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Thread: Recommendation for Cheap Secondhand Cheap HF Rig to Get on the Air.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    England
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    Default Recommendation for Cheap Secondhand Cheap HF Rig to Get on the Air.

    Hi, all.

    Having recently passed my Foundation exam, I bought a handheld radio, but want to start to investigate HF. I am completely overwhelmed by all of the bells and whistles that modern base stations have, and wondered whether anyone could suggest a good entry level base station, that I could pick up second hand. My budget is almost non existant, and I'll need to buy a power supply etc, so even recommendations of ancient rigs are welcome. I am limited to 10W at the moment, so the rig's output is unimportant, as once I get used to operating, I will probably upgrade anyway.

    Any recommendations appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Chris.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    South Hams
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    Default

    I can very much recommend the Icom 718 - it's very easy to use, and there are a few about on the second hand market. Most HF radios are not exactly cheap - even ones 20 years old can be hundreds of pounds if not more! I paid 425 for my 718 and it was 1 year old.

  3. #3
    G4FUT's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Barnard Castle; Teesdale Co. Durham
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    I also have the ICOM 718, great little radio. Little in the sense that it is quite small physically. Also it can be turned down to 10 watts out for Foundation Licence holders. In addition it has general coverage receiver. But first I would advise LISTENING on the amateur bands first before transmitting. The HF is nothing like the mess you find on VHF, in the UK. The operating procedure is nothing like that used on CB, if that is your recent experience. In addition to the PSU you are going to need a VSWR bridge and an antenna. If the antenna is not to be resonant (like a long wire for example) then you will also require an ATU. Another bit of advice is NOT to go fora "hybrid" rig. These are the old Kenwood and Yaesus which have a semi-coductor RX but a valve TX. I have 5 of these and they require constant maintenance .
    Finally learn the amateur band-plan and stick to its recommendations. Many newcomers fall foul of this; they switch on the rig and select what they think is a clear frequency, only to find that it is not for the type of mode they want to use. e.g. SSB in the CW portion of the band. Or like a current situation where a group of Foundation Licences (M3s) have an inter UK net inside the DX sector of the 40 Metre band !
    http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/uk-band-plan/
    Cheers
    Jon G4FUT


    Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    England
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    48

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by G4FUT View Post
    I also have the ICOM 718, great little radio. Little in the sense that it is quite small physically. Also it can be turned down to 10 watts out for Foundation Licence holders. In addition it has general coverage receiver. But first I would advise LISTENING on the amateur bands first before transmitting. The HF is nothing like the mess you find on VHF, in the UK. The operating procedure is nothing like that used on CB, if that is your recent experience. In addition to the PSU you are going to need a VSWR bridge and an antenna. If the antenna is not to be resonant (like a long wire for example) then you will also require an ATU. Another bit of advice is NOT to go fora "hybrid" rig. These are the old Kenwood and Yaesus which have a semi-coductor RX but a valve TX. I have 5 of these and they require constant maintenance .
    Finally learn the amateur band-plan and stick to its recommendations. Many newcomers fall foul of this; they switch on the rig and select what they think is a clear frequency, only to find that it is not for the type of mode they want to use. e.g. SSB in the CW portion of the band. Or like a current situation where a group of Foundation Licences (M3s) have an inter UK net inside the DX sector of the 40 Metre band !
    http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/uk-band-plan/
    Thanks guys for your helpful answers. The advice about listening and sticking to the correct frequencies is music to my ears, I have no intention of falling foul of my license conditions. I'm now keeping an eye out for the Icom 718, but it may be a bit of a wsit whilst I save some pennies.

    Thanks, again.

    Chris.

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