[VHFcontesting] Good VHF/UHF rigs

Duane Grotophorst n9dg at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 28 08:46:21 EDT 2003

While the TS2000 FT847 types of radios will get you
onto many VHF/UHF bands quite inexpensively they may
not be the best way to go if you really want to
operate all the VHF/UHF bands simultaneously, their
economic advantage then goes right out the window.

The main attraction/pitch for transverters in the past
was that they were a less expensive way to get onto
VHF/UHF SSB/CW, not really true these days. A high
performance transverter plus HF radio will cost more
on a per band basis than a do everything radio
initially. However once you decide that you want to be
listening/operating on all the bands at the same time
(simultaneously) then the do everything radios at
$1500-2000 per radio price aren't so attractive
economically anymore.

Also you may notice that many of the big gun VHF
contester types use transverters. And note that the 3
stations profiled in the July 2003 QST "World Above 50
MHz" column are predominantly using transverters.

I used to use the typical JA VHF/UHF multimode radio
too, then I got a transverter for 222, the performance
difference was like day and night. The thing that
really got my attention is how the signals would
"stand out" from the background noise. I've since
converted to all transverters and have no regrets, the
JA multimode radios are now being mostly relegated to
doing FM work.

Most all of the recent/modern transverters out there
today will outperform most, if not all, of the do
everything radios out there for basic signal handling.
But only if the HF IF radio itself is a high
performance radio, the transverter is ultimately only
as good as the IF radio that it is attached to.

So you could start with a good HF radio, add
transverters for the bands of interest to get going,
then add additional HF IF radios later to get the
simultaneous coverage. Also if you don't mind building
kits there are several very good transverter kits for
the $300-400 range and Elecraft K2's properly equipped
for transverter work for about $750. I know that there
are several on this list who will say that a K2 with
either a DEM or SSB Electronic transverter are
unbeatable for performance (and now Elecraft has
transverters of their own too). If a new hot
performing radio comes along for HF you can quickly
put its performance to work on VHF/UHF with a
transverter. Or if a really slick software
defined/controlled radio comes along for HF it too can
be put on VHF/UHF quickly. The do everything boxes
will take a awhile to catch up, plus they have to
compromise something somewhere to put all those bands
in one box (for example look at QST reviews for the
all band radios, their TX IMD products are one area
they all perform poorly).

So depending on your long term goals on VHF/UHF it may
be better to build up the station a bit slower with
transverters rather than buying a quick and dirty do
everything radio at the outset. A radio that you may
quickly find to be too limiting for total simultaneous
band coverage and/or performance. Bottom line is that
for the most overall versatility/capability and
top-end performance the transverter approach is a
better way to go, even though it is more work to setup


--- N6KJ <kelly at thejohnsons.ws> wrote:
> Can anyone comment on how good the TS-2000X is for
> VHF/UHF contesting?
> How would you compare it to the FT-847?  How about a
> good HF rig and
> a bunch of transverters and amplifiers.  Clearly,
> the TS-2000X is the most
> convenient and gets you on the most bands and is
> cheaper than a good HF rig
> with a bunch of transverters and amplifiers, but is
> the receiver good 
> on VHF/UHF?

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