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HF that doesn't need a mortgage loan

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by ND5F, Mar 1, 2017.

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  1. ND5F

    ND5F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a new Ham passing my Tech and General about 3 weeks ago. I'm looking for an HF unit that isn't outrageously expensive. Does anyone have anything or suggestions?

  2. KN0U

    KN0U Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are plenty of radios out here... I have a couple myself. An ic-718 and an ic-756. You might want to include your budget so people can help you.
  3. ND5F

    ND5F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for the info!!! Concerning budget, I'm working on that. Need to do my taxes to see if I owe or if I'm getting something back.
  4. K5NHR

    K5NHR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yaesu ft-450 is not a bad radio. does 160 thru 6 100 watt
    KT5WB, K2MOB, K2CQW and 5 others like this.
  5. N3LV

    N3LV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure how much a mortgage loan for you would be, but I've got a Kenwood TS-450SAT in good shape for sale.
    N6QIC likes this.
  6. KK5UG

    KK5UG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    when you list your budget, do not forget about the other things you will power supply, antenna and support, possibly a tuner, and coax...
    K2HAT and N2EY like this.
  7. K9BPS

    K9BPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bought a Kenwood TS-690s last year for my first HF rig for $375. Simple but covers 160-6m. Works great
    K6FNI and N6QIC like this.
  8. VE7JBX

    VE7JBX Ham Member QRZ Page

    A suggestion - at least it's what worked well for me when I was in a similar situation - get on your local Craigslist. I see you're basically in a suburb of Denver, and a quick check there showed a number of rigs for sale.

    I wouldn't suggest just searching for the term "ham radio", either. Everyone else already is, and they beat you to the great deal - so also just look up brand names (e.g. if I put in Yaesu right now for Denver, I find an 857D for sale but nowhere in the ad does it say ham, or amateur so those search terms wouldn't have found it). It may take you a little while, but I would guess you could find a nice rig that you could go, and see in use, before picking up - and no shipping charges. Also, don't be afraid to put up a Wanted request there too, just like you did here. I wanted a smaller HF rig to carry into remote areas for portable ops, put up an ad saying that, and within a day had a nice condition TS-130S with mic and power cable in my hands for $140 US (and of the 5 HF rigs I bought locally in the last year, that was the MOST expensive).

    Other comment I'd make from my limited but perhaps similar experience - I wanted to stay cheap, so I mostly looked at older rigs, and even some which aren't as loved as others - for instance I picked up an Icom 720A, with all original boxes, manuals, etc for ~$90. Yes, these can be prone to bandswitch issues, but mine has been flawless, and at that price, it wasn't a big risk. Sure, I wish I had a Yaesu FT-1000mp MkV Field, but for 1/10 of the price I got on the air and my $10 attic resonant 20m dipole and no tuner was getting me 55 reports from obscure little South Pacific islands. In fact my favourite rig is even a bit older, a FT-101ZD ($100 with original manuals but missing a mic, add $20 for that) but a joy to use. So, don't think you need the latest and greatest.

    As commented above, you'll need to budget for a power supply as well , and maybe (ideally?) an antenna tuner (caveats - some older rigs such as many hybrids have an internal PS; and with a resonant antenna you can get on the air w/out a tuner at least on some bands). When I wanted a tuner and P/S I was similarly able to get both of those locally very cheaply, with a bit of patience.

    Only thing I haven't been able to get cheaply locally so far has been an HF antenna analyzer (but I did get a perfectly fine MFJ-208 VHF analyzer, in original box and manual, for $5 CAD at a local hamfest. Go figure, they're $99.95 USD plus shipping new.)

    So bottom line, if you are a bit patient and look locally, I would suggest you can get on the air on HF for $250 or less.
    AI6KX likes this.
  9. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    How much is your budget for an HF station?

    What do you want to do with it?
    KK5JY likes this.
  10. N6QIC

    N6QIC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A KENWOOD TS430 or 440 is a great starter. $300 to $350 used. I would not pay more than $450.
    My favorite was the 430 it was a great radio, wish I still had it.

    kenwood_TS430.png kenwood_TS440s.png
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
    US7IGN likes this.

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