24 AM »

Why just Yaesu? Have you looked at Kenwood or Icom or even Ten - Tec or Elecraft? All the manufacturers make good radios.  If you want qrp operation then maybe you should look at the IC-703 cause the power requirements are lower.  I Don't think they are in production still but you can find one used right here on eham.  You may also want to look at the product reviews on ARRL web site to help you decide.  If it were me wanting to do qrp operating, I would go with an IC 7000 or 706MKII-g.  I can the power down and it can turn it back up when needed. Best of both worlds.  I agree with another poster that starting out qrp may (and I emphasize MAY) make operating frustrating and may cause a new ham to loose interest in the hobby quickly.  Oh BTW the 703 was made with and I believe with out an internal tuner... but most internal antenna couplers only allow a 3:1 swr fix so you may need and antenna coupler anyway. Well anyway good luck in choosing a radio.  Don't forget the antenna and how you are coupling to it.  That is something you should put into the equation when choosing a radio.

73 de Rick wn2c
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