I haven’t owned that many rigs in my amateur career which is surprising, as I’ve been licensed since 1978. There was the 2M FM VFO-controlled transceiver designed and built by a local amateur, who was also a regular contributor of technical articles to the RSGB’s RadCom. He gifted it to me, and it became the first rig I owned. I won’t mention his name though because whenever I transmitted with that rig, I also unknowingly emitted spurii on the input of the local police repeater. Luckily the gentleman from the police department who drove up to our house, putting the fear of God into my 15 year-old heart, was also a licensed amateur. I was given a stiff warning and solemnly promised not to transmit with that radio again. Shame really, as I received reports of beautiful audio (probably because the signal was as wide as a barn door.)
Then came the Icom IC-22A, which my Dad bought for me from a local amateur (thanks Dad!) I later swapped that with Steve G4GXL for his Trio 2200G, used it for a bit and then sold it to buy a Palm II 2M HT. 2M FM was a very active and friendly place in the late 70’s/early 80’s and although my time would probably have been better spent on the HF bands (or testing the limited of VHF propagation on SSB and CW), my teenage self just wanted to pick up a mic and blab away as much as possible. Somewhere along the line an old AM Pye base station full of vacuum tubes was converted to FM and pushed into service to access the local repeater. I did spend a glorious few weeks with the Redditch Radio Club’s HW101 in my bedroom. Not sure how I convinced them to let me borrow it, but lots of fun was had working all over Europe. Around that time I built a QRP 80M DSB rig, and with the 80m dipole situated just 15 feet above ground, didn’t work very many people with the very few watts of DSB it put out, but was fascinated by the simple concept of it’s direct conversion receiver, which worked very well.
I’ve probably left a few out here and there, but those were the rigs of my early amateur career, after which I left home to attend University, then moved to the US, and except for a few short-lived returns to the world of amateur radio, was largely inactive for around 20 years. (Edit – I just remembered an FT-415 HT in the late 80’s and a TS-520 in the mid 1990’s – funny how these rigs came into and left my life!)
Then came the FT-817. I bought it in 2002 whilst in another phase of getting back into amateur radio and it just so happened that the sunspots were pretty good then. Long story short – I worked all over, on many bands with the 817. I took it to work and operated 10M on my lunch break, worked into Oscar 14 with a set-top whip (and later an Arrow Antenna), and had all kinds of fun on SSB with a Buddipole set up inside my second floor apartment in Hollywood. I’d also take it on regular trips to Canada and check into the 10-10 net from Calgary in Alberta. More recently, when I decided I wanted to try WSPR, the 817 rose to the task, and alongside a couple of kit-built rigs, it helped me when I decided to get serious about the code a couple of years ago. It has been a fun do-it-all rig for me.
But now I want to sell it. The initial trigger was the announcement of the upcoming Elecraft KX3. Indeed, I may well purchase one after it has been out for a few months but for the time being, I like the idea of not having a commercially built rig in the shack at all. Jason NT7S is making headway with his new kit transceivers and I hope to build one for 40M and another for 20M. Along with the Tut 80 and the Norcal 2N2/40, I’ll then have coverage of 80, 40 and 20. Who knows – if I work enough DX with those rigs, I may not even want a KX3 when it comes out :-)
The initial plan was to put the 817 on eBay, but those sellers fees are looking a bit excessive, so it went up on Craigslist last night (hey, you never know), and then I’ll try it on QRZ. Not sure if there are any other forums that are good for selling amateur radio gear, but eBay will probably be the last-resort course of action. The price I’m asking may seem a little up there, but it has both 300Hz and 2300Hz Collins mechanical filters as well the BHI DSP module.
It’s going to be fun living just with gear I soldered together myself!