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Reviews For: HARRIS RF-3200

Category: Transmitters: non-amateur adaptable for ham use

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Review Summary For : HARRIS RF-3200
Reviews: 3MSRP:
Commercial HF Transceiver. 1.6-30mhz transceiver
150Watts out. CPU enhanced audio. Pre-curser to DSP circuitry. Real VFO, 120 memories and scanning
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W5DTW Rating: 2019-11-28
Very nice rig for no DSP Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had a couple of these for many years and they are real nice rigs, one of the best "analog" rigs I have ever owned.
The only big issue I see is no RF gain and that is easily remedied by installing a pot in the front panel, the manual even shows the circuitry to be added.
EDIT, looking at the manual you add a pot to J10 on the A3 sheet 7, I don't think R130 and R131 OR CR36, CR41 were populated, I just put a 10K pot between RX+ and ground with the wiper going to CR36/CR41 basically dividing RX+ and ground, feeding it through CR36/CR41 to override AGC.
KB0SFP Rating: 2010-09-21
Very good radio but I have better for less money. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have had one for several months now & while it is a very nice radio, I have better. Mine was one of the last ones made & was formerly the property of a Harris engineer. It has all the bells & whistles to include the rare narrow CW, & wide data filters. Also one of the few Noise Blankers in existence, mil spec ALE board, & 100% duty cycle fan.

Though I have dozens of mil spec radios I wanted one with easier tuning & a little more ham friendly while still having some memory capacity, scan capability, & a syllabic "smart" type squelch, & it has all that. By all accounts it has excellent TX audio processing though you must almost scream into the mic to achieve it(very low mic sensitivity). Wirering alternate mics & internal adjustments have had no difference.

Use on a crowded Ham band is ok but setting side by side with Furuno, SEA, & Transworld equipment some receiver deficiencies become apparent. Adjacent channel rejection is not as good as the other radios & use of the Noise Blanker is out of the question on a congested Ham band. The Harris has a fairly high noise floor which makes receiving weak signals a bit tough. A signal that is detectable well enough to take traffic(but difficult) with a TW-100 is not detectable on the RF-3200.

The menu operation is overly complicated & such simple things as the low power setting are berried & hard to get to without considerable frustration(not to mention the pass words). With all it's advanced features it doesn't have some of the simple functions like an RF gain, or attenuator. Though the smart squelch is functional, all my other radios so equipped work better. The scan function is very effective because it is fully adjustable & is not controlled by the squelch or AGC lines.

All-in all I like the radio & I'm going to keep it as backup to my main station Transworld TW100/TW500 combo. It is a no nonsense all business radio but if I had to make a choise between it, my Transworld, or my Furuno, It would loose hands down.

Dennis Starks
Monitor(all USB):
3996, 5403.5, 7296, 14342.5, 18157.5
WA2JJH Rating: 2004-05-12
Commercial radio suited well for ham use Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I first bought a Harris 1446u. Huge size, mil spec, 1.6-30 MHZ TX and RX. Problem...No VFO knob.
This made it impractical for ham use.
I then saw the later model Harris RF-3200. W1AW had one.This radio looks like the ICOM 718.

This radio is very unique in circuit design. It is built very well. Meets mil spec standards, however it is sold for commercial HF use.

This radio has a solid 150Watts output. This is enhanced by 4 types of audio processing. The end result is at least double your average PEP, however the audio sounds like it has not been processed!This is good because the speech enhancements are on all the time.
A combination of a small amout of audio copression, companding, high freq. boost and an advanced ALC circuit are used.
The ALC processing was used on the KENWOOD TS-520. The ALC was allowed to rise quicker and decay slower.

The Harris uses the 16 bit CPU to vary the ALC in real time. The ALC is like that in other rigs. However most rigs just use the ALC to reduce the finals drive. The CPU controlled ALC will boost the drive for higher vice peaks only when no distortion will be produced.
The highs in the audio are boosted too. Kenwood did this trick button on the TS-850.
A CPU controlled audio compressor and compander are used as well.

The result is great undistorted audio. No background noise, and a signal that will cut through QRM. However it does not sound like a speech proc is on!

The RX uses high level mixing like the DRAKE TR-7 ans R-7. The 1st IF is pre-ampless and has a pin diode attenuator in front of it.
The CPU samples the RX audio. From the sample it will automaticly select the amount and decay of AGC,AVC and RF gain! To reduce the RF gain, if a strong signal comes in. A voltage is sent to the PIN diode attenuator. The RX is optimised right from the front end!

Sound like DSP? IT IS NOT. However many of the circuits are adjusted in real time by the CPU
It is CPU optimisation of analogue circuits, that makes this transceiver better than many rigs today.

The commercial rigs also have higher specs on spectral purity.

There are very few knobs to play with. Before you say it is an appliance operators rig, think again. This rig has an RX that is better than the DRAKE TR-7. I then compared it next to my DRAKE R7A. The R7A was slighlty less noisy.

The main complaint of the rig is the fact it is noisy when there are no signals to receive. The Harris added more IF gain to compensate for the high level conversion. However as soon as a weak signal comes in the Harris receives it just fine.

The VFO has 3 positions for speed. each position has 2 speeds. One can tune ultra slow in 10HZ steps or tune in 100KC steps. Tuning in 100KC steps is the way you do your band selection!
It is faster than having a band switch!

This radio is simply great and unique.

If you see one on ebay for under $1400, you will not go wrong!