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What Transceiver to buy?

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KI4SDV, Jan 7, 2013.

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  1. KI4SDV

    KI4SDV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looking for some advice on buying a new, or new to me radio. Been using a FT920 for 6 years, really liked it but it is starting to have issues. Looking to move it off the #1 slot and use it as a backup only. What I liked about it:

    1. Nice size, not to small or large.
    2. Decent receiver.
    3. Very good on 6 meters.
    4. Easy menu, not layers of menu's.
    5. Nice feel and look.

    What I didn't like:

    1. No band scope.
    2. Squelch hard to get to.
    3. small controls along bottom.
    4. Only 100 watts.

    After looking at whats out there I can't seem to find what I want. I do SSB only at this time, don't have any desire to go digital etc. I'm not into doing contesting though I do like to chase weak DX. I was thinking the FTDX3000 might fit the bill, but I think it may be to small and menu driven for my taste.
    The K3 is also too small. Seems like the FT2000 series have a lot of issues, as does many of the Icoms. The FTDX 5000 is a bit more than I want to spend, and seems pretty complex. Would like to keep cost's around 3.5k. Would prefer buying new to get the warranty and parts availability, but would consider "almost new". I'm not really very familar with the Kenwood or Ten Tec line of radios. Seems up conversion radio's are on their way out, and down conversion offer better receiver quality?

    Any advice on what I should be looking at? I operate a lot on 6 meters with some 10 meter. Will be getting my general in the next month or so, so will be going on 20 and 40 at that time.


  2. WB4JPZ

    WB4JPZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Probably not exactly where you're looking to go but I keep hearing a lot of positive comments around the Kenwood TS-590s. In fact I was at HRO this past weekend and watched one go out the door while I was there and one person (plus myself) walk out with the sales brochure to add to wish pile. That and a nice guy who was talking about his like it was his latest lady love.

    Also had a somewhat lengthy QSO with a guy in Texas who just got one for Christmas (moved up from a TS-440) and was extremely happy with it and very much recommended it.

    It's well under your budget at about $1600. Would leave you enough cash to pick up an amplifier.

  3. KI4SDV

    KI4SDV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for your input, I checked it out and put it on my "maybe" list. I am also checking out the TenTec's.
  4. KB9LXP

    KB9LXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an Icom 718, easy to us, all bands from 160 - 10 AM SSB CW, cheeper. sorry, no six.
  5. K9ASE

    K9ASE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I too am looking to "move up" from a TS-440SAT and am tring to decide between a TS-480SAT or a TS-590.
    It seems that by the time a find a 480SAT and add filters. I may as well spend the money on a gently used TS-590.
  6. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Ten Tec OrionII would be my first thought, but it doesn't do 6 meters. The Ten Tec Eagle has similar receive performance to the Orion, but it does cover 6. Of course, the Eagle has only one receiver, is smallish, and no bandscope. The Omni VII has good performance, a scope and 6 meters. There are demos of all these radios, including some in-depth ones, on YouTube.

    The cheapest ICOM that fits your bill is double what you want to pay. We have not seen a price on the TS990, yet. A DXer/contester friend of mine likes the TS590 quite a bit in that price range.
  7. N4ST

    N4ST XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am very happy with my Ten-Tec Omni VII. After +35 years with various rice boxes, I feel like I have been wasting my time until I got the O7. It only has a manual one-shot band scope and it isn't very small. But, it has a great receiver and very simple menu system. The problem with a great receiver and 100 watts, is you can hear a lot of stations that you can't work. :)
    I do think the knobs seem pretty cheesy for a $3K radio, but they get the job done.
  8. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been doing a lot of reading on new radios. My interest mainly is receiver performance. IF I bought a rig today it would be a Kenwood 590. It helps I'm a kenwood fan. It's probably not the best radio out there, but for the price and perfromance, it is very hard to beat.
  9. KI4SDV

    KI4SDV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for all your input. Any rig must have six meters and be good on it. That's what I liked about the FT920. Seems many manufacturers throw it on as an afterthought, and the rigs performance on 6 suffers. My current short list is as follow:

    TenTec Omni7
    Kenwood 590
    Yaesu FTDX3000
    Used Icom Pro 3
    New FT2000D with DMU2000 (worried about reliability)
    Yaesu FTDX5000D (more than I want to spend but could swing it).

    I tend to hold on to radios a while, 5-7 years. This next one might be my last if it fits the bill and is reliable.
  10. N0NB

    N0NB Subscriber QRZ Page

    One of our 160m roundtable members said the other night that his TS480 is "right there" with his K3 and he is a big fan of both. I'll take his word for it, so it's an option to consider. I believe his is an SAT as he uses it mobile.
  11. N2ADV

    N2ADV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I like 'em both for sure!
  12. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    New: Icom 7600

    Used: Icom Pro III

    I have a Pro II which I enjoy. The Pro III is incrementally better than the Pro II, the 7600 more so than the Pro III. Good bandscopes, works great on 6, not overly dependent on menus, dual watch, voice keyer, good size, but still easily transported.

    Downside given your criteria: limited to 100 watts. Used Pro III would leave money left over for an amp (as someone said earlier...)
  13. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    If in the budget I would head straight for a proii.
  14. N0AZZ

    N0AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page


    I have both radios and I can tell you the 480 is "NOT" right there with the K3 for sure.

    Radios I owned last year in my shack FTDX-5000MP,FT-2000, FT-1000MP, TS-590s, TS-480HX, IC-7000, IC-703+, IC-9100, Elecraft K2, K3 (2), KX3. This was all in 2012 and all new except for the FT-1000MP and IC-703+ not all bought that year. I tested all of them against each other two were all around winners the FTDX-5000MP I had it 2 yrs and the Elecraft K3's.

    The TS-590s was sold in just a few weeks it left a lot to be desired, there is a reason you see so many for sale just a few months old at well under what they cost. Got a bug early in the year and bought my first Elecraft a K2 and built it a really nice radio. The FT-2000 went next and bought 1st K3 then the FT-1000MP went. I then bought the IC-9100 and sold the IC-7000 and IC-703+ then bought another K3/P3/KPA500 amp.

    After much thought and checking I finally sold my FTDX-5000MP and VL-1000 amp and bought an Alpha auto tune amp and tuner. As it stands now my station is down sized and has 2 K3's in a SO2R setup, K2, KX3, IC-9100, TS-480 HX. I plan to sell the 480 this spring and buy another KX3 when the 100w amp comes out for them, they are a QRP rig for those that don't know.

    For the best radio for the money there is little doubt as the Sherwood report shows the K3 is very near the top and at the very top for sub receivers no one else offers. With 5 8 pole roofing filters in the main and sub receivers along with the DSP it does stand out.I knew when I bought my 5000 that it couldn't get any better after sitting it along side my IC-7700 but times change.
  15. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I see as many K3s for sale as TS-480s. Like this one on QRZ right now:

    I can't relate "for sale" ads to rigs' desirability. I suspect a lot of the "for sale" ads are motivated by people simply needing to raise money to pay the bills. Feeding the family takes priority over working DX, and it should.

    But in the past month, I've seen 16 K3's for sale within ten miles of me, on the local nets. Of course, I've also seen just about everything else for sale, also. It may be just a "sign of the times," and our unstable economy.
  16. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Subscriber QRZ Page

    I see lots of Mercedes and Lexus on the used market too!

    And I'm happy with the TS-590s. Pretty nice rig, good features for the price.
  17. KB1YFD

    KB1YFD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have you looked at the Flex 3000 or flex 5000? I just got a Flex-3000 and it quite a step up from my Yaesu FT-950. Great RX, huge band scope, awesome filters! I've been running it now for about a month. I bought mine used for $1200, new is about $1600. I also bought a desk top computer and fire wire card and cable for about $600. Total now is $1800. Software setup was easy! The newest software installs everything needed to run the radio, all you have to do is click OK a few times. To my ear, this is the best RX I've ever heard. OH yea, they are made in the USA.

    John KB1YFD
  18. KI4SDV

    KI4SDV Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Have you looked at the Flex 3000 or flex 5000?" Not really. If it requires a computer to operate I start losing interest fast. Not that I'm against computers, but I guess I might be a bit old fashioned. I might consider a SDR-IQ or QS1R though for what ever I buy (and that would be a huge step for me) :) You gotta realize that besides the FT920 the 2 rigs I've used the most is a Swan 500CX 16P and a Swan 250C and continue to do so. Something about natural rich audio keeps me using the Swans.
  19. KI4SDV

    KI4SDV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well after looking at the Kenwood TS590S, I've struck it off my list for the following reasons.

    1. 6 &10 meter performance seems to low.
    2. To small
    3. No IF output.

    If all I operated on was the lower bands it would probably be at the top of my list, but I don't.
  20. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would recommend just going ahead and buying the FT5K like I did. I most Certainly couldn't afford it. In fact, I couldn't afford a radio HALF it's price so I was seriously considering a FT2K HRO had on the table. But after thinking about it, there is this thing called BUYERS REMORSE, which means you will deeply regret not getting the VERY BEST rig money can buy. So I just bent over, and let my plastic cards be SERIOUSLY VIOLATED. Someday they will be paid off. But in the meantime, I have the very best rig money can buy and am not regretting the choice. Lotsa FT5Ks are being sold. LOTS! So it is really a toss up between the FT5K and the K3. The top contesters and DXers prefer the K3, but I just didn't (AND STILL DON'T) like the very plain and Spartan aestethics (or however that is spelled) of the rig. It has loads of hidden menus but the basic radio looks more like a Kenwood TS-570D and is very plain and unappealing. Meanwhile, the 5K is just MIND BLOWING and very Majestic. With all the whistles and bells added to the K3, they both work out to be about the same price. The 5K is very formidable and difficult to manuever but after awhile one can figure it out and run it just fine. Just takes alotta messing with. Then it is a Wonderful rig!

    So, go ahead and forget about how much it costs. Think about how Serious you are about Ham radio and whether having the VERY BEST is worth it, or if U can get by with something lesser. If I had to deal with lesser, I would lean towards the 3K or the 2K, but still not a K3. K3s are great, but just not as PRETTY!
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