Enticing radios in the periphery

Since my early days in the world of radio, there have been radios I found very intriguing, but have never owned. I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard.

These radios have enticed me, but not enough to pull the trigger…you know…to actually buy one.

Not yet, at least.

Here’s a small sampling of radios I currently window shop:

The Elecraft K3/K3s

There’s a reason this particular radio series has been on so many DXpeditions: it packs a lot of performance and is efficient for its size.

I’ve owned all of Elecraft’s QRP radios and I love them. I know I’d like the K3 or K3s as well.

There are a couple reasons why I haven’t purchased a K3 or K3s. First of all, I already own a KX3 with a CW roofing filter and a KXPA100 amplifier. In a sense, I feel like this is a rough equivalent of the K3. The KX3 doesn’t have all of the features or options of the K3 series, but it has everything I need as a primarily portable op. Secondly, the price of the K3 or K3s–depending on the installed options–range anywhere from $1,100 – 2,900 used. The lower priced ones tend to be QRP and lack some of the performance options.

That said, if I ever landed a super deal on a K3, there’s a decent likelihood I’d buy it.

The Yaesu FT-897D

I know what it is about the FT-897: it looks like it means business. I’ve always found the rugged design of the ‘897 appealing even though a friend jokes that it’s the ugliest radio Yaesu’s ever made. Of course, folks who buy an 897 aren’t looking at the form, they’re going for the function.

I’ve used a friend’s FT-897 on Field Day and really enjoyed it. Having owned the FT-817, I sorted out its quirky menus and ergonomics pretty quickly.

I’m sure the reason I’ve never pulled the trigger on one of these is because it’s 100 watts–I typically don’t run that kind of power in the field. The ‘897 is no longer in production, but there are loads of them on the used market. I kick the tires on these when I find them at hamfests. Maybe one day? We’ll see.

The Icom IC-7200

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve *almost* purchased a used IC-7200. In fact, I came so very close to selling my KXPA100 amp in order to buy a new IC-7200 several years ago (when they were still in production).

I love the milcom look of the ‘7200 and the overall ergonomics. The receiver is very respectable for the price class. It even has a built-in sound card which was somewhat rare when the 7200 first entered the market.

I think a ‘7200 would be fun to take to the field and, of course, mine would have those side handles even though it adds to the bulk.

The Yaesu FT-891

I don’t find the ergonomics of the FT-891 particularly appealing, but I do love the receiver, the compact form, the features, and I find the audio to be pretty darn amazing.

I’ve used the FT-891 and have been very impressed with it. I’ve also recommended it to many new POTA operators who want to pack 100 watts in the field.

The most amazing part is that you can (at time of posting) purchase a brand new FT-891 for $640 US. That’s a LOT of radio for the price and I feel like there’s no compromise in quality here. Again, I’ve never owned one of these nor used one for more than an hour or so in total, but I do like it and so does a good half of the POTA population.

On Black Friday in 2021, I actually had the FT-891 in my DX Engineering shopping cart and had the debit card out ready to complete the purchase, yet I stopped shy of hitting the “place order” button.

Why–?

QRP radios simply have more appeal

Since I started using CW, I find I don’t need any more than 2-5 watts of power–especially for park and summit activations.

I’ve nothing against running 100 watts–none at all–but I operate portable 97% of the time. I tend to focus on gear that’s lightweight, compact, and can easily fit in a backpack that I might lug to the top of a mountain.

I know if I purchase a 100 watt radio–no matter how much I like it–I just won’t take it to the field very often. Even though I could run the FT-897, FT-891, or IC-7200 at QRP power, those rigs need a higher capacity battery than the 3 Ah LiFePo4s I pack. I have a 15 Ah LiFePo4 that I use with my larger radios, but I don’t pack it unless it’s really needed.

With QRP transceivers, one fully-charged 3 Ah battery will carry me through 5-6 activations often with power to spare.

QRO advantages

My buddy Don’s IC-7200. Check out that custom paint job!

That said, I see a place for 100 watt field radios. In terms of emergency communications, it makes sense to have access to a field-capable 100 watts transceiver like those listed above.

Also, if you primarily operate SSB and like DXing, contesting, or extended DX ragchews, having the ability to increase power when needed is a real bonus. And if you primarily operate from the QTH? Weight, size, and current draw matter much less. In fact, the focus is usually on a larger display, robust audio, and overall good ergonomics.

Of course, your antenna is a seriously limiting factor, so if you want to make the most use of your 100 watts, invest in the best antenna you can install at your QTH.

As I mentioned, I have a KXPA100 (100 watt) amplifier at home and it will pair with most of my QRP radios. It’s battery-powered, super portable, and very effective. If I need 100 watts in the field, I have it.

I also have a 100 watt Icom IC-756 Pro. It’s my “library” radio that I lend out to anyone who needs it, so it’s not always at the QTH.

In addition, I have a 50 watt Misson RGO One which is an absolutely superb radio for the field or shack.

When I need access to higher power, I’ve got a few options already. I suppose I know that most of these other enticing 100 watt radios would be a bit redundant (I say this as a hypocritical guy with many redundant QRP radios).

Frankly? My shack space is also so limited that full size desk radios take up space I need for my workbench and for review units that are almost always on the table. If I had a larger space, it would be much easier to justify.

How about you?

What radios (QRO or QRP) have always enticed you but you’ve never actually purchased? Radios that haven’t quite made the cut yet?

Please comment!

43 thoughts on “Enticing radios in the periphery”

  1. You’ve pretty much summed up my list Thomas. I would add an SGC 2020 and the IC-706 series radios to the list also. I did pick up an IC-703 recently that most definitely scratched that itch as well as remaining true to my love of QRP.

    1. I *almost* put the SGC-2020 on the list. A friend recently offered to sell me his. Truth is? I would have only been buying it for the looks. 🙂 It’s not the best radio around, but it was such an innovative piece of gear in terms of design when it was introduced.

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  2. Hello Thomas. I have 3 field radios. An IC-7300, IC-705, and a TX-500. The Icoms are a dream to use in the field. Right now due to band conditions, the 7300 is getting a little more use. I crank it up to 35 watts :). I often thought about an IC-7200. Like you almost bought it several times. I also thought about a TenTec Argonaut or their Scout. The reality is, the radios I have are doing everything I need a radio to do. Sigh!

    1. Oh yes. In fact, you’ve got such excellent radios in your arsenal, it’s hard to justify another purchase based on performance or ability.

      That said, if you ever need help justifying a purchase, you know who to contact! 😉

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  3. 2E0HFO

    I seem to be obsessed with HT’s.For me ,sitting outside somewhere nice ,talking on a repeater or using a hotspot and talking around the world with something that fits in your pocket, is mind blowing.
    Had a FT891 in my QTH,and due to no outdoor antennas,strugglesd massively to make any contacts on HF.
    For me going portable and playing radio in the field doesn’t mean hauling a full backpack full of stuff about.It means going with the least amount of gear with the smallest available radios and still making contacts.That’s why I’m learning CW with the CW ops academy (beginners class).I want access to those amazing tiny light weight radios ,a 9v battery a tuned antenna and be able to still make contacts.everything else just seems over kill to me.

    1. Brilliant, Simon! Great job jumping in with both feet with the CW Academy!

      Yes, CW opens the door to some simply amazing tiny transceivers.

      And HTs? Even though I operate so little on VHF/UHF, we have…what…10 in our family? It’s a little insane, really!

      GL with the CW! You’ve got this!
      Thomas
      K4SWL

  4. Great list Thomas. The only one I have owned from that list it the FT-891. I agonized over the choice of the FT-897 or an FT-857D about 10 years ago and the 857 won out.

    I recently sold/traded three of my field radios (including the 891) so now I only have the 705 for a QRP radio and the 7300 for QRO. I like the fact that the interfaces are so similar and it makes switching radios easier.

    I also have less radios to pack up for the move. Limited antenna options means that I don’t have room for multiple shack radios after the move.

    W4MKH
    https://w4mkh-qrp.com/

    1. Both the ‘7300 and ‘705 are solid choices! They will serve you well as you move into the new digs. I’m honestly not sure what radios I’d choose if I ever needed to downsize to two even if temporarily. Interesting thought exercise though!

      Cheers,
      Thomas
      K4SWL

  5. Hmm. where to start!
    I have both the K3 and the K3S. Both started as bare bones 10 watt radios and now both have pretty much everything you could add — added! They are brilliant radios. I will probably never upgrade them as my wire antennas are the limiting factor for my QTH. I run them as an SO2R station.
    I also have the FT-897 and it too is an excellent POTA radio. I have it ‘filled’ with its battery packs — and a new one as a spare so tend to only run 20 watts and at that level it’s still a really nice radio — complete with its 500hz CW filter I retrieved from my FT–817 before I sold it as I thought it might become ‘unobtanium.’

    I have an Icom IC-7300 used exclusively as my 4m radio.

    When it comes to QRP then my cupboard is rather full!
    I have a couple of QRP+ rigs — one for spares bought years ago and still in regular service
    I have a TenTec 509 I’m restoring and a mint TenTec Argo II.
    I have a TenTec Scout with all its plug in band modules. 50 Watts and great on SSB or CW.
    I’ve had and sold an Argo V
    I have an Elecraft K1, and a K2 I built years ago. (The K2 is stand alone QRP with internal ATU and battery and a companion 100 watt PA with Tuner built in a matching enclosure.)
    I have the LNR 3B Mountain topper — the original. It’s great SOTA rig.
    I have several from Hans’s QRP-labs kit stable.
    I have an FDM-DUO which is an intriguing rig and wonderful with a few screens running in the shack with its multiple simultaneous receive slices.
    My latest is a KX2 — which is probably my favourite ‘portable rig. It’s the one that makes me smile every time I use it! Nothing is out of its reach — even the proverbial ‘Bit of wet string’ antenna.

    I’ve wondered about the 891 — but Jason, KM4ACK’s bad experience put me off buying one.
    I’ve had and sold a KX1 (and wish I had kept it!)

    The list goes on!

    Maybe I should do a YouTube video of my experiences with a lifetime of rigs — after all, I’ve been licences for 55 years!

    73
    Bruce G4ABX

    1. Wow, Bruce! You do indeed have a Who’s Who of QRP radios! Yes, I would encourage you to make a video–it would be fun to hear your thoughts about each.

      Your latest acquisition–the KX2–is certainly one of my favorite all-time radios. It’s simply amazing.

      Let us know when you publish your video!
      Best,
      Thomas
      K4SWL / M0CYI

  6. My most serious transceivers are QRP even tho I’m a QRO guy. (I build 23-dB solid state amplifiers to complement them.) My best transceiver by far is an Anan Orion mk II, the core of all the Anan products. It is a 4.5-watt, direct sampler, with dual independent receivers and an AGC superior to all existing rigs. Then I have the two fine Russian SunSDR2 pro and SunSDR QRP, with powerful attractive concomitant software (although the QRP version has a flawed RX EQ board). Then there is the charming Elad Duo and RGO One. I cannot use an amplifier with my TX-500 because of its TX spikes 43 kHz each side of transmit. I use my KX3 as the IF of a 10GHz rain scatter rover so I have no experience with it on HF. My experience with Chinese QRP rigs has been awful.

    In short, I have an addiction — I cannot resist QRP transceivers although I don’t use them that way. w8mqw

    1. Wow–you’ve some proper benchmark SDR transceivers!

      And the addiction? Yeah, many of us have that! Ha ha!

      Thank you for your comment.
      Cheers,
      Thomas
      K4SWL

  7. I have the 897D and think it is great for POTA.
    *battery or 110vac, all bands , all modes , only need ATU

    I have Xiegu X5105 and I think its great for Sota.
    *internal battery, internal ATU , small & lightweight etc

    What is currently enticing me is the AnyTone AT-D878UVII Plus HT. The appeal is backpacking for SOTA and having APRS. I have a breakdown 2mtr two element cubical quad that I want to try but excited about the built in GPS and texting feature of the little HT

    1. Yes, I’ve heard good things about the Anytone as well.

      I have a Yaesu FT-2D for APRS but actually very rarely use it. I need to sort out how to do the APRS spotting from it although we have few digipeaters here in WNC.

      Cheers,
      Thomas

    2. I use an 897D and figured it was better (and safer) to have an internal ATU than a battery. I took a board from a LDG YT100 tuner. The TX power can be adjusted to suit the external battery pack being used.
      The radio power socket can use the “spare” unused pins just for battery input and it switches automatically to reduced power when a battery is plugged in. A spare LiPo battery pack could be built into the redundant YT100 case.

  8. IC-7200 – I love the look with the side rails.

    IC-706 MKIIG – Despite being relatively old and power hungry, it seems like a really sweet portable/luggable all band/all mode rig. VHF/UHF as well.

    Ten-Tec Eagle 599 – if only because it vaguely reminds me of a TS-590, which was my first HF radio.

    1. I could have easily put the Eagle on my list. In fact, I was tempted by one only recently at the Shelby hamfest. The Eagle is an amazing radio!

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  9. I’ve been a QRPer my entire Ham Radio experience. My friends have often teased over the years that I’ve owned or built every QRP radio. While that may be a bit of exageration it’s probably close. Until I retired I mostly sold one QRP rig to help pay for the next not having the budget or room for much more. I have always searched for the perfect QRP HF radio always finding a deficiency in one feature or another. Advancing technology keeps improving the radios but there always seems to some feature I find missing or lacking in any particular radios performance. So I keep looking and enjoying each experience. I have loved the challenge of CW and QRP. There is something there that won’t let go of me. I have purchase amplifiers over the years only to discover they spoil the adventure for me and sell them shortly after. More often than not if I can hear them, I can work them at QRP power. If I can’t its usually one of three reasons: propagation, insufficient antennas or lack of operating skill required. However, one thing has been steadfast, it’s been fun.
    Pete WK8S

    1. It is fun! 🙂

      Sounds like you’ve gotten to enjoy building a lot of radios.

      I’m with you, though: there’s something in QRP and CW that just won’t let you go! 🙂

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  10. For many years my home station rig was an Icom IC-718. Worked well, easy to operate, not a lot of menu spelunking required. I always said, the one thing that would make this better is if they put the DSP in the IF chain instead of the audio chain. There must have been a lot of people who felt the same way. The IC-7200 came along with a similar similar operation philosophy and DSP noise reduction in the IF chain. I absolutely loved my IC-7200.

    A couple of years ago I was shopping for a higher performance radio for the shack. I wanted better filtering and receiver performance and I had stumbled onto a good deal on an Elecraft KX2 used so I didn’t need the IC-7200 portability. The top contenders in my decision were Flex and Elecraft. I was able to use both for a few days and honestly either would have been an excellent choice. In the end my preference was a Flex 6400M because I preferred display over the K3S and the larger panel layout was more to my liking since I have big hands.

    A Yaesu FT-891 is my “backup rig” and provides high power portable operation. It is fairly new so I am not very familiar with it at this point.

    The KX2 is still my #1 choice for serious portable work. It just has everything I want, operates easily, and sips power from the internal battery for plenty of time in the field.

    There are some other QRP rigs around. I enjoy them, but they are sort of novelties.

  11. I started portable operations with the FT891 and absolutely love this rig. I also have one in the vehicle. It is the best for mobile operations. As far as qrp the list includes the IC703+, Bitx V6, Xiegu G90, and recently purchased KX2. Thanks Thomas for helping me pull the trigger on the KX2.
    73 de W3PDW

    1. You’re welcome, Brian. Or, “I’m sorry”–ha ha! I’m a bit of an enabler when it comes to QRP radios. You’ve gotten the best there with the KX2. Phenomenal radio.

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  12. Thomas,
    If you want it and can afford it, buy it, you won’t know what it feels like until you do. I have owned and operated one or more of each of the radio’s you mentioned and then many many more over the past 64 years. All of my radio’s were purpose purchased being fix station, mobile, portable, digital, SSTV, EME, and now most recently POTA. Of all radio’s I’ve owned that could be used for portable/POTA operation I have found the KX2 to be the most enjoyable of all and that includes the KX3. I do not desire high power output, BUT, when a little extra is needed, I add an HF Packer 35 watt amp. If I can’t work a station with 1-10 watts or 35 watts, I will not be able to work him with 100 watts. While I am a new comer to POTA, operating portable or mobile as well as Qrp, has been an adventure for over six decades. If you have an itch, scratch it, sometimes it just really feels good.

    1. You know, having a little amp to hook up to a good QRP radio is always a nice option! Thank you for your comment–sounds like you’ve had/have even more radios than me! 🙂

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  13. Great responses and fun topic here, Thomas. I don’t have any experience with any of these radios, but they have some fun appeal…

    Currently I’d like to make my CW QRP station more portable. I love my 705 (probably my favorite radio), but I’d like one I can just keep in the car with an EFHW antenna for those ‘just in case’ moments. Never know when you might want to have some fun or just need to reach out with a few watts. Currently looking at the Mountain Topper and the Penntek TR-35 (really leaning towards this one).

    I did look pretty hard at the 891 before getting the 705. I like the 100W capability if needed, but there are only so many radios I can justify with the better half!

    1. Michael, the tR-35 is an incredibly capable radio for those impromptu activations. It’s super compact, efficient, and sports proper performance. It’s a pleasure to use. Pair it with an EFHW and the world is your oyster!

      Cheers,
      Thomas

  14. There are so many fun radios! It has been worth my time to build and play with many radios from tiny one or two transistor micro CW radios up to an Elecraft K1 and a Mountain Topper. All were fun to build, test and use. As I was learning about ham radio, I started with an IC 718. Great fun! But the front end could overload. I bought an IC 706 MkIIG for field and emergency use, but used it little except for ARES. I love but struggled with CW, and so spent more time on SSB. I did take the K1 up a couple of SOTA peaks when I could hike. My partner brought his K2, wow! Eventually, I moved up to an IC 746 and played in contests and chased DX. My antennas were wires up 60 feet between trees. Eventually, I wanted a better radio and bought a K3 kit. Never disappointed, except that I wanted a K3 field radio and so got my KX3. Great backup radio for the shack! I’ve become hiking limited, so, I got a KX2 for a bit lighter radio and a smaller suitcase radio. Just had to do it. My old radios sat unused, and I’m now finally moving on, the Elecraft radios have taken over my shacks. I got the 100 w amplifier for those times I need a boost from the west coast. However, I use a VE7CC style 2-ele wire yagi or a portable hex beam when practical. I’ve considered a 100 w Yaesu for POTA so I don’t need to wire up the little amp, but I’ve grown comfortable with the Elecraft radios and still have the 706MkIIG that remains comfortable, if power hungry. I have finally developed some CW ability, so a new chapter is opening! It’s all personal choice to fit a personal style, but you just don’t know until you try a variety of radios in a variety of situations. it’s all good! 73! NU6T

    1. It is all good, Richard! Those Elecraft radios are all so amazing. And I 100% agree with you about the IC-716. It’s not a bad radio for home and casual operating, but it simply falls apart when RF conditions are dense. Once I had to slog through a Field Day with one and it really put me off. It simply struggled.

      And good on you for joining the CW ranks! This opens the door to SO many more radios! 🙂

      Thanks you,
      Thomas

      1. Long time CW wannabe, but I learn poorly through my ears. I envy your language ability. I learned bits and pieces of some 8 languages living overseas as a kid, but my friends wanted to practice English and I was too slow in their languages. I went to sleep listening to morse code streams on SW radio back in the 1960’s. I was unable to earn a Novice in the 1970s. Eventually, I passed my 5 wpm code for my General. I do poorly with slow code, but have learned I can hear code at 25-30 wpm, I still enjoy just listening to “high speed” code just to hear the music! I found I could hear some letters and now practice ICR head copy, and that helps me hear at 18-22 wpm. I have a way to go, but am enjoying listening to your videos and am beginning to hear your QSOs. Thank you!
        NU6T

  15. Good post, Thomas, but I must call “time out” on one point.
    You enjoy incredible low power, 5 watt, CW activations, and I know because I’ve watched every one that you have posted on YouTube for the last two years.
    But, BUT, I believe that one-half of the contacts that you make, from stations reaching out to you, are because of your wide name recognition (well deserved, by the way, but years in the making). For us mere mortals, low power contacts would be much more challenging (fun in it’s own right),
    So, to say that you do just fine with low power POTA/SOTA contacts does not necessarily exptrapolate to others of us.
    Keep on keeping on, Thomas, but activations can be quite a different slog for may of the rest of us. I will continue to welcome your continuing YT videos and work hard to decode your CW contacts as you hear them. Good stuff. Your niche works for you.

    PS – I started POTA using an Icom IC-7000, but ran into battery power issues. I bought a Yaesu FT-891 and an Elecraft K3X in January, and love using the 891 for lower power (20-25 watts) SSB POTA contacts. The 891 should be on everyone’s “first radio” list. I have yet to activate the KX3 for POTA, but its time is coming.

    Dave, N8LBF

    1. Ha ha! I doubt I’m *that* popular but you do bring up a point I’ve never thought of. I’m sure some of my contacts are from people who’ve set up alerts for me. Plus, it’s funny, there are some regular POTA/SOTA family members that all have alerts for each other and I know that probably helps.

      Truth, though, is I forfeit lots of contacts by very rarely activating on weekends when the hunters are out in full force. I have to squeeze my activations in during the week.

      Thank you for the kind comment, Dave!

      Cheers,
      Thomas

      1. I’ve got an alert set up for you, Thomas, but it always go off when I’m not at home at the radio!

        I do think that the POTA spotting network is the biggest benefit, though. I’m pretty new to this but at 5 watts on a sometimes marginal antenna I can usually finish an activation within 30 minutes to an hour. I love how so many skilled operators are bending their ears towards my weak signal.

  16. I had the Icom IC-7200 and traded it in about 7 years ago for my TS2000 as my main rig in the shack. As much as I enjoy the Kenwood, I miss the IC-7200… it would be a great POTA rig for sure. I can tell you that it not only looked boss, it also performed very well.
    I have the FT891 as my mobile rig in my 2012 MINI Cooper. The size is ideal, and the audio is great as you point out, and I love having the autotune features of ATAS 120 – although at times it seems to take forever to tune up. The deep menu system makes using it while mobile a challenge, but it is a fabulous POTA-in-the-parking lot all in one shack.
    Good article, as always – thanks!

  17. I own the FT-897D (and used to own two of them). It’s fitted with the SSB and 500Hz CW mechanical filters and I love it. I love it because it’s capable and does everything I want to do and because it satisfies my appetites for radio. I love that it looks and feels the part – as a friend begrudgingly said, “it just looks like a real radio should.” Will I ever seek my remaining one? I can’t predict the future but I don’t think so.

    My primary QRP rig is the Yaesu FT-817ND, currently being replaced by an 818-ND because of age. I wish it still gave the option of working st 500mW but it doesn’t.

    I would be sorely tempted by an Elecraft KX2. I think I’d feel then that my stable was full. As it is, the 817/818 do admirably for SOTA and I am not left wanting but that little part of my heart has room for the KX2. Maybe it will be a retirement gift in a few years.

  18. The FT-891 is a great rig to have as a POTA rig for a “need more power day”. Btw, there is a menu that is disabled by default that provides for CW and voice keyers! For me, the 891 is about as close to a modern 817 as you can get.

    I’ve been tempted by the IC-7200 as well. However, I understand that the 891 is a superior rig to it except for the form factor. I’d put portable zero rails on it.

    Also, tempted by the TS-590SG. Maybe primarily nostalgia? One of my first HF rigs was a TS-570SG. But, hearing that the DSP isn’t as good as some of the others on the market. Plus, the lack of a panadapter.

    Almost, pulled the trigger on the CTX-10 a couple of times. But concerned about performance when working a CW activation.

    Right now, my favorite POTA/park bench rigs are: FT-891, Elecraft K2 (love the ergonomics), KX3, or FT-818. For in the field/SOTA: KX3, 818, KX1, or LNR MTR3B_LCD. Just finished building a QCX mini for 20m too.

  19. Right now my main (only) rig is an IC-706MKII. It’s pretty nice. I keep it set at 6 watts. Wish the minimum was 5 watts.

    I purchased a Hilltopper 30 meter CW kit and plan on building it at Christmas time.

  20. My goodness I love my “old” Icom-7000 shack-in-a-box. It has a small footprint, lots of big rig features, and can be a QRP rig if you turn the power down.

    The amazing color display pack a lot of information into a small size. Color is your friend to maximize interpretable info into your brain quickly from a small screen size.

    I mostly use it mobile, but my installation allows quick removal for field day, or portable work.

    QRO and a 35 amp hour battery runs it for hours on field day. Since you can crank the power down to 5 watts (or less), a smaller lighter battery would allow QRP work for a similar amount of time.

    I really wish Icom would update its new mobile offerings with another color screen again with NO touch screen (impossible with my fat fingers and a small screen!)

    Bill – W7JZE
    https://www.qrz.com/db/w7jze

    1. Bill:

      You should switch to a stylus like sold by Amazon. They protect the touch screens from crazing. I religously only use them with all my touch screen devives. And it cures fat fingers. Join the modern world. Jump in. It’s great!

  21. Great list of so-close-but-not-quite in the shopping cart radios. All have some substantial downside that has kept them off my bench so far, despite being intriguing. I did come across another one to watch: https://unicomradio.com/product/guohe-q900-hf-vhf-uhf-all-mode-sdr-transceiver/

    Already, the lack of vfo knob turns me off, but those specs and price while being a full SDR that looks to be very portable has my curiosity peaked.

    The only radio I don’t own, but am 100% certain I will pick up some time would be a CQX. Hard to justify *not* hitting check-out at that price.

  22. I have a few QRP homebrew radios, but when I traveled out of town I used to take my old Icom IC-706MK2G (I bought it used more then 10 years ago but it still works well). The logic is very simple. Since I went there by car, the weight and size did not matter much. All my radio and antennas fit in a backpack, and I took power from a car battery. I have made thousands of QSO and it has never let me down. Of course, sometimes I thought about the new radio, but every time I asked myself – what will it give me that the old one does not give? And I did not find the answer to this question.

  23. I’m a little late to the dance here. 🙂

    I had an FT-897D about 10 years ago. I bought it as a “have my cake and eat it too” radio. I used it for pedestrian mobile (complete with the accessory battery pack, and homebrew helically wound vertical w/counterpoise). It was kind of heavy and clunky, but I had a lot of fun walking trails, and having QSOs with that radio.

    For home station use, IMO the FT-897D was a bit of a mixed bag. I live in an apartment (the 160 foot plus long, rain gutter up 3 stories, w/T-Match and tuned counterpoise works OK), that is less than a block from 250,000 volt power lines, and with 3 FM and AM radio stations within 3 miles of me. The ‘897D didn’t always handle the noise the well. Also, I still do some VHF/UHF weak signal operating (been doing it since I was in college in the 80s). The receiver was only OK for 2m SSB & CW, and kind of deaf on 432 SSB & CW.

    Still, I had fund contesting with the radio, and one of my most memorable radio moments, was in the first weekend of December 2007, when I had just gotten back on 160m on Saturday afternoon for the ARRL 160m CW Contest, after sleeping for several hours, to recover from pulling an all-nighter on Top Band. We’d had a major snowstorm the night before, which had dumped well over a foot of snow. My radio table is next to the bedroom window, overlooking the back yard of my apartment building. What did I see while I was S&Ping on 160m (there were a few signals coming in, within a 150m or so radius of me)? A doe (whitetail deer) walking through the snow, and feeding on the ends of the dogwood tree branches. 🙂 🙂

    73,
    Ellen – AF9J

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