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Author Topic: is the icom 718 a good choice for a new ham ?  (Read 12665 times)
PA1ZP
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Posts: 224




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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2014, 01:49:53 AM »

Hi

I didn't use a RCI on 10 mtrs but used a Uniden (President Lincoln), untill I had a HF rig.
Tested the Uniden against a FT920.

On RX SSB no difference at all.
TX audio of the Uniden was very good in SSB got lots of compliments, was as good as with the FT920.
Only one diference, the Uniden was on PLL with 100 Hz steps the FT920 was on 1Hz steps.

Also the Uniden needed to warm up for half an hour to become stable on frequency.
But I was realy surprized the quality of the RX of the little Uniden in SSB.

I used a 5 elements monoband beam on both the uniden and the FT920 on 10 mtrs.
 
Had lots of fun with the Uniden in 1990-1999 on CB and lots of fun in 2000 on 10 mtrs , still have it and every now and then I use it on 10 mtrs SSB.
As this uniden (president lincoln) belonged to my father i do not want to part with it.

In CW the Uniden did not have a CW filter, so not very good there.

I used to have a 1979 President Grant 40 channel AM/SSB and that had a nice X-tal filter on SSB, that was not worse as any filter used in hamradio's at all back in 1980.

73 Jos

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KC8IIR
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2014, 06:26:39 PM »

there is nothing wrong with starting at the bottom, every rig from that point will be an upgrade.
Upgrading rigs are just things that happen in the radio hobby , buy a rig , sell a rig. You may never be content.

If you buy a rig , you would be better off with a $100.00 rig  than a $400 ic718, you will get near the same result form the $100 rig and still have 300 saved towards the one you really want and can always get $100 for the one you have. Boat anchors are out there.

Sorry , i had one i took on trade and it was the hardest rig to sell. performance was ok but the front end was as overloaded as a garbage truck on the day after Christmas.
Does it work , yep, not any better than a ft101ee thats from the 60's. ic718 needs a power supply , the 101 just plugs into the wall , worn out tubes make more power.            L C network does away with tuner need if antenna is close.

Food for thought, i loved my 101ee, still feel foolish for selling it 15 years ago.


Greg kc8iir
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W4KYR
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Posts: 517




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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2014, 07:18:01 PM »

My first HF rig was a Icom 730 bought used in 1993. A good starter rig at the time, but it didn't have 160 meters, it only received the ham bands 80 through 10. It has issues with the preamp not working, which is a common problem. If you can pick up a working one up today for next to nothing I would say go for it. Just realize it is over 30 years old.

Otherwise for a few hundred more you can do better. In contrast, the IC-718 is a much better rig in that it covers 160 meters and it receives 30-29.9 MHz. It has a port in the back that you can hook up a Signalink USB for digital communications. It is a good rig for the money.

Here is the ARRL review. 
http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/718/IC718_QSTReview.pdf

If you can spend more than go for something better.
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BOOTYMONSTER
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2014, 11:51:44 PM »

thanks again  folks Wink
the Yaesu FT450D is very very interesting .
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HFHAM2
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2014, 09:15:39 PM »

The Icom IC-718 is an excellent beginners (and experienced casual ham's) rig.

Very straight-forward in use, very little buried in menus, bulletproof, just plain works and works.

Someone mentioned a TXCO but no-one needs a TXCO for home use; modern rigs like the IC-718 are plenty stable enough without spending all that on what is essentially a farkle.

Another mentioned the Alinco SR8T, I tried one as I was tempted by the "free filters". Well, the (fixed-width audio) filters are pathetic, especially for CW and you can't buy optional filters for that rig even if you wanted to (which you will). I took mine back to the store for a refund the next day.

You can get by quite well with the IC-718 using the IF-Shift and/or CW-R mode to side-step QRM; most also have the audio DSP noise reduction and auto-notch module installed too. Option filters are available (yes, they're expensive but very effective) or you can use an inexpensive outboard audio filter or SCAF type filter (NEScaf, SCAF-1, etc.)

The IC-7200 and FT-450D are supposedly "better" (I don't know), but they're also more complicated and more expensive and less likely to be available on the used market.

You can't go wrong with a new or used IC-718 in my opinion. The Alinco SR8T is fine for SSB, but it's not a CW rig and can't be, due to the filtering (or lack thereof).
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K2MMO
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2014, 04:57:28 AM »

I have one in the shack and have had it since 2006 -A great basic rig I love it  I use it for CW and occassional SSB.Built well and easy to use.A good antenna makes it perform even better.
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AE5J
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Posts: 27




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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2014, 08:19:55 AM »

Without any discussion about other posts here are my thoughts after 41 years of operating.

The 718 is a great little radio. Perfect for a beginner or an advanced ham. I have owned one since they first came out, and I use mine daily on every mode except SSTV. I have the DSP and a CW filter. I don't find, after thousands of hours of CW ops, that I just have to have a narrow CW filter. The crystal filter sometimes amplifies the noise level to the point that it becomes tiring. I like to change and suppress the frequencies of the noise with an AF filter and emphasize the signal. That may just be me though.

The Yaesu 450D is likewise an excellent rig for beginner or experienced op. That rig also comes with a built-in antenna tuner that works pretty well. The filtering is excellent and nothing needs to be bought or added. It is a very capable rig. It also has 6 meters. Cost is a bit more, but then it has some things you'll have to pay extra for with the 718.

The Yaesu 857D is also a great all-in-one radio. You get most of what the 450D has, plus all mode capability on VHF/UHF. The 897D adds a bit more of the same plus the ability to operate self-contained from internal batteries. These two rigs require purchase of filters and a tuner. Some complain of small screens and multiple menus. I just buy a bigger monitor for home use. Very few people drag a Kenwood 990 with them on vacation.

Any of these will serve you for many years. Divide the costs by the number of years and they are very inexpensive over time. All four of these can be computer controlled with something like Ham Radio Deluxe making them super easy to use and offering capabilities you simply will never achieve on non "Ham" equipment.

In defense of cheaper equipment, I will note that these rigs can, and do, work but I think that after the new of ham radio wears off a bit, you will be wishing for more capability. Spend wisely.  73
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 08:56:55 AM by AE5J » Logged
K9MHZ
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Posts: 397




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« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2014, 11:13:31 AM »

there is nothing wrong with starting at the bottom, every rig from that point will be an upgrade.
Upgrading rigs are just things that happen in the radio hobby , buy a rig , sell a rig. You may never be content.

If you buy a rig , you would be better off with a $100.00 rig  than a $400 ic718, you will get near the same result form the $100 rig and still have 300 saved towards the one you really want and can always get $100 for the one you have. Boat anchors are out there.

Greg kc8iir

Well, in fairness to the thread author, I completely disagree with this.  I've seen many people get taken advantage of and subsequently get discouraged after buying their "starter" rigs.  It's someone else's useless junk most of the time.  I'm not suggesting that he should get an IC-7800, but some good guidance as to what the floor might be, just might help him avoid a very bad experience when he finally takes the plunge.  He's already asking good questions, so he's off to a good start.

Don't buy "vintage" junk that's supposed to be "great for a new ham."  You might see a sad underbelly of this hobby right away.  Get started with a reasonably modern quality radio, and then branch out in your interests from there as your experience develops.  The last thing you want to have to do is to suddenly learn radio repair just to get you started in ham radio.

Good luck,  find a mentor, and enjoy yourself!
 
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KC8IIR
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2014, 05:21:55 PM »

Brad, In all fairness, the ic718 out if the box has great audio transmit quality.
If you own a ic7800, I am sure you know the value of a high end rig. All manufactures make flagships and sh**onastick.
I have a flagship currently. I have bought a plethora of rigs in between that don't fit my operating style.

If you operate digital modes and  ssb , this rig will do better than some boat anchor. Some Modern hams don't like to read and tuning instructions can make even experienced
hams frustrated until the process is learned like clock work. To be critical of the boat anchors? not fair , my drake tr3 can hear and take adjacent station interference better than the ic718.
If you work cw , forget it. The keyer runs away and with out the money for the cw filter , its down right challenging. Working split dx and hearing 50 folks at once, no way.

The 450d is a better rig for making reception and filtering more pleasant. The icom receiver is a little hotter, not much. The filters on the 450d drop noise and adjacent chatter much better. I.F. dsp is the only way. The ic718 has dsp , but takes a few steps to work it and is not as adjustable.

I HAVE OWNED BOTH. I am not making assumptions. Yes , I compared them side by side, 450d wins by a mile.

Greg kc8iir
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WA7SGS
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2014, 07:07:15 PM »

There's a ham truism that the first radio usually winds up being too much or too little radio.  The IC-718 will do fine but for a bit more you can get the IC-7200.  That will get you 6m (sans FM) and better receiving adjustments.  I find it adequate for my casual style of HF QSO'ing so it stays.  A serious contester will want lots of knobs to adjust parameters.  The person who runs mobile will be looking for a compact radio that will be more menu-intensive.  Should QRP portable ops be the path then one would go with a radio which fits those parameters.  A few serious AM'ers out there are going to use boat anchors.  The VHF-UHF DX'ers/space ops will be running dedicated relatively modern all-mode single band rigs that are no longer being produced.  

Once you find the niches of ham radio you like you will have a better idea of what rig (or rigs) plus accessories you really want.  Starting off with the IC-718 or the nicely touted Yaesu that got plenty of mention here will make for a good first step.  Read the eham reviews of the various rigs you would contemplate to know their strong and weak points.  Hams make very good critical reviewers of ham gear you know!

Best wishes for your enjoyment of amateur radio :-)

Rick
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W4FID
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Posts: 129




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« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2014, 03:40:08 AM »

Yes. Simple. Reliable. Works well and will get you a lot of QSOs. Works better than the price range it's in.
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K4PIH
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2014, 06:38:39 PM »

Been hammin for along time. I like tube gear (Swan). So when I needed to get a nice solid sate rig I went with a 718. Good solid easy to use, not confusing. Also easily modded to MARS if you go that route.

Great first radio,
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WE1X
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Posts: 320




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« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2014, 03:18:55 PM »

Having owned many rigs over the past 25 years, including 2 718s as backups and vacation portable, I can say (a) the 718 is a fine "entry" level rig, but (b) there are far more better options out there today for just a bit more money. Personally, I find the IC-7200 an excellent rig and offering much more value than a 718. Yes, the 7200 is not as "simple" as the 718, but for many of us learning a rig's features and functions is an important part of the hobby. Further, the 7200 offers capabilities that you can grow into without breaking the bank.

As for those suggesting buying a $100 radio as it does the same thing as a newer or more modern rig....yeah, same can be said about a Yugo. When working (and serviceable) it will get you where you want to go...albeit the ride may be less enjoyable.
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WB5JNC
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2014, 01:36:53 PM »

"Is the Icom 718 a good choice for a new ham?" Maybe. The same could be said for "Is a Chevy/Ford/(name your favorite automobile here) the best car?" My suggestion: do some legwork. If you have a chance to get to a reputable ham dealer or a hamfest, do some "hands-on." I would suspect that if you explained that you're a prospective ham and looking for a first rig 1) you'd get plenty more opinions in addition to the ones here and 2) it's very possible that a kind "Elmer" (at a ham dealer, a hamfest, or in your local area) might crank up a rig or rigs and let you talk to someone on the air under his callsign: yes, that is permissible under FCC rules as long as the license holder is present and in control of the station. What you might find, for example, is that you like the front panel layout of rig B over rig A or vice versa, or that rig C (which you hadn't even considered to this point) is really of interest. Sit down first and set a specific budget range if needed, then start looking around as noted. Also, look at the reviews here on eHam and elsewhere: note that there are unfortunately some rigs which may be very good performers, but they have design flaws or quality issues and thus higher than average failure rates. Also be aware there are issues with parts availability in some cases which can render a rig more difficult to repair or possibly unrepairable. (I'm not intending to scare you off here with horror stories, just trying to help you to find a good reliable rig.)

Hope to hear you on the air someday soon. 73 es (Morse Code for "and") GL ("Good Luck"),
Al
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