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Author Topic: New radio  (Read 2572 times)
KE5OPX
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« on: October 12, 2007, 07:28:20 PM »

I am about to get my General and I am wondering about what HF radio I could get. I am 11, so I am on a tight budget, but I want something good. I was thinking either the FT-857D or -817ND, the IC-718, the Scout 555, the FT-747, or the FT-100. Any suggestions? Also, if you have a radio for sale, email me at smadmead@yahoo.com.

73,

KE5OPX
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ONAIR
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2007, 04:13:39 AM »

   You can't go wrong with the 718.  Awesome reviews, $550 new, good warantee and a high resale value!
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K1KAA
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2007, 06:36:20 AM »

Nice...I did it at 11, too (that was in 2000).  I always went with used gear at first, but the 718 is a fine radio.  100 isn't bad either, though.  Close enough where price might be the deciding factor.

73', Mike K1KAA
http://k1kaa.413ma.org
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2007, 06:19:40 PM »

>New radio  Reply  
by KE5OPX on October 12, 2007  Mail this to a friend!  
I am about to get my General and I am wondering about what HF radio I could get. I am 11, so I am on a tight budget, but I want something good. I was thinking either the FT-857D or -817ND, the IC-718, the Scout 555, the FT-747, or the FT-100.<

::The FT-817ND is a portable/mobile rig, not a "home station" rig.  Unless you have GREAT antennas, this rig will be a disappointment (I have one).  The FT-857D isn't bad. The FT-747 is a good rig, but "old" now, and if it fails and needs service, what will you do?  The IC-718 is available new, cheaply.  The FT-100 is a rig I never liked (I owned two of them, only because I must be incredibly dumb).  The Scout 555 hasn't been made in a few years but is actually a very, very good rig...if you don't mind plugging in band modules to switch bands.  And if you can "find" the band modules, since they're no longer made.

Of all these: The Scout is probably the best performer overall, but discontinued.  Ten Tec service is good, and not expensive, if you need it: But the rig is discontinued and it's quirky that to change bands you have to remove and plug in a new band module (I had one of these also, and actually liked it a lot).  The Ten Tec optional noise blanker for the 555 is excellent, and it has a very good internal keyer.  Its modulation quality is outstanding, and its CW break in is above reproach.

The IC-718 has a big edge because it's still made, so you could buy one new with a warranty.  A lot to be said for that, and that factory support is obviously still available.  

Whatever you decide to go with, remember the Golden Rule: Antennas are golden and are by far the most important part of your station, next to the operator.  The "rig" isn't nearly as important.

Good luck!

WB2WIK/6
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KE5OPX
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 08:20:27 AM »

Which is better, price and equipment wise: the IC-706, the FT-857D, or the FT-450?
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WA9UAA
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 11:04:47 AM »

Hi Adam,
Each of the three you listed will require a 13.6 Volt DC supply. I have never owned an FT-897 so I can't speak to that. The IC 706 series are fine mobile rigs but the HF receiver will easily overload on a good fixed station (home) antenna. AMHIK. The FT 450 will come with three fixed DSP filters good for SSB and CW, which none of the other rigs have with out forking over extra bucks. The early FT 450s had a hum problem on SSB which you will want to check on before you buy. The other good choice is IC 718; though, it has room for only one extra filter, and does not have 6 meters. Beyond these limitations, it is a fine rig. So, what to do, I would wait until I passed the test while doing more research and saving money. My main rig is a Ten Tec Jupiter which is 'Software Defined' and still being updated periodically by Ten Tec. It does not have 6 meters; but then, I don't have room for a good 6 meter antenna either. If you read WB2WIK's comment on antennas; He is right! So, you might want to work backwards so to speak. Decide on an antenna system that fits your location in terms of length and height, higher is better BTW; then, knowing what antenna system you have room for, decide what rig is the best match to that antenna system and your budget. Good luck
73,
Rob WA9UAA
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NA0AA
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 05:17:56 PM »

First off, wow, a General at 11 - good for you.  I sure wish I had gotten started that young.

If you can only get one rig, an all-mode, all-band radio is not a bad choice for a starter.

You might look to see if you can locate a used Yaesu FT-847 - 100 watts from 160 to 6 meters, 50 on VHF and UHF.  no coverage of 60 meters however.  It's a nice desk radio and has the ability to work full duplex for satellite work if that interests you in the future.

I would encourage you to buy a 100 watt radio as your first HF rig, I feel that QRP is too difficult when you are first starting out, particularly on phone.  I believe you will have better success with 100 watts.

My personal preference is also for radios with more knobs than buttons, but good luck with that unless you buy used [which is great if you can test it first].

As was also noted, don't forget to budget for a power supply [and it's not much more to go from a 20 amp supply to a 35 amp supply that will give you room to grow your shack], coax, antenna wire and insulators [you are going to build your own antennas for HF, right?].  If you stick with resonant dipoles, you can forgo a tuner in the immediate future, but you might want an antenna switch.

If you do buy an IC-706 or FT-857, I recommend you buy a remote speaker for it - the internal speakers on most radios are not great but those sub-mini radios are even worse.  Even the $13 MFJ Clear Tone speaker is an improvement.

Hopefully you belong to a club or have an Elmer that can loan you some useful tools like an antenna tuner or SWR meter that may cost more than you can afford now.

Remember, if you make a mistake, it's not going to be your last radio, so rather than agonize over the decision endlessly, get on the air - you will form your own preferences as you start to work HF.

Most of all, have fun.
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KT8K
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2007, 06:55:27 AM »

The IC-718 is probably your best choice (unless you're nutz about 6 meters).  I recommend getting the additional filter, though - it will make a big improvement in the rig's receiver.
Hope to c u on the air soon. 73 de kt8k - Tim
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W4MKH
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007, 07:36:24 AM »

I have the 718 that I use for HF and I like it. Great price, easy to use for a first rig and good performance.

I wouldn't worry about 6 meters unless there is a local repeater that is used a lot. Sure you can DX it but that isn't a big thing right now at this point in the solar cycle. You can always upgrade your radio later after you have some more experience.
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KE5OKQ
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007, 06:33:21 PM »

My first rig was a 718 and I loved it.  It is simple to use, a user friendly menu and indestructable.  Mine put out 120 watts out of the box!  Using a simple vertical I had QSOs throughout Europe as far east as Russia and west Australia.  For the money nothing comes close.
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KE5OKQ
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 04:01:30 PM »

 If you want to buy new and your on a budget You cant go wrong with the IC-718: It was my first rig and worked great.  Very simple to operate and the DSP worked better then my Kenwood that was twice the price.  It was putting out 120 watts out of the box!

Buy the MFJ 4125 power supply.  It's cheap, lightweight, small and works great.  No RF hash.  If you need a tuner the LDG Z-100 is a bargain.  You will not be disapointed.

If you want to go used, the ICOM -740 is a graet value.  You can pick one up in the $300 range but beware of used equipment if you don't know the seller.  
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