Other HF Rigs I've Owned

Kenwood TS-520

I bought this demo unit from WB9CMI (SK). It's a classic! Unfortunately, after many, many years of service, it died with a shorted power transformer. More…


I still own this great rig. It is on the workbench, awaiting repairs. I'd love to get this one back up and running.More…

N9DD's "Pile of stuff"

Main HF Station

QRP Rigs I've built

Vintage Station

Over the years, I've been a fairly low-budget ham: wire antennas, QRP kit rigs, used transceivers, etc. I've never had a lot of discretionary income for fun things, but I don't think that has hurt my ability to have fun with ham radio at all.

When I first got licensed, I was 17 years old, still in high school, and living with mom and dad. My parents were supportive of my ham radio hobby and never said a word about the wire antennas I strung above the house. My Novice station was a Christmas gift from them - a Heath DX60B transmitter and HR10B receiver. It wasn't a bad setup at all. I worked lots of guys running HW16s who probably would have loved to have the "seperates."

After I started working, I was able to save enough money for a "new" HF rig. Actually, it was a demo, but my Kenwood TS-520 was quite a step up for me. I saw no reason to upgrade from the 520 for years. I got interested in QRP, started building kits, and I had a ball.

It wasn't until the 520 finally died with a shorted power transformer, that I decided to get a new "big rig." Did I burn up my credit card with a kilobuck purchase? No. I bought a used ICOM IC-735. I had a ball with that rig. I had great fun finally having a rig I could interface with the computer.

When my IC-735 started developing more problems than I could easily fix, I couldn't help but notice ICOM's IC-718 rig. For less than $500 I could get a decent HF transceiver. True, it lacked lots of the bells and whistles of the pricier rigs, but it fit my budget just fine. At the Dayton Hamvention I bought a new IC-718, my first truly new HF rig. I added a cw filter and now I'm in hog-heaven and having a blast on HF, getting reaquainted with PSK and other digital modes, getting back into contesting, etc.

I've been a ham now for almost 40 years. I've owned only 3 commercial HF transceivers, only one brand new. Some people might think that ham radio is an expensive hobby. For me it hasn't. Sure, there are times when I wish I had a big tower, beam antennas, an amp and a rig with all the bells and whistles possible. I've done OK though. I've had great fun, worked the world, and accomplished a lot. It's been a great ride!