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Best VHF / UHF All Mode Rigs

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KC8VWM, Aug 22, 2014.

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  1. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been using the TS-2000 for the past five months or so. Before that I have had a combination of other efforts.
    One was the TS-780 for 2m and 70cm. The receive was okay on it but from a mountain top location the receiver was easily overloaded.
    Next I picked up a Yaesu FTV-901R transverter with the intention of using it on my next mountain topping trip. That actually never happened before making the leap to the TS-2000.
    The power output of the 780 and the 901 was limited to 10 watts. For the operations I had in mind I needed 100 watts on 6m and 2m, with 50 watts on 70cm. There was only one offering that met those exact standards
    and could still be purchased new. That was the TS-2000. I had contemplated the IC-9100 but the specifications difference was not really there to justify the added expenditure.
    The TS-2000 still needed some assistance with reception but from a mountain top location hearing wasn't really a problem.
    The TS-2000 had everything in a package where the 780/901 needed additional RF amplifiers. I was looking for a setup that was less of a hassle.

    Have fun
    73
    Gary
     
  2. N9DG

    N9DG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hands down the "best radio" for VHF and above weak signal work are PC-based SDRs with transverters.. For about $2K per band with all new hardware you can have 4 simultaneously watched bands and 8 simultaneous receivers, plus point and click random access tunning to anything you see anywhere on any of those 4 bands weak signal segments at any time. No button pushing, or band switching at all, just point and click to tune in the signals that you see spread across 192 kHz segments of each of those bands. Then to TX, just step on the proper foot switch for the band you want to TX on. And it easily allows 2 simultaneous receivers per band, and can even accommodate 3 receivers per band. Typically I only run 5 or 6 at a time during contest. Partially because that is all I can master, and partially because it is dirt simple to add and remove receivers as needed. This system is very effective and very powerful. You would spend many thousands of dollars more trying to get to that level of capability and performance by buying any of the “all mode” capable radios from the big 3 or 5 radio vendors.

    A composite screen shot of all 4 bands in action on a very low activity day. And the SO4R “radio” is shown while running a total of 8 simultaneous receivers. I can actually run all 4 bands simultaneously on just one $600 computer with 2 1920x1080 monitors. Though in contests I spread the 4 bands across two computers and 4 monitors, mainly for screen real-estate reasons.

    Bottom line is that I will NEVER go back to a non-graphical knobs and buttons radio for any of my VHF weak signal work:

    50-432-SO4R-8RX.jpg
     
  3. KD3NE

    KD3NE Ham Member QRZ Page

    For years all I used to 2M SSB work was a Kenwood TR-9130 .... and a Mirage Amp

    Today I have a Kenwood TS2000

    Tomorrow I will have the Icom IC9100


    I have talked with FLEX people about SDR .... but they are not where I'd like them to be .... yet.

    My issue with SDR though is having to have a computer and the box ...... makes tossing it in the truck and going up the hill a bit of a hassle.
     
  4. KJ3N

    KJ3N Ham Member QRZ Page

    IC-910H with 1.2 Ghz module.
     
  5. W0JMP

    W0JMP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Currently have the Elecraft K2 (with all the updates) and three Elecraft transverters for 2, 220 and 432. 31 elements on 432, 14 on 2 and 5 on 220.

    Have an Icom IC-7100 en route..will let you know how they compare.

    Previously had an Icom 821H for 2 and 440 and a Down East Microwave transverter for 220.

    Danny, W0JMP
     
  6. WA9WVX

    WA9WVX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I currently use an ICOM IC-551D 80 W on 6 m, YAESU FT-726R 10 W for 2 m & 70 cm, a Mirage B108 75 W 2 m and a Tempo 6N2 KW amplifier (when I need the extra power). But I think the most important thing in the station is the Antenna System so I use 7/8" Heliax with "N" Type connectors on the main runs up the tower putting the RF signal where it needs to be and let the antennas do the work. 5 Element Wide Spaced Beam 6 m, homebrew 40 Element Phased Collinear Array with a 2 Port Power Divider 2 m and 4 - 11 Element M2 Yagis Stacked with a 4 Port Power Divider and "N" Connectors throughout the Antenna System.
     
  7. N1RKW

    N1RKW Ham Member QRZ Page

    My vote would be for the Yaesu FT-857D, mostly because I own one. ;)

    In all seriousness, it is a very good radio and does everything I ask of it. I'm sure there are better all-mode rigs out there, but the 857 is no slacker and is about the most cost-effective way of getting your hands on an all-band, all-mode transceiver in today's new radio market.
     
  8. W0AAT

    W0AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Problem with the 857(and 897) is 2m and 432 receive noise figure is horrible.
     
  9. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with:

    1. FT-736R as the best all around rig.

    2. Transverters are the way to go for a fixed station.

    3. Go with the rig you have if it has 6 or higher--lots of 706's, 857-897-817's, IC-7000's out there and many (most?) owners have never taken them above 28.6 MHz.


    I use my IC-756 Pro II on six and my 706 MKIIG and original FT-817 for 2 and 0.7 meters. Antennas and height are crucial for VHF/UHF operations!

    73 and have fun!

    Jim N3AWS
     
  10. WA8UEG

    WA8UEG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I did anything other than 6 & 2 on weak signal VHF the rig I would get would be a 736R. Price is not bad considering a nice 551D is $350 & a 251 is $300. I have seen nice loaded 736's in the $900 range. Saw a beautiful one at the hamfest in NJ this year for $800 and it was gone in 30 minutes.
     
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