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
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