Have you ever regretted selling a radio? I have. More than once.

The Elecraft KX1

I’ve been a ham radio operator since 1997. In the first decade of my amateur radio life, I only owned three HF radios (Icom IC-735, Yaesu FT-817, and a Ten-Tec OMNI VI+).

As I got into writing, blogging, and evaluating/testing radios, that number increased. Quite often, radios are only in my shack for a short period of time as I alpha/beta test and/or review production run units.

I try not to get attached to radios because I know they’re often only temporarily in the shack.

Over the years, there have been a few radios I’ve sold for…let’s say “pragmatic” reasons. It’s very rare that I purchase a radio with the intention of keeping it only to find that I want to sell it shortly thereafter. More likely than not, I sell because the radio is redundant (how many field radios does one need–?) or because I’m raising money to make a larger purchase.

Here’s a short list of transceivers I regret selling/trading:

Elecraft KX1

I sold my Elecraft KX1 in 2016 in order to help purchase my Elecraft KX2. It was a solid decision. The KX2 has become my favorite field radio (here’s my review) and was SO much more versatile than the KX1. Still: I really miss the KX1. I loved how bare-bones it was, I loved the top-mounted controls and the fact I often operated it while simply holding it in my hands. The controls were super easy to use even with gloves on in the winter. Plus, it was “cute” in a boxy Elecraft sort of way. If I ever find a deal on another one, I might grab it!

Elecraft K2

I’ve owned both the Elecraft K2/10 and K2/100. Funny story: I acquired a K2/10 in 2008 or so and absolutely loved the radio. After I purchased my KX3 in 2013, however, it was rarely used and sat on my shelf as a “back-up” radio. Eventually, I decided to sell it and did so with ease. Within a week of selling it, a local ham posted on our club email list that he was selling a K2/100 in an SK sale. He wasn’t sure of all of the upgrades, but knew it was a K2/100. The price was very low, but there were no takers after a few days, so I bought it. I used the K2/100 for a few years and it served as a back-up 100 watt radio. I eventually sold it, though, to purchase a KXPA100 used. Now, of course, I do miss that radio. In truth, I’ll likely never purchase one again, because I own so many other transceivers–and the KXPA100 is truly a genius compliment to the KX2 and KX3–but I do have an affinity for that fine rig.

Index Labs QRP++

QRP+ ad from the Dec 1995 issue of QST. Source: WD8RIF

My buddy Eric (WD8RIF) is to blame for this radio. He owned an Index Labs QRP+ for years. He loved operating it in the field and at home. It was the first QRP radio I ever saw in action (at this particular field event). More than 10 years ago, I happened upon a great deal on a QRP++ and instantly bought it. It was SO much fun to operate—super simple, yet had pretty much every feature you’d want in a basic transceiver. I sold it because, frankly, performance was sub-par especially if you ever planned to use it in an RF-dense environment. The receiver front end would simply fall apart, for example, during contests or events like Field Day. Otherwise, it was a pretty sensitive radio. It was incredibly portable and had that awfully “cute” cube form factor. Another fear I had was availability of replacement parts. Index Labs was no longer in business and there were quite a few obsolete parts in the radio. Perhaps it’s a stretch to say I “regret” selling it because, in truth I don’t. But when I see them at hamfests, I’m still tempted to grab one if for no other reasons than nostalgia.

Yaesu FT-817

I purchased an ‘817 shortly after they were introduced in…what…2000? At the time, there wasn’t a radio like it on the market: it was the most compact full-featured HF/VHF/UHF radio in the amateur radio world. Back then, I was living in the UK and travelling all over Europe. I purchased the FT-817 with the idea that I could play radio while, say, working in Hagen, Munich, Chartres, Berlin, Torino, Pescara, or any of the other fabulous sites I regularly visited. I did pack the FT-817 on a number of occasions but since I’m a one-bag traveller, it was scrutinized to some degree at most airports—especially post-9/11. Also, my first production run model blew its finals within the first two years of ownership (a common problem that was addressed by Yaesu shortly after that production run).

I had the finals replaced by Burghardt Amateur Center but rarely used the FT-817 after that. Truth was, I found the radio’s front panel to be too compact and the embedded menus really frustrated me. But back then, I wasn’t as much of a field op as I am now and I could really appreciate a compact, affordable radio that also sports VHF/UHF operation—especially for SOTA activations. Plus, few transceivers have enjoyed a product life like the FT-817/818 which is now pushing 20 years on the market. While the 817/818 lacks a number of features I’ve grown to love (like memory keying) I do believe I may purchase an FT-818 next time they go on sale. In the end, I miss the rig.

How about you? Any regrets?

Please feel free to comment with any radios you regret selling, trading, or giving away over the years and tell us why you miss it! Inquiring minds want to know!

8 thoughts on “Have you ever regretted selling a radio? I have. More than once.”

  1. I enjoyed your comments and have felt the same way. I sold a Dentron GLA-1000 amp to help finance my first car. The car was excellent (a little Toyota) but I always regretted selling that Great Little Amp. I had a K2-10 for a while, along with a TS-570dg and FT-897. I sold all 3 and bought a new TS-590s which was amazing and I had for 10 years. But always wished I could have kept that K2. I had a TS-520s for 18 years and bought it new with my Bar Mitzvah money. I had it and the whole series of accessories. I sold it because I was not using it and still regret not keeping it.

    But I do have aKX3 to go portable and camping with plus a TS0480SAT in my vehicle plus a TS-890s at home. But I still think about that K2 quite often.


    Larry, W1AST

    1. You’re in the company of some benchmark radios: the TS-480SAT, TS-890, and KX3. But I get it. The K2 is a special radio and one I know I’ll always be drawn to.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Cheers & 73.

  2. Regretted of selling a radio, yes ! my first FT101E with speaker. I even had a FRG-7 which sat next to the FT101E-speaker combo.
    I sold the 3 items to finance a new FT100, I was very glad with the FT100 but started missing the bulky FT101E already after a week I think. The FT100 was sold for an FT847, the FT847 was sold for a FT1000Field, that was eventually sold for a FT2000. This FT2000 is already quite some years with me and I’m quite pleased with it, it does what I expect it to do and I don’t really need all that new SDR show which is now in the shops.

    Some years ago I fell upon a SB100, some months later on a HW101, some months later on an SB101 chassis, a HW101 and a HW32. I do have such a load of fun with these !! I think I will not part them ever. In Friedrichshafen I also found a perfect FT101E for 300€, I was so glad I went to the Yeasu booth with it and asked the Yeasu guys whether I could place it next to their FT9000 and make a picture of them together, they agreed at once and said, that’s a real radio ! A keeper !

    To end my story, I regret Elecraft not making the K1 kit anymore, now that I have the money I can’t buy it anymore, however I’ve bought a 4bander secondhand which is superb and is working like the best (old serial not above 40 giving 7W ), I also jumped up like a lion when I saw an add for a secondhand K2 on the other end of the country, another keeper, full option K2/10 with the 100watt amplifier and KAT100 tuner integrated. It was not cheap but worth it.

    Quite a story from this end Tom, I’m pretty sure many others have even bigger and longer stories to tell about their road to radio happiness. Oh yes… I’m still looking for a KX1 to complete my KX collection …. ..

  3. Great Blog, great post. I regretted selling my old original YAESU FT-290R. So much so that I just had to find another mint example! I did the same thing with my old AOR AR3000A – found another minter.

    And then I sold my KX3 and just missed it so much that I found another minter. And so it goes. Maybe we should let them just pile up LOL.

    73, Tom, M7MCQ

  4. My name is Graeme. I do have a HF 27 Meg’s rig with a 5/8 Stationmaster Arial.
    But I would like a UHF/VHF/FM RIG WITH SIMPLEX and Duplex that can travel a very long distance with a beam Arial.
    I live in Georgetown Tasmania Australia.
    What cost/s involved to purchase and send it to here?

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