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Vintage Amateur and Military Radio Amateur/military receivers and transmitters, morse, and any other related vintage comms equipment.

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Old 10th Jan 2018, 6:23 pm   #21
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Lak of the "WARC bands" on older radios can be a disadvantage to some users, yes. Similarly, missing coverage of the 5MHz band [which is great for inter-Europe nattering and nighttime easily makes it across to the USA] is a 'disadvantage' of quite a lot of even recent radios!

Horses for courses, as they say.

Last edited by G6Tanuki; 10th Jan 2018 at 6:32 pm.
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 6:35 pm   #22
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I’m sure some of the older units can be modified however. Usually an additional oscillator/crystal to mix with VFO and band pass filter and switching. Might be fun
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Old 10th Jan 2018, 6:50 pm   #23
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Yes I've seen older amateur transceivers where the "11 metre" [i.e. CB!] bandswitch position has been relatively easy to swap a crystal and tweak down to the WARC 12M band, and at least one where it wasn't that hard to get the officially receive-only 10MHz "WWV" position working for TX/RX on the 10.1MHz WARC band. . .
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 11:08 pm   #24
JohnBG8JMB
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

1 I used to be involved professionally with Clansman. AVOID the 321 - well obsolete by the time it was introduced into service, complex, by now elderly and knackered, difficult to mend without all the special kit, eyewateringly expensive connectors [as is all Clansman], spares dubious, ....
2. The Kenwood ts-570 is a good bet - has internal auto atu, digital NR - which in my case makes the difference between operating and not - can easily be unlocked to cover 5 MHz and all 7Mhz, [in fact all of HF]. OK, it's synthesised but so is everything new enough to be worth having.
3 Anything with a valve pa is expensive to support.
4 Remember that vendors have strange ideas of what their kit is worth - what would you give for a 30 year old consumer product?

cheers
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 1:57 pm   #25
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I know you are looking for something vintage but if you want to put something together yourself that covers all band (you will need an antenna matching unit) look here http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/ubitx/

I have both the uBITX40 and the recently released uBTIX and I have a great deal of enjoyment using them. By the way the home rig is a Kenwood TS570D which is superb for it's age.

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Old 12th Jan 2018, 2:39 pm   #26
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Thanks for the further suggestions.

I really like the bitx. I built a huge chunk of a bitx20 (the entire receive chain) but moved it to 40m. This was about a year ago before I had any proper equipment or really even slightly knew what I was doing so it sucked quite badly. Better times now. It was scrapped in the end.

My intention is to build something similar but multi-band and with AGC, better 2nd IF filter options and keyed transmitter.

However you can't waltz onto air without knowing the ropes so something ready made to start with
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 2:32 pm   #27
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Quote:
Is there anything from the 70s to 80s, transistor only which isn’t synthesised but is a relatively decent transceiver worth looking out for? I want to avoid complexity if possible and a massive outlay to start with.
My first commercial HF transceiver was the Yaesu FT707. This has a digital display and an old school VFO and as long as you are comfy with the multi colour LED s meter it is a really nice radio to operate because of the silky VFO knob with the large finger dimple in it.

It's worth a google to look at pictures of this radio. It really is very well made and has a solid feel to it and (for me at least) it really looks the part. I first saw one of these up close in the early 1980s when I was a spotty student and I simply had to have one. I bought mine before I even had a ham ticket and used it to listen to the various ham bands. But it isn't a general coverage radio and only operates on the bands from 80 to 10m.

It has average performance for its day but it also needs a decent 15-20A PSU to use with it because it is a mobile radio and runs from 13.8V. This didn't bother me at first because I only used it on receive. I bought a brand new Trio TS430S soon after finishing all my exams and the FT707 was traded in. I kind of wish I still had it because it has a lot more character than the plastic looking TS430S and it really was nice to operate on SSB.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 2:52 pm   #28
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Have you asked at your local radio clubs?. You may well find a person there who will sell you an old rig or even lend you one to get you started. Most people are very helpful in assisting a new licencee to get on the air.
For South West London area, Whitton amateur radio club meets Fridays (near Twickenham) and there is also Echleford amateur society they meet Thursdays, and have a pub lunch every Wednesday.
I have been to both and I regularly meet up with the Echleford group.

There has also been talk of a new club starting in the Hammersmith area.

John
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 5:36 pm   #29
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I am literally 2 minutes away from the whitton group. Might pop in. Just passed foundation this afternoon ... now for the long wait for RSGB.

FT-707 looks nice.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 6:12 pm   #30
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Not as long a wait as it used to be!

The RAE ran once every six months, locked to C&G's 'academic year'. Results took a glacial age to come out and the time an exam had to be booked ahead meant that someone with an unsuccessful outcome had to be quick or else they were too late to book the next one.

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Old 13th Jan 2018, 6:31 pm   #31
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I have an FT77 I modded to top band using an FT707 article (or two) in PW. I was not happy about losing one of the 10m segments as described to enable the top band mod. I came up with my own discreet solution that ADDED 160M to the rest of the bands. Ingenious i say myself and I have what must be a unique all band FT77. If info wanted, I will start another thread so it is not OT.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 8:59 pm   #32
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I suspect the FT707 topband mod article may have been by Ian, G3ROO. He was very active on FT707 stuff in that period.... He also modded FRG-7 receivers into transceivers!

The FT77 and FT707 were quite decent radios, and were a lot cleaner on receive than the FT757 which replaced them.

The impact of not having topband depends on whether you have room for an antenna capable of being tuned-up on that band.

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Old 13th Jan 2018, 9:07 pm   #33
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Congratulations MrB! let us know your call sign when you get it. Doesn't take long these days as others have said.

Gordon
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 11:28 pm   #34
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I will indeed. Registering with ofcom web site now in anticipation.

I've decided to start at the antenna and look back. I don't have a huge amount of space for an antenna so I can probably just about stretch to a 40m dipole. 80/160m are probably out. I will be moving soon so I'm not 100% sure of the antenna possibilities so this is a finger-in-the-air estimate.

Have been having a look at VHF handhelds as well as a stop gap as I can get some QSOs locally without having to spend a lot of money or set up a large antenna (for now) then I can grab a new FT-850D or new Kenwood jobby to add HF bands at home in the future.

Then I get the feeling I'll end up collecting things. Keeps happening. I am a home for oscilloscopes so this will no doubt escalate to radios.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 8:03 am   #35
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

I have a 40m dipole I use when we are away in Scotland, I just throw it over the roof of the cottage and tie the ends down to something convenient, an old phone pole one end which is convenient.

It is made from flat twin telephone wire split to approx half a wavelength at 40m and the rest of the twin cable being used as a balanced feeder into an old and very simple KW Easymatch which has a balanced input and will tune to practically anything, if you don't have a balanced input on your ATU you can uses a balun although a balanced input is better.

It will tune up well on 20, 40and 80m and I have had some good contacts from up there about 60 miles north of Inverness including the US and UK south coast on 20m. A very cheap and effective antenna.

Peter
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 10:41 am   #36
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

That’s the sort of thing I’m looking for antenna wise. I’ve been looking at off-centre fed dipole (windom) antennas as well. The course instructor recommended them for low space situations. Also don’t need traps etc.

Now in analysis paralysis. Some of the nicer transceivers have built in ATUs but aren’t exactly portable.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 10:44 am   #37
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

If you're after an 'easy' antenna look at the end-fed halfwave. OK its 'span' is as great as a classic halfwave dipole but you don't have the often-inconvenient coax dangling (and weighing the rest of the antenna down) from the centre.

The feedpoint matching unit is dead simple - a toroid and a variable capacitor. See this article by the late Mr. Cebik http://www.qsl.net/v73ns/backyardwireantennaes.pdf
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 10:55 am   #38
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Interesting. Thanks for the link. Will read that.

When we did the antenna matching on the course, we used a little 2m dipole with a pocket VNA to get the lowest SWR. Neat but felt a bit cheaty to me and seemed to require a laptop. Can’t imagine myself in the garden with a laptop or running in and out every two seconds to check it after trimming.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 11:06 am   #39
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

Pocket VNAs are quite nifty - you can get some now that use your phone as the display.

[my most-recent antenna tweaking involved multiple trips up and down ladders/scaffolding in the rain. Not fun when it's a 3-band antenna and the adjustments for the various bands all interact!]

More options: http://www.aa5tb.com/efha.html - my portable version is based on his Fig.15, with the 'cold' end of the tuned circuit connected to the coax braid and also to a short earth-lead with an alligator-clip which I attach to the same barbed-wire fence whose fencepost provided the anchor-point.
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Old 14th Jan 2018, 11:33 am   #40
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Default Re: What’s a relatively decent (old) transceiver for my needs?

The practical experimentation of professional antenna development always used to start with scale models. It wasn't cheating.

The internal ATUs built into modern transceivers are a bit limited in the impedance range they can handle. They also get more lossy the further you take them from 50 Ohms. Power handling falls off, too. ATU capacitors flash over at some voltage, inductors unsolder themselves at some current. What power these limits happen at depends on the impedance the ATU is working at, and also depends on the Q the ATU resonance is running at. Q used to be called "Circuit magnification factor" and it's the currents and voltages which get magnified.

Internal ATUs are also all unbalanced types, as well.

You can make end fed wires and Windoms work, but they have a significant vertically polarised radiation from the feeder, and this brings in domestic interference as well as tending to make the house RF hot.

If you can, go for a centre-fed symmetrical antenna. Open wire feeder made with cut-up BIC pen tubes or chopsticks is cheap and lower loss than coax, and it allows your antenna bandwidth to be greater with a decent ATU.

The KW Easymatch is a very good ATU. Its posher bigger brethren are the KW107 and KW109 Supermatch. Nice if you can find one, but you can copy the design without too much bother, or the "Z-Match" design. These can do things the built-in auto ATUs cannot touch.

I use an Icom IC-7700 which is one of those radios with everything. The auto ATU is unused. A KW109 couples it to open wires up to an inverted-Vee doublet over the house to a tree in the front and a fence at the rear. It's a small 1970s house, but I can use 80m to 10m with all the WARC79 bands and no traps.

I've tried Windoms, Zepps, end fed and T2FDs but the simple doublet seems the best I can do in terms of best signal and minimum hash. In 2014 Ian Keyser was up visiting and he bought a second hand K3 from a guy further North, which he wanted to try out. With the KW109 and dipole he was happily working Pacific rim countries on 20 and 15m and seeing his own call back from the reverse beacon network receivers all over the world. I've had Japan, running QRP levels. It isn't a contest pileup smasher, but it just gets on with working quite well.

The modern growth of SMPS in everything has made the QRM dodging attributes of horizontal polarisation more important, not less.

David GM4ZNX
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