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tips for buying a first rig.

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Post by Garydean Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:32 pm

I just got my license a few days ago. As I eagerly await my new call sign to be posted on the FCC data base, I'm in search of a radio, preferably a mobile unit, that will allow me HF as well as VHF. I passed my General exam, so exploring the lower bands would be a plus. My mobile unit should be able to double as my temporary home unit for now, as I am budget minded these days. I'm thinking 50-60 watts. What sort of application? Well... for now, local and regional contacts within the 48's. I realize 60 watts are limiting to some extent. I've read, do not buy used unless you know the buyer. I'm sure you all have plenty of eBay stories supporting that suggestion. Digital readout is a plus I understand.

I've been reading about Yaesu, Kenwood and ICOM. They seem to be in the mainstream. Unfortunately here in NJ, there are only a few places in the upper part of the state that sell ham stuff. The hours are nonconforming to my work buying online seems to be the only option for me. I live in Red Bank, NJ...Jersey Shore area.

Like any other industry, there are mainstream brands which are very good and there are not so popular, "in your face" brands which are equally superb, if not better.

I would like to hear from you folks who have had good or bad experiences with some of the common brands advertised on the www. I know recommending any particular product is controversial..... that's OK, I still need some advice.

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Post by tallboy Mon May 19, 2008 3:28 pm


sorry for the delay--i just hadn't read this topic for some time--

as for the big three--never used yeasu--no comment

kenwood--had an older ts530s--loved it--great dependable rig

icom ic 728 is my most modern rig--dependable--good performer--tends to be more sensitive to noise that my other rigs

ten tec--had and old century21 and an argosy--the C21 was a basic rig--direct conversion--i got more than i had expected--the argosy has been a good radio--still working fine

i have never bought or dealt over the web--no info there

if the big three are as they were years ago, any of them should do well--

if you could find a decent used rig with a known history, that might be an alternative--


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Post by krystallo Wed May 28, 2008 7:40 pm

Hey Gary. I am just getting back ON the air after 15 years OFF the air.

A lot of the new rigs have their good points and bad points.More on this later.

A lot of old used rigs can be , in theory, good but what type of shape are they in after so long ? How much will you pay against others ie on epay. Will you over pay or maybe get a flukey rig that someone is trying to dump? Not to scare, all just = food for thought.

After a good amount of searching around , I bought a new Icom IC 2200H (2 meters ONLY) on Monday. I have NOT tried it yet and am NOT willing to go on record as suggesting it. But it DID get a LOT of GOOD reviews on eham (search google).

As for a radio that does a whole bunch of bands (and functions) at once, the question I ask is HOW WELL does it do ALL of this stuff? 160M ( or 80 M ) all the way up to 2M or 70 CM is a BIG,BIG leap. And off hand I am not sure if I've ever even SEEN a rig that will jump that far. IF you could find such a set, expect to pay HUGE money.

Also consider how you can /will manage your antennas.

I live in a VERY RF polluted area. I am going to do ONE band WELL and have fun , rather than trying spread myself too thin. Helical resonator bandpass, here we come! ...Your mileage may vary.

Online research may save you some grief.

Congrats on your ticket, 73's,

de N1NQC


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Post by tube radio Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:41 pm

congratulations on getting your ticket garyDean

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Post by Timaaay! Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:26 am

Hi Gary and congrats on the General class! As someone else mentioned, I wouldn't buy any rig before checking it out on E ham. You'll find lots of reviews from actual users/owners of these radios that have no ulterior motive. Any "common problems" with a particular model will be disclosed also.
I saw an Alinco HF radio on e bay that is quite small and inexpensive. Although it doesn't have VHF, it is HF and 6 meters.
I know nothing about this radio model at all, but it may be worth looking up. I have no interest in the auction.
I think that with a 60-100 watt radio, you'll do fine with a good antenna. You're getting into HF at a good time because the cycle is on it's way up and will only get better in the next few years. I can't stress enough the need for an efficient antenna on HF! If you, like me, have a typical 50X100 lot here in NJ, it can be a challenge.
I can tell you from experience that my Kenwood ts-440 and ts-690 have great, trouble free radios for many years. Last year I purchased an Icom 756 Pro-lll and am very disappointed with it. I wouldn't recommend one unless a few gimmicks and a band-scope are worth over $1000 bucks to you. In side by side tests with my Kenwood 690, which cost about 1/3 of the Pro lll, the Kenwood has better transmit audio, is less prone to local noise, and actually receives well on 6 meters.
Any idea what type antenna you plan to use?

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