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Need help w/ choosing a first HF radio

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KI4ZSZ, Jun 30, 2008.

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  1. W2NSF

    W2NSF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Don't forget the antenna...

    ...sure, everyone wants to spend money on a transceiver, because that's what is sitting right in front of them, but you should really spend your money on your antenna system. If you really have a $2,500 budget (lucky dog!) then spend more than half of this on the radio and use the rest to buy good, low loss feedline and a nice antenna or two. You won't be sorry! Good luck. I'd like to know what you finally wind up with. 73, Jim
  2. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Best value tranceiver without a doubt is the Icom 718. If you were a new driver would you buy an SLK500, of course not.

  3. W4INF

    W4INF Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first rig was a $250 Kenwood TS-120.

    Wish I still had it.

  4. LA5HE

    LA5HE Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are smart, you learn morse, which will allowe you to work the world with even a simple, cheap rig. F ex a 15-20 year old ICOM will give you excellent value for money,
    or a K2 now that K3 is out.

    Good luck 73 from Telemark
  5. KB3LAZ

    KB3LAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Uhhhh.... yes I would if I had that kind of money to waste, lol.:p
    As for the 718 its not a bad rig!
  6. KC0ZZH

    KC0ZZH Guest

    I owned a Yaesu FT-747GX once upon a time and found it to be satisfactory to my needs. I didn't like the plastic case, but it did the job for field days and special events until I sold her to an aspiring ham from California and bought another used Kenwood.
  7. KD0QV

    KD0QV Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might consider one of the vintage "hybrid" xcvers that are still out
    there for a very reasonable start-out cost. Kenwood TS-520, 520S,
    530, 530S, TS-820, 820S, TS-830, 830S, Yaesu FT 101, 901, 902, ect.
    Any of these "hybrid" rigs would serve you very well for years to come.
    Certainly, their price range is well within reach to a new ham, and the
    added bonus that they will fill your needs as a starter first rig on HF!
    Make a simple Dipole for yourself with little cost, & your "on the air" !

    I have been using my Kenwood TS-520 regularly,ever since I made
    General in 1976. That is over 30 years of steady HF service in all
    the bands from 80-M through 10-M. I have never had any service
    problems what so ever. It was sure nice to have an excellent "Elmer",
    to help me pick my first HF-SSB & CW Transcever. In fact, my "Elmer"
    found this rig on the used market back then at a good price. It sure
    helped me to have my "Elmer" check it's operation out at first.
    The fact that it had all the features that a new Ham would want sold
    me, (110-V & 12-V, Xtal Calib, dial seperation to KHZ, RIT, rugged
    tube finals that would take SWR mis-match, accurate S-Meter, and ease
    of tuning up. In all my years of use, I've never used an Amp. My TS-
    520 worked DXCC-Mixed, SSB, & CW. What a workhorse it has been!
    With so many new rigs offered today, there are many of these
    older "Mint Classic Hy-breds" for sale at very resonable prices, and
    they still have many years of good use left in them! Today's new Hams
    tend to shy away from manual tuning, (Setting ALC, dipping the plate,
    & loading). Some of my homebrew Antennas had high SWR's, but the TS-
    520 would always put out good power & never complain!
    But, it's not that tough to learn. After you master it, it comes
    natural, so you can do it without thinking about it. A new Solid-
    State rig would clamp down power to almost nil with any high SWR.
    Any new Ham that wants to get on the HF-Bands, will find the Hy-brids
    a resonable, cost effective way to enjoy Ham Radio for many years. Of
    course, for new Tech's, you will be able to work HF-CW on 75, 40, & 15-M!
    that would involve using Morse Code on a few different Bands for a while.
    But with the comming New Solar-Cycle, good old 10-M will be popping
    up again for world-wide SSB DX, using only a simple Dipole Ant. (Hint:
    a 40-m Dipole works great on 15-m also, no tuner needed with tube finals!)
    I've seen Two, (2), Solar Cycles in my years of Hamming, and they sure
    were fun to operate on the HF-Bands! Good luck & DX, de, KD0QV--Jim
  8. K8AG

    K8AG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Find yourself a good used FT920

    I agree. The radio has everything one might need. Just starting out you may decide to do PSK or RTTY or something. The 920 is fitted for those modes quite nicely. Its just a large, comfortable, easy to use rig with a better than decent receiver.

    My 2 cents.

    73, JP, K8AG
  9. YV6CA

    YV6CA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Choosing Radio

    Well, i have a ts440s-at and a ts430s, and both radios does me a good results in a ssb works, it has a good power (100w) covers 10-160m, are not expensive, and their maintenace its easily.
  10. KG6WCA

    KG6WCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have to put my .02 in. I am a new ham also and on a tight budget. I now have 2 rigs, both purchased from ebay. I paid less than 1k for both. I am like you in that at the moment ssb/fm are my only modes of operation. I am interested in the dig modes and plan to get into them as soon as time and money permit. My first rig was an Icom 751. It is a great radio for the $300 I paid for it. It also came wtth a built in PS. The reviews in eham are good and in performance it compares very well to my 2nd rig a Yaesu 897 which I got on ebay for $500. I like the 897 because it has CAT and I can run it on my computer using the great HRD software. Having been involved in 3 field days (this was my first as a general) I can say, as many others have said "Put your money in the air!" Unfortunately for me, where I live there are so many restrictions that I can not have a decent antenna, which is the main factor in getting out on the air. At field day our club's old FT 757 connected to our 20m 3 ele yagi at 60ft. operated in a continuous pileup in both cw and ssb modes. I struggled with a 40m dipole up 35ft to get anybody to answer my CQ. Where I live there are so many restrictions that I can not have a decent antenna. If you are one of the lucky ones with the room, money and permission to put up a good antenna farm do that first and then get whatever rig you can stiil afford from ebay at a good price.

    Have fun!

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