Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Good, older HF transceiver  (Read 8409 times)
KD0VEY
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« on: April 14, 2013, 04:58:30 PM »

I have searched but I'm probably using the wrong terms. So I would appreciate some help, if you are so generous to do so.
Ok, I am taking my general exam tomorrow night and there is a hamfest next Saturday.
I am retired and I don't have enough money to buy one of the $1000 rigs _ Actually too many other hobbies and I need to balance the expenses. But, I am pretty handy with a soldering gun, schematics and a VOM. Haven't owned an oscilloscope in years.

Anyways, I would like to get an HF transceiver to add to my cave. I have already built my antenna (actually almost done), and already have a very weak 2 meter running off of another antenna. The power supply is no problem.

I know I can't, actually don't want to, pay a lot of money for my first HF transceiver until I know if I like this part of the hobby or not. I am willing to give up the bells and whistles for an affordable radio that is older or tube type - And buy something newer and possibly better later. I also know I enjoy fiddling more than using things. Money is the issue, I guess. But, I am a romantic so older things are kind of cool to me. I definitely want to pay less than $400. I'd prefer about $100-$200. I have seen many threads listing newer radios for higher bucks, but not the older ones that I am actually willing to pay for. I'd like something where I can test long range transmissions, etc., before I dish out tons of money for a permanent rig. The only club n my area seems to have disintegrated.

Question: Which older rigs should I be checking out? Or, is this hopeless and I should stick with 2 meter? Thanks for any help, suggestions and offers.
Logged
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1235




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2013, 05:04:29 PM »

Bells, to keep it under $400 *and* make sure you get a radio that works right, getting to know the local hams is probably what you need to do.  You have a better chance of finding a good rig at a good price if you do it face-to-face with people you know.

FWIW, just about any reasonably modern HF rig will probably be great for you.  Here in my area, I see nice possible rigs around or under $400 now and then in the ads.  You may need to do some looking around, waiting, and talking to other hams, to find one.

Good luck!  --ken
Logged
W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1821




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2013, 05:24:48 PM »

  What power levels or modes are you considering starting with?
Logged
KD0VEY
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 05:33:31 PM »

Voice and 100 watts or more. Just enough to get a taste.
Logged
VA3CDG
Member

Posts: 17


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2013, 06:08:43 PM »

Although I do not have a lot of experience I HAVE to recommend the Kenwood TS-440S(AT). I managed to pick one up for about $270 WITH an included filter. Talk about a good deal. Rock solid radio. Make sure you see the guts...you want to make sure that the VCO sections have been refurbished (in which case, go as high as 350 without AT or filters). Might get some trouble from the key contacts on the keyboard but seriously, easy to live with/repair for such a fine used rig. If it has the chips installed in the face-plate board all the better.

Others I have heard are good...and this is just conjecture...the FT-890, recently used IC-718s, if you can get an IC-751A grab it and don't look back!
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 4001




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 08:48:02 PM »

If you get the chance to buy a Kenwood TS-830S in your price range, do it.  I've been using one for 30 years and it has done a fantastic job.  I've read many complimentary things about the TS-830S here on eHam.com as well.

Good luck at the hamfest.  If you find one you might be interested in get the seller to power it up even if it's necessary to walk it to an electrical outlet. 

Since you are looking for a rig, carry a roll of stranded (read flexible) wire with you so you can hang a wire on the antenna terminal.  (solder a banana plug on one end so you can stuff it into the rig's SO-239 antenna connector)

Ask the guy for some kind of money back guarantee.... get his name, address and telephone number.  If he's hesitant or flat refuses anything like this, walk!

While most hams are honest as the day is long, there are enough less than honest to make a person leery.
Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6664




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 08:59:31 PM »

The 830 is a solid performer and you would not be disappointed with TS-140. It is a bit newer than a 440 and very reliable rig. I had one in a mobile in early 90's when it got down to nearly 40 below that night outside where car sat at a motel on block heaters. Next morning when I went out to star car I turned on 140 and it made no sound and display did not work. I left it on while car was warming up and after about 15 minutes when I came back rig was working and no worse the wear and it still works today. If that is not a sturdy rig, I do not know what is.
Logged

--------------------------------------
You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
AF5CC
Member

Posts: 1018




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 09:57:26 PM »


Or, is this hopeless and I should stick with 2 meter?

I would not recommend that.  You will probably become bored pretty quickly with ham radio if that is the only band and mode you are on.

There are plenty of good rigs for $350 or so.  Some to look at are:

Kenwood TS430-easy to use, good performer, very good reliability record

Icom 735-same pluses as the 430, expect you cannot add a SSB fiter, can add an internal keyer, though

Kenwood TS140

Yaesu FT747

Yaesu FT757-comes with FM as standard, internal keyer as standard, and CW filter

Kenwood TS520/530/820-all have tubes in the finals and driver, so you will have to tune them up

Yaesu FT101 series-about like the Kenwood 520

My #1 recommendation if you can find one if an Icom 706 or 706MKII.  Have one myself, decent HF performer, plus gives you 6m and 2m coverage as well. Built in keyer, pretty good performer.

You can probably find an Alinco DX70 in that price range as well, and that gives you HF plus 6m.

Good luck in your search. Is the hamfest you are talking about in Belton, TX?  I have never been there, but hear it is a great one.  I have a couple of friends going.

73 John AF5CC
Logged
KD0VEY
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 03:59:35 AM »

I wish it was a hamfest in Texas. Getting pretty sick of the snow and sleet and cold about now. It's the one in Brainerd, MN.
Thanks! I will check around and hopefully someone will have one of those local for sale.
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6061




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 04:35:27 AM »

Personally, I would go with the Icom 706 (I'm an Icom user) or one of the Kenwood models indicated in the other posts.  All are good radios and don't have either too many bells and whistles or an extensive menu system that you need an engineering degree to understand and work with.   Grin  73!
Logged
KG4RUL
Member

Posts: 2752


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2013, 05:09:44 AM »

You can get a new HF transceiver, with basic features for approximately $529.00. 

Alinco DX-SR8T/E

+Coverage of All short-wave and HF amateur bands - (DX-SR8T North American /DX-SR8E European and other regions)

+Covers the 160m to 10m amateur bands including 5.3MHz (T-model only) in SSB, CW, AM and FM modes. Output power is 100W SSB/CW and FM, 40W in AM with low and super-low power settings for QRP operation. In addition, the general coverage receiver covers 135KHz to 30MHz in all modes.

+Detachable front control panel - Remove front control panel with large LCD display allowing you to install the radio with greater flexibility anywhere including  your car, boat or your shack. (Optional EDS-17 cable required)

+Direct frequency entry via the key pads - While the main dial tunes at the default 10Hz/resolution (adjustable in set mode), the numerical key pads can be utilized for fast direct frequency input, band selection and more.

+Fight QRM with these STANDARD features - Reject unwanted signals with the IF shift. Choose among a narrow filter, a noise-blanker or use RIT/TXIT to stay out of QRM.

+Emphasis on CW Operation - An electronic keyer unit is standard. You're able to  receive CW using either upper or lower side of the carrier frequency. Choice of side tone pitch, FULL (QSK), Semi or Auto break-in, split, narrow filter, AGC and RF gain.

+World-class transmit audio quality - A dynamic microphone (T/E models) and a speech compressor come standard for sharp, clear and powerful transmitting audio.

+Enhanced scan modes - Numerous scan modes are available including Priority, Search, Busy, Timed, Memory and Programmed search. Timed scan setting does not require squelch-mute allowing you to monitor data-modes and broadcasts simultaneously with memory search scan.

+Additional convenient features include - RF Attenuator and Pre-amplifier selectable in 4 steps, / 3 TX power output levels with a Super-Low setting (QRP 0.1W~2W variable) / Dual VFO / 600ch memories in 3 banks / Connections for Auto-antenna tuner and Liner amplifier ALC output / Fully independent AF level, squelch, RIT and IF shift knobs / Dial lock and key lock / TX-RX lamp / Alphanumeric display / Auto-power-off / CTCSS encode for 10m FM repeater accesses / Microphone, Headphone and External speaker jacks on the front panel / Large, temperature-controlled internal cooling fan with anti-overheat output power limiter/ High-SWR protection

Standard accessories

+EMS-64 (SR8E/SR8T: Dynamic)

+DC cable

+Microphone hanger EBC-7

I own one along with a Yaesu FT-100D and Kenwood TS2000 and it holds it own with either of them.  Mine is currently installed as a mobile.

Here are some suppliers:

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010649
http://www.randl.com/shop/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=350&products_id=67773
http://www.gigaparts.com/store.php?action=profile&sku=ZAL-DX-SR8T
http://www.aesham.com/hf/alinco-dx-sr8t/
http://www.cheapham.com/alinco-dx-sr8t-hf-transceiver/
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/5008.html
Logged
AD4U
Member

Posts: 2186




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2013, 05:51:31 AM »

I also recommend the Kenwood TS-830S.  I am a boat anchor HAM.  Over the years I have accumulated around 40 different rigs (separates and transceivers) from the early 1960's to the mid 1980's, including (but not limited to) Yaesus, Kenwoods, ICOMs, Drakes and Collins.  My TS-830S has the optional cascaded INRAD SSB and CW filters, so it may (or may not) work a little better than a standard one.

IMO my TS-830S exceeds the performance of all the other rigs in my boat anchor collection.  It is rock stable, the NB works great, and it has never given one second's trouble.  Also since it has tube finals and an adjustable pi-net output, it can operate WITHOUT a "tuner" into any decent antenna.

In actual on-the-air performance (not in lab tests) I think it is just as good as any of the modern high dollar rigs.

Dick  AD4U
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 06:09:39 AM by AD4U » Logged
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6664




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2013, 12:52:16 PM »

I also recommend the Kenwood TS-830S.  I am a boat anchor HAM.  Over the years I have accumulated around 40 different rigs (separates and transceivers) from the early 1960's to the mid 1980's, including (but not limited to) Yaesus, Kenwoods, ICOMs, Drakes and Collins.  My TS-830S has the optional cascaded INRAD SSB and CW filters, so it may (or may not) work a little better than a standard one.

IMO my TS-830S exceeds the performance of all the other rigs in my boat anchor collection.  It is rock stable, the NB works great, and it has never given one second's trouble.  Also since it has tube finals and an adjustable pi-net output, it can operate WITHOUT a "tuner" into any decent antenna.

In actual on-the-air performance (not in lab tests) I think it is just as good as any of the modern high dollar rigs.

Dick  AD4U

A 830 is still a class act even today. Granted it is a hybrid that does not QSY quickly but it has a excellent receiver and great sounding transmitter that supports RF not simpler/cheaper AF compression used in a lot of rig even today. A 830 in good order will hold its own against many newer rigs costing far more.
Logged

--------------------------------------
You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13573




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2013, 01:36:15 PM »

Any of the hybrid Kenwood rigs (TS-520/530/820/830) should do the job.  They are
all a bit long in the tooth (the 520/820 date from the mid-1970s) but aren't difficult
to repair, and I often see them in the $200 - $300 range in working condition. 
(Sometimes less at the end of a hamfest.)  They were the most popular HF rigs of
their day, and there are lots of them still running.

Many of the earlier solid state HF rigs still work well, too.  There are a number of
Icom types, the Kenwood TS-120/130/140 series as well as the somewhat larger
TS-430/440/450/680 series.  The TS-50 is also a dependable performer.

Other types include the various Atlas models (some of which didn't include all
the available bands) as well as Ten-Tec models (the digital Triton, Argosy or Delta
rigs are simple to operate with very good performance:  don't let the 50 watt rating
of the Argosy put you off.)

Even the Heathkit HW-101 can make SSB contacts if it is in working order.  Many of
these rigs may have an analog dial rather than a digital display


In the end it really comes down to what you can find at a reasonable price that is in
good working order, and/or whether you have an Elmer who can help you with some
repairs and the various quirks you can find in older equipment.   For older equipment,
the condition of the specific radio will make the most difference.  Those using discrete
components are often easier to repair than newer ones that depend on custom ICs.


My recommendations on rigs to AVOID (unless you really like to tinker):

Monoband radios (Heathkit HW-12/22/32, some Swan types.)

Radios with sweep tubes in the final amplifier, unless you have a source of spares
or want to convert it to 6146's.  This includes many tube-type Swan, Drake, and
Yaesu rigs.  The Drakes were great rigs in their day, but replacement tubes are
difficult to find if the ones in the rig aren't still good.

Most all-tube rigs, as opposed to those with a solid state receiver.  Not that
they can't work, but they are likely to require more effort to keep them running.

Anything that has been converted/modified for CB operation unless you know that
it has been been properly aligned afterwards.
Logged
KD0VEY
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2013, 06:52:29 PM »

Thanks guys! I passed my general tonight!
I have printed your postings and will bring them with me to the hamfest. It will also give me and a local elmer something to talk about on the 2 hour drive.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!