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Thread: Beginner HF transceiver

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2020

    Default Beginner HF transceiver

    Hi, new to amateur radio and have passed my foundation license last month. I am wanting a good beginner HF transceiver something that is decent but will not break the bank. there is no point in me getting something expensive as i can only use 10W with my license at the moment. I would like something portable also, can anyone recommend anything to me please. for a relative price range i would not be wanting to spend over 300

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Hi, Gary.

    I think this is a question that most of us have asked. The kit can seem really expensive to many newbies, and I was one.

    I had always been drawn to the Icom IC-718, but after much research, opted for the Yaesu FT-450D. I still had a strange attraction to the 718, so ended up buying one second hand, for when at my in-laws. With regard to something mobile, a lot of people like the FT-817, now the 818. These rigs can serve as a mobile/ portable rig, and base.

    For your budget, I would suggest looking at used items from trusted places like Radioworld. Be careful with eBay etc; legitimate bargains can be found here, but some rogues sell rubbish here.

    Don't forget that some older rigs are still great to use, and as a newcomer, you won't have a clue (or need) for much of the functionality of the 'posh' rigs. Some newer cheaper brands may be an option, but I don't know much about them. I'm thinking Alinco/ Anytone etc.

    eHam is a great resource with real world reviews. Remember you'll need a power supply and antenna.

    BTW, 10W will get you anywhere in the world, with good conditions and good operating. More power isn't always the answer. Have a search for QRP.

    I hope this helps.


  3. #3


    As previously mentioned, the Yaesu FT450D would be a good choice. Although it's capable of 100w, you can choose to use lower power levels. No point in buying a 10w radio only to upgrade when you upgrade your licence.

    I have an FT450-AT. That's much the same as the D version.
    Another good radio if you intend to use mobile is the FT900-AT. Although an older radio, it's still a good base or mobile rig. Very hard to find one these days. Although l was lucky enough to find one boxed in mint condition last year. And it only cost me 300. That was a private sale from another ham. I drove over & rig was set up for me to do all the testing that l wanted before l bought it. After an hour & 2 mugs of coffee l bought it. That's how a private sale should be done.

    Assuming you already have 2m/70cm rigs. If you don't, it may be worth considering an HF rig with those bands in it. Although that's going to be a hard find on your budget.

    I sold my FT817 a few years ago. That rig will give you all the bands, but you need to consider that an amp is a must for that rig as 2.5w won't go very far. A suitable amp won't be cheap.

    Word of warning. You will get much more for your buck on a private sale. But always buy from a ham.
    If the rig is opened up to transmit 0-30mhz then alarm bells should ring in your head. As it's likely that it's been used by non hams to transmit on 11m band. That could mean that unqualified guys have been inside it with a screwdriver.

    No money back on a private sale. So unless you know radios, best to take along someone who does.

    Have a look at used gear on radio world, Martin lynch ect. That will give you an idea of the value of specific used rigs.
    Then if you buy in a private sale, expect to pay 100 less. That's because a dealer gives you 12 months warranty.

    You will struggle to find a mint condition HF rig for 300. But it's possible as l paid less than that for my ft450at from a dealer. When l recall his name l will pop back & tell you as he is a ham who tests all the gear he sells. And much cheaper than the big names.

    Hope that helps
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sat 11th Apr 2020 at 18:01.

  4. #4


    Try G3RCQ. He has a website, Google it as links are not allowed on this forum.
    His name is David Cole. I have had many bargains from him. I haven't found better prices anywhere else. He fully tests all the gear that he sells. My FT450AT cost me 270 from him.

    If he doesn't have what you need, drop him a message as he has used gear coming in on a regular basis. He also does silent key sales.

    Radio world has 3 used HF rigs in stock ATM.
    Although they are all 399. You get that warranty with them. May be worth borrowing from Bank of mum & dad.

    Good luck
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sat 11th Apr 2020 at 17:50. Reason: Additional information

  5. #5


    LINDARS RADIOS have a Kenwood TS430-S (with FM board installed) for 265.
    They also have an Alinco DX-801 for 325 (just been listed & looks mint condition. Screen protector still on it). Great choice for mobile work + it has power settings of 10w + 100w so ideal for you. And you can sell it for the same price at a later date. Perhaps more if you keep it in that condition.
    But like all bargains. You need to move fast before they go.
    Not the latest radios. But within your budget, will cover all the HF bands & you can be sure that they have fully tested it.
    I have had gear from them in the past & always been happy with the prices.

    Radio world also have that Kenwood radio in stock. But they want 399 for it.
    Have a look at the other radios on LINDARS as you may find other bargains.

    However, remember that those radios will require an ATU, power supply & antenna.

    When l was starting out l had the radio & couldn't afford the power supply, ATU or antenna. So l used a bank of 2 car batteries connected to a high amp charger. Then cut lengths of copper wire to make dipoles. Was hassle switching over to different dipoles for each band.
    The struggle made it much more fun. Felt good telling guys thousands of miles away l was talking to them via lengths of copper wire powered by car batteries.

    These days the modern radios do it all. No skills required.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sun 12th Apr 2020 at 09:04.

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