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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | SGC SG-2000 Help


Reviews Summary for SGC SG-2000
SGC  SG-2000 Reviews: 12 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $1895.00
Description: SG-2000 BASIC SYNTH RADIO 150 WATTS - 1.8-30MHz,RTTY,ARQ,REMOTE
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.sgcworld.com
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AC5XP Rating: 3/5 Mar 21, 2012 07:52 Send this review to a friend
My second one exhibited the same problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
Folow-up review:
So I bought a second one (used) recently, of much later manufacturing date than the one I originally owned in the early ninetees. I could not resist the low price: Only $200 in like new condition.
But guess what: The receiver hiss I experienced on that first one was NOT an isolated incident, the new unit had exactly the same issue. Together with all the other shortcomings (ancient synthesizer concept; very poor IF bandpass response in AM mode; cumbersome user interface and the digital logic noise being picked-up by the receiver). So my original rating of a 3 still stands.

It turns out SCG has since exited the ham transceiver market (I think they only sell autotuners nowadays) so that in itself is a loss. Because the company DID built their rigs to last, and reliability is a very important thing especially in mission-critical applications like a transceiver on a seagoing vessel for which the SCG-2000 originally was developed.

______Original review Feb 7, 2002 12:15 _________
I had one of these SGC-2000's about 10 years ago, bought it new then. In all fairness, it is not a bad radio but it might have been a mistake by SGC to sell it to an audience of hams. This is really a commercial (marine) radio and as such it is doing a good job.
I was attracted to it because of the good old American construction. And indeed, it is built very well. There are two main boards in the radio, glass-epoxy FR4, easy to reach and well laid-out. They are mounted on a solid aluminum chassis, one on top, one on the bottom.
The RF amplifier in fact is two parallel 100 watt amps into a combiner, so at the 150 watt that is specified it just loafs. Actually, no high-SWR protection is implemented because even for infinite VSWR this amplifier is not going to give up.
The control head can be mounted remotely, although probably not very practical for HAM use. Lots of the IARU marine channels are already pre-programmed, and you can program even more yourself.
Another plus is the excellent manual that is included. It also can be computer-controlled through an RS-232 port but I have never tried this because the software was too expensive and not included.
When I just had the radio I was quite enthusiastic but after a while the downsides started to turn me off. They are as follows:

[] Worst issue: the receiver gives off an unpleasant hiss, even with no antenna connected. I have seen complaints about this in these review pages for other radios, but this one is THE worst. Very fatique-inducing. It was so bad that I wonder if it actually was a defect for my particular radio.

[] The up-down frequency tuning buttons are OK for commercial use, but for a ham this is going to be a turnoff. Buy the version with the spinner knob.

[] Synthesizer should have been done with a DDS. Lots of artifacts and birdies on this one, and no smooth "jumps" from one 100 Hz step to the next. Maybe SGC already has implemented this by now, like I said mine I bought 10 years ago.

[] Sensitive to RF feedback on microphone input. The weird thing is that most commercial rigs seem to have this problem. It appears only manufacturers for ham equipment have tackled this issue well (although not all of them!)

So to summarize, I think it is not a bad rig, but designed for commercial use. If you want to buy one of these, go for the one with the spinner knob, and play with it for a while in a show-room to make sure you really like it.
My rating: I would have given it a 3.5 because from a reliability standpoint this is an excellent radio. Unfortunately the rating system does not allow half-points, maybe I should put in a second review for a four....
 
KD6UWP Rating: 5/5 Apr 24, 2008 19:55 Send this review to a friend
A good unit  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was the first and only unit I have bought for my Grand Banks 32 trawler and I did so in 1994. I got the SG-2000 with the SG-230 Coupler and 9' SG-303 antenna in the QMS installation. It has worked well for my purposes.

In retrospect I would look at a taller antenna but I wanted the QMS as a quick and dirty installation off of my flybridge. At that time they offered a 23' antenna but the coupler had to be installed elsewhere in the boat. Looking at it now there would have been a minimal problem but the guy who installed the unit on my boat had his own agenda and to a certain degree led me astray although the final installation was fine, albeit expensive.

The questions I asked of SGC were quickly answered and Pierre Goral (now deceased) even told me how to tweak the unit for an external speaker although I think they offered one at the time. They were excellent in giving me options for my trawler, including drawings on my drawing submitted by fax to them, and it would have been even easier had I still been in a sailboat.

I chose this unit to a large degree because Gordon West, through whom I recieved my tech license, and SGC had a hook up which included a $600 discount.

I am happy I did so.

Sandy

 
KN6OT Rating: 5/5 Dec 15, 2005 18:04 Send this review to a friend
FB rig.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got this rig. I had been eyeballing these for some time and took the plunge. It's new. It's different. It's easy to understand and fix on the fly. It's built like a brick @#$% house. I have 9 HF radios of 7 makes, but if there were some kind of disaster, this would be the radio I'd grab on the way out the door. I have a couple of their couplers for portable and mobile use. Those things are wonderful.
 
NC2W Rating: 2/5 Mar 23, 2005 19:22 Send this review to a friend
Not too good  Time owned: more than 12 months
The audio quality of received SSB signals is poor.

For a given signal, on any of the bands, a Drake 2B appears more sensitive.

Tuning is too cumbersome. Locking out the dial is unnecessary. This should be optional.

The manual should come with the unit.

Delay in the ADSP section is too long, and CW
keying suffers above 5 WPM.

Good Point:
Output Power is more than adaquate.
 
KB2CPW Rating: 5/5 Oct 29, 2003 23:31 Send this review to a friend
Its cool!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

I bought one for the mobile, unfortunately its too large for my Use as far as mounting the main chassis. Thats my problem and it had no effect on my review of the radio.
Out of the box, it is intimidating. You need the manual to get started, but once you get into the swing of things, it becomes intuitive. Mine is the Regular (non dsp) model.
The RX, filtering, TX audio are all excellent. There is some AF hiss present but it doesnt appear to be in the rx portion of the rig, simply an artifact of the 5 watt af amp section, I didnt find this fatiguing as the rx is very good/sharp and it was easy on the ears (at least mine).
The 150 watts really makes this shine on the bands and it has very good tx audio from my rx'ed reports. If you like to tune around, you may want one with the dsp as it has the vfo knob from what I am told..
If you are a rag chewer, simply load your favorite spots in this rig and go to town.
You can tune around by scanning but its cumbersome until you learn the radio. I wont knock any of those with a bad review as I knew how this radio operated before I bought it.
It loafs at 150 and never gets hot. Its relatively stable and I havent had a bad audio or signal report on it. The Noise blanker will eliminate most noise and I rate it as good as the FT100's in cleaning up ignition noise. The rejection is also very good, I didnt suffer from splatter that other local stations complained about. Its built like a brick S-house and has some cool features other rigs dont have like time and date right on the LCD. The Backlight is a little cheesy, but the LCD is easy to read and otherwise informative and pleasant.

All in all, this radio is the right choice for:
1. Button lovers and gadget freaks
2. Those that want to be "different"
3. Those that spend all their time on a few freqs and want a dependable radio you can spill your coffee on and then clean it with a garden hose once a week.
4. Those who need an HF rig in every room (you only need one of these and just keep buying optional heads for it. You can work Taiwan from your toilet and Bangcock from your bedroom, just mount another head unit next to the Vanity and drape your favorite mic over the soap dish or try one close to your bed and your good to go (if you install extra heads, keep in mind that there is an intercom built in, if you run out of T.P you can summon the XYL for a fresh roll of charmin!

The PA is solid and forgiving of a less than adequate swr. The PA is over engineered and hard to beat even with a crappy antenna.

All in all>>> This radio is built tough and made to stay working. I cant knock anything but the hiss as it is fun to use and easy to qsy once you've played with it somewhat. The menu system doesnt go too deep like the latest from Japan so once you master how to achieve going into its sub menu's you will be flying around the band quickly.. You need about two solid days to get this rig mastered.
This is a nice radio to buy used as they usually sell for a fraction of what they go for new. At that price its a keeper(usually under 550 for a non dsp model thats got a few years on it). Well worth the above and a bargain at that price for what you get.

Am I happy with it? Yes.. In fact I bought another with some accessories and if I could I would keep em both. But ones gotta go.. I would rate this a solid 9 for the rag chewer and techno-junkie. I wouldnt recommend it for those that like to peruse the bands while mobile.
Can it be improved? Sure it can but its a nice rig the way it is.. Milspec,Marine durable and fun to use as a ham rig plus oodles of memory storage.. Regards.. Richy N2ZD
 
N6PUO Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2003 15:41 Send this review to a friend
Fine Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently traded vehicles & wanted a different HF radio for my new full size Ford van. I had been using a Yaesu ft-900 & really didn't want to trade, but when you remote the face plate you lose some of the controls. My goal was to find an HF radio with remotable head but not a tiny one with a whole bunch of "sub menu button pushing".

The SGC 2000 w/PowertTalk dsp has interested me for some time. I read all the reviews here & the theme seems to be if you are expecting the usual ham designed radio you will most likely be dissapointed. However if you look past that, the radio seems to have some usefull features for mobile hf, ie: dsp, higher power, BIG display, and all controls available with few sub menus.

I got brave and bought one on Ebay. Aside from the seller being less than honest as to the electrical condition of the radio I'm glad I bought it. It arrived with a flakey volume pot & a processor with a mind of its own. It would switch into transmit all by itself! While I had the radio apart looking for possible troubles I noticed that the circuit boards in the control head were a loose fit at the pin connectors. Should be a tight fit.

SGC has a flat rate to repair their radios. The SG2000 is $500.00. For that they repair anything wrong & upgrade the radio to the newest version. I figured that I would still be in the radio for slightly less than I could sell it for if I didn't like it.

Well I sent the radio off & had it back in a week & I am VERY pleased with both the radio & the SGC service department. They replaced the entire processor board with the latest version, which no longer requires a battery to hold memory. They replaced all the boards in the control head. They also replaced various ic's & capacitors in the radio to upgrade to the latest version. It is almost a new radio!

So.....using the rig. I used it in the shack for a week & there some plusses that showed up right away. The audio circuit has constant output, which means you can talk softly or shout into the mike and the amp gets the right level for nice clear txmt audio. Good "punch". Also the DSP works quite well. I have never used DSP before so I can't compare it to any other rigs. Power out is always 150w plus on ssb, 200w on cw, and about 60 on am. Well....they call it am compatible. It's double sideband with a lower carrier. Don't know how that sounds on the other end.

Mobile it is just fine for me. The rig requires a little more button pushing than a "regular" ham rig, but not much. The extra power is a plus. On hf mobile during the daytime the real trouble is hearing stations to talk to. With this radio & a good mobile antenna, if you can hear them, you can work them. I don't miss the filters, if shift, fm, etc. When I am driving I can't be poking buttons or twisting knobs anyway. (Unless I want to crash.)

Those are the good things. The downsides are few in "my opinion".
1. The txmt audio is a bit narrow. Great for dx, & when working mobile I'm not going to try for "hi-fi" audio.
2. Can't think of #2.

PS. If you are using a rig mibile, and particularly a higher power rig like the SG2000, make sure you heed the tried & true rules for a successful mobile installation. Three of which are:
1. Run HEAVY, short wires to the battery.
2. Use a separate battery for your radio.
3. GOOD GROUNDS!
 
N0PV Rating: 4/5 Sep 23, 2002 13:46 Send this review to a friend
Nice Solid Radio!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have recently aquired this unit used and have had no problems with it at all. The radio is rock solid with consistantly good reports acrosss all bands even with the stock hand mike.

One thing that impressed me was the Noise Blanker! It took the whistles and noise right off the signals. The other filtering is very impressive as well. When I switch from A3A and listening to broadcast stations on 40M to A3J it is pure delight to hear how well the SSB signals are pulled thru.

I will conceede that this radio has some getting used to in the learning curve - for folks who enjoy "spinning" the wheel and stalking signals I would say get the power talk head. I happen to have the standard and have not found this to be much of an issue with me. I find myself using my Yaesu receivers band scope to locate signals and then tune directly.

The additional 50W out over most standard HF rigs and the nominal 16A current draw is also nice. A testiment to its effiency.

 
N6HES Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2002 23:12 Send this review to a friend
Fine as Maritime Mobile Unit  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have the PowerTalk head model, hooked to an SGC 230 tuner with a backstay wire antenna, aboard a sailboat.

To restate what has been said in earlier reviews of this product, it should be forefront in mind that it was designed as a marine/commercial radio, useable by hams but not purpose-built for them. To compare it to a price-equivalent IKENSU HF ham rig is unfair, as its real competition is the likes of an ICOM 721. Operationally, the Maritime Radio Service utilizes "channels" for semi-duplex operation. MRS radios tend to be, by design, "channel-agile" as opposed to frequency-agile, a feature that frustrates a ham who likes to browse a band.

As to strengths; the 2000, with the PowerTalk head, is much closer to the ham ideal than are any of the other Marine SSB's I've used, in that the multifunction knob can be used much like a VFO, and direct frequency selection is comparatively easy. The scanning functions, when finally understood by the operator, work well. It is a powerful unit, and I am able to routinely work voice and data at a range of 4,000 miles and more- which is the reason I bought the thing. Signal reports are usually very good, and reception on my end is satisfactory. Finally, and importantly to me, factory tech support is excellent.

As to minuses; although the control head may be separated from the body, which is a very helpful feature in mounting a unit of this size within the confines of a boat cabin, one loses the headphone/external speaker jack in doing so as the thing is mounted on the back of the case. Also, I have not found a compatable headset, which I dearly desire.

My final comment is that I would not care to own an SG-2000 without the PowerTalk features. The included filters and DSP are very necessary in the radio environment I often find myself in (a seemingly peaceful anchorage can have as much loose RF as the Hamvention due to the emailers).

 
NT2R Rating: 5/5 Dec 31, 2001 15:27 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio - No Problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had an SGC2000 w/PowerTalk remote head and SGC230 automatic antenna tuner installed on my Catalina 42 sailboat since 1999. The antenna is the vessel's backstay. I have used the SGC equipment in the marine and amateur services and have found it to be problem free. Transmitted voice signal quality has always been reported as very good. The DSP controls take a little getting used to and there are times when it is better not to use the DSP and just listen to the unprocessed audio.I have used the SGC in the CW mode with a manual key and it gets through just fine. It is not as smooth in this mode as my ICOM 781, for example, but it gets through. A friend has had a 2000 w/PowerTalk remote head installed on his boat since 1997, and again, no problems experienced. Amateur Radio operators used to purpose built amateur equipment, such as Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, and others, will find the SGC2000 a little different to use. Quite a lot of key pressing on the SGC by comparison to amateur radios.
 
G4WWY Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2001 19:35 Send this review to a friend
Solid and reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I dont understand the poor reviews posted here. I have owned my SG2000 since 1995 and it has been a quality piece of kit. Of course it does have some faults but it is certainly not junk! The front end is very sensitive and is usually operated with the attenuator in line to cut qrm. Power o/p is clean and accurate. I use mainly ssb and arq, both modes work fine, especially arq. It could be improved by having flash memory instead of the internal battery which dies very quickly. Some filtering options would be useful and the mic could be better. I have loaned this rig to a friend for two years and taken it to VE3 several times and it has always performed flawlessly. One way to improve the mic is to dive inside and turn up the mic drive pot. When used with the 230 it is an easy to use and reliable station.
 
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