Used tabletop rigs

PXR-5

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Aug 9, 2020
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Hey all, I sold my Yaesu Frog 8800 and DX-160 20 years ago :(

Sadly I miss both of them (why do we do things like this).
I'm looking to get another tabletop.
But here is my dilemma, the digital rigs I see on the bay are rather pricey, and most are not tested.

Q. Are repairs even possible to these rigs?
If the processer/IC chips goes out, are these parts available??
Heck, I read the Alinco tabletop is being discontinued because they can't even get the parts to make them, let alone repair them :(

So should one stick to older transistor/FET units?

My Zenith Transoceanics are still going strong :)

Thoughts?

Thanks

Jeff
 

K4EET

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Feb 18, 2015
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Jeff @PXR-5, the Realistic DX-160 Communications Receiver is still pretty much available at hamfests and on eBay regularly. I have my original DX-160 from 1976 and my father's DX-160 that he bought used at a hamfest in 1980. They are fun to "play" with but without a digital frequency readout, it is a little hard to document/differentiate between different stations at times. What I would look for is a communications receiver that has some nostalgic-type historical value to it like the Realistic DX-160 but that also has a digital frequency readout. That would be the best of both worlds IMHO but I honestly don't know what receiver would fit that criteria. Dave
 

majoco

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Kenwood R600, R1000, R2000 pop up frequently here at reasonable prices, the 600 is perhaps too simple but the other two are very good BC band receivers - I've had a 2000 since the early 80's and still going strong. Certainly repairable but as long as you look after them there's no reason for them to go wrong - barring a lightning strike of course! My JRC NRD 515 is pretty rare on the 'used' market mainly because people tend to keep them and a plus is the IC's are still available off the shelf.
 

PXR-5

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I guess my concern is if an old digital gives up the ghost, can I get parts for it?
 

a29zuk

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SE Michigan
Jeff @PXR-5, the Realistic DX-160 Communications Receiver is still pretty much available at hamfests and on eBay regularly. I have my original DX-160 from 1976 and my father's DX-160 that he bought used at a hamfest in 1980. They are fun to "play" with but without a digital frequency readout, it is a little hard to document/differentiate between different stations at times. What I would look for is a communications receiver that has some nostalgic-type historical value to it like the Realistic DX-160 but that also has a digital frequency readout. That would be the best of both worlds IMHO but I honestly don't know what receiver would fit that criteria. Dave
I remember using graph paper along with the bandspread control to act as a frequency counter for my DX-160. The graph paper had bolder lines every ten squares to mark off the bandspread number(0-100) on the up/down axis and the frequency on the left/right axis. I had a sheet for each meter band.

For example, on the 19 meter band, I would tune WWV on 15000khz until it was zero on the bandspread dial. Then tuned up the bandspread dial to the a known frequency, say Radio Canada on 15400khz, which ended up at 90 on the bandspread. After placing a dot on the matrix at 90 for 15400khz I would draw the diagonal line from 0 through 90 on the graph. Everything in between matched up pretty accurately so you knew what frequency you were on. Once you had it set up for that band, it was good to go permanently.

It was easier to do back in the 70's because the bands were filled with broadcast stations. The bands without WWV or CHU you just had to use two broadcast stations and your WRTH. That was my digital readout for my DX-160.

Jim
 
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mass-man

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Kenwood R600, R1000, R2000 pop up frequently here at reasonable prices, the 600 is perhaps too simple but the other two are very good BC band receivers - I've had a 2000 since the early 80's and still going strong. Certainly repairable but as long as you look after them there's no reason for them to go wrong - barring a lightning strike of course! My JRC NRD 515 is pretty rare on the 'used' market mainly because people tend to keep them and a plus is the IC's are still available off the shelf.
Just what I was going to recommend. I have an R2000 here, and my grandson is using a R600 I've had forever.
 

PXR-5

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Well I just picked up a DX-440, like new with box and tested. $125, I had one years ago.
This will live with my Zenith Transoceanic 600 and Tecsun 660.

At some point I will find a nice tabletop unit at a hamfest. ;)
 

mbott

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At some point I will find a nice tabletop unit at a hamfest. ;)
Just FYI: I've made 4 ebay purchases over the last 5 years of tabletops. All were from bigapple59. His prices tend to shade the high side, but what you get is well worth it in my mind. If I had room and he was selling something that fit's with my interests, I would have absolutely no issue in purchasing from Randy & Pamela again.

--
Mike
 

GaRebel

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I broke down and ordered me an Alinco DX-R8T SDR LW/MW/SW Amateur Radio Desktop Receiver from DX Engineering. Be shipped Aug 31. Hope I didn't go wrong since they have stopped building these!
 

W8WCA

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Alinco makes good solid products.
I has a HT for many years and as I recall a Handheld Scanner
 

n5rv

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I have the Alinco DJ-500 portable and the DR-B185HT 85w 2m mobile. Both very solid. Much easier to program than the other big names. But, both are in their boxes excess to my present needs. But keeping them for now just in case the SHTF.... I'd enjoy owning the SW receiver.
 

ka3jjz

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There's even a PC control program, if you're into that, for this radio, and the author is here on RR. He's the same fellow that wrote Scan125


Mike
 

mbott

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When I initially was looking at my first tabletop, I was choosing between 3 possibilities. The R75, the CR-1A and the DX-R8T. (OK, the CR-1A is really not a tabletop in my mind.) I decided on the Icom, well twice since I bought a used one to replace the one I foolishly sold. I would say I'm done buying tabletops, but then it becomes a challenge. ;)

--
Mike
 

ka3jjz

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Really not much of one at all, Mike, seeing as the tabletop market is all but dead. Your next step up would be a ham HF transceiver which has a general coverage receiver built in (and most all of the newer models do). I myself am flipping back and forth here; I would really like a SDR but i'd have to make a serious upgrade as my current laptop couldn't deal with it. And being a ham has its advantages....Mike
 

majoco

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A bit off-topic here but.... whenever I find a general coverage receiver on our local web auction site that I think might be worth a bid, I do a bit of research first. So if you Google for "R12345 reviews" what do you get? Eham reviews are often full of insights but you really only get the two extremes "all super-duper wizzbangs, the most fantastic radio I have ever bought, at least 7 stars out of 5" or "whatta load of junk, I had a crystal set that got more signals than this, I've only had it 5 minutes and it's going right back to the distributor". Otherwise it's You Tubes. For a review of the radio, it's useful if the author would communicate - not just the radio, but tell us where you are, what antenna you have connected and the time of day. So many times it seems to be a completely aimless bit of video randomly pushing buttons and twiddling knobs with no description of what frequency we're on or what we're looking for - and if there is a bit of spiel it has so many 'ums' and 'errs' as to be unintelligable. Give us a break - if you're going to make a You Tube then plan it ahead, write a script, say what you're doing and going to do, make it work and tell us what it does well and what it doesn't do well and why! Rant mode off!
 

mbott

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Your next step up would be a ham HF transceiver which has a general coverage receiver built in (and most all of the newer models do).
I'm just a physical radio kind of guy, hence the 6 tabletops I already have plus the IC-7300 transceiver ... with no microphone attached. :) I make use of my SDRs too but my preference is a physical tabletop radio. Therefore if I come across a decent unit that I have an interest in, then I'll add it to my collection.

--
Mike
 

W8WCA

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I'm just a physical radio kind of guy, hence the 6 tabletops I already have plus the IC-7300 transceiver ... with no microphone attached. :) I make use of my SDRs too but my preference is a physical tabletop radio. Therefore if I come across a decent unit that I have an interest in, then I'll add it to my collection.

--
Mike
I have never Tx on my IC-7100 either Mike It is a pretty darn Good Rx.
Through the years I have used Many Transceivers fro Rx only - best 3 (I have had that is) imho: TX7 Drake TS-850 and a a surprise to me - the Icom 746 PRO - It had a Solid Sync AM Detector!
(That said I almost always tune in SWBC in ECSS (Sideband) when chasing hard to hear stations
 

ka3jjz

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It's not at all OT to talk about finding reviews. Our wiki has links to a list of them- of varying levels of depth. Notable are the reviews by Sherwood Engineering and Dave N9EWO who is a former Passport to World Band Radio editor, as well as from the MW Circle, a highly respected British DX club. If there are others (very likely) don't be shy about adding them


Mike
 
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