Best HF CW Transceiver for the buck?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by AE7F, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have an 817ND, although it's about 5 years old now and may not have the latest stuff in it (if they've made any firmware changes, which they may have).

    If it has key clicks, I've never really noticed them. But then I've only used it portable with small antennas and no amplifier, so even if it's annoying, it's probably bothering just about nobody.

    If I use big antennas or amplifiers, or better yet big antennas with amplifiers, I'm a lot more careful about what I put on the air.
  2. G3TXQ

    G3TXQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Best HF CW Transceiver for the buck that I own is a Ten Tec Corsair II - it cost me £150 if I recall correctly. Now upgraded with a N4YG DDS in place of the PTO, the stability and tuning rate plus the legendary Ten Tec QSK make it a dream on CW.

    Good luck in your search.
    Steve G3TXQ
  3. N4KZ

    N4KZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Kenwood TS-590, dollar vs. features, is among the best of the current-model CW rigs thanks to its down conversion IF and narrow roofing filter on the 5 bands where you're most likely to need a 500 Hz roofing filter. At under $1,800, I would easily rate the TS-590 over the more expensive Icom IC-7XXXX series and the Yaesu FT-2K and 950. They're all nice radios but the numbers on Rob Sherwood's website says it all.

  4. AE7F

    AE7F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bahahahahwahahah..... now that was funny.

    Maybe I should apologize for using the Swan, but after cleaning switches and POTs, I've had quite a few reports of "seems to be stable," "no drift," etc. I usually warm up the rig for a minimum of 30 mins also.

    Seriously good advice in this thread. Got a chance to try out the FT-107e tonight (receive only) at Dad's house. Nice radio. Not a radio I'd want to overpay for but has some really nice features over the Swan for sure. At the right price, it would be a nice rig though.
  5. AE7F

    AE7F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I stopped by to visit a local friend who has a bunch of older radios and an Icom IC-746. His 746 sounded really good on SSB. He also had an old mint Yaesu FT-101e and he said he really liked that radio as well. He also has an Elecraft K1, a TenTec Scout, some Drake and Swan rigs, and... and...

    Just haven't been able to operate them! The K1 was a tiny little radio.
  6. W0NBP

    W0NBP Ham Member QRZ Page

    It has been mentioned several times here, but if you are looking for just a CW rig, any Ten Tec Corsair II or Onmi Six or Six plus. Also the Jupiter, which I have is great RX. I am presently using a Elecraft K2 which I have only had for a week and I just worked OR0A in Belgium this morning 599 on 6 watts. Now that my friend is CW / QRP at its best. If that don't trip your trigger, don't know what would ?? I'm only using a OCF windom dipole up 35 ft. I had an Elecraft K1 that I built last fall and it was a super CW rig, but the only fault with the K1 is their band arrangement. I had the 4 band setup and it did not have 80m. It is a pain to have boards to swap out just to change bands. So sold it and bought the k2 and am happy as if I was in ham heaven.

    Just remember this if you are going to work a lot of CW, get a rig with ears not power. The secret is hearing the other station, not how much RF you can splatter all over the spectrum. Ten Tec or Elecraft will get you the RX you need at a price you can afford. de Bill W0NBP listen for me on 80m 03-0400z.
  7. AE7F

    AE7F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Been on the air recently and QSOing with some stations on CW. A couple have been with QRP stations. Now that is a challenge pulling them out of the mud with a Swan!

    I would say, "sri, ruff cpy due to qrm, pse agn" .... station comes back and says "no qrm on my end." I'm getting my ears knocked off and the other station has easy copy, and not because there isn't QRM at the other station's QTH but because the QTM is clipped out. hahaha.... so there you have it. There is the comparison mentioned earlier in this thread.

    Strong stations can wipe out my RX completely, even far away down the dial. I can do pretty good to clean up a QSO with my audio filter but it would be awesome to have an RX filter. So.... anybody know how well a 0.6kc (not at my radio right now, I think that's the spec) filter would work out for a Swan 600?

    Of course, I'm still looking at modern rigs though. And having a directional beam would really help.
    WB2ERJ likes this.
  8. KH6AQ

    KH6AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sherwood's site shows that it isn't a "K3 killer." I'd spend a few hundred more (I did) and get a K3. That is a real CW rig.
  9. NA7U

    NA7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    I second the recommendation of WA3UCR. You really can't go wrong with a K2. Especially if you can get one with DSP filter, though the xtal and non-DSP audio filters are great. The only problem with buying one used is that it's difficult to find one with just the options you want. Often they are loaded with more stuff than you'll use. If there is something missing, though, you can always buy the kit for that and add it yourself.

    I'd highly recommend that you get the ATU that goes with the K2. It will tune damn near anything, much better than the usual ATUs built into the Japanese radios.

    One more thing, if you decide to go for a K2 you might keep your eye out for the unofficial K-Twins build, which has the K2 in one case and the ATU and PA in a matching case outboard. I have one of those and it's awesome plus it keeps the heat of the PA away from your main rig.

    vy 73,

    Casey, TI2/NA7U
  10. AB9LZ

    AB9LZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    ...yea, but the 746 is pretty bad at weak signal CW work, the dsp gets really choppy, especially on the noisier lower nighttime bands. It's all but unusable on 160 unless the station being copied is S9.

    I love the way the controls handle on that rig tho, I wish my ts-850 had the same ergonomics.

    73 m/4
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