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Author Topic: Apartment HF Rig and Power Supply Recommendations  (Read 949 times)
KD6DXA
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« on: July 06, 2019, 10:42:26 AM »

I would like some recommendations on creating a new apartment HF station, specifically recommendations on an HF Transceiver and power supply. Here are the relevant factors:

* My soon-to-be step-daughter is currently studying for her ham radio license, and I would like to introduce her to the full HF operating experience, so I am looking for a relatively basic full-featured rig instead of a minimalist QRP rig. (If it were just me, I would be content with a QRP rig, but I want to make sure to provide a robust introduction to the ham radio experience for her!)

* We don't have enough room in our apartment for a dedicated operating position, so I would like to find equipment (rig and power supply) that is relatively easy to stow away and set up on the fly as needed.

* The transceiver should be simple and user-friendly enough for a new young ham to learn to use easily, so a simple and intuitive user interface are important to me as well, along with relatively large, chunky controls.

* A built-in antenna tuner would be handy, again since we don't have enough space currently to dedicate to a permanent operating position.

* I myself mainly enjoy CW, so I would like a rig with a high-quality CW signal.

* I would also like recommendations on a power supply—for whatever rig(s) are recommended—with a small physical size and desktop footprint, again in the interest of making the station easy to set up and disassemble on the fly.

Thanks in advance for the recommendations!

Zachary, KD6DXA  Smiley
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Zachary Fruhling, KD6DXA
https://www.zacharyfruhling.com/
N8FVJ
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2019, 12:07:05 PM »

The Yaesu FT-450D is a good radio with small, but not QRP footprint. I like large Astron linear type power supplies, so I do not have small switching power supply recommendation.
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KS2G
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2019, 12:14:30 PM »

As N8FVJ suggested:

Yaesu FT-450D with optional ATU-450 automatic antenna tuner.
http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=102&encProdID=870B3CA7CFCB61E6A599B0EFEA2217E4&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

Many (most?) hams are partial to Astron power supplies.

But the two MFJ-4225MV power supplies in my shack have provided excellent service for more than ten years.
https://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-4225MV

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K7JQ
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2019, 02:08:43 PM »

Icom IC-7300...'nuff said.
Alinco DM-330MVT...quality, reliable switcher. No noise, and varied connectors.
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KS2G
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2019, 02:26:12 PM »

Icom IC-7300

The OP said:

"The transceiver should be simple and user-friendly enough for a new young ham to learn to use easily, so a simple and intuitive user interface are important to me as well, along with relatively large, chunky controls." [emphasis added]

I don't think a touch-screen, menu-driven driven radio qualifies.   Wink



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VK3TEX
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2019, 04:24:53 PM »

The 7300 is the perfect choice.

Which kid does not know how to use a cell phone or tablet PC?

The 7300 is VERY user friendly.

Enough said....

Les VK3TEX.
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K7JQ
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2019, 05:12:13 PM »

Les,

I was going to reply to KS2G, but you took the words right out of my mouth Cheesy. The way kids know how to navigate today's technical gadgets, the 7300 would be duck soup for her, assuming she knows what the features mean through her studies for the license and tutoring from her soon-to-be step-father.

Today's tranceivers don't have "large, chunky controls". Miniature SMD components spawned smaller boxes, something else the op specified for portability. The 7300 has less buttons and knobs, but in reality they're the most commonly used in every day operations. Most of the menus are set-and-forget, but still easy and intuitive to access.

73,  Bob K7JQ
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K7JQ
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2019, 05:18:04 PM »

By the way, I'm not knocking KS2G's prior suggestion. Just presenting another alternative...something more up to date than the Yaesu 450D, and an MFJ switcher.

73, Bob K7JQ
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KS2G
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2019, 07:42:20 PM »

By the way, I'm not knocking KS2G's prior suggestion. Just presenting another alternative...something more up to date than the Yaesu 450D, and an MFJ switcher.

73, Bob K7JQ

And I'm not knocking the '7300 ... probably the "best bang for the buck" on the market today for "casual" operators. (Wouldn't want one for contesting, for example.)

But the OP did specify "large, chunky controls" -- which I take to mean good-sized buttons and knobs, rather than a touch-screen and menus.  Wink

And, as I posted -- many (most?) power supply recommendations would probablybe an Astron SS-30M (https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/asr-ss-30m) but I've had an excellent long-term experience with my MJF-4425MV power supplies at considerably lower cost.
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N8FVJ
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2019, 05:39:36 AM »

As N8FVJ suggested:

Yaesu FT-450D with optional ATU-450 automatic antenna tuner.

The antenna tuner is not optional in the FT-450D, it is included with every FT-450D radio produced.
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KD6DXA
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2019, 09:35:34 AM »

Thanks for the recommendations so far, everyone! Keep them coming!

From browsing currently available transceivers online, I’m gravitating toward the Kenwood TS-590SG: https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/amateur/ts-590sg/

The Kenwood TS-590SG seems to have a bigger desktop footprint, but its front panel passes the “squint test” for intuitiveness for me. I’m only 41, but I’ve had my license since I was 13 and I grew up using my grandmother’s old Swan 240 transceiver, so I still have a preference for larger knobs and buttons. (Does that make me a dinosaur already at age 41? Lol)

Please keep the recommendations coming, and I love seeing the pros and cons of all of the suggestions; very helpful!  Smiley

Zachary, KD6DXA
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 09:44:07 AM by KD6DXA » Logged

Zachary Fruhling, KD6DXA
https://www.zacharyfruhling.com/
KS2G
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2019, 01:22:06 PM »

I’m gravitating toward the Kenwood TS-590SG:
https://www.kenwood.com/usa/com/amateur/ts-590sg/


I think no one (including me; I have a '590S) has suggested the '590SG because it's well beyond your stated desire for a "relatively basic full-featured rig".

The '590SG is a to-notch upper-mid-range rig --in both price and performance-- with a "competition grade" receiver and a broad range of features that significantly surpass the Yaesu FT-450D and Icom IC-7300 that have been previously suggested.

Although it lacks a "spectrum scope" like the '7300, it has provision for adding an external SDR to provide that function. And although many of its features are accessed via menus, all of the essential ones are "set-and-forget" with use of the front panel controls all that's required for day-to-day operating.

It's probably the best radio overall in its price range ... but some might say it "more radio" than a beginner needs or might be able to handle -- although a great one to "grow into".

 Wink
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VK3TEX
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2019, 06:09:41 PM »

yes the 590 a good choice too. I tried one of my friends once. I still think the 7300 is a better buy. It's the all time best selling rig from ICOM for a reason....

Although in my opinion it(590SG) WILL NOT significantly SURPASS the 7300 in any way except one, that is front end overload from very strong nearby signals. This may or may not be an issue if you live close to another HAM with a big amp and antenna.(or you may have problems on field day with close proximity antennas...)

I have never had any front end overload issues but i don't have anyone TX'ing close by....

The scope is VERY HANDY to have, once you have tried one, you will not want to go back to a radio without one....

I had a friend come over yesterday and had a tune around with 7300 and stated the the tuning knob was the BEST and SMOOTHEST he has used to date. And this guy has had many different radio's.(He has a top of the line Kenwood TS990 and the smoothness is better than that tuning mechanism...)

Having said all that, we are all subjective in our opinions and can only advise you on our experiences.

For me the 7300 is a definite keeper, it has wonderful build quality and fantastic performance...

I had a TS990 in the shack and sold it, but kept hold of 7300 because it does 99% of what i do and expect from a transceiver....

Cheers,

Les VK3TEX.
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W4FID
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 03:52:04 AM »

In a similar situation years ago -- condo QTH, limited space, and no good antenna options, I had a TenTec Omni D and a wire ant running in the bedroom where the rig was. Out the SO239 -- one "leg" of 33 foot long zip cord down to the floor and around the base board. One "leg" up to the corner where the wall met the ceiling and around. NOTE -- RF FROM 100 WATTS CAN HURT OR EVEN START A FIRE SO USE CARE FOR WHERE THE WIRE RUNS AND DON'T TOUCH IT OR LET IT GET TOO CLOSE TO SOMETHING EASILY FLAMMIBLE LIKE CURTIANS. In a roll top desk or under some nice felt covers like the guy in California makes and it looks fine. Cost is modest to down right low, rig has "full size" controls and is easy to operate. Performs well on CW and SSB.
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KD0REQ
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2019, 10:50:44 AM »

wire fire? that would be off a bare end. if you have the antenna matched, you should not have a monstrous voltage off the end, so any random insulator to whatever building attachment, and an overlapping tape around the wire ends ought to take care of that. now, if you were using a big ol' tube amp into a random wire, end fire is a possibility. but proximity to the RF field would be a more present hazard. string something up, use an outboard tuner, have fun.
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