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Author Topic: first HF Rig, Elecraft k2?  (Read 2140 times)
KJ4SKP
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Posts: 72




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« on: October 31, 2012, 06:19:13 AM »

I recently got my general license and want to dive in to HF. My hope is to do some DX'ing (no CW) voice only.  I know there are ton's of radio's out there and I have been researching various models.  I keep going back to the Elecraft K2. I found a used one in the classifieds here that looks good.  It has the SSB, 160 module, 100w amp etc.  Would this make a good first HF rig for me?  I know many like the K2 as a CW rig but wondering if it would be a fine rig for non CW operation.
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G4AON
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Posts: 534




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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2012, 07:09:22 AM »

I have had a K2 since March 2001 and built it. They are a great radio for CW, if modified for wider SSB they are good on SSB too (the earlier SSB modules were around 2.1 KHz bandwidth which is too narrow for most of us, there are Elecraft mod kits to change caps and crystals to give up to 2.6 KHz).

However, I would not recommend one as a first HF radio if you are not a CW operator. If you are planning on learning code it is one of the best radios for CW.

The K3/100 would be my recommendation  Smiley

73 Dave
K1, K2, K3, P3 and KPA500 owner
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G3RZP
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2012, 07:58:09 AM »

With a 100 watt rig and looking to work DX on SSB, you'll need a decent antenna. Occasionally, it works fine, but the gain of a beam is really needed. On CW, however, you can do well with 100 watts and relatively poor antenna - my best was in 1972, when with an 80 foot length of wire out of the first floor apartment window fed against a water pipe with a home brew tuner, I got a WAC on 40m CW in 45 minutes starting at 1900 local time one Sunday - and it wasn't a contest weekend, either.
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KJ4SKP
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2012, 08:16:38 AM »

I have had a K2 since March 2001 and built it. They are a great radio for CW, if modified for wider SSB they are good on SSB too (the earlier SSB modules were around 2.1 KHz bandwidth which is too narrow for most of us, there are Elecraft mod kits to change caps and crystals to give up to 2.6 KHz).

However, I would not recommend one as a first HF radio if you are not a CW operator. If you are planning on learning code it is one of the best radios for CW.

The K3/100 would be my recommendation  Smiley

Thanks Dave for the Recommendation. I love the K3!  must save many pennies to make swing that rig.  Buy once cry once right?
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K4EZD
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 08:40:21 AM »

An Icom 718 makes a very solid, easy to use, and reliable first HF rig.  Used ones are reasonably priced and usually available.
Great for ssb DX work with little "work" on your part.  Congratulations on getting your general and have fun with DX. 

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M6GOM
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 08:53:53 AM »

Icom 7200 or Kenwood TS480.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 10:24:18 AM »

For voice only work, if it's a home station and not portable, I'd pick something different.

The K2 is a good performer but very small and it can take some work to make one sound good on SSB.  I built two of them from kits and neither one sounded good on SSB, but that didn't really matter as they were used for CW almost entirely, so I never made modifications.

As a Field Day/portable rig, it's a great choice.
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NR4C
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 11:27:16 AM »

I'd look for a nice Kenwood TS-570D(g) or TS-570S.  Good radio, solid and great sound.

I'm an Elecraft fan, I have a K3 and a KX3.  Love 'em both.  But a big investment for a begginer, but worht it in the long run.

Still, go for the 570 and a real good antenna.  Money spent on antenna will be a good investment.

If you still want to build a K2, go for it, but not for the first radio.  Get someting that you can bring home and put on the air.

...bill  nr4c
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WD8DKB
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 07:39:11 PM »

I have owned both the TS-570DG and the IC-7200.  A good , clean used IC-7200 can be had for $750.00 shipped. The filters in the 7200 are much better due to the advancement in DSP technology over the years since the 570D was created. I own two of the IC-7200 and like them very much. The stock Mic is not very good and you need a better mic to work SSB . They are built very well and are very reliable and easy to use. The menu system is one of the easiest to use I have ever had. The DSP features really work and can be tailored to whatever works best for you. Don't let the lack of an antenna tuner bother you. I'd bet 80% of the stations are equipped with some sort of outboard tuner. They have a much broader range than most internal tuners anyway. It also has 6 meters on it.   
  This is just my take on the rigs and a personal opinion. But owning both, has given me a good idea of which one works best in today's environment.   73  and have a great time.
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KD7MPK
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2012, 08:03:38 PM »

I started on an old (but very fun) kenwood ts-820s when I moved to HF about 5 years ago or so.  It was cheaper to get into and I was forced to learn to tune the radio as well as the antenna (operate on a dual center-fed diapole).  I leared alot and don't regret a second starting with an older radio. I  sold the 820s when I had an opportunity to buy an 830s that had been stored for over 10 years, was set up for contesting and was (and still is) in mint condition.  after using that for a few years (and loving it) I knew what I wanted and I bought an Elecraft k3 and built it in a day.  I love the k3.  I'd go back and use the 830s in a second if I had to but having moved to a software defined radio is nice.  If I were starting where you are, and if I could find it and afford it, I'd start with a Kenwood TS 850s.  it is all solid state.  it will cost less than what you have to pay for a good used k2 and it's still a great transceiver.  they usually go for about 800 if they have the cw fileters installed and the Antenna Tuner.  good luck. 
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GILGSN
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 11:04:03 AM »

The K2 is great. I built mine before getting my ticket, and it has served me very well. It is light and simple to use, no complicated functions or menus. I would definitely suggest it as a first radio. The receiver is top notch and might spoil you for future radios Wink I am thinking of selling mine but it would be to finance a KX3..

Gil.
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AF5C
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Posts: 123




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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 12:39:00 PM »

I would look for a used Yaesu FT450-good DSP, built in filters, built in voice keyer, should be able to find a used one for $500 or so. Don't worry about the AT model, the built in tuner isn't any good. It also gives you 6m which is a really fun band.  Has a built in transmit monitor for SSB as well.

John AF5CC
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