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When to Purchase the New Rig

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KD6VM, Dec 2, 2012.

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  1. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    How long should one wait before considering actually purchasing one of the new rigs on the market? In other words, how long does it take before most shortcomings are fixed?

    Also, is there a time period in which the original street price is reduced somewhat?


    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  2. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    When you have the money. Is that a good answer ?

    Mel G0GQK
  3. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    That might be a suitable answer for someone who plans to save $5 a month until he/she can afford the $5,000 radio.

    Maybe after that time the bugs would have been worked out and the street price reduced somewhat.
  4. K5FH

    K5FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    An old joke in the aircraft world goes, "Never, if you can help it, fly the 'A' model of anything." "A" aircraft (i.e., F111A, F15A, etc.) are the first production run and that's usually when the major faults show up in service. Most are fixed by the time the "B" model (second production run) comes online.

    For a new radio you'll probably be pretty safe if you wait a year after introduction. By that time the infant mortality issues should be mostly identified and fixed and the price will be a little lower. There are no guarantees, however; some faults take years to happen (i.e., the display backlight failures in the IC-746Pro).
  5. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do own the 746PRO. Very late model purchased new just as it was being discontinued. Cross my fingers. Haven't had the backlight or driver problem. Really though, most owners have gotten very good service from the rigs.

    As to your other comments, I have always thought it was smart to to at least wait for the "B" model, be it computers or radios, but haven't always followed that instinct. Sometimes you just gotta have it.
  6. K5FH

    K5FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    If yours is a late-production model I think the factory fixed the problem. The problem was the voltage regulator for the backlight. The pass transistor for the regulator is mounted on the main circuit board and the transistor's tab is soldered directly to the board for heat dissipation. When the rig is received from the factory the backlight is set to full brightness which some people found too bright. So they turned it down via the menu setting, usually halfway. Problem is, by doing so the excess power in the backlight power circuit was dumped into this transistor and it which wasn't up to the task of dissipating the amount of heat involved. Result: fried transistor, and dark display.

    The fix was twofold: replace the transistor with a heftier one, and keep the display at 100% brightness.

    I heard somewhere that the new IC-7410, the replacement for the 746Pro, has this fix built into its backlight regulator so it shouldn't be a problem.
  7. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did read that tip and do keep it at 100%.
  8. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hope you can save more than that. Otherwise it will take you roughly 83 years!!:p

    You can join the Yahoo user group for the rig that interests you and keep up on what is going on with it there.
  9. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    After I posted, I had to get my calculator and figure it out, too. Maybe $10 a month would be more like it?

    Joining the appropriate Yahoo groups is something I have thought about doing, but I will need to register with them. Probably will do that.
  10. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like you have had some experience with the 746Pro. Did you ever work on one?
  11. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't forget that a lot of problems today are fixed with a downloadable firmware update.
  12. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, that could be true. Just like with the newer digital cameras. That is encouraging.
  13. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    OTOH, buying used stuff which has already proven its merit in service often isn't a bad idea.

    Technology is moving fast, but the most important station elements are the operator and the antenna system, so I always put "the rig" in third place. Possibly a distant third place.
  14. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Absolutely correct. Most of my hamming was done with an HW-101. I worked more countries and learned more about the innards of a radio working with and on that thing.

    That being said, I can be found guilty of lusting after one of the new rigs with the panadaptor displays and other gizmos.
  15. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    To a great extent, that's what warranties are for. If you buy from a U.S. manufacturer, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to ship it back to the factory in the unlikely event that it needs it. These days you are more likely to run into trouble with parts for older radios made from 'unobtainium'.

    I'm reminded of a critically important laser measurement system that we bought from HP many years ago. This was the only one of it's kind that would provide the kind of precision we needed. The units were quite pricey, so we bought the number we needed and a full set of spares. Over time, the units needed replacement and we used up the spares. Finally, an order was approved to buy more of these critical units. Unfortunately, HP had made them using optical glass from a giant observatory's mirror that was flawed too much to be used in a telescope. When the glass from that mirror was gone, they could make no more lasers! In short, we were SOL.

    These days that would be the result of building radio gear with custom ICs that can't be sourced elsewhere.

    MUCH older radios don't have these problems and are usually repairable, but you better be at least a little handy at repairing them, because they are really getting old enough to be considered antiques.
  16. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is one of the issues when buying some of the older digital radios. Many of the synthesizer and display chips were custom made for that radio and - like you say, unobtainium.
  17. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    When to purchase a new rig

    On a standard economic model, where the "I want that" line intersects with the "I can afford that" line and that point is coincident with a positive trace of the XYL mood swing oscillation (minimal spousal interference), purchase is highly recommended.

    Purchase at other times is possible but will not be accompanied by as high levels of joy or fulfillment.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  18. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ahhh, then being single removes the most troublesome element of that equation.
  19. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    The age old argument for staying single. But if I remember right, some kind of "free dairy product" constant is worked into the model somewhere. ;)
  20. KD6VM

    KD6VM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, both states have their respective advantages and disadvantages and it takes the wisdom of Solomon to properly choose.
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