Best entry level HF rig

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KD8IEL, Nov 16, 2009.

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  1. K4AX

    K4AX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Are you open to buying used? A lot better choices come to mind if so.

    If buying new, the best rig going would be the FT-450, with it's IF DSP. Nothing out there for under 1100 bucks or so has that.
  2. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    A ft450 would be great, but I am partial to a high serial number ts850.
  3. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is a good point. I see lots of TS-850SAT rigs for $600-700.

    Listen to an TS-850 and an FT-450, and you may find that IF DSP is not necessary for a fine receiver. Good filters, IF shift, and passband tuning work well. Filters are expensive, and if you do CW, it does add to the cost, so a rig with IF DSP is more cost effective. Personally, I like the sound of analog IF, but that doesn't really effect communication efficiency, it just a preference.

    I'm not sure what entry-level means, beyond a marketing term in the hope that hams will just buy a new more expensive rig every year. :)

    Most all of the rigs today are good. If you are starting out, save your money for antennas.

    An IC-7800 is a bit better then an IC-718. But an IC-718 hooked to a tribander at 40', is a whole lot better then an IC-7800 hooked to a dipole at 20'.
  4. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah like wogi said. But when I use a dsp rig, I never use dsp noise reduction, just dsp filters and dsp demodulation. This is where dsp rigs shine, filtering and demod. They are wonderfull at that.
  5. KD8IEL

    KD8IEL Ham Member QRZ Page


    I am not at all opposed to buying used - just need some good honest advice on what to look for. I do not need a lot of bells and whistles, just something good to get on the air and wet my feet really good.
  6. KD8IEL

    KD8IEL Ham Member QRZ Page


    In my case entry level means: low budget and want to learn, not to mention the truck engine just blew up...

  7. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Turn the question around - what rigs meet your price range?

    Start there, then decide what features you must have.

    THEN come here for a myriad of opinions.
  8. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    If I were restricted to a new rig, it would be the 857d. It covers almost all the bands, it's small enough to go mobile if you chose, it's inexopensive (relatively speaking). I used one aboard ships and loved it. I also had an IC7000 and push comes to shove, I would still take the 857.

    For the same money, you can probably get a higher end rig (more bells and whistles) on the used market. Just know the seller. I have, so far not had a problem buying stuff from sellers on the popular ham swap sites. I just baught an old FT767GX that was advertised on but it turned out to be local and I had a chance to look it over before giving up the cash.

    On the used market; When a transciever is listed, google the model and check out the reviews that you see. If you are a member of ARRL you can check out the archives and see what QST has to say about the rig. Of course reading abvout them dont come close to actually being able to use them..

    If you can make it to a brick and mortar ham store it's nice to get to see and touch the new rigs in person before you buy.

    good luck
    Best Regards
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep. And I'd take a 30 year-old TS-520S connected to a good beam at 75' over the best rig ever made connected to a low dipole, G5RV or vertical. I'll make more contacts, more often, regardless of conditions, and be happy about it.:)
  10. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    Of couorse you would. Connect a slightly over legal limit amp and everything would be that much better. Thing is he is looking for something ... a little less expensive. I just finished dealing with my city planners about putting up a modest tower (54 ft). Have to get a "conditiponal use permitO" at a cost of over 1200 bux. then a building permit at 250.. Then of course you have to buy the tower and concrete and stuff to put it up.

    There is a lot to be said for wire antennas and verticals. I still like the old 520tho.

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