Getting into HF

ScubaJungle

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I'd really like to try out HF but I'm having trouble finding anything that isn't $500+.
My money is going towards a degree right now, so that isn't an option, and even if it was - it's a huge risk - spend $500+ on something you don't know you like, and possibly not like it, or never get to try it at all. Anyone new in HF, how did you start?

Are there 1) any companies that make cheaper receivers (Ive seen Xiegu, but that's about it) 2) is there a good place to search for used rigs, besides the usual eBay, Offerup, etc? Even the used, broken ones are going for ridiculous prices (there's a guy selling a broken Icom for almost $400)

I do have a HackRF-One clone coming from China that probably won't be here any time soon, and I don't know how great Tx will be on it.
 

majoco

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My 2cents worth - A Tecsun PL880 - don't bother with names such as eton, Grundig, CCrane - you're just buying the name. There's lots of great reports about the Tecsun performance - I have a PL-600 and a Degen 1103 - there's not a lot between them performance wise - pretty good on the whip antenna and very good on an external wire to the proper antenna socket. You need to know when and where to search - high frequencies in the day, lower frequencies at night. There's a vast amount of knowledge to absorb before getting complicated.......

I do have a HackRF-One clone coming from China that probably won't be here any time soon, and I don't know how great Tx will be on it.
Great Tx? Got a licence? Which one? Learn to walk before running.
 

ScubaJungle

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Thanks for the comment - I have been Rxing for quite some time(on HF - 2m+ tx also), and yes I do have a license. I've always used SDR for Rx, but I have been keeping my eyes out for Tecsun to add something dedicated to my arsenal.
Honestly, I've just never even entertained the idea of HF past receiving due to cost. I have enjoyed Rxing, and I think getting a dedicated receiver like that would be a good idea and step in the right direction, but what I'd really like to do is dip my feet in the water of making contacts, even if it's just CW to start.
I appreciate the info!
 

alcahuete

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There are plenty of used (non-broken) HF rigs around the $500 mark. They're going to be older most likely, but still very usable.

eBay is kinda a lost cause as far as ham radio gear is concerned...at least HF. I don't spend a whole lot of time there. Try the Swapmeet at QRZ or the Eham classifieds. You will often times come across a good deal.
 

ScubaJungle

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For just under $500 (on sale now at DX Engineering), here is a new transceiver option:
Alinco DX-SR8T All-Mode Desktop Transceivers DX-SR8T


-cognetic
THanks, I will check this out.

There are plenty of used (non-broken) HF rigs around the $500 mark. They're going to be older most likely, but still very usable.

eBay is kinda a lost cause as far as ham radio gear is concerned...at least HF. I don't spend a whole lot of time there. Try the Swapmeet at QRZ or the Eham classifieds. You will often times come across a good deal.
Thanks! This is what I was looking for. I will check these places out.
Agree with Martin re Tescun, a good antenna is a must. Also you could check SDRPlay receivers
SDRplay. Check some Youtube postings on SDRplay stuff
THanks - I already have a few SDRs but I may grab a Tecsun just to have a "real" radio for HF/SW


-- I appreciate all the help!
 

ka3jjz

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You should check out the various reviews on radios before you buy them - that includes SDRs if you ever decide to go that route. These 2 articles from our wiki (links in blue) will help with that...



And as has been mentioned, no matter what radio you get, it won't perform without an antenna. Post your questions in the following forum. Be as specific as you can as to your circumstances - can you put something outside away from the home (always preferable)? Can you get to your attic (although that's liable to be a sweatbox right now...)? How much room do you have to work with? Any trees you can use as a support? These questions and more will help shape your decision...


Mike
 

krokus

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Also checked the used & trade-in gear on the retailer websites. Most of them list functionality, and/or condition.
 

WB9YBM

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I admit the whole situation's a bit of a juggling act between $$$ and quality; really cheap receivers aren't always that "tight"--they'll pick up adjacent/off-frequency garbage, or lack sensitivity for example. You might not need the "Cadillac" of receivers, but at the other end of the spectrum--a cheap receiver--will probably have such poor quality you'll end up disappointed or frustrated. I've found out that a well-known name brand (regardless of what I'm buying) is usually better than some unknown brand, since the well-known companies have a reputation to uphold.
 

jaspence

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Check out the G-90 Connect Systems I have one and it is very good for the price. My first contact was to a station in upper New York. I was running about 10 watts out and got a 5x9 signal report. You might also find a used 10 meter rig (don't get one for FM only). With an end fed antenna, you can get world wide coverage. Like all HF bands, atmospheric conditions have a big part in contacting others.
 

ka3jjz

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I don't believe the OP was looking at transceivers...

In any case you should do your homework when you are buying a radio - any radio. To be frank there's enough out there on the web to find on most radios to be able to make an informed opinion. The links in the wiki are a start, but only a start. One of the best ways to learn about a radio is to talk to owners that have one. First hand knowledge beats out assumptions any day in the year. There are many reflectors (and even some Facebook pages) devoted to radios these days. A well structured Google search will no doubt bring these up

Mike
 

ScubaJungle

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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions, I hadn't really been looking outside of eBay and other major marketplaces so I think that's part of the issue. I think the plan is to continue rxing until I can spend the money to buy a good quality used rig that I can really enjoy rather than make a hasty purchase of some crap that will disappoint.
 

K4EET

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<snip> I think the plan is to continue rxing until I can spend the money to buy a good quality used rig that I can really enjoy rather than make a hasty purchase of some crap that will disappoint.
That is a good plan and who knows, you might even be able to purchase a new rig in lieu of the used rig. Keep an eye on the Yaesu FT-450D for a good sale. MSRP is about $1,100 but street price at DX Engineering is $719.95 and I've seen it in the $600s on sale. It is a nice, compact radio.
 

GB46

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One of the best ways to learn about a radio is to talk to owners that have one. First hand knowledge beats out assumptions any day in the year.
So true, and I would add that reviews by existing owners aren't always reliable, as one owner will say it's the worst receiver he's ever owned, and another will say he loves it; you can see that about the Icom R75 even on eHam.net.

It's the same with reviews in other areas, such as hotel accommodations. One man's dump is another man's palace. Take everything you read on the web with a grain of salt, including this post. :D Or, to quote an old proverb, "If you believe everything you read, better not read!"

My own approach is to download the PDF manual for anything I'm considering buying, and if I want more detailed specifications, the service manual, as well.
 

K4EET

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Oops... I see where the OP may actually be just looking for a good receiver. Back to the drawing board. LOL!

<edit> P.S.: Although we'd love to have the OP join the ranks of Ham Radio...
 

alcahuete

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Since Xiegu doesn't make receivers (to my knowledge), and two lines later, the OP mentions that he doesn't know how good TX will be on it, my guess is that he is in fact looking for a transceiver and perhaps misspoke. Not going to be much transmitting taking place on a receiver. ;)
 

K4EET

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Since Xiegu doesn't make receivers (to my knowledge), and two lines later, the OP mentions that he doesn't know how good TX will be on it, my guess is that he is in fact looking for a transceiver and perhaps misspoke. Not going to be much transmitting taking place on a receiver. ;)
LOL! :ROFLMAO:

ScubaJungle, so what are you looking for? A receiver or a transceiver? Also, are you a ham radio operator already or would you be interested in getting your license if not currently licensed? Let us know...
 
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