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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | SGC SG-2020ADSP2 Help

Reviews Summary for SGC SG-2020ADSP2
SGC SG-2020ADSP2 Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $795.00
Description: 20Watt SSB/CW transceiver, 160-10 Meters
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the SGC SG-2020ADSP2.

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NX0E Rating: 4/5 Apr 18, 2016 09:01 Send this review to a friend
Fix ADSP distortion  Time owned: more than 12 months
I use this model for weekly NVIS contacts. With a 15' high 80m dipole, it works well. At 20W it keeps up with the 100W rigs.

I acquired a second SG-2020 with ADSP2. It had distorted audio on receive. It seemed to be a case needing the mod that DG2IAQ mentions in the Oct. 2007 version of his mods sheet. But I had the first radio (slightly higher S/N, about 6k vs. 5k for my "new" acquisition) with clean audio. I decided to take a look and compare the two to see what the difference was.

Both radios had the ADSP2 mod done by the factory. Both radios had the factory installed 68k resistor in the green wire. Otherwise they appeared identical.

Then I noticed a piece of clear tape in my original unit. It held the green (ADSP input) and purple (ADSP output) wires to the U1 side of the standoff that is between U1 and U6. In the second, distorted radio, the wires were routed loosely over U6. But U6 (it is the 5 legged TO220 type case device) is a high gain audio amp in the RX audio path and routing the green wire over it could provide a feedback path for the low level ADSP audio. It could cause distortion.

I re-routed the green and purple wires to the other side of the standoff (and taped them in place for good measure). I did not change the resistor in the green wire, or make any other changes. After re-assembly and listening on some bands, the distortion appears gone. The audio is as clean as my first unit. That is communications quality audio.
KB9MVW Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2013 16:47 Send this review to a friend
FINE RADIO  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First of all this radio is very simple to use,good ergonomics.Second this is great for portable use in the field very low current draw. I have my radio hooked up to a small solar system and it never depletes the two golf cart batteries. Performance is above average and in my opinion better than the yaesu 817. Rx audio is just fine once the radio is understood. A little tweaking with the rf gain and adsp things sound very good. My only warning is dont tune this radio at high power into a poorly mismatched antenna it will damage the tx led lights. The radio is built like a tank and for a field radio excellent..No it does not perform up to a flex radio or big table top rig..But This radio is a lot of fun and works well...HEY SGC put this rig back into production!!!
KB0SFP Rating: 2/5 Sep 26, 2012 17:14 Send this review to a friend
Fun but flawed!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have own about 6 SG-2020 in various forms. Every one of them had a problem that required attention. The most common is frequency stability associated with the VHF BFO xtal oscillator. It can be fixed but not by SGC who has a well deserved, absolutely terrible customer service reputation.

These radios have excellent TX audio processing second to none(VOGAD). They also have a number of adverse receive issues related to their single convergence design. This brings us to the ADSP systems introduced to address some of these issues.

As I understand it, the subject of this thread is not the 2020 itself, which is covered elsewhere, but the ADSP. I have owned all versions of this radio & the ADSP systems. The ADSP does not fix all the ailments of the 2020. In the case of the ADSP-2 it actually introduces some.

This is the just of it. In it's bear bones stock form, the 2020 is a fun & marginally effective radio.

With the ADSP-1 added some usable degree of noise reduction is achieved in both voice & CW modes.

With ADSP-2, so much audio distortion is introduced that I find it worthless for voice. Others think it is effective on CW which it was specifically enhanced for. The worst thing is that this audio distortion does not go away when the ADSP is turned off.

The ADSP problem is compounded by the 2020 version it's installed in. Early radios that have been retrofit with ADSP-2, render a loud distinctive POP when kicking in & out which make using headphones a bit painful. SGC claims to have fixed this problem, but they never did. early radios can be identified by their use of rear panel connectors rather than pig tails.

Dennis Starks
HFpack/Milpack Monitor(all USB):
3996, 5357, 7296, 14342.5, 18157.5
KB2PIZ Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2009 04:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my SGC 2020 used on ebay. The radio had an indicator light out and a few other problems. I sent it to SGC for overhaul and the radio came back in perfect working order. I have been running the radio with a Werker 12V 18 Ah battery with the Nue PSK Modem and a homebrew roof top dipole. I am amazed at the contacts I make. With persistance I have broken pile ups, worked DX, and enjoyed my rig. It is rugged, reliable, easy to use and portable. All the requirements I had for an emergency set up. I'm running it now with either a Buddipole Antenna, or a Slinky Antenna.
KD6JDM Rating: 4/5 May 17, 2008 22:12 Send this review to a friend
Good audio; ease of use  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my SG-2020 about 8 years ago, and like using it as a portable rig.

The RF connector and the questionable DC power connector both were hardly what one would want with a rig that is marketed for rough service conditions. The DC connector was especially unreliable. NO WAY would the FAA ever give it a type certificate with that OEM connector. I sent the rig to SGC to have the chassis-mount RF connector and the DC connector changed to pigtails.

I have since installed a DC connector with proper strain reliefs and with reliable Anderson PowerPole connectors. I also reinstalled a chassis-mount RF connector, because the pigtail had problems from the start. The 239 connector is installed securely, in the manner that SGC should have used in the first place. I believe it now would work reliably in a boat, plane, or off-highway vehicle. No more intermittent connections.

I have also installed a fine dust screen over the speaker. It is an important addition, especially, when operating outdoors. The amount of iron dust in the air is higher than one might believe. It may take a few years, but it can accumulate on the top of the voice coil to an extent that it will cause the sound to be really scratchy. I had it happen to my Rat Shack Pro-43 scanner.

The signal drift is a minor problem. Once warmed up (about 10-15 minutes) it stays put just fine.

My only other real beef is that the headphone jack is at the rear, instead of at the front of the rig. It also is one of those flimsy eighth-inch things (yeah, Icom uses the same on its otherwise fine 706). Gimme a proper 1/4-inch socket, please. It has key and keyer sockets. For CW, I use a straight key. Never have used the keyer, so I would prefer a headphone jack in place of the keyer socket.

The transmit range is opened up to the entire 1.8-30 Mhz spectrum. The SGC-approved mod for that is extremely simple to do.

The unit is simple to use. I can vary the bandwidth from 100 cycles to 2700 cycles. Try that with other rigs costing under 700 bucks. The pass-band tuning is easy, and effective, too.

I get good signal reports from stations that are surprised that it is only a 20-watt rig. Granted, I lean to full-size wire antennas for field and home use, and 20 watts can sound like 200 on them. Hard to beat a full-size 75-mtr dipole for efficiency.

Transmitted audio is considered very good.

Would I buy another one? Maybe, but I likely would buy an Icom 718. Like the SG-2020, it is simple to use, has RF gain control, has the speaker in front, AND it has 100 watts output. I have custody of our club's 706 and would consider it, too, but I don't use the VHF or UHF bands since it is simpler to use dedicated rigs for those bands.

For the ham who likes portable operation, the 2020 is a good rig. Just make the DC and RF connections mods if the used one you find has the OEM connectors.
JDEVARIE Rating: 3/5 Aug 23, 2007 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Ok but not Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I first learned about the SG-2020 3 years ago, it was mounted on a bicycle. It looked rugged and simple so I had to have one. I purchased one used without ADSP. I was disappointed to find that the frequency drifted a few KC up or down while it warmed up. I choose not to operate CW so in phone I was also disappointed at the quality of the received audio. Very scratchy audio came out of the speaker and when operationg on 80m the static crashes made the radio a challenge to use. I did manage to make a couple of contacts. This radio was the model that had the antenna connector on the chassis as opposed to a short pigtail. I later found that the antenna connector was loose and was causing problems. I fixed that and although it took care of some SWR issues it did not fix the problems I noticed previously.
So, I heard from reviewers at eham and at yahoo how wonderful the ADSP models were. I went and got me one of those also used. This one had a pigtal with the RF connector and power wires coming out of the chassis. Disappointment struck again when I noticed the same drifting as the previous radio (I should note that this is explained in the manual as I later found). I was not crazy about the ADSP either as it would tend to muffle the audio of the received signals and often mask some of the weaker ones. I would imagine that the CW operators were pleased with this function and I suspect that they comprise the bulk of source of praise for ADSP that I have read around the different forums. I also managed some contacts with this radio, however never dared to take it portable as I wanted. I do give this radio a rating of 3 due to the fact that mechanically, it is built like a tank and that every time I turned on, it did behave in the same way so there was no erratic operation. It is just not the radio for me.
Anyways, ended up selling both radios. I do have a FT-817 that I take portable every now and then. It is however a little more complicated and with a lot less output but overcomes the shortfalls I found with the SGC radio.
W7GSA Rating: 5/5 Jun 2, 2007 23:20 Send this review to a friend
It is better then you could ever imagine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
You can't believe how great this piece of equipment is until you sit down and work with one. Yes, it was discontinued a couple years ago. However, I would not be supprised to see it reintroduced. But until then, you can find some good used ones around in the $500 to $600 range.
WB3HUH Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2007 21:05 Send this review to a friend
Pushing 2 years and still happy with this rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Purchased this unit about 2 years ago. I use it almost exclusively for SSB while traveling. Very rugged, great receive.....ADSP2 works great, very good audio reports. I am counting on it for emergency use in the future, since I am moving to a coastal QTH. Very sorry it has been discontinued. Given the way it was constructed, it was likely too expensive to continue in production....WB3HUH
WB8VGE Rating: 3/5 Dec 30, 2006 15:17 Send this review to a friend
I really wanted to like this radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
When the SGC-2020 came out I looked, touched and started saving up my mad money to purchase one.

I did

I ended up going though three units to get one to work and this final one is just a stinker.

Knowing first off that CW is not it's name sake. On receive, the CW sounds so bad, you just can't stand listening to it. It almost sounds like the receive audio is modulating the tone! Kinda of microphonics if you will. I did find a external speaker clears up the CW audio considerably. But you should not have to plug in a external speaker to make a $800 radio sound acceptable.

SSB is by far the radio's strength. There's no mic gain and no alc control. It is what it is. Audio is robust and very commerical sounding. While it won't win any audio contests, most people tell me that the audio is "punchy."

Not over joyed with the hanging power leads and the RF connector either.

The DSP works very just fine. It's a bit confusing to set up at first but after a while you get used to the menu systems SGC uses.

And of course the radio itself is built like a tank. It's designed to be manhandled.

But after three units, one back to SGC for repair, this radio still sounds like crap on CW

I can understand why SGC dropped this radio from their lineup. I will soon drop my SGC 2020 from my lineup, too.
WB4TJH Rating: 1/5 Jun 16, 2005 12:28 Send this review to a friend
Serious 2nd thoughts after a year of problems.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been trying for over year to get my SG020adsp2 working 100 per cent. I have sent it back to SGC THREE times now, and spent over a hundred dollars on shipping out of MY pocket. Now the radio is working fairly well, but I have continued to have problems with LSB. It seems that the 60 Mhz carrier oscillator in this radio is so critical in its adjustment, that is is a hit or miss operation getting it adjusted right. One sideband or the other will sound pretty good, but the other will be very pinched or non operative unless the 60 Mhz oscillator is perfectly adjusted. SGC replaced the exciter board two times under warranty, and still, it does not work properly. All three times when I received the radio back, one or the other sideband was all but unusuable, usally the Lower side band seemed to give the most trouble. This time I decided to adjust the varicap on the oscillator myself, and seem to have it working pretty well now on BOTH sidebands and cw for the FIRST time in the year I have owned it. But now the radio has developed a high pitched squeal/audio oscillation on part of the 20 meter band. If you get your hand near the radio, the squeal changes freqency. I have attempted to put some .01 bypass capacitors across the speaker leads and the DC input, but nothing seems to work, and the squeal remains whether on a power supply or battery, with or without an antenna or ground. I you tune past the spot where the oscillation is going on, the radio works just fine. I am so tired of trying to get this radio to work properly, that I have decided to just give up, and find a good TS-50 or FT-857 to use portable. I have never had so much trouble with a brand new, out of the box radio as I have with this one in my 35 years as a ham, having owned dozens of new and used HF radios. I think the SG2020 is a good idea that, unfortunately, still has some serious design problems. I will continue to use it and when my patience renews itself, continue to attempt get the bugs out, but I would seriously warn anyone thinking about getting an SG2020, to beware or to look elsewhere for a portable radio. I have lived the nightmare, and would not want anyone else to have to go thru what I have. It is just NOT worth it. I give up....Bill WB4TJH
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