Best entry level HF rig

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

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  1. VE2BXJ

    VE2BXJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're not missing much, in my opinion. The TS-130s is a great choice and I would highly recommend it as a first (and only) hf rig. It's too bad manufacturers don't make similar rigs anymore. It has everything you need, it's simple to use, well-built, I can't think of a better rig for a beginner and experienced ops who don't want all the "features" of modern rigs.
  2. KB9HGI

    KB9HGI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I second the FT-450 very nice radio for the price and has lots of features that you pay more for with the big dollar radios. I have had mine for a year no problems.
  3. N8WJQ

    N8WJQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    First HF radio

    Hi Ronnie,
    Welcome to amateur radio. Like all your respondents say, it is a matter of choice, money and features. Becuase of my poor eyesight, I chose the Yaesu FT-840. It is similar, dimensionally to the Icom 718 and is about the same in price and features. Right out of the box, the FT-840 was easy to use and user friendly. I should have read the manual, but, most of the features were logical and lables pretty much self explanatory. It will take time, so don't rush into your choice. Do a little research, write down what you are looking for in a rig and then compare. Good Luck!
    Tony V.
  4. W0DV

    W0DV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I learned HF on a FT-840 that I purchased on ebay for $450. Great little SSB rig. Used a MD100 mic on it. 160 through 10 meter. Great beginners radio.
  5. KF7ATL

    KF7ATL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Re: Entry-level radio

    I'm a new ham too. I've used an FT-450 since last July and I'm quite pleased with it. So far, I've used it on CW and SSB and it has worked well for me. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but I'm a big fan of simplicity. So far it has done everything I've wanted it to do.
  6. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    Which is, of course, the bottom line. You want a rig that satisfies your needs. For every hundred hams there will be ahundred valid choices.


  7. KD8IEL

    KD8IEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was at a recent hamfest in Charleston, WV and saw several Yeasu FT-101's. What are the thoughts on this radio? I see they are a hybrid and it looks like there is a lot of support for them on the Internet. Does this mean it was a good radio and many are still in service or they had a lot of problems and are being cleaned out of the shack? All the sellers said they were good radios and I liked the look, feel, and simplicity of them.


  8. NI7I

    NI7I Guest

    I used a 101EE aboard ship. It was (is a great rig. Dont believe it has th WARC bands but it will get you on the air. It is robust and hard to hurt.

  9. VE3PP

    VE3PP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a FT-101E that was bought new in August 1978 by my late Father. It was his first HF Rig. I found the original bill of sale in the manual. He bought it in London Ontario, and that rig was priced at $978.00 Cnd funds back then :eek: That was a lot of coin back then.

    When he passed away last fall I brought that rig home and fired it up. It worked fine on 80/40 but had low output on the high bands. A friend of mine went over it and found some issues which come with age. Repaired those issues and the rig is right back to normal now.

    Yaesu sold 1000's of those FT-101 series of radios. They were built well, had good receivers and good transmit audio with the proper mic on them. Built in power supply. Sure they do not have the bells and whistles of the new rigs, and you have to tune up every time you change bands.

    But if you can pick one up that operates properly and the price is right (not the inflated Ebay selling prices) then you can't go wrong. As mentioned, no WARC bands, if you can live with that then you are good to go. I use mine on 80/40 M for SSB use. Combined with a Turner Super Sidekick mic I get good audio reports.

    Would I use it for my main rig? No, because I do a lot of digital operating. I suppose I could use it for those modes, it is stable after warmup.

    However I do enjoy turning it on and using it once in awhile. #1 it reminds me of my late Father, #2 it is fun to use due to the fact you actually have to tune it up, not just turn it on! ;)
  10. W0VYE

    W0VYE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Random thoughts on the topic:

    Tuning the final is no big deal if you understand what you're doing. It only takes seconds once you get used to your equipment. I wouldn't let this deter me from a hybrid like the FT101. Not having 30-17-12m would be an issue for me, but not a deal-killer.

    I went from a Swan 350 to a Yaesu FT-757GXII, bought circa 1990 and which I still use today. I liked the old Swan well enough despite its "driftmaster" VFO, but the 757 was a great leap forward.

    In 50-odd years of "playing radio" I've owned a lot of gear, but the only two things I've ever owned new-in-the-box were a Hallicraftes S38-E I got for Christmas in 1956 or '57, and a Heathkit HW-16, my first novice rig, bought and built in 1972. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of used gear. Let someone else eat the depreciation. But do take a friend shopping with you, as a sounding board if nothing else. And remember that age steadily improves the odds that a given rig will need servicing.

    Any properly functioning HF rig will work DX and get good reports.

    The rig is not the most important thing in the shack. Not by a long shot. No. 1 is the op, no. 2 is the antenna, and no. 3 might be the rig.

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