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New to me 6 meter Transceiver- which one?

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by N8FVJ, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am wanting a separate radio to monitor 6 meter SSB openings full time. I got a IC-7300 in a part trade, but kind of an expensive radio just for 6 meters. I can sell the IC-7300 and buy a RCI 5054DX with 100 watts out. It has SSB squelch and is only $225. Kind of funky 100Hz tuning steps though. Which radio for the money?
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd stay away from the RCI, although at $225 it's a good deal assuming it works properly.

    For a "6m only" rig there's almost nothing on the market today; but back in the 60s-70s-80s there was a lot of stuff. I like the IC-575H a lot, it's a good, solid 6m rig. But even earlier stuff, going back to the IC-551D, FT-625, TS-600, etc, etc were fine for SSB; frankly, the Heath SB-110A was a very good 6m SSB/CW rig (I built one from a kit close to 50 years ago), runs about 100W PEP output with the HP-23 power supply, and has a very good receiver; it's also very stable for an analog rig -- after 10 mins warmup, there's just about no detectable drift.

    The old Swan-250/250C runs the same power and also has a good RX, but isn't nearly as stable. That's a rig I'd just turn on and leave it on forever, as the "warm up drift" can last 30 minutes or longer.

    The cream of the crop in 6m-only transceivers was the Drake TR-6. About 150W PEP output and a very good receiver, and unlike the Heathkit, could also run AM and sound quite good. Also stable, same Drake PTO as used in the HF rigs.

    "6m only" rigs aren't a very good deal, though, since an HF+6m rig today can cost very little. For "nostalgia's sake" if I had the available space for a fairly large rig, I'd pick the SB-110A.

    The good thing about the "old" rigs (the analog ones like Heath, Swan, Drake...) is no proprietary components, and room inside to play so they're easy to work on and easy to repair. Even the crystal filters used, which are old-school, are available.

    Ten Tec gave it a shot several years ago with the model 526, which was 6m and 2m only and about 25W PEP or something. I never owned one, but played with a couple at VHF multiop contests where others had one. It worked very well, but a bit low powered and was never popular.
  3. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I owned a FT-6125RD, but it did not have squelch on SSB & only 25 watts out. I did set it up for FM using squelch on the SSB calling frequency. Perhaps I will look for a IC-575H if it is less expensive vs an IC-7300 price.
  4. WA2CWA

    WA2CWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    My best all around rig for 6 meters has been the Kenwood/Trio TS-600. All mode, analog dial (which amazingly is quite accurate) easy to service if needed (has real looking resistors, capacitors, and semiconductors). They pop up for sale on occasion.

  5. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    10 watts output?
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another good 6-meter only transceiver is the Yaesu FT-690RII with the optional 10-watt linear amplifier.

    The unit has USB, LSB, CW, and FM but does not have AM. I use my FT-690RII, that has the optional FL-6020 linear amplifier for FM (with a 160-watt output Class C amplifier) and as the i.f. for my Heath SB-500 2-meter transverter that had the 50 MHz option when I got the unit. Occasionally, I do use it for 6-meter SSB. However, my main 6-meter transceiver is a Heath SB-110A.

    I do have a Hallicrafters HA-6 transverter that I can use one of my Uniden HR-2510 units as the i.f. That gives me USB, LSB, CW, FM, and AM at around 100-watts output.


    Glen, K9STH
    N7UJU likes this.
  7. WA2CWA

    WA2CWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's average maximum across 4 MHz. Since I only operate the rig between 50 and 51 MHz, I optimized the driver and final coils for maximum output in that range of frequencies - so my RF power out front panel adjustable range is between 0 and roughly 14 watts. Unless you have a crappy horizontal antenna, during a good band opening, 10 watts will get you to lots of grids.

    However, if you want shoes and since the TS-600 is front panel adjustable in all modes, a solid state 100 watt brick is a nice addition. With my TS-600, I have on the operating position besides the 100 watt brick, a Gonset 913A 500 watt PEP amp and a 6N2 Thunderbolt 1200 watt PEP.

    Of course, it's 70 technology and design, but I achieve 6 M WAS and contact with 89 countries, so I'm quite happy with its performance over the years. I have newer HF+6M rigs here now including the Flex SDR stuff, but operating the TS-600 on occasion is still fun. It's like wearing a Timex you bought 40 years ago. It never gets old and it keeps on ticking. :)
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nothing wrong with a TS-600.

    It works better with the optional 6n2 Thunderbolt, but that adds a lot of weight.:)
  9. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks all, but I would not buy anything less than 100 watts output. Buying a 6 meter amp would cost at least $175.

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