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Author Topic: HF Base Transceiver or All-Band Radio?  (Read 3763 times)
KG6SII
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Posts: 27




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« on: April 08, 2012, 04:54:08 PM »

I am rather new to HF, but have worked SSB and digital modes from home.  My old radio has an intermittent problem, so I'm looking to buy a new, modern radio.

I will use it 90% as a base-station, 5-10% mobile in my truck, and 5% portable (camping, house-boating, etc.).  Would you recommend I get the FT-857D all-band radio, which lacks IF DSP and other refinements, or get one of the 160m-6m base-station transceivers, such as the FT-450D, TS-590, or TS-2000?

I already have several VHF/UHF radios, and a manual antenna tuner. I enjoy feeding balanced line for my base station (for multi-banding), and may use it for portable use as well.  It seems the main differences are:  physical size/weight, IF DSP features, and built-in antenna tuners.  So just how much better is the Rx/Tx audio with the base rigs?  Can you really pull out weak signals much better?  Will any of these base radios with built-in tuners work with balanced feedline?

Thanks in advance,
Glenn J.
KG6SII
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W8JX
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Posts: 5604




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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 05:18:28 PM »

The 857 is not a bad mobile and semi portable rig, but as a primary base station, it lacks size and thermal mass to deal with high duty cycles at max or near max power and can get quite hot as it still has to dissipate the same amount of heat as a bigger rig.  A larger rig will cool better under such duty. You might look at a Kenwood TS-480. It is larger than a 857 but smaller than a 897 and regular base rigs. It has a very good cooling system and can be had in a 100watt model with a built in tuner and a 200 watt model without a built in tuner.
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N4NYY
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Posts: 4746




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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 07:41:41 PM »

If you must use it in the car, the 857 is the way to go. At home, use something like HRD which will allow for front panel rig control that you would normally have easier access on a base rig.
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K2OWK
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Posts: 1049




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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 09:42:37 PM »

Hi Glenn, I have the Yaesu FT-450AT and have had it a couple of years now with no problems. The new FT-450D is similar with the extra CW filters, lighted buttons, and a flip up stand for base use. It operates on 13.8 volts DC. It would require a 25 amp power supply for base use (I have a 30). It would work fine as a mobile unit as it is reasonable in size. For portable use depending on the power source, it could be run at reduced power to conserve the battery. It can operate from 10 to 100 watts.

Check the Eham reviews for more information and other hams opinions on all the radios you are interested in. They are very helpfull.

I hope this Helps.

73s

K2OWK
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2374




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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 08:23:47 AM »

If you can afford it, the IC-7000 has all the IF DSP goodies that the FT-857 lacks.  And it's got a separable front panel, if you get serious about mobile operation.   It's not ideal as a base station -- too many menus, not enough buttons -- but you'd get used to it.

I have an FT-450, and like it a lot.  An IC-7200 might be another rig to throw into your decision table.

I think you must decide how much you want an "all-band"rig, and how much you value light weight and small size.  Those trade-offs will drive your decision.

         Charles

PS -- the built-in antenna tuner on the FT-450 (and FT-450D) has a limited range, about 3:1 SWR.  Even with a balun, it'll be tough to use balanced line.
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WN2C
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Posts: 438




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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 10:27:02 AM »

The IC-7000 is the way to go.  It has all the filters in it so you won't need to buy any and I've heard it said that it is a Pro 3 in a small box.  Get an antenna coupler such as an SGC and you'll be in business. You can even use a bigger monitor such as a small TV (about 7 inch) for the display.  Can't do that w/ the 857!

p.s.
I guess I'm partial to the 7000 as JX is to the 857
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9913




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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 12:28:18 PM »

I have lots of radios, and I use them for different things.  For contesting I use the orion, HF only, for 2m /440/ 6m  all mode including fm repeaters and 2 m ssb I use the ts 2000, which does 2m/440 /6/ 10-160 m all mode.  I use FT 857 d ( the D stands for DSP) in the car and the truck.  a great mobile.  I have an ft 847 which also doe 2m 440/ 6m and all hf  all modes, and is set up for 1 button satalites.  I have a 746 ro which does 2m / 6m and all hf  all mode and I for get what el  Most folks don't use 440 mhz much, so there are several 2m/6m/hf radios around.  ask at a local club and read the reviews here on different radios and even go to a ham store and play with the knobs.
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STAYVERTICAL
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Posts: 854




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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 03:06:40 AM »

I am an avid FT897D/FT817ND user, and have never had a moments trouble from them.
But, if you are only going to use it for 5 percent mobile use, and mainly base station, I would examine some of the other options.
I use an FT897D for base station use, and with its beefy heatsink it never gets hot enough to not keep your hand on.
I have also over 5000 dx contacts in five years of operation, in the sunspot minimum, so it can easily hold its own on the ham bands.

But if I was you, I would really shop around and see what rig you feel most comfortable with, and then research things like reliability, known bugs and so on.
For my part, I am a minimalist (except in my posts!), and so the FT897D ham station in a laptop bag is my style, but you must examine what your personality and operating style needs.

I would stay away from rigs with known problems, especially in the used market, since you don't want to buy someone elses problem.
Rigs like the TS2000 are great base stations for example, but if you don't mind menu's then rigs like the FT450D are also very good and reasonably inexpensive.

In the end, don't take what others say (including me) as gospel, but take your time and do your research.
Like playing roulette, the time to worry is before you put your money down, not after the wheel is spun.

73s
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N4DOV
Member

Posts: 52




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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 06:54:37 AM »

Dont forget to look at Icom 7200- incredible rig with wonderful noise reduction ability and great ergonomics, not menu defined. Good luck.
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K0ZN
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Posts: 1543




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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 06:33:28 PM »


I have an Icom IC-7200 I bought as a back up to my big rig here at the house.  Excellent radio for the money.
I was very pleased with the receiver; excellent selectivity and DSP.

I think you would be making a mistake if you did not look closely at it and its spec's.

Look at the reviews here on the eHam product review section. I think you will be impressed
with the comments and quantity of them. There is a reason it gets such good reviews.

It doesn't have every mode and band from DC to blue light, but what it has works very well.

73,  K0ZN
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VA6AWR
Member

Posts: 23




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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 06:58:59 AM »

I own the FT-450D.  It's a very disappointing radio.  It's ok for mobile work but I wouldn't want it as my main radio.  I've had it for a year now so I've had plenty of opportunity to determine it's pros and cons. 

I have an Icom IC-736 that's 20 years older than the FT-450D.  I prefer the Icom even though it has no DSP, and not because it's a full size base station rig.

I would go with the IC-7000 or the TS-480 if I had it to do over again.

73,



Wayne
VA6 AWR
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N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4746




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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 07:11:48 AM »

Hate to burst the Icom 7000 gurus' bubble, but below is their reviews. After owning a 746 and the dreaded IC-151 failures, it appears that Icom still have not corrected their TX output problems. The reason I bring this up is that I am Field Day chairman for my club, and our 15M SSB station op used a 7000, for both SSB and PSK during Field Day 2011. The unit smoked before the end of Sunday. And judging by the reviews, the smoking or TX problem is common.

My advice is to check all the 31 pages of reviews, and you see a common problem with dead TX

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/5338
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 07:13:23 AM by N4NYY » Logged
WN2C
Member

Posts: 438




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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 09:32:58 AM »

Vinny, as with all radios there are lemons and lemons right out of the box. Such as the one I had - right out of the box. It had no audio on 2/440.  Took it back to HRO and tried it out there in the store w/ different mic and this time it was not the mic it was in the radio.  Sent it in to Icom - got good turn around time.  While I was there sending it in I bought another.  Don't be sceaarred! Got it back from Icom and to this day (now I,'m gonna jinx myself) both are working flawlessly.

de Rick wn2c
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WA3SKN
Member

Posts: 5457




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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 09:47:40 AM »

You never mentioned budget.  The best radio for desktop use is not the best for mobile, etc... and this is a very subjective decision.  Since there is no limit, just buy them all!
Seriously, are you a Hilberling man, or do you have a budget in mind?

-Mike.
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N4NYY
Member

Posts: 4746




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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2012, 11:50:40 AM »

Rick,

These were not Lemons out of the box. These were rig that had the same failure, leading to a common failure. For a review that is 300+ in size, that should be a serious consideration.
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