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Author Topic: Help us select easy-to-use HF rig  (Read 3753 times)
KASSY
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Posts: 166




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« on: February 09, 2013, 10:46:21 AM »

My "main club" is doing a spin-off (the spin off has tax benefits) that will focus on licensing and getting people on the air the first time.  We have been donated a small clubhouse.

We want to equip the clubhouse with an HF rig.  Here are the things we'd like to see in it:

Coverage at least 80-10, preferably 160-10 and maybe 6.
SSB/CW: don't care about anything else
EASY TO USE, as few menus as possible (cuts out my favorite rig, the K2)
Built in tuner (also cuts out the 100W K2)
Front-panel operated: we're trying to avoid the "operated by mouse click" mentality, and provide an experience that's different from the internet.

Because of the hams I tend to do things with, I know the high end - IC-7800s, K3, FT-5000, etc.  But I don't know entry level.

Thanks,

- k
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KASSY
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Posts: 166




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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 10:46:53 AM »

Oh, yeah, and...cost is an object, although we'll pay more for an easier to use rig.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 899




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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 11:15:02 AM »

Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5755




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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 11:17:41 AM »

Oh, yeah, and...cost is an object, although we'll pay more for an easier to use rig.

All new rigs depend menus to varying degrees but some more than others. Yaesu is very menu dependent and Icom is not much better. Kenwood is most user friendly of the big three.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KASSY
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 11:24:40 AM »

Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?

- k
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N3JBH
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 11:27:20 AM »

Ten Tec Jupiter pretty easy straight forward radio. With the tuner it has awesome tuning range as well.  Omni 6 series another great rig but no option on a tuner. Both can be had with not to much cost second hand and are still supported by the factory. I never owned the Omni 7 radio but used them and again nice radio and still pretty simple.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5755




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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 11:32:49 AM »

Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?


The 480 SAT can be had new under a grand and has a excellent receiver and great xmit audio too. It is a modern analog rig with AF DSP and easy to tune/use. The 590 is a excellent radio but being that it is IF DSP is not a no brainier to do its best. Out of box it is is far from its best and needs to be setup. It is not a rig that you do not read manual on and use and expect good results.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KASSY
Member

Posts: 166




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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 11:42:41 AM »

Why has nobody mentioned the FT-450?  No tuner?  Difficult menus?  Icom 718?  No tuner?  Too many menus?

- k
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W8JX
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Posts: 5755




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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 11:56:38 AM »

Why has nobody mentioned the FT-450?  No tuner?  Difficult menus?  Icom 718?  No tuner?  Too many menus?

- k

To many menus and a entry level rig and it lacks selectivity in crowded band. It is a cheap DSP design that lacks.  (450)    On 718 it is a entry level radio any optional filters are very pricy.
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K2GWK
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Posts: 447


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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2013, 04:04:07 PM »

Kenwood TS480 or Kenwood TS590. The TS590 is the better rig by far for receiver performance.

I think of those as fairly expensive radios...does Kenwood not have a lower-cost radio with a tuner?  IMO, the 480 has an easier to listen to RX.  The '590 has the harsh sound of a poorly-executed DSP rig.  Maybe just need to wait for further software updates?

- k

For what you are looking to pay I suggest a Drake TR-4C. You should be able to find one for well under a $1000. They are real easy to use and have great audio. It will be difficult for you to find something modern day that fits your criteria for cheap.
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N4JTE
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Posts: 1155




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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 04:40:27 PM »

I would go with the icom 718, great radio with simple controls and good price.
Bob
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9908




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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 04:56:21 PM »

a niced used  TS 2000 or a FT847, both available at around a grand used, and can be set up once for easy use, and then as folks get good, use the other  features. a simple radio may turn folks off.  even a ts 590 would work.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2386




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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 08:10:00 PM »

Another vote for the IC-718.

You're training _beginners_.  It's a simple rig to operate, most of the controls are on the front panel, rather than in the menus.   Most of the recent ones have AF DSP noise reduction.

With a CW filter (350 or 500 Hz), it will do everything you need it to do for CW and SSB.

.       Charles

PS -- I have a FT-450 at home.  Once the menus options are set, you can leave them alone most of the time.  But you do need to get into them occasionally.  And -- for a beginner -- the DSP functionality is confusing to use.   One button, one knob, and many, many, many different functions that they control.

PPS -- I got an IC-7000 for my club's "emergency" trailer, which is mostly used for Field Day.  Mistake.  Too many options, multi-level menus, too-small front panel.  Too complicated for "occasional users".
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2386




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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 08:29:00 PM »

Check the reviews on the Yaesu FT-450.  Some people find it easy, others not.

It is one of the simplest current-production rigs on the market.

.              Charles
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AF5C
Member

Posts: 123




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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 09:10:29 PM »

A used Kenwood TS850 would be my first choice, or a Kenwood TS930. If you want one that covers 6m as well, then an Icom 736 or Kenwood TS690. 

John AF5CC
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