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Author Topic: Most rugged HF transceivers  (Read 18704 times)
K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« on: June 14, 2012, 12:24:27 PM »

I am interested in what people would consider the most rugged HF or
HF/VHF transceivers (new or used).  By rugged I mean able to withstand the
most abuse (environmental, not operator induced).  This would include being
slapped at times, hit with thrown object, and everything else that might
occur in a chaotic enviroment.  So, which rigs would withstand this
environment with the least chance of being damaged? 

A low price point would also be good in case it was damaged, one would not be out a lot of
money.  I am interested in rigs manufactured for the ham market, not a commercial or military rig put into amateur use.

John AF5CC

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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20536




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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 02:40:10 PM »

Offhand, I'd say "none of them."

Amateur rigs have very breakable exteriors and were never designed for exposure to such as you describe.  Some military stuff was and is.

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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 02:41:58 PM »

Try Ten-Tec,www.tentec.com
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KCJ9091
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 05:45:57 PM »

http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7200/default.aspx
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 12974




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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 07:03:49 PM »

As a ham station I'd go for something like the Viking Valiant coupled with a
HQ-180 receiver, or something similar of the same vintage.  I knew a ham who's
angry girlfriend pushed his rig off the table onto the floor:  dented the floor, but
the rig was OK.  The DX-100, SX-101, Globe Chief, Lettine model 240, 75A4
and/or KW-1 might be in a similar category.

But those are separate transmitter/receivers rather than a transceiver.  For a
transceiver I'd probably suggest the Atlas 180/215, the 350XL, or perhaps
the TS-50.  Probably want to stick with an analog dial unless you put
reinforced polycarbonate over the display, which will be a weak point.  The
TS-120 and the FT-7 seemed pretty sturdy, but not the TS-140.  Even a
TS-520 is pretty rugged.

The most fragile parts will be displays, particularly LCD panels, and
protruding knobs and connectors.  Depending on what size hammer
(or what calibre slugs) it is being hit with, many of the metal cases
will take a fair bit of abuse and still protect the circuits inside.
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K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 07:58:44 PM »

Try Ten-Tec,www.tentec.com

OK, which model Ten Tecs, then?

John AF5CC
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NH6EV
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 10:49:14 PM »

I think what you are looking for is one of those drums used in Africa made out of a tree trunk; then you can bang on it to your hearts content.
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WB0FDJ
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Posts: 129




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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 09:49:40 AM »

I'd have to agree with WB3WIK, mostly. But......

But if you held a gun to my head and told me to throw one of my rigs out the window of my second floor ham shack,
I'd pick my FT-817ND. I think it would survive pretty well. Second choice would be it's bigger brother, the FT-897D.
After that I'd need some pretty big boxes to collect the parts....... Grin

WB0FDJ Doc
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 12974




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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 10:48:34 AM »

Quote from: K0YHV

OK, which model Ten Tecs, then?



My old Ten-Tec 525 Argosy has the circuits mounted on a center panel so there is a fair bit
of clearance between them and the metal covers.  That allows the covers to take quite a
dent before affecting the electronics (other than the speaker perhaps.)  I don't know
how many of their later rigs followed this construction method.

The weak point of many of the older Ten-Tec rigs, however, was the shaft that drives the
tuning slug.  The one on my Argonaut failed when it was tossed into a float plane flying between
logging camps in Alaska and took a direct hit on the tuning knob, which stripped out the plastic
gears.  Had to order a replacement coil assembly from Ten-Tec, then solder the circuit boards
back together with a propane torch (which was the only soldering implement available in a
logging camp.)  But even in that remote location I had it back on the air in 10 days, and it
still works fine.


So part of the consideration might be how difficult the rig is to repair after sustaining damage.
Replacing a speaker, for example, is easier than fixing a cracked display panel or circuit board.

You might also consider how you can improve the ruggedness of a radio - for example, adding
a ring of PVC pipe as a guard around the tuning dial of the Argosy would make it much less
prone to damage, as otherwise it is a pretty reliable rig.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20536




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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 04:49:33 PM »

To make a rig reasonably "bulletproof," it should be designed for that from the start.

No ham gear I know of ever was, since that adds cost and it didn't need to be.

First thing I'd want to make a rig more resistant to breakage is a hinged metal front cover that could be flipped up over the displays and all the controls and latched in position to protect all that stuff.

I'd want something like AIRINC connectors for power and peripheral attachments.  They are resistant to most environmental influences and very robust, but they take up space and are expensive.

I'd also probably want shock mounted PCBs.  That's not terribly expensive to include, but the shock mounts take up space and usually violate grounding, so engineering considerations are important.

We manufacture stuff that goes into high altitude UAVs and the Air Force calls it "COTS" (commercial off the shelf) equipment.  Yeah, right.   A home PC can cost $300, the airborne equivalent is $50,000. Cheesy
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LA9XNA
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Posts: 102




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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2012, 02:03:34 PM »

Get some Mil gear.
Battle conditions is probably one of the roughest environments.
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WX7G
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Posts: 5908




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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 03:09:44 PM »

Yaesu FT-857D.
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KC0UKR
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 07:55:58 AM »

I have my 706 & 7000 mounted inside a Pelican case with my universal radio mounting system where they can be used by simply opening the lid,the body is in the box and the Control Head is mounted to the lid.

This makes them pretty well waterproof and immune to much of the danger lurking out there I think and it would be fairly simple to further shock mount everything in the case if I wanted to.

I have used this setup in several outdoor events and in Joplin after the Tornado and it works flawlessly and you just don't have to think about whether to bring it along or not based on hazards at a site.

I have also done this for our club 706 and also with 857's for friends.

Off the top of my head I thought the SGC radios were marketed as being more rugged?

I also feel like the 857.706 and 7000 are pretty sturdy based on the abuse I have put them through?

Ed
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TANAKASAN
Member

Posts: 933




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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 08:53:16 AM »

Two ideas:

http://www.rigpix.com/military/ra195.htm

http://www.rigpix.com/military/yaesu_vx1200.htm

Tanakasan
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W7RUE
Member

Posts: 13




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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 06:19:07 PM »

I think one of the most rugged tranceivers for amateur radio would be the old SGC 2020. None of them are made to abuse but the SGC 2020 is fairly close. They have a pretty tough case and were made for portable use.  My two cents...

W7Rue
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