Choices

Lately I’ve been thinking (again) about getting a new rig and replacing an older Kenwood.  I’ve actually cleaned up the shack a bit and have removed some little monoband rigs that I rarely use and have gotten down to the basics of just what I need.  I feel I need something new in the shack, I’m just not sure what.

The Elecraft K3 would be a no brainer choice.  While it’s a great rig, it somewhat has the makings of a fad for me, and I’ve never been a trend follower.

The KX3 is another option.  I kind of like the idea of a portable rig that has the potential for being a primary home shack rig at 100 watts.  But I still have concerns about the form factor, with the rig being so small and for portable backpack use it seems a bit fragile.  I don’t know if I could be satisfied with it as a home base rig.

I would love to try a Flexradio, however each day I’m leaning more towards Mac in the shack (gasps from the audience).  The last time I looked at Flex they still weren’t supporting Vista or Windows 7.  Perhaps that’s changed but support for OSX is likely light years away.

Nothing that Kenwood currently offers excites me.  Unfortunately I doubt I’ll ever buy a Kenwood HF rig again.

Maybe I should go with a Yaesu rig?  The FT-950 looks like a reasonable choice, though a bit uninspiring.  The price is right and it gets good reviews.  It appears to be a good performing rig without needless extravagance like multi-kilobuck contester rigs.  I’m quite pleased and familiar with the FT-817 and FT-897, so this rig would not be difficult to assimilate into the shack, though it doesn’t really get me into uncharted territory and it seems like a “safe” choice.

Perhaps it’s time I tried a Ten Tec?  The Ten Tec Jupiter is kind of spartan-looking, but interesting.  I like the clean look and under the hood it seems to have a lot of technology and power.  One downside I see is that the MARS mod is not readily available.  I modify all my rigs for DC to daylight transmit for emergency use and so I can use them as signal generators.  I’ve never used a Ten Tec but I know they are legendary performers.

I’ve used Icoms and I can’t say anything bad about them, they’ve just never been on my radar.  I’m not sure why.

Any thoughts from the studio audience on what’s a good $1K – $2K HF-6m rig these days?

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3 responses to “Choices

  1. I’ve got a KX3 on order… and my plans are to make it the centerpiece of my HF shack for the next five years. My logic is that it should be a hot performer with a lot of features that we haven’t yet imagined. And yes, I want the 100W PA and I want the 2M all-mode module, etc.

    With its Elecraft pedigree it should evolve very nicely.

    I’m less concerned about its fragility in the outdoor environment. I plan to take it portable and hopefully on a DXpedition or two but I rarely beat rigs up in the field so am not worried.

    Having said that, I am a fan of TenTec but the Jupiter is getting pretty long in the tooth. It’s about 12-13 years old if I’m not mistaken. The Pegasus predated it in 1999 but it came out right after that. I carefully considered the newer Eagle but decided against it when the KX3 was announced.

    My vision of a 21st century ham shack includes very compact, efficient gear that takes up as little space as possible yet outperforms most big rigs due to its use of newer technology. I think the notion of a basement filled with musty old boat anchors is a nostalgic relic of the 20th century. I like to look at it and I enjoy seeing those kind of shacks on the cover of CQ, but I don’t aspire to recreate a station like that.

    It’s 2012 for goodness sakes… :-)

    Good luck in your quest.

    73, Jeff KE9V

  2. After a 30 year QRT period, I got back in with a K3/10. Was lucky enough to get it used, and recently upped it to 100W. I feel lucky I missed the Kenwood/Yaseu/Icom nuclear arms race which resulted in comically astronomical radio prices. The K3 is clean, engaging and fun as I dig out what ever microvolts my wire antenna can deliver to the front end. Don’t let the Elecraft zealots throw you; this radio is almost as warm and fuzzy as my golden retriever.

    Cheers, Kurt/K9VA

    • I’m probably just a victim of marketing, but TenTec and Elecraft rigs feel like they will be supported longer. I can see the appeal of the Flex to a computer guru like yourself. It’ll be interesting to see what you finally decide on. Good luck, de Tom, AB9NZ

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