Suggestions wanted on buying a used HF rig
I have the current need of a very reliable, very inexpensive, used HF rig that has very low receive amp current draw (for very efficient 12 volt battery use out in the field) and can be turned down to transmit at the QRP power levels (and hopefully lower). I'm looking for suggestions on make and model for such a radio as I have been out of ham radio for a while and have lost my familiarity of all the various used HF rigs out there that can do this.
Thanks and 73,
I can't think of any way to match all of your requirements. I think they are almost diametrically...er, make that TRIametrically opposed to one another.
cheap/reliable/efficient (with 'very' in front of each)
Throw out reliable. Most modern rigs are pretty darn reliable, and if you are buying a used rig, it's impossible to guarantee any reliability. You take your chances, which after all are pretty good.
- Highly efficient really means low power, like 25W or less. Are you planning on operating mobile or portable, or backpacking something in?
- Cost. What is your price range?
I think with these two bits of info we can better frame the discussion.
Icom 703 or Yeasu 817 may fit your needs.
My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
I think your requirements may be a bit too much - very reliable along with very expensive sort of go against each other. Buy an IC-718 new, it's cheap and being new should be reliable.
The Elecraft K2 might be pretty close. It's not expensive but is reliable, and has very low current drain on receive. Standard model runs 10-15W PEP output but there's an optional 100W module to run higher power if needed.
You didn't mention what modes you want to operate.
There are lots of low power CW kits and even a few PSK kits - see Small Wonder Labs, and there are others, too.
Here's a nice, cheap CW and SSB rig for 40 meters:http://www.qrpkits.com/mmr40.html
Beyond the reveiws, I have no idea if this is any good, but here's an 80 meter QRP SSB rig out of Britain for under $100: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9105
If you could find an older Ten Tec Argonaut, that would probably suit you. However, people tend to hang onto these rigs. I don't have a power consumption spec on it, but I think even an older Ten Tec Triton 100 W rig would be decent. I've bought and sold a Triton IV for $200.
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There are some interesting QRP rigs out there. YouKits has the TJ6A out as a kit, for around $250.00 . It has a 180 ma current draw, according to the specs. Six bands, ssb/cw . For CW only, ten tec is selling improved versions of the youkits kits in the USA. You may want to try building some softrock kit's first, before trying your hand at soldering smd parts on an expensive kit. Sparkfun electronics has some smd soldering tutorials showing you how to use various household devices as solder reflow ovens, including an electric frying pan, a cup warmer and a heat gun, and a toaster oven. I use the toaster oven method myself.
The biggest hassle with transceiver kits is winding toroids -- that's what keeps me out of most kits, and into buying factory made rigs. But, if you are trying to save money, and reliability and low current draw is what you are after, kits are probably the way to go, provided you can solder well, and can wind toroids.
There is an Omni C for sale right here on the ZED. Looks like a good price and would probably do what you want.
i'm sorry you don't have the experience or understanding to realize that others possess a skill set that you seem to dismiss as fantastical.
Any of the older ICOM's IC730, 735, 736, etc.
Yaesu and others also have this class of 12V all band adjustable 100W rig.
Most rigs you can turn the power down.
Most rigs are 100W at max
Exact band coverage is question, 160M-6M, 80M-10M.
Rig interface to computer is question
QSK for CW is question
IF Filters can be added later if not in the rig when you buy.
Price range and what happens to be available in that price range will set you get unless you get fixated on one radio!
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Beware of Kenwood rigs of the early 80s in general, and the TS-120/TS-130 in particular. They often have solder joints that go bad after many years. My guess is that the flux wasn't cooked out and, after many years, causes solder joints to go bad. Any mechanical stress (such as disconnectin/reconnecting wire harness connectors) aggravates this. Also, rigs of this age in general used electrolytic capacitors that dry up after many years. I have a TS-130S that was a bit of a headache when I replaced all the electrolytics on the AF-Generator board... a lot of resoldering was involved.
Originally Posted by WA4OTD
The good news is, when working properly, they're a good-working rig and reasonably priced. They made two versions of each. The TS-120S/TS-130S ran ~100W output and the TS-120V/TS-130V ran ~10W output. The 130 differs from the 120, having the WARC79 bands (30/17/12m), an additional IF filter slot (for SSB), and speech compressor.
They all pulled about ~0.7A on receive. For transmit, the S models pulled ~18A while the V models pulled ~4A.