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Old 04-09-2005, 13:00   #1
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Short Wave / SSB Portable Receiver Advice, Please.

I need to replace my old Radio Shack (which I think was really a Sangean) SW portable. Any advice on which brand or unit to buy? In addition to Grundig and Sony, I noted ICOM has/had a model. Any guidance will be much appreciated. It will be used as a backup to SSB/Ham rig (whenever I get smart enough to buy one of those). JR
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Old 04-09-2005, 13:34   #2
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SSB

We intially left with only a receiver and it worked fine. We had the Grundig Yacthboy at $130 bucks. We have since bought an ICOM 700 Ham bands open) with tuner for $280 and would recommend installing a transciver immediately if going cruising.

2 way communication is a must not just a luxury.
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Old 04-09-2005, 18:16   #3
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Get the ham license. It will be worth it. ICOM is top notch equipment, but costs a premium. Consider getting a transceiver even if you are not ready to use it, as you can always just listen. If the bottom line is the issue, the yacht boy is a fine unit for the price.
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Old 04-09-2005, 22:29   #4
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Used

Agree with the HAM. Here in the caribe it opens more info sources.

Don't be afraid to look at used equipment. As stated above we are into our whole setup for under $500 and we talk the whole caribe and have made contacts on the hi bands in North America.
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Old 04-09-2005, 22:56   #5
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Grundig Satellit 800....

When I first got seriously interested in short wave radio I brought a book called "Passport to World Band radio" edited by Lawrence Magne.
I brought one of their recomended radios and it more than lived up to my expectations.
Their current edition looks at hundreds of short wave radios.
The recomendation that jumped out at me was the Grundig Satellit 800.
You can see what one looks like on http://www.universal-radio.com/catal...ble/0800.html.
The book also covers Antennas. I know from experience that a good one can make a big difference to reception. Others on this forum may care to comment on a suitable one.
The 2006 edition shoud be due out soon.
Good sailing...
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:59   #6
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I've been doing some research on this topic recently and discovered that Grundig is re-branding the Chinese manufacturer Tecsun's equipment for some models. That's not to say there's anything wrong with Tecsun, just to say that you might be able to get the latter at a better price, and it's the same radio save for the chinese characters labeling the switches.

A word about ICOM: I just bought a handheld and think the radio is great. However, I had some pretty basic questions for international customer support and found the response from that department completely inadequate.
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Old 05-09-2005, 20:14   #7
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I'm a recent Ham grad, who sailed from Canada to Trinidad. The good ol'boys who mentored me into ham at sea, insist that the Kenwood TS-50 is the way to go. I admit I found it rather easy to run, small, robust, and with a display that provided the power level that actually left the radio, I was better able to troubleshoot any antenna or tuner troubles that arose. I have little other experience with transceivers, but am happy to pass on their learned advice.

I got a used one for $550 Canadian.
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Old 05-09-2005, 20:42   #8
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The TS50 is a great rig,I bought one new when they first came out, and used to run it in my Jeep. but depending on how far your interest goes in radio, it is not as easy to modify or repair as many other rigs. I am not sure it can be opened up to cover marine freqs. (of course since this is not legal, I am sure no one would do that with their radio.)
I have owned ICOM, Yeasu, Alinco, Kenwood, Heathkit, and Standard. I have encountered the same issues with ICOM's cutomer service. Ihave not had to deal with Kenwood, as their products never seem to fail on me.
The best customer service I have recieved was from Yeasu. I had a 747, that I still use. I purchased the remote head kit, and installed it. it worked great. I had occasion to go on a scieintific expedition off shore, and removed the remote head from the unit. In undoing the mod, the cabling was not well marked, and I fried the unit by installing it upside down. On my way to San Diego, with very limited time (I had to have the repair done while I waited), I stopped at Yeasu and explained what happened. They admitted that the cable was not well marked, and repaired the radio free of charge while I waited. I currently have 3 Yeasus, and no complaints in the performance.
As for the Grundig, you are correct about the rebranding. This started about 15 years ago with Grundig, and thier quality has suffered accordingly. For a low price receiver, they are decent. The price difference is minimal, and for whatever reason, even though it is the same radio, you will find it much easier to get repairs done on the Grundig then on the Tecsun. I guess the brand is intimidating for techs. This being said, with modern electronics such as this repair is usually not an option, as they are cheaper to replace then to repair.
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Old 05-09-2005, 22:44   #9
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Also sold as TECSUN Ham-2000

"Passport to World Band Radio" states that the Grundig is also sold as the TECSUN Ham-2000, and that engineering and servicing is done by R.L. Drake.
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Old 05-09-2005, 22:53   #10
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Through word of mouth, RL Drake has a very solid reputation. I have not personally done business with them. Still as far as electronics go, modern electronics are throw aways for the most part, but tend to be trouble free for a long time. It would be hard to find an unreliable unit in this price range, regardless of brand name.
I still maintain that JR would be tter off purchasing a transciever than a receiver. The important factor in choosing a receiver is sensitivity. The better the sensitivity, the better quality the receiver.
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Old 09-09-2005, 18:17   #11
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Portable SW etc. Thanks...

I'm soaking all this info into the mental hard drive...which, as I age gets harder to access. This is wonderful stuff you guys are sharing. A ham friend is trying to get me into that but it will be a hile. So in the interim, that portable receiver, rather than transceiver is on my short list.

I also have some questions about whip vs backstay antenna for the SSB/Ham but will save that for another time, when I get more experience and education.

Again, thanks to all...don't let this post stop you from adding more info/opinions.
JR, Tartan 33 "Radiant"
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Old 13-09-2005, 08:11   #12
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Thumbs up Buy your Ham Radio from E-Bay

Very excellent deals exist on E-Bay. (www.ebay.com)

Just type in "Ham transceiver" or somesuch in the search box.

Read the seller's profile and the item description carefully, for a good buying experience.

I have bought many used Ham Radio's off e-Bay this way and they were all a huge success for a fraction of the new price.

(Aroumd $150 for an Icom 735 for instance.)
(About $70 for a manual antenna tuner)

I will sail to the ends of the earth with all my radios bought off E-bay this way, ie. they are all in excellent condition and worthy of any boat.

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Old 13-09-2005, 21:51   #13
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I agree with the EBAY advice. As for the antenna, I have wired the backstay, and gotten good performance. Far better than a whip antenna, however, the length of the backstay between insulators is very important to get the best tuning match. If you have a good access location to mount it, I have had great success with the Outbacker antenna. Look it up online or any Ham Radio supply. The downside to this antenna is that it requires you to move a jumper wire when you change bands. The performance is well worth the inconvenience, but it will only work if you can get to the antenna.
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Old 15-09-2005, 20:17   #14
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About Ham SSB rigs on Ebay

This will probably sound like really dumb question but most of the rigs I saw on EBay were not "marine". The photos were of desktop units, obviously designed for use on land and 120/60. Plus most don't give the year of the rig. Jim
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Old 15-09-2005, 20:27   #15
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With ham equipment, older is not necessarily bad. You just have to know what a vacuum tube is As for marine, very few radios are truly designed for marine use. Even the marine radios. ICOM has some additional moisture protection in it's rigs, but you pay for it, and how effective it is, is questionable.
I would not mount a SSB rig of any kind on deck. Most nav stations are reasonably well protected, and are a good place to mount a radio. You can take steps to protect your equipment, but I have had no problems with my radios.
As for ac vs dc, most SSB radios are mobile rigs, and all mobile rigs are dc.
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