What say you?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by K1RET, May 8, 2016.

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  1. K1RET

    K1RET XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm currently a Technician (studying for my General) who is still very very green (just got my call sign on 5 April) looking for advice on HF. I currently own an FT-8900R (my current base rig), a Baofeng UV-5RA and a TYT MD-380 DMR/Moto TRBO (UHF version).

    My dream rig is an FT-991 but unless someone hands me a winning lottery ticket it's not in the cards right now (per the XYL). I have a budget of approximately 800.00 and looking for recommendations. My Elmer says to get something that already has a waterfall display on it...


  2. W8JX

    W8JX Ham Member QRZ Page

    The need for a waterfall display is over rated. Focus on performance not eye candy that does nothing to enhance actual performance. (Eye candy is there to dazzle you and over look rigs short comings on a cheaper rig) For about 100 more or so you could get a used TS590 which is a solid rig. There are other good new and used rigs in 900 to 1000 dollar range too. It is cheaper to get close to what you want now rather than by something cheaper and sell it at a loss to upgrade to what you want costing you more over all.
    K8PG and N4NYK like this.
  3. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    Agree 100 percent!

    Street prices for good condition used '590s have fallen to $875-$900.

    Best bang-for-the-buck out there.
    K8PG likes this.
  4. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    If you start out with a bandscope out or waterfall display, you will always be dependent on them.
    PU2OZT likes this.
  5. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is that your budget for just the radio or for your entire station? No matter what you buy, you will need a power supply and of course, some type of antenna.

    Arguably the best brand new "entry level" radio is is the Icom IC-718: http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/718/default.aspx. The "street price" is normally $675, but there is currently a mail-in rebate (until 6/30/2016) for $75 which brings this radio down to an incredible $600!

    That still leaves you with $200 for a power supply and an antenna and coax. Don't skimp on the power supply! I have had the same Astron RS35a for nearly 25 years. No, they are not cheap, but that power supply is the only piece of gear in my shack that I have had literally since Day 1.

    As far as the antenna, this is where your own creativity and resourcefulness will come into play. Many of us get a great deal of satisfaction by building our own antennas (in addition to saving quite a bit of money). It is almost impossible to give you a recommendation since we don't know where you live and how much room you have or how many "supporting structures" (i.e. trees) you have. There are just too many unknown variables to make a specific suggestion, but many of us start with a simple dipole strung between two trees. Depending on the type of antenna you end up with, you may also need an antenna tuner.

    All of these things may bring your total outlay closer to $1000, but you can assemble a very capable BRAND NEW station that will serve you well for many years to come.

    There is also the used market, but at this stage of the game, unless you know and trust the seller of the used radio (who will also show you how to use it), I humbly suggest starting off with brand new stuff.... with a warranty!

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
    K9ASE likes this.
  6. K1RET

    K1RET XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you the budget is just for the Rig. I have a great power supply and I am in the process of building an G5RV. I am in Grid Square: FN55hd, Guilford ME. :)
  7. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Its best to use the waterfall in the program you plan to use. I use the DIGIPAN waterfall and the dual mountain peaks in MMTTY. And a bandscope isn't all that needed, but it is pretty to look at. So thats what U pay for, a pretty screen to look at.
  8. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The other thing you may want to consider with your leftover money is an antenna tuner. Even though my current rig (IC-7410) has a built-in tuner, I still have an MFJ 949e manual tuner in line. I have been through several rigs over the years, but I have been using that same tuner for over 20 years and it still works perfectly (except for the lights for the meter). Yeah, I know, you have probably heard a lot of things about MFJ and I am sure much of it is critical but some of their stuff is actually pretty good. This is a manual tuner but there are also automatic tuners on the market in the same price range from companies like LDG. I have never used an outboard automatic tuner, but they seem to come highly recommended.
  9. WB0MPB

    WB0MPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is my 2 cents worth. I can only tell you my opinion from my experience. The first of March I bought a Yaesu FT-450D, and a used Ten Tec tuner from Associated (since I live less then a mile from there store, I love that) and put up a 40 meter dipole. That is the only antenna I could do because of rental and lot size and distance between 2 trees I have. I load up the 40 meter dipole for all the bands from 40 to 6 meters. Two days ago when there was a 6 meter opening into Kansas I made many contacts on the 40 meter dipole. I had stations calling me one after another.

    I also wanted the 991 but just did not want to spend the extra money. I had not bought a new rig in years. the last new rig I bought was the Yaesu FT-101E. I am a Yaesu man if you did not notice. Well some on here don't like the 450D and that is OK if they don't want to like it. That is there right. There are some rigs I don't like either. It will always be that way and has always been that way. I just won't bad mouth the ones I don't like and talk them down cause someone somewhere likes all the rigs out there.

    But back to the 450D for me when I "played" with it at Associated Radio I really liked it so I took it home. The price was good and the rebate was good. It sounds good. I can pick out signals really good from each other. It is easy to use. I put a MD-100 mic with foot switch and boom on it and it is a really good rig for me. I have made 589 contacts on it since 3/5/2016 so I think it is working good. I plan on keeping it for a very long time. I am not one that trades radios very often as you can see from my last purchase being the FT-101E. I don't even remember when I got that radio. I think in the late 70's but I could be wrong, so I think I was do for a new radio.

    So that is my input. You can take it or leave it.

    John, WB0MPB
  10. WB0MPB

    WB0MPB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I forgot to say your QSL card is really cool. Wish I could make contact with you and get one of those!!
    John, WB0MPB
    W7EDC and PU2OZT like this.

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