HOA Antenna Situation - New Rig or Not?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KA2IRQ, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. KA2IRQ

    KA2IRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    So what do you do when you're in an HOA antenna situation, you've got a compromise antenna installed and it does OK (balcony vertical)... you set your expectations pretty low so it pleases you when it works (46 states and 60 POTA parks, a bunch of DXCC countries). Running about 40 watts output on 80, 40, and 20 to avoid interference to other people in the condo.

    You're running an older radio from the 1980's (Kenwood TS-140S) - works OK for sure.

    Do you spend the money on a new radio? $1000? $2000? More? The receive capability on these new radios I'm told is amazing compared to a 30+ year old basic radio. I may make some minor antenna improvements, but I'm not going to see an order of magnitude better at this point... the antenna is close to being maxed out on improvements.

    So that's my question- do you spend several thousand dollars on new gear and accessories for use in a condo with a compromised antenna? Or do you just wait a few years until you move to a better situation? Used is not an option... never liked buying used radios.
  2. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    One - two-thousand is a lower mid-level to mid-level rig these days and I wouldn't be embarrassed to buy one just because you think you have a compromise antenna (sounds like you are doing well with it). The new features on a new radio compared to your old girl will help...better receiver, bandscope display, better selectivity/filtering. It may be more important for you to have a more modern rig than some ham with a huge tower out in the boonies where it's dead quiet. I wouldn't worry too much about running 100-watts opposed to 40 watts...it just ain't gonna make that much difference. Now, due to the "quality" of the Chinese electronics people have filling their homes these days, you might not want to go to a kilowatt or above... ;)
  3. W4IOA

    W4IOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't own one but I do like the TS 590 and the IC 7300, both have features that may help in your adventures on the air. Since you already have a Kenwood that may be the way to go. Realize that any difference will be noticed more in features and not so much in better reception though the experts here may disagree.
    KA4DPO likes this.
  4. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regardless of the antenna, a new rig is going to have a better receiver with a lot more bells and whistles, thus you will RX better. TX will not make a bit of difference. 40 watts is 40 watts on a compromised antenna and no improvement.

    Now that you have the NEED TO KNOW info can decide if a new radio is worth it to you are not. If you go with aa new rig you might have a new problem You might be able to hear them but not talk to them all.

    A new rig will also make digital modes possible or a lot easier to implement.
  5. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some newer rigs may be small enough to make portable operation practical. If you're up for it, portable operation may give better results than working at home with a limited antenna.
  6. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    We'll have to disagree on that one. A lot of older rigs have excellent receivers, and can implement Digital Modes with ease. My TS-440s is 35 years old, and runs digital modes with no problems at all.

    agreed. Remember, and older rig combined with a computer is going to have most of the features that are useful in the real world.

    The real limiting factor is going to be the Antenna, not the rig. If you can put up a good antenna, then your results will be good even with an older rig. BUT if you have a bad antenna, all of the bells and whistles in the world will not make it better.
    K7TRF likes this.
  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I lived in a 2nd floor apartment it was really noisy so I operated QRP at home and did a dozens of portable operations. Is portable operating an option?
  8. KA2IRQ

    KA2IRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Which is the flip side to my original question- the antenna being (let's call it) mediocre, and not really being changed, do you dump money into a new radio?

    Possibly- but I've always liked having a solid "home base" to work from. I like operating from home. Not to say I won't do anything portable, but that would be in addition to home operation. But I don't want portable operation to substitute for the home QTH.
  9. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The IC-7300 is selling for under a thousand dollars. Granted, your antenna is a limiting factor, but all things being equal, the new radio will outperform your TS-140, compromise antenna or not. You might want to look into some stealth antenna designs using very thin wire and other clever hiding techniques to improve your station. If you can afford it, and you want it, buy a new rig. Ether the TS-590SG, or the IC-7300 are exceptional, you can't go wrong with either one.
  10. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    in my view.... no you don't, IF you've got an older but still viable transceiver. For me, the cut-off point is whether or not it is set-up for computer control. If it's an older, totally analog radio, maybe. BUT since your radio will accept the IF-10c kit.... there is no reason to replace it unless it just doesn't work.

    However, if you do decide to ditch it, you should consider sending it to someone who will take good care of it.... like me! ;)

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