Finally got a rig!
Why the Kenwood TS-430S? Because it fit my requirements!
- HF rig < $300
- Name brand
- SSB/CW/AM modes
- Operate in phone and CW
- Frequency display counter
- Lots of knobs and buttons
- No integrated power supply or antenna tuner
- Parts available
- Plenty of documentation available on the Internet
- Easy to repair
- Modifications available
- Good reviews on eHam.net
- Non-smoking environment
How did I get to this list of requirements?
I’ll touch on a few of the “not so obvious ones” here.
I wanted a modular system that I can build with individual components that I can leverage in the future for expansion and extending capabilities. I especially didn’t want to trust an older system to have all of it’s components functioning flawlessly. Power supplies and antenna tuners are things that can often get abused, are easy to repair/replace, and would be much more difficult to fix if they share integrated circuits with a larger system.
I wanted to do phone operations and also have the ability to get into CW, all while actually knowing at a glance what frequency I’m on.
The name brand requirement is really just an extension of the “supportability” of the system. If you go with some off-the-wall brand, you are risking component availability, as well as others not being familiar with the system (because face it, you’re going to need some help!).
I’m a very hands-on kind of person. Having dials, knobs, and buttons that I need to manipulate just appeals to me. I like being physically involved in the tuning process.
This also feeds my want to fix things myself. With plenty of available parts and documentation, I can muddle through just about anything that doesn’t require a degree in electrical engineering to figure out. I want this to be a learning experience, and if I can’t open the case and solder a few components, I’ll never learn.
Finally, I want the ability to modify my transceiver to become whatever kind of Frankenstein I want it to be come. I want it to be mine, and fail or perform as a result of my sweat and hot soldering iron. If there’s no battle scars by the time I’m done, I’ll not have learned a thing.
In conclusion, I really just wanted something of value that I can work with as a base for learning. This is a great hobby that I’ll be able to have fun with for years. I want a setup that will allow me to fulfill this need, and I believe that the Kenwood TS-430S will allow me to succeed.