HF Ham Radios - by Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Ten-tec, Elecraft and Alinco
Here is a page with HF radio lists, or tables, showing current mobile and base hf ham radios and transceivers, with frequency bands and sizes with links to each model's homepage. That is Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Elecraft, Ten-tec and Alinco. Of course there may still be some last discontinued models in some stores' supplies. But first, the current ones.
I would also like to add discontinued hf radios but It takes so much time so maybe.
Images and a brief information for each radio will be added later. Such as basic specifications, links to manuals, reviews and mods etc.
Now on the 7th August 2015 the page has been updated and will need some more updates.
HF radio list
There are various types of HF radios, those with just HF, those with HF+6m and the ones with HF 6m+VHF+UHF. Some are mobile or base, some just base and some more portable like the KX3 (SDR) or FT-817ND. The table shows this in a simple way.
Most hf radios include the LF band in the receiver range (30–300kHz) and some even the lower VLF.
The receiver ranges of the radios are shown below.
More information about SDR radio transceivers in the table below can be found here.
Old HF radio list
I would also like to make tables of discontinued radios though I do not yet know how to categorize it because older gear has so many variations of band combinations. Maybe I do a new model which I thought about right now, where each band for each radio is shown.
HF (+6m (+VHF+UHF)) radios
I have made different table types here, so it will be easier to see what there is.
K1, K2, KX1
Eagle, Omni VII
HF + 6m
HF + 6m + VHF + UHF
SDR HF radio transceivers
The only SDR radio transceiver by the common ham radio transceiver manufacturers above is the KX3 by Elecraft. On the list below are manufacturers that only have sdr radio transceivers.
HF radio features
Most radios have quite similar basic features, like noise blankers, speech processors, switchable preamp attenuators, high-SWR-protection, cw-keyer and a few more things. Other more features are shown in the list below. Not all are included but the most interesting ones.
The feature list is not completed yet!
5.3MHz band DX-SR8T
Memory channels be set/displayed alphanumerically. DX-SR8, IC-78 (8 characters),
CW, SSB, AM r
CW, SSB, AM, FM DX-SR8,
CW, SSB, AM, FM, RTTY(FSK) IC-78, IC-718,
CW, SSB, AM, FM, Data - RTTY(FSK) K3,
Synchronous AM receiver (adds carrier in phase-outs) K3
[ No DSP DX-SR8, K1, KX1, K2 ]
IF DSP major overview K3, IC-7200,
Dual DSP Orion II
DSP noise reduction filters Orion II
DSP Contour filter, soft/sharp IC-7200, FT-450D
DSP Variable CW Audio Peak Filter K3, FT-2000(D)
DSP High/Low-Cut Filtering K3
DSP pass band tuning K3, IC-7200
DSP IF width K3, FT-2000(D)
DSP IF shift K3
Variable bandwidth crystal filters K3
DSP 8-band audio equalizers for receiver and mic K3, KX3
CW reception as LSB or USB of the carrier frequency. DX-SR8, K2, K3, IC-7700
Microphone equalizer FT-450D, IC-7700, IC-7800, IC-9100, FT-2000(D), FTDX9000(D)
Several IF-DSP receive filters Jupiter, Orion II, TS-2000
Analog pass band tuning KX1, Jupiter, Orion II
Analog IF Width K2, Jupiter, Orion II
Analog IF Shift DX-SR8, IC-78, IC-718, FT-450D, FT-950
Receiver bass/treble Orion II
Panoramic Stereo receive Orion II
Adjustable rise and decay times for transmitted CW Orion II
Digital voice recorder KX3, K3
Spectrum scope Jupiter, Orion II
Dual VFO DX-SR8, K2, K3
Dual receive capability(K3 option KRX3), Orion II, IC-9100, TS-2000, FT-2000(D), FTDX-9000
Several AGC settings or programmable AGC settings.(DX-SR8), K3, IC-7200, Orion II
[ No AGC settings. ]
Selectable extended SSB transmit bandwidths. Jupiter
Adjustable rise/decay times for CW transmitOrion II
Several antenna connectors IC-7700, IC-7800 has 4, IC-9100 has 5, TS-2000 has 6
200W out IC-7700, IC-7800, FT-2000(D), FT DX 5000, FTDX-9000D
400W out FTDX-9000MP
ATU already built-in TS-480SAT, FT-450AT
ATU built-in option K1, KX1, K2, K3, IC-718, FT-450D
Illuminated key buttons FT-450D
Usb pc connector IC-7200
How to select an HF radio
Except a radio, there are also a lot of other accessories. You also need at least one simple antenna, maybe headphones and an antenna tuner, swr/power-meter, and for the most a power supply. Most hams already have this, and others also use more equipment such as a better microphone, directional antenna+rotor system, linear amplifier, equalizer, sound processor, filters, external speakers or a stereo amplifier with speakers. A table to put it on too.
Depending on your budget and interests, you have to do some decisions.
It is very useful to read about other users comments such as in
eham.net HF radio reviews.
Eham.net also have other reviews sections for other gear so there is plenty of information!
Below are some articles about radio where you could read the comments as well. You can get a lot of valuable info.
Classic SSB HF Radios
What Was Your Favorite HF Radio & Why?
Bargain Jewels II -- HF Radios
HF Radios for Newcomers
Classic SSB HF Radios- '70s to '80s
Your First HF Radio - Which One? Best HF Transceivers - Used Bargains
Best HF transceivers and makers - Which are the best transcievers?
Best HF Rig From An Ergonomic Standpoint
HF Transceivers - Best by Price (Not good low-cost choice of Yaesu FT-747GX. The second reviewer sums up why.)
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superior:
High-End HF Transceiver Bargains
New HF Transceivers - Now & Future:
Bargain Jewels - HF Transceivers:
Unless you already have some certain models in mind, you have then to decide which of the following:
New vs used radios.
If a cheaper radio is looken for, it would either be the cheapest of new HF radios, or a used radio. The cheapest new radios are Icom IC-718, Alinco DX-SR8 and the qrp Yaesu FT-817ND. The FT-817ND also has 6m, VHF and UHF but only a 5 Watt final amplifier.
New gear for even a lot less money, there are QRP radios with fewer bands as the 2 band Ten-tec R4020, R4030 or the 2/4 band Elecraft® K1 and KX1 kits. There are even more qrp hf radios as kits, as seen here.
+ Less likely to break in the near future compared to used radios.
- You can't do modifications since it will most likely void the warranty.
To think about
If you want to feel more comfortable with a warranty then new gear is simpler. There are dealers who sell used gear (even serviced) with a short warranty. If something happens though and you have to return it for service, you could have a second radio. Two used radios can be cheaper than buying a new one and it's not likely that both of them will break soon.
+ Great features can still be found unless the radio is very old.
+ The more older, less features but then at least simpler to use.
+ If only a couple of years old, it will probably stay in a good condition.
+ Two used rigs can be cheaper than one new, one can be used if one of them breaks.
+ Older can mean simpler, simpler can mean more solid and easy to repair if it breaks.
+ You can improve it with modifications that are easy to find and read about.
+ Look for dealers who sell used serviced gear, can be as cheap as in ebay "it lights up"-ads.
+ Short warranty given by some dealers for used gear, more often if has been serviced.
+ Seller obligated to tell about defects that he or she knows or should know, unless sold "as is".
- When no warranty is given, time, skill and effort is needed to thoroughly check before, unless extremely cheap.
- No warranty unless a limited warranty is given (some dealers do have a short warranty.)
- The more older, less useful features as in newer rigs.
- The older the more likely to break sooner, although some old rigs seem to work forever.
Newer or older used
Used radios that are a few years, or even 10 or more can have many same features as new radios. However, the older they are, fewer of these features are found, although it can be a solid design. Old more analog radios like Ten-tec Argosy or
List of "newer" features that may not be included on older radios.
160 meter band. Common on radios after about 1973-79.
30, 17 and 12 meter band. Used on radios after about 1980.
FM. Used on radios after about 1982-3.
Dual VFO. Since about the early 80s.
General coverage receiver. Used after 1980. From ca 1983 in most tranceivers.
Extra CW/SSB filters. Have always been used. But not all radios have any extra filter.
DSP with various features. First used ca 1995-96 and more after that.
Repair can sometimes be needed also for new equipment although the warranty covers it for some time. Used equipment cost less and can even be quite cheap. However for beginners, it is not recommended to start with an old super rig unless it is very cheap but then make sure you have it well checked before. Although there are many old models with a great performance and even advanced features, nothing lasts for ever. Old big and heavy radios have more components in them but some bigger models can have well of space inside too, making it simpler to repair than smaller radios. Many times there are minor defects, like a worn out switch, potentiometer etc. However to repair more complicated things requires knowledge and skill, and even though a licence proves the basic knowledge, it can sometimes be difficult to repair. Some old radios seem to do better and it is for the most possible to find service if needed. Ten-tec, to be mentioned, offers repair as seen on their site where the page Repair of Vintage Ten-Tec Transceivers can be found. On the page they say "We can repair most transceivers that we have built in the past 41 years. However, there are individual transceivers that can no longer be economically repaired:". However some old radios have a very solid quality and have components that can always be replaced.
Mobile vs base radios.
+ Cost less than base radios.
- Fewer knob and switch controls means fewer functions unless hidden in the menu.
- In newer rigs with fewer knob and switch controls, most everything is in a menu, which can take longer time to find and use.
- Smaller and have less volume inside. Can be more difficult to repair and/or modify.
- Generally (not always) maller speakers. Less of low end frequency response, not good for broadcast listening.
+ More knobs and switches and more features which are less or not hidden in the menus.
+ Can have larger speakers which is better for AM broadcast audio.
+ Larger and have more volume inside. Some have space inside but others with much electronics and boards in close sections so that they can be more difficult to repair and/or modify.
- More electronics in them, more likely to break sooner in the future.
- Cost more than mobile radios.
There are audio differences between radios, and between old ones and newer with DSP. Not everybody regard this as important parameters, but in the next chapter there is more said about audio.
Low end and speaker frequency response
The radio's receiver's low end frequency response and speaker frequency response is rarely specified in detail. The speaker frequency response depends on the speaker size and the enclosure's acoustics. When listening to AM/shortwave broadcasts, it is better if the frequency response is wide and linear. Small speakers don't perform well but radios with larger speakers generally provide more low end and depth. Of course you can have an external speaker box or even connect the receiver to a stereo.
Mods and DSP settings for eESSB
Some radios can be set or modified too, to enable lower and higher frequency response, as read in the eSSB chapter below.
I have an old Kenwood TS-440, I don't know if it is modded or not but in SSB, it is possible to use the AM filter to receive with eSSB and indeed it sounds better.
AM broadcast audio - ways to improve
The audio on AM broadcasts, on the long, medium and shortwave bands have a quite wide and open sound. unfortunately, many HF radios with a general coverage receiver does not provide a good AM sound. The low end roll-off is set too high, the bandwidth is too small, and the speakers are too small to reproduce low frequencies.
Unless the bandwidth of the IF filter used for AM is too small, there are some things to do to improve the audio:
• Replace high pass filter capacitors after the AM detector with larger values.
• The built-in speaker can sometimes tbe replaced with a larger and heavier speaker.
• External speakers or stereo can be used.
• The audio frequency response can be made wider with an active filter.
--> Extend the low end with an active filter.
If the built-in speaker, or then replaced speaker is a better one, it is possible to design an active filter which can be put before the input of the volume potentiometer or before the AF amplifier. This filter can be designed to linearize and/or extend the audio frequency range, by compensating for the limited frequency range of the speaker. Let's say the speaker has a -3dB fall off below 250Hz and above 5KHz, and the filter gains ~5db at 150Hz and 7KHz, then the -3dB frequency range could be extended to 175-6500Hz.
If headphones are used, only good ones with a quite wide (low end) and linear frequency response should be used to avoid listening fatigue. Except
for broadcasts, radio signals have less or no acoustics and can be quite hard when listening through headphones. And even with good
headphones, it is important to rest the ears in silence after long sessions with headphones.
So, expensive high-end very low distortion headphones are not needed (unless you'd use it for music as well) because there is so much more more distortion in shortwave signals compared to a stereo.
Some of the more mobile radios don't have any AGC time switch. Depending on the mode, signal strengths and how crowd the band is, it is always useful to be able to have at least two or three settings. Of course, it can be achieved with a modification but that will most likely void the warranty of a new radio.
Transmit audio - Extended SSB bandwidth (eSSB)
Even though the FCC rules don't specify max transmit bandwidths for ssb, 2.4 and 2.8KHz have been typical values. For amateur radio practice, those bandwidths follow a common requirement of no more than neccessary. However, it is known about speech intelligibility vs audio bandwidth, that for a clear intelligibility, a minimum bandwidth often requires more. So, when looking at the question about reasonable intelligibility of SSB transmissions, we know that if the bandwidth is too low, it will not be sufficient for some certain situations, and such a communication can then require more time to be performed. Consequently, that could increase the overall crowdedness of an already crowded band,
2.4 or 2.8KHz enough?
There are some models, like Ten-tec Jupiter, where a wider ssb transmit range can be set. This could increase the potential for interference with stations on adjacent frequencies. Therefore, a wider transmit bandwidth should be used in regards to this.
However, for a QRP radio which generally have 5 watts or less transmit power, a wider bandwidth will then give less interference than a radio with more transmit power (usually 100 Watts). If only 1 Watt or less is used (QRPp), the bandwidth can be even wider and then the frequency response can be set for more optimal results, especially so that other stations which also has a wider receive bandwidth available can hear such a qrp station better.
Web pages about eSSB. And about those radios to use it for:
ESSB what? - eham.net
Just What is "Hi-Fi" & "Extended SSB" (eSSB)? - nu9n.com
eSSB Extended Single Sideband - nu9n.com
eSSB Ready Transceivers - nu9n.com
eSSB mod links for various HF transceivers - nu9n.com
What is eSSB? - essb.us
ESSB Audio for SSB - w3oz.com
ESSB – Enhanced SSB Audio
ESSB HiFi SSB transmitter bandwidth splatter - w8ji.com
Amateur Radio SSB ESSB AM Hi-fi Audio Experimentation - Kenwood TS-850S / DSP-100 Modifications and Settings - ka0ka.com
K6JRF home page
TS-950sdx ESSB Mods
TS-950sdx out to 6.7Kc
Yaesu FT-950 and FT-2000 Roofing Filter Optimization
Radio bands - HF, HF/6m or HF/6m/VHF/UHF
Among new radios, those which have just the HF bands and still 100W (DX-SR8, IC-718) cost less, except for Ten-tec Jupiter and Orion II.
- Has generally less electronics than a HF + 6m (+VHF/UHF) radio. Less likely to break.
HF/6m or HF/6m/VHF/UHF
- Have more electronics in them, should be more likely to break in the future.
HF + 6 meter band
This combination is used in most of the HF radios
HF + 6m + VHF + UHF band
This combination is used in second most of the HF radios.
160 meter band / MF
All present hf radios except the Elecraft® K1/K1X and Ten-tec R4020/R4030 have the 160 meter band. According to the designations defined in the ITU Radio Regulations, HF means 3 - 30MHz and MF 0.3 - 3MHz. Since the 160 meter band is part of the MF (medium frequency (0.3 - 3MHz) band, hf radios with the 160 meter band are also upper MF radios.
The radios' general coverage receiver - comparison
Nearly all new radios (and since mid 80's) have a general coverage receiver. The Icom IC-720/A in 1980/81 was the first radio which included a full coverage LF + MF + HF receiver and most radios after that followed that design. And in these days many radios have a receiver range up to 60 MHz and also in the VHF and UHF bands.
The Elecraft® K1/K2/K1X and Ten-tec R4020/R4030 don't have general coverage receivers, the receiver ranges are identical or somewhat broader than the respective ham band.
The radios below can receive the MF and HF band and some of them well into the LF band. To compare the frequency ranges, look at the radio's receivers comparison below.
HF radios with a "full coverage" receiver can usually be modified easily to be able to transmit on the whole HF band, including the upper part of the MF band (>160 meter band).
AlincoDX-SR8T 135 KHz - 30 MHz
Elecraft®KX3 1.6 - 30 MHz K3 0.5 - 30 MHz
IcomIC-78 0.03 - 30 MHz (Guaranteed range: 0.5 - 30 MHz MHz.) IC-718 0.03 - 30 MHz (Guaranteed range: 0.5 - 30 MHz MHz.) IC-7200 0.03 - 60 MHz (Guaranteed range: 0.5–29.7 and 50–54 MHz.) IC-7410 0.03 - 60 MHz (Some frequency bands are not guaranteed.) IC-7600 0.03 - 60 MHz (Some frequency bands are not guaranteed.) IC-7700 0.03 - 60 MHz (Some frequency bands are not guaranteed.) IC-7800 0.03 - 60 MHz (Some frequency bands are not guaranteed.) IC-706MKIIG 0.03 - 200 MHz (Varies according to version) 400 - 470 MHz IC-7000 0.03 - 200 MHz (Varies according to version) 400 - 470 MHz IC-9100 0.03 - 60 MHz (Varies according to version) 136 - 174 MHz 420 - 480 MHz 1240 - 1320 MHz
FlexRadioFLEX-1500/3000 0.01 - 60 MHz (Requires external filters below 1.8 MHz to eliminate images.) FLEX-5000 0.01 - 65 MHz (Requires external filters below 1.8 MHz to eliminate images.)
KenwoodTS-480 0.5 - 30 MHz (VFO: Continous 30 KHz - 60 MHz.) 50 - 54 MHz TS-590S 0.13 - 30 MHz (VFO: Contious 30 KHz - 60 MHz.) 50 - 54 MHz TS-2000 0.5 - 30 MHz (VFO: Continous 30 KHz - 60 MHz.) 50 - 54 MHz 144 - 148 MHz (VFO: Continous 142 - 152 MHz.) 430 - 450 MHz (VFO: Continous 420 - 450 MHz.) 1240 - 1300 MHz (TS-2000X only) Sub: 144 - 148 MHz (VFO: Continous 118 - 174 MHz.) 438 - 450 MHz (VFO: Continous 220 - 512 MHz.)
YaesuFT-450D 0.03 - 56 MHz FT-950 0.03 - 56 MHz FT-2000(D) 0.03 - 60 MHz FTDX5000 0.03 - 60 MHz FTDX-9000* 0.03 - 60 MHz FT-817ND 0.1 - 30 MHz 50 - 54 MHz 76 - 108 MHz (WFM only) 87.5 - 108 MHz (EU) 108 - 154 MHz (USA) 144 - 148 (146) MHz (Other markets.) 430 (420) - 450 (440) MHz FT-857D/FT-897 0.1 - 56 MHz 76 - 108 MHz 118 - 164 MHz 420 - 470 MHz
VLF = 3 kHz - 30 kHz LF = 30 kHz – 300 kHz MF = 300 kHz - 3 MHz HF = 3 MHz - 30 MHz 3kHz - 30kHz = VLF (Very Low Frequencies) 30kHz - 300kHz = LF (Low Frequencies) 300kHz - 3MHz = MF (Medium Frequencies) 3MHz - 30mHz = HF (High Frequencies) 30MHz - 300MHz = VHF (Very High Frequencies) 300MHz - 3GHz = UHF (Ultra High Frequencies)
Longwave = Europe 148.5 and 283.5 kHz Medium wave = Europe 526.5 kHz to 1606.5 kHz Northern America: 535 kHz to 1705 kHz Shortwave = 1.8 MHz – 30 MHz
QRP HF radio kits
Go to this page - www.qrptransceiver.com.
Qrp hf radio kits in alphabetical order,
Ft. Tuthill 80
K1, K2, KX1, KX3
NW20, NW30, NW40, NW80
BitX20A/17A, PFR3, NADC-40, Ft. Tuthill 15, Weber Dual bander, MMR-40
MFJ-92xx, MFJ-90xx, MFJ-93xxW, MFJ-93xxK, MFJ-94xx, MFJ-94xxX
Hegau, Hobo, Miss Mosquita, Sparrow, Blue cool radio, Speaky, Tramp 8
SW20+, SW30+, SW40+, SW80+, Rockmite
1320, 1330, 1340, 1380, R4020, R4030
The Brue CW transceiver
SST, Norcal 40A, Sierra
Elecraft KX3 (QRP) SDR SSB/CW/DATA/AM/FM transceiver
Updated August 6th 2015