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. KA0KA

    KA0KA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am going through the same things at the moment introducing HF to a 13 year old down the street. We are looking at equipment and I am fond of the TS-820S and have a lead on a single owner station, complete (all accessories). However as some posted, you just don't get this rig and use it.
    It requires a full service alignment/caps and my last rig was really done up well, new wider INRAD filter, new trimmer caps, changed values of audio coupling caps on AFAVR/IF board and made a connection to Balanced Modulator, it was my first rig as a Novice so it helps to have some understanding of the sections inside.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
  2. VK3YE

    VK3YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    You (and others) may find this article on buying your first HF rig helpful. http://home.alphalink.com.au/~parkerp/gateway/firsthf.htm

    It discusses new versus used rigs. I'd be cautious about buying older used rigs due to creeping issues with dry joints and intermittents and the like.

    A newer basic reliable rig is better than an older rig that, though top of the line in its time, may be developing faults.
  3. NQ1B

    NQ1B Ham Member QRZ Page

    A kit is not a good place for most new hams to start, unless they are coming from a background of building other electronics.

    An Elecraft K2 is too difficult as a first-time project. Almost every other kit available is CW only, and most new hams will want to experiment with a variety of modes, not be limited to CW. Also, most kits are QRP (5 watts transmitter power), and at the current state of the solar cycle QRP can be frustrating. Yes, you can have success if you are patient, but if you are new to the hobby you deserve some "quick wins" to sustain your interest. QRP is typically for experienced hams who are looking for an interesting challenge.

    I would recommend a used radio. There are many models available. Definitely join a club and get an "Elmer" to teach you and help you pick a radio at a local hamfest or someone selling through a club. Do not buy on eBay; they are overpriced, and may not work when you receive them. Buy used radios locally.

    Do not buy any radio that cannot transmit at least 100 watts.

    Don't buy an antenna. You can build one very cheaply and easy and learn in the process.

    Possible used radios for $500 or less:
    Kenwood TS-430, TS-520, TS-820, TS-830; Icom 706Mk2G; Alinco DX-70TH, DX-77T... it's impossible to list the many, many options.

    Possible new radios for under $1000:
    Yaesu FT-857D, FT-891; Icom IC-7200; Alinco DX-SR8T, DX-SR9T; Kenwood TS-480SAT

    I would budget about $1000 for the complete station, including radio, coax, wire for antennas, power supply, cables to computer, and other miscellaneous items. About half that will for the radio, half for everything else. You may get lucky and stumble onto a deal, or local hams may help you out, so you could come in for a bit less than this. This is a one-time expense and will keep you on the air for many years.

    Cathy N5WVR
    KT5WB, K7MH and K3UJ like this.
  4. NQ1B

    NQ1B Ham Member QRZ Page

    That radio is limited to 5 watts TX. It's a good second radio for field ops, but not a good primary radio for a new ham. He will get frustrated.
    KT5WB and K7MH like this.
  5. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  6. KM4HGU

    KM4HGU Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first rig was a Yaesu FT757GX. My second was a Kenwood TS130, My third is a Yaesu FT757GXII. All are old by todays standards, But they are simple to operate, and the Kenwood is the simplest of the lot. Not certian what they are worth in dollars, but I believe they give a pretty big bang for the buck. And they are portable too! :D
  7. K2CQW

    K2CQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Drake twins & Swan 350. Zappo, had to replace'm all
  8. KJ5T

    KJ5T Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My first HF rig was an IC-718 that I got for $400, you can get on the air even less expensive as others have pointed out. It isn't a bad starter rig, I had later upgraded mine to add InRad filters. It is really about the type of operating that you want to do, for just rag chewing or casual operating it doesn't make much difference, when you are doing contest operating and you are trying to work guys who are weak you will care more about a good receiver and the right filters.
    K2MOB likes this.
  9. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree. The K2 is a pretty big project. One heck of a lot of parts in that kit! You can't be in a big hurry to build one. Soldering skills and equipment has to be pretty good already not just beginner stuff.
  10. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    re: the old electrolytic capacitor thing. I just fired up my old Tek 453 o'scope for the first time in 20 years. It works fine, but a lot of the pots and knobs need a darn good cleaning. Pretty much unusable because they're so noisy. It's got the noisy fan problem, too. This thing is old... it's one of the ones with "nuvistors".

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