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Author Topic: Prices of used HF gear  (Read 5028 times)
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 368




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« on: September 15, 2012, 06:04:25 PM »

I don't see how those of us who are not made of money are ever supposed to afford to get on the air, what with the prices for USED HF gear. Really, $200 for a 30 year old Kenwood is simply not logical, especially if the rig has major problems or is a big unknown, as most cheap Ebay gear is. Somebody puts up a cheap trx, soon it's bid into the ozone layer. I've read stuff from hams who say that even at hamfests guys want crazy prices. Really people, some of us are on fixed incomes and can't afford $300 for an untested, 40 year old, analog rig. I like that the Chinese are getting into HT's, but for HF gear prices are still crazy. I'm not asking for a SD radio here, just an old Heathkit with a LED display would be nice. I'm not trying to troll here, but if you have people who are struggling as it is, and you tell them "well, ham radio is great, it's only $15 for the test, but once you pass you will shell out $1200 for a 30 year old HF base station", I mean, they'll say no thanks. I can get a used car for that. The cost is a major impediment to me getting on HF once I get my General.
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KD8HMO
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012, 11:00:42 PM »

I have a TS-520S in pretty much mint condition with all the boxes, manuals packing, goofy Jap hand-mic and even the MC-50 desk mic. I also have a recent completely overhauled TS-530S done by one of the hybrid gurus in California. He took it completely apart and tested every board and part to make sure it was perfect. He retubed it, rewound the unavailable plate choke, and reworked the band-switch wafers. The radio is as close to "new" as it can be. Even found a perfect front plate for it. I was at the Findlay Ohio hamfest last weekend and saw several TS-520S's. One was not working and he still wanted $150 for it. The others were not nearly as nice as mine and they still wanted $400 for them. If we are going to play that game, my 520S should be worth a fortune with all the accessories and packing. My perfect 530S is not for sale at all LOL
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RENTON481
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2012, 12:21:06 AM »

Cost is one of the reasons I remain an SWL.  SW radios with SSB are fairly inexpensive, and I don't need to work them to hear them.  It's still fun.  I heard Swains a few mornings ago on 40 m LSB -- I got a blast out of that.
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KC4MOP
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Posts: 741




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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 04:44:35 AM »

My recent quest to replace my FLEX SDR 1000 from a lightning strike was scary. The prices were still close to $1K. EBay was a bidding frenzy on three different units, but a nice Ham on QTH dot COM had something very close to reality.
You have to look much harder for a deal.
Even Hamfests are becoming out of this world for sellers to 'make a profit'

Fred
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1235




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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2012, 05:24:12 AM »

I sympathize; my first HF rig was an ancient Griefkit that worked most of the time, but not ALL of the time.  And coming up with the money for even that was a struggle, back in those days.

But I see decent usable HF rigs selling locally for $350-400 pretty regularly.  That and another $50 for incidentals will get you on the air pretty nicely.   And if that's too much, you can get a Radio Shack 10m rig or a QRP radio for $75 if you watch and look around. 

Also, if you get to know the local hams, join your local club, go to the meetings, you'll very likely find someone who will loan you an old rig, or sell you one (with a guarantee and some help to get started) on payments.  Don't give up too easily!
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KD8HMO
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2012, 05:38:34 AM »

There are deals out there, you just have to sniff them out. There is a local ham here that had a NICE set of Heathkit twins for sale. They were very clean. Two bills would probably have bought them.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2012, 06:32:03 AM »

There are deals out there, you just have to sniff them out. There is a local ham here that had a NICE set of Heathkit twins for sale. They were very clean. Two bills would probably have bought them.

This is all too true.  However, if all you're going to do is look on e-bay (and to a lesser extent, Craigslist) you're going to pay top dollar.  Keep your eye on the local want ads and look around at yard sales and second hand shops.  I got my Kenwood TS130SE for half a hundred, and a 2 meter brick that worked OK (the seller didn't know what it was) for $2!  Not to mention tubes, parts and equipment that would have cost way more new or if being sold by dealers than I could have paid back then.
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KG6BRG
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2012, 07:22:42 AM »

$350.00 will get you a working solid state transceiver, possibly less.  I won't recount the rigs I've purchased for $300.00 or less.  That said I've never bought from eBay.  I use ham swaps, QTH.com, QRZ.com and private estate and garage sales.  Deals abound.  If you aren't familiar with older used gear, perhaps a local club member can help.  If your QRZ address is good you should be able to listen to the weekend swap on 7.240 at 12:30 calif. time, providing you have a receiver to tune to 40 meters (LSB).  Good luck.  This hobby is only expensive you want it to be.  I had $200.00 in my first HF set up and have no doubt I could do it again today.  cheers.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 07:32:52 AM by KG6BRG » Logged
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 368




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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2012, 12:04:05 PM »

$350.00 will get you a working solid state transceiver, possibly less.  I won't recount the rigs I've purchased for $300.00 or less.  That said I've never bought from eBay.  I use ham swaps, QTH.com, QRZ.com and private estate and garage sales.  Deals abound.  If you aren't familiar with older used gear, perhaps a local club member can help.  If your QRZ address is good you should be able to listen to the weekend swap on 7.240 at 12:30 calif. time, providing you have a receiver to tune to 40 meters (LSB).  Good luck.  This hobby is only expensive you want it to be.  I had $200.00 in my first HF set up and have no doubt I could do it again today.  cheers.

Yep, I'm in Sacramento. I use a Degen 1102. Is that 12:30 Saturday or Sunday? I'm aware of QTH.com and I agree that sometimes there are good deals, but time is of the essence when one pops up.
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KG6BRG
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2012, 01:14:47 PM »

$350.00 will get you a working solid state transceiver, possibly less.  I won't recount the rigs I've purchased for $300.00 or less.  That said I've never bought from eBay.  I use ham swaps, QTH.com, QRZ.com and private estate and garage sales.  Deals abound.  If you aren't familiar with older used gear, perhaps a local club member can help.  If your QRZ address is good you should be able to listen to the weekend swap on 7.240 at 12:30 calif. time, providing you have a receiver to tune to 40 meters (LSB).  Good luck.  This hobby is only expensive you want it to be.  I had $200.00 in my first HF set up and have no doubt I could do it again today.  cheers.

Yep, I'm in Sacramento. I use a Degen 1102. Is that 12:30 Saturday or Sunday? I'm aware of QTH.com and I agree that sometimes there are good deals, but time is of the essence when one pops up.

Both days, great resource for us west coast hams.  cheers. 
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20603




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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2012, 01:56:37 PM »

Welcome to the hobby, ZOL.

Since I saw no one else mention this, perhaps I should: Amateur radio equipment has never in history been as inexpensive as it is today.  I've been a ham for more than 47 years, and 47 years ago a low-end station would easily cost one or two months' income for most working people.   Higher-end stuff was much more than that.

I have a 56 year-old receiver here (an old Collins 75A-4) that 56 years ago sold for about 1/3 of what a new Chevy (automobile) cost.  And it's only a receiver.

My first "new, made for ham radio" VHF hand-held was a Wilson 1402, which was 5 crystal-controlled channels (you had to buy the crystals, for about $15 per pair) and 2W output, 2m only, and was $200 back in about 1973.  It could "hold a charge" for about 30 minutes of transmitting time.  If you look any any inflation calculator, you'll see that HT cost the equivalent of probably $600 in today's dollars.  Today, you can buy two brand new multi-band HTs that do much more and work better for that cost.

So, things may seem expensive but they are cheaper than they've ever been.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 368




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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2012, 03:10:53 PM »

Welcome to the hobby, ZOL.

Since I saw no one else mention this, perhaps I should: Amateur radio equipment has never in history been as inexpensive as it is today.  I've been a ham for more than 47 years, and 47 years ago a low-end station would easily cost one or two months' income for most working people.   Higher-end stuff was much more than that.

I have a 56 year-old receiver here (an old Collins 75A-4) that 56 years ago sold for about 1/3 of what a new Chevy (automobile) cost.  And it's only a receiver.

My first "new, made for ham radio" VHF hand-held was a Wilson 1402, which was 5 crystal-controlled channels (you had to buy the crystals, for about $15 per pair) and 2W output, 2m only, and was $200 back in about 1973.  It could "hold a charge" for about 30 minutes of transmitting time.  If you look any any inflation calculator, you'll see that HT cost the equivalent of probably $600 in today's dollars.  Today, you can buy two brand new multi-band HTs that do much more and work better for that cost.

So, things may seem expensive but they are cheaper than they've ever been.

The culprit is inflation, which is a discussion outside the scope of this site. Things seem expensive because of it, but electronics have been getting steadily cheaper over the years, due to Asians doing what America couldn't. The problem is, wages have not kept pace with prices, especially for certain items like cars. A relative of mine made so much money at GM's South Gate, California, plant that he walked into a Chevy dealer in Downey in 1958 and paid maybe $3900 CASH for a new Bel Air. Yes, he had an employee discount, but saving the cost of a new car was much easier than it is now, when a Toyota Camry costs maybe $30k. Wages were high and rising in 1958, while wages have been flat, in REAL (non adjusted) terms, since 1999. A middle class worker makes the same amount of money now as he did in 2000, even though inflation has soared, making that worker's income stretch less far than it would in 2000. The good thing for new hams like me is that there is a deep pool of used rigs out there. Also, if you're not working digital, a 30 year old Kenwood can do the job just as well as a new Icom that is almost totally software defined, AND it's less susceptible to power surges and such. I used to chase pirate and clandestine stn's with a Yaesu FRG-8800, which would immediately become scrambled if the power flickered.
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 950




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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2012, 05:29:29 PM »

feature inflation is also part of the issue.  Tata in India can still build a car for $2700 equivalent.  it's basically a dumpster on a go-kart with windows, but you can drive it.  that would be the equivalent of a silver/black Heathkit in features.

now you get out of the 50s to the 60s, and you could get any sort, manner, and kind of transceiver in the $350 range kit up to $2200 built, depending on features.  some had RIT, IF shift, 20 band positions, etc.  some just worked 80-10 sideband.

it's more like $700 to $5000 today, but you have DSP filter equivalents to infinitely adjustable skirts and filter widths, computer control, couple hundred operational memories, etc.  much of that is basically free from the control computer, except for skill and value in programming, and that counts for something.  the vendor staying in business so you can get parts for 5 years counts, too.

any HF radio you are going to get in the $200-300 range is either a gift from an OM to the newbie, or has some flakies (or wirse) in it.  regardless, most will still kick out a signal with the mike button down and pick one up with the button released.  if they are close enough in frequency, the radio can be fiddled to bring 'em back together.  if not, the import stuff usually has A/B VFOs, set them right and you can work the band until you get the radio tweaked.
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NI3S
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2012, 06:57:43 PM »

It seems some folks think you need DSP and CPU driven radios to talk to another station.  It's not true. 

A good older, proven history model HF rig can be had for $300-400.  Someone mentioned the TS-130, not a fancy rig but in that scope.  A few tools and a soldering iron will build a good antenna.  Spend a few bucks on a device to measure the SWR of the homebuilt aerial and get on the air. 

Buying from a reliable source, like from another ham, on a ham site, makes your chance of getting a decent radio better. 
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W8JX
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Posts: 5903




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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2012, 07:17:35 PM »

but you have DSP filter equivalents to infinitely adjustable skirts and filter widths, computer control, couple hundred operational memories, etc.  much of that is basically free from the control computer

Problem is that IF DSP performance can very a lot so do not buy a enter level or dated DSP design and expect top notch performance. Also computer remote control adds no memories to rig. 
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