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Old 10-23-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
N4MU Papi
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Question Which HF Radio for RVing?

Here goes...I'm expecting a lot of opinions but: What would you consider to be the best HF radio for me and my 5er? Going to go full time in about a year and to be honest have been out of touch with the latest rigs for several years. Important is (of course) size and user friendliness (I'm no smarter now). I would use SSB and CW (if that's still around lol) a little I guess. No desire for digital formats...just a rag chew or leisurely contact now and then and probably a LOT of just listening. Need to be able to use it from RV for sure or from TV...maybe (antenna would be interesting when hitched). So...what say you other experts. My top dollar will be $999 and I don't mind buying a pristine "previously owned" unit. Thanks for your help!
de N4MU
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:24 PM   #2
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Bill,

Welcome aboard! You'll find ORR.net a friendly helpful bunch, be sure to jump right in.

I use a Kenwood TS-570 in my 5ver, because the radio was bought and paid for long before the trailer arrived. What radio are you using now?
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:14 PM   #3
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Welcome, N4MU Papi. For suggestions you have come to the right place, we are full of suggestions. Personally, I use a Yaseu FT-450 both at home and on the road. I don't have a HF in any vehicle, simply because I can't crawl around under it to hook up all the chassis grounds that these plastic cars need. But, if you are up to it the FT-450 is small in size and should be able to fit in many applications. A very good receiver and as good as any transmitter. Never had anyone complain about the stock hand held mike they provide. Another choice would be a FT-857D for HF/VHF/UHF. Very small size and removable face plate for really small footprint in the cabin. Either would be in your price range.
Good luck, whatever the choice, they all work or they wouldn't be able to sell them.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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They made hundreds of thousands of Icom 706's the last ones (MK II G) had DSP and 160 to 70 CM all mode with broad band receive a nice used one can be had for $500 The IC 7000 ( over a grand) is a very nice radio also but is battery hungry. I have both I'm not really brand conscious ( even have one of those cheapo HT's) but both of those units are top notch and small. When I camp I usually take my IC 7200 it is not small or light but it can be dropped kicked with easy menu systems and out standing filters and DSP right around a $1000 new. Glad you found the site!
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Old 10-23-2014, 08:19 PM   #5
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I would suggest the Yaesu 857 as mentioned above, although a good, clean ICOM 706 Mk II G would also be excellent. Also, the antenna is important, especially if you want to operate HF mobile. The old standbys of Hustler mobile whips and bug catchers are good but more alternatives such such as screwdriver antennas are now available. Finally one advantage of the 857, and I believe the 706, is that they will give both FM service for two meters and 440 and single side band for those bands. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:48 AM   #6
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Yes they will and they have two antenna outputs making it easy to deal with antennas. I agree with the screw driver antenna fairly simple and gives you generally 6 to 80 meters nice touch when it's pouring rain.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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I'll be lookin at the spec on the 857, 450 (Yaesu), IC706 mk II and KW TS570.
No body mentioned the IC-718...is it an albatross? I may have a very good deal on one locally. But if it's a piece of junk I need to know.
Yes, thinking of the screwdriver also.
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:31 PM   #8
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Back when I had money I went to Dayton, Got out my tape measure and measured the spot where I planned on mounting the all-band/mode radio.. Went to the Arena, took measurements, The Kenwood TS-2000 fit the spot... My Elmer (Teacher who helped me pass the Extra, though I had not yet taken the class) had a TS-2000 as well.

So I got the TS-2000.. Buyer's Remorse... Very very slight, the other one that would have perhaps fit had a few different features, but in truth, I'm very happy with the TS-2000. .

What would I recommend: GO TO DAYTON and shop, I am serious, Kenwood, Icom, Yesau, Elcraft and others all have very good radios Some have different features, And I will NOT recommend one over another.

The only thing I will recommend against, and alas, it looks more and more like I'm going to loose out on this, is Proprietary communications protocols. such as D-Star.. I'm really against those when it comes to ham radio. (I forget the other one that is out there).

But it looks like D-Star is happening, so as I said, I've lost on that count.
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Old 10-24-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N4MU Papi View Post
I'll be lookin at the spec on the 857, 450 (Yaesu), IC706 mk II and KW TS570.
No body mentioned the IC-718...is it an albatross? I may have a very good deal on one locally. But if it's a piece of junk I need to know.
Yes, thinking of the screwdriver also.
The 718 is an excellent basic radio. Lots of them out there and and they seem to work great. They're just not a tiny radio.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:42 PM   #10
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Nice radio very basic. I don't believe it did 6 meters and lacked DSP and filters. Not really intended to be portable but if it's going to live in the camper so what.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:49 PM   #11
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The 718 is a good radio, But my choice (if your eye sight is good) would be the 857-D , I would also suggest a matching remote tuner for those times you can get a long wire strung out .
The Yaesu FT-450 D is what is currently installed in our class A and does a great job.

Antennas, what ever works for your application , I have a Tarheel 2 on the "A" on a fold over bracket and a second coax run to a remote tuner, both work well.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:43 AM   #12
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I will pursue the 718 possibility. I need something small but want to avoid those that have removable fronts...too small to operate. The 718 is basic I know but my ops will be casual and not in motion...probably get a screwdriver for antenna. John: Just went through double eye surgery and left eye is still a work in progress (LOL) but looks like the display on the icom may be a bit better than the others...yes, that is reasonably important as I am now a really OM...got to start acting my age! Looking forward to many more answers to not yet known questions...just getting back into ops since many years absence. Thanks for all comments...Now...about that antenna...what say?
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:29 PM   #13
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When I am parked, I use a Comet CHA250 mounted to a 10 foot telescoping pole and attached to rear ladder. If the overhead will not handle the Comet (it's 26 ft.) I use a Tarheel screwdriver attached to the same pole. The top of the pole is even with the top of the MH when extended and when collapsed, it fits nicely in the bay. I have the pole grounded to the frame of the MH for a ground plane. This setup has allowed me to talk to folks all over. If you plan to run an amp, the Comet may not work. It's rated for about 200 watts. I only use the 2m/440 when in motion. The Comet requires no radials and no tuner. SWR on mine is flat on all bands. Takes about 15 minutes to set up or take down if the YL helps. If she stays out the way it takes about 10 minutes.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:24 PM   #14
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Been drooling over the FT-450D. Gave up on the Icom 718. The 450D looks like a LOT more radio for a few bucks more. Plan on using it with a ATAS-120A antenna on the F-350. Anyone else use that combo? Like to hear your stories. Thanks everyone for a lot of good info! I'll keep you informed! (Now got to sell that bandsaw to get some cash...LOL)
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:37 PM   #15
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Personally it would not be my choice for a mobile radio don't get me wrong it's a nice rig but maybe a bit "busy" for a mobile.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:26 AM   #16
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The FT-450 is a bit large and perhaps a bit awkward for mobile operation.
The front panel is a bit busy and the lay out not quite right for "one person" mobile operation to my way of thinking .
However, I do think it would be a good choice for in the camper as a "fixed" station or on a pick nick table as a portable.
The FT-857-D is much better suited to MOBILE op's , if used with the "REMOTE KIT" so that you can get the "HEAD UNIT" into a good position to view it with out taking your eye's off the road for very long if adjustments are needed.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:31 PM   #17
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I run an 857D with a Turbotuner and a Lil'Tarheel II in the truck. For the trailer I use a Kenwood TS480HX with a LDG 200AT Pro tuner. For antennas, I use an Eagle One on the rear ladder and carry a Carolina Windom 80 for the places I have trees to hang some wire.

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Old 10-28-2014, 10:33 PM   #18
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I just remembered a web site that covers just about everything on mobile installs. Not much on equipment but rather curing problems and proper installion. www.k0bg.com There is even a section "OTR & RV". This guy favors the Kenwood TS-480HX over a FT-450. Several reasons but one that stands out is that it has 200W output for a little extra punch. I looked up the cost and Gigaparts has it for just a little over $1,000 which still puts it close to your price range. I didn't look at all the specs on the Kenwood but may be a consideration.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:41 PM   #19
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Gentlemen: Thank you for all of your insights! I appreciate the info and your likes/dislikes. What I will be doing will be the Yaesu FT-450D and the Yaesu ATAS-120 tunable antenna. Reasons: I will not be using the radio while in motion (only inside the RV or sitting out under the awning with a tall cool one, I prefer the larger readout and, to me at least, the layout is pretty straightforward and I have no problem with it, and, I did not want to go with a detatchable front type radio. I like the fact that you can auto-tune the antenna without a separate control cable mostly. The antenna will be mounted behind the cab, high, on the front part of the truck bed on the F-350 and parked in close proximity for either operating location. Also plan on getting a 2nd power supply "for outdoors" so I don't have to lug the "inside" supply around. It will be a little while...got to sell my band saw first...you know the drill. Thanks again for your helpful suggestions...it did make a difference! 73, Bill
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Old 10-29-2014, 05:53 PM   #20
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Yes it's a nice desk top. Are you going to run coax to the truck from the radio? I set up my camper with 50 amp DC connections both ends and a whip for the radio with a 50 amp connection, both are inside of compartments so I can use it outside or in both ends of the camper.
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