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Your First Rig

Getting on the air as a new amateur can often be as difficult as learning enough about radio to pass the exam. For a great number of new hams (as well as for a lot of us old farts) cost is a major consideration. That snappy new TS570 looks great and with all the bells and whistles would be a world of fun, but the thought of laying down over a thousand hard earned dollars for it may be another matter. How do you know what you'll need to get started and, moreover, what you'll want after you do? Well, that's what this section is intended for - to help you answer those questions about what it will take to get on the air and begin enjoying the HF privileges you've worked so hard to obtain - without robbing you of your life's savings.


Kenwood TS530

Recommendation #1 - Start with used equipment with tube finals.

As you are already discovering, amateur radio has more facets than the Hope Diamond, and HF operation is but one. What you think you'll need or will enjoy today will change over time. Accordingly, a solid, basic HF transceiver is perhaps the best investment you'll make. Of the equipment available on the used market today, perhaps the best buy lies in the early Kenwood and Yaesu transceivers manufactured between 1975 and 1980. Among them are the TS520, TS520s, TS530, TS830, and Yaesu FT101 line of transceivers. What makes these transceivers particularly well suited for those new to HF are the following:

Solid state receivers - no tubes that change value with age and cause noise, drift and other problems.

Receiver front ends with sensitivity and signal to noise ratios that match most new rigs on the market.

Provisions to add additional filtering in order to further narrow the bandwidth of received signals.

Well built, solid state VFOs that won't drift during a long transmission.

Exceptional speech processing in the Kenwood's and most Yaseus - When run with a Sure 444, microphone, the audio quality is exceptional.

Finals and drive circuitry not only designed around tubes built expressly for continuous RF service, but that provide the flexibility of a pi output network capable of forgiving operator error and inadvertent mismatch.

Good to excellent availability of repair parts and matching station accessories due to the large number of units manufactured during that period.

Exceptional dollar for equipment value, with the TS520 starting at between $275.00 and $325.00, and the TS530 (digital readout) at around $375.00. The FT101E series will fluctuate between $300.00 to around $400.00.

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MORE GOOD
STUFF


SELECTING A TUBE

RF INPUT CIRCUIT

RF OUTPUT (TANK) CIRCUIT

TRANSFORMER POWER CAPABILITIES

PARTS IS PARTS

ROLLING YOUR OWN - TRANSFORMERS AND CHOKES

POWER SUPPLY PROJECTS

LEGAL LIMIT AMP PROJECT