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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2012, 12:00 AM
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Default What should a all-around amateur radio be like?

I am just curious, for amateur radio users, what do you look for when purchasing an amateur radio?

What are your concerns? (Ex. lightweight, compact, specific features...etc.?)

Thanks
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Old 12-21-2012, 2:53 PM
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Oh gosh, it really depends on what you like. If money isn't much of a concern, do-it-all radios such as the Icom IC-7000 don't do anything particularly well, but they do a lot of things.

An Elecraft K3 is another option. It is more expensive, probably more complex, but it performs better.

As for me, I prefer seeing how much I can do with how little. I've like to operate bicycle mobile, on board a train, and some interesting field day efforts including a kite antenna. I don't get on the air very much, but I do like to build stuff. But I got over my desire to own super duper do-it-all radios decades ago.
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Old 12-21-2012, 4:41 PM
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There's not one answer to that question, kinda like asking what's the best vehicle, it really depends on what you're going to use it for.

If I'm looking for a handheld VHF/UHF radio, I want it to be small (but not too small), cover at least the two main bands (2/70), have good battery life, accessories that interest me (that are priced right), features I'm interested in, good price, and available when I want it.

If I'm looking for a mobile VHF/UHF radio, I want it to be fair sized, reasonable power levels, easily mounted where it's convenient for me and out of the way, accessories that interest me (that are priced right), features I'm interested in, easily operated while driving (don't want to look at the radio, I want to watch the road!), good price, and available when I want it.

If I'm looking for a mobile HF radio, I want it to be fair sized, reasonable power levels, reasonable power draw, easily mounted/removed (but still secure), accessories that interest me (that are priced right), features I'm interested in, easily operated, good price, and available when I want it.

If I'm looking for a base HF radio, I want it to fit my desk well, easily accessable controls (with a button to lock them down so little fingers don't change things on me when I'm not looking), good sound (both receive and transmit), accessories that interest me (and are priced right), features I'm interested in, good price, and available when I want it or fairly soon afterwards (I'll wait for a good model).

Generally I don't like the "all in one" radios. If my HF base covered DC to daylight, I'll probably just use it for HF and use my dual-band for VHF/UHF for those bands. If two radios tie for my appeal and one is HF only and the other full coverage I may go for full coverage, but only if the cost difference is quite small.

I seam to generally like one brand's radios, but will happily get one of the other brands if the price & features are right. I generally don't like features that are added just to make the checklist look full, but are pretty much worthless to me. I actually may subtract points for them when doing my comparison. I also feel it's important to "play" with my final few prior to making my selection (either at a ham store, if available or at a local hamfest). Reviews are nice, but unless I know the reviewer, I don't trust them 100% ("know" may be from having read their earlier reviews and agreed with what was said, both good & bad) although visiting a ham that regularly uses that radio and having them show me around (and then letting me "play") is always the best option.
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Old 12-22-2012, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ab3a View Post
Oh gosh, it really depends on what you like. If money isn't much of a concern, do-it-all radios such as the Icom IC-7000 don't do anything particularly well, but they do a lot of things.

An Elecraft K3 is another option. It is more expensive, probably more complex, but it performs better.

As for me, I prefer seeing how much I can do with how little. I've like to operate bicycle mobile, on board a train, and some interesting field day efforts including a kite antenna. I don't get on the air very much, but I do like to build stuff. But I got over my desire to own super duper do-it-all radios decades ago.
Just curious my friend, I thought a Icom 7000 was a exceptional radio?
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Old 12-22-2012, 8:09 PM
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A radio that will reach out and make contact with another person near by or in a different state or country. You know one of those big sounded audio radios!!!! C'mune. .
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Old 12-23-2012, 8:15 AM
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I agree that all-in-one radios are often jacks of all trades, but masters of none. Radios, like most things in life, are full of compromises. N5IMS covered the trade-offs for different applications pretty well.

Sometimes a manufacturer really gets it right. Elecraft seems to have a pretty good track record for making small HF radios with great performance. Their KX3 and K3 are near the top of Rob Sherwood's receiver test chart. On the other hand, by the time you get a K3 optioned out with 100 watts transmitter, a sub-receiver, and an internal antenna tuner, you are up there with the mid-priced Japanese rigs, but you still have a small face plate with ergonomics that might not suit everyone.

The Icom IC-7000 was mentioned. On paper, this looks like a great all-in-one HF/6m/2m/70cm mobile. It's still one band at a time, though, so you can't monitor the local 2m repeater while you're tuning around on HF. And, the receiver performance is really poor--worse in some respects than many older radios as well as the IC-706Mk2G that it replaced.
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Old 12-28-2012, 9:51 AM
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Up to 250 watts out on all bands HF-241ghz, all modes, different antenna connectors for each, built in tuner, built in power supply. Can't be any larger than a fax machine. And I'm talking about a fax machine, not a multifunction printer!
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