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Author Topic: New General looking for HF transceiver advice  (Read 20132 times)

StoneyHill

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New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« on: October 10, 2012, 05:25:01 PM »
I just recently upgraded to General.  I do not have a HF radio yet.  I read the thread saying that the Icom 7000 was not recommended.  I have seen the Yaesu 857D mentioned a few times.

I am looking for a radio that I can learn on.  It needs to be semiportable, but not necessarily a mobile radio (may travel in a case, but not mounted in car).  It needs to be relitively rugged.  My major interest is in grid down preparedness communications, however I may end up tinkering with other aspects of the hobby.

THe radios I am considering are as follows:

Yaesu FT857D $869
Yaesu FT 897D $949
Yaesu FT 450D $919
Icom 7000 $1279
Icom 7200 $994
Kenwood 480SAT $945

Do any of you guys have experience with these and any advice?

THanks for your time.

gil

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 05:48:01 PM »
Hello,

From what I have learned recently on this forum and subsequently researched, the 7200 has everything you will ever need, including very good (and expensive) filters included...

Keep in mind that all these radios have a high current draw (1.5 to 2A on receive for the IC-7200)... For grid-down communications, that is a major concern.

I would personally suggest an MFJ-9440, or even a used Elecraft K2 (220mA on receive).
A used SGC-2020 or Index Labs QRP+ would be ideal.There is always the FT-817ND. (All about 450mA).
If you see one of those two on Ebay (2020 & QRP+), jump on it! They go very fast.
Always check the receive current draw. As far as output power, you don't need 100W. 10 or 20 is plenty.
I routinely have 5000+ miles QSOs on 12-14W...

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2012, 05:52:19 PM »
I have an FT-857D.  It is essentially the same as the FT-897D, but the 897 has a power supply built in and you can buy an automatic tuner to attach to one side.  The 857 gives a little more flexability in that you have the option of mounting it in your car.  The faceplate detaches so you can mount the big part in the trunk and just have the little face plate up front.  They even make face plate holders that go in the car's cup holder.

The Icom mobile rigs have big beautifyl displays, but eat 3x more power than the FT857 while receiving.  (FT857 is about 0.65A).  Not the best for SHTF battery opps.  Otherwise they have a very strong following.

The bottom line is that almost any of the 100W HF+6M+2M radios will be a great start and keep you happy for a few years until you know enough go have preferences.

White Tiger

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New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2012, 07:40:09 PM »
I just recently upgraded to General.  I do not have a HF radio yet.  I read the thread saying that the Icom 7000 was not recommended.  I have seen the Yaesu 857D mentioned a few times.

I am looking for a radio that I can learn on.  It needs to be semiportable, but not necessarily a mobile radio (may travel in a case, but not mounted in car).  It needs to be relitively rugged.  My major interest is in grid down preparedness communications, however I may end up tinkering with other aspects of the hobby.

THe radios I am considering are as follows:

Yaesu FT857D $869
Yaesu FT 897D $949
Yaesu FT 450D $919
Icom 7000 $1279
Icom 7200 $994
Kenwood 480SAT $945

Do any of you guys have experience with these and any advice?

THanks for your time.

As one who is on this same path - I was encouraged by WA4STO to look into Ten Tec. They have many new models - but as a beginner, there are models from the 80's that are large and easy to work on, the electronics are stout and can easily handle deep duty cycle, and priced reasonably for HF beginners concerned about quality AND price...

Ten Tec is based in Sevierville, TN - build ALL of their radios here, and have a tech staff on-site that can talk you through an issue, or you can mail/take your radio to them and they will fix it for you (for a nominal fee)!

That (for me) was just too much to pass up!

I can give you some additional information on a couple of models I checked out recently, if you're interested?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 01:15:12 AM by White Tiger »
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StoneyHill

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 08:45:51 PM »
Wow!  Thanks for the quick replies.

Gil,  so are you recommending the Icom7200 for transmitting and buying a separate radio as an emergency backup for listening in a grid down environment?

Cockpit Bob,  I have looked at the 857 very closely.  I have an "elmer" here in town that has that radio in his portable bag.  I was just worried that the small screen would be an issue, as well as not as many features as some of the others.  I was not aware of the current draw issue until now.

White TIger,  my elmer also mentioned Tentec today.  Today is the first time I have heard of them.  Is there a specific radio they build that you would recommend?

THanks all.

gil

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 08:52:46 PM »
Quote
Gil,  so are you recommending the Icom7200 for transmitting and buying a separate radio as an emergency backup for listening in a grid down environment?

Well, if you can afford it! I have heard good things about the 7200. Being rugged and having good filters already included...

I would definitely suggest something with less current draw, that you would keep in an EMP protected case. For that, the MFJ-9440X is ideal, at the price is right at $270.

Gil.

StoneyHill

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 09:22:24 PM »
Right now, my backup receive radio is a Sony ICF-7600

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-ICF-SW7600GR-Shortwave-Receiver-Reception/dp/B00006IS4X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349918437&sr=8-1&keywords=sony+shortwave+radio

It lives in an ammo can when not in use.

It looks like the MFJ only recieves on 40 meters

SH

gil

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 09:32:34 PM »
Quote
It looks like the MFJ only recieves on 40 meters

Well, yes, but it transmits too, and it's only $270  :)

Gil.

Paul

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 09:57:56 PM »
I guess it's a matter of taste, and the general purpose for it.  I'm a Kenwood fan and would recommend the '480.  It's not strictly a mobile radio, just takes a 12 Vdc supply.  I've used it both mobile and fixed and it does what I want it to do.  If you can afford it I would recommend a new radio with a guarantee, but there's nothing wrong with used equipment (just use normal care in buying one, you know?).  Best recommendation I can think of is to get your hands on one, or try a radio before buying it.  Most of the newer radios are at least comparable, the big differences in ease of use.
Have fun.
 - Paul

White Tiger

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New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 09:59:13 PM »
White TIger,  my elmer also mentioned Tentec today.  Today is the first time I have heard of them.  Is there a specific radio they build that you would recommend?

Those Elmer's - it's like they know everything!

Yep, but I think the model would depend on what you want to do - HF, with capability of doing digital modes and voice...I chose an Omni D...but the Triton was VERY close...

Be careful looking on eBay, as it is impossible to think that ALL of them came from the estate sale of their father-in-law who just happens to keep passing away every few weeks....or had one HECK of a Ten Tec collection!?

I am still pretty new, but it is the model I bought, and am very satisfied - I can direct you to someone on this board that could help you pin point a model that would fit your specific needs a little better, if you'd like? He, nor I have any affiliation with Ten Tec - except I did tour the plant when I was passing through Tennessee a few weeks ago...I stopped in at 4:30 on a Friday to see the show room...and the VP of the company gave me a tour! Since then I bought the Omni D, and have had a couple of email conversations with a technician who has been very helpful. Great people and great service...of course, I'm sure the ICOM folks could say the same about their experiences...I only have my recent experience to speak from.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 10:03:02 PM by White Tiger »
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StoneyHill

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 10:18:56 PM »
Paul, 

The reason I listed the Kenwood is that my wife and I have Kenwood TH-F6A's in our coms kit in our vehicles.  I have had it for 2-3 years with no issues.  I just haven't seen the 480SAT mentioned as much in the preparedness community.  I do like the fact that it has abuilt in tuner, although it is my understanding that it will only tune if the SWR is close to begin with.  From what I hear, Yeasu supports the HAM community better that most of the other companies out there and that Kenwood's support is less since they were bought out.  I have no personal experience with any company other than one of my TH-F6A's malfunctioned just out of the warranty period and they still covered it

SH

StoneyHill

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 10:20:07 PM »
White Tiger,

Could you post a link to the radios you mentioned.  I went to TenTec's website and couldn't find them.

SH

gil

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 10:42:25 PM »
Those radios are no longer manufactured. You can find them used on Ebay. Ten Tec has a good reputation, and I second Tim on this. To get your feet wet, you can get a good used HF radio for $300-$400... Just make sure the seller has a good rating.

Gil.

cockpitbob

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Re: New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 11:21:07 PM »
For getting your fee wet, I also like used equipment.  It's electronics.  In general it either works or it doesn't.

White Tiger

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New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 12:00:55 AM »
White Tiger,

Could you post a link to the radios you mentioned.  I went to TenTec's website and couldn't find them.

SH

Didn't want to hijack the thread - sent you a PM with some informational links.

Let me know if you have any questions!

But please remember - I am still new enough at this that this radio is my first radio!. Many others are more qualified & more experienced (WA4STO, are you listening?), and I think you said your Elmer has mentioned these radios. Keep seeking a LOT of input!
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

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New General looking for HF transceiver advice
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 12:00:55 AM »