[amsat-bb] Hard times for satellite radio buyers?

Ken M va7kbm at outlook.com
Sun Mar 19 05:53:57 UTC 2017

Hello all,

Is it not hard times for new and prospective satellite operators (like 
me) in terms of equipment choices, at least in terms of the "big three"? 
(And, to be clear, I'm talking about current, in-production models only.)

I'm looking for an HF base/mobile radio, and also a VHF/UHF-only 
all-mode base/mobile radio that I can use for the linear satellites but 
- wait - there are no VHF/UHF-only all mode radios! That means I need to 
buy a "shack in a box" but - wait - there are only two choices (at what 
I will call moderate prices), the ancient TS-2000 and equally ancient 
FT-857D. There is the new and somewhat more expensive FT-991A and, 
although that sounds like a very good radio, for HF at that price point 
I might prefer the IC-7300 but that would mean no satellite work.

I'm also looking for a portable HF QRP radio, and a portable radio I can 
use for the linear satellites. Again the venerable but ancient FT-817ND 
is pretty much the only game in town. As with the HF base radios above, 
if I am only interested in HF QRP I would probably rather put my money 
toward a KX2 or KX3 of newer design but, again, that would mean no 
satellite work.

So as a new operator, to get into linear satellites it seems I am forced 
to either (1) troll the swap meets for ancient gear; (2) buy new gear of 
old design (which in my mind is even worse); or (3) buy new gear of 
modern design that works for satellite and HF, but is not necessarily 
the radio I would choose for HF alone.

I should add that the situation is not much better for HT/mobile radios 
for the FM satellites, but at least there are some cost effective 
workarounds including the less expensive Baofeng/Wouxun/Tytera radios 
and their clones.

Thanks for indulging my shopping frustrations, and my inexperience, but 
I have to think there are others new to the hobby that are having 
similar thoughts. Do Amsat members see this as a problem?

Probably off to spend some new money on an old radio...

73 - Ken - VA7KBM

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