Just about any old rig can get you on the air. For example my favourite receiver is my Drake 2B tube set which is delightful and hears everything my Flex 1500 hears (just not as well) and shares with the Flex truly lovely audio coming out of the rig. Many used rigs are great as second rigs or rigs for newcomers but for contesting you want something that can rock and roll with the big boys and their humungous signals 2 kHz away.
- K3 by Elecraft. Why a K3? Well I could start with the 10-watt version for $1800. I could add an internal ATU later for $350. And later I could upgrade to the 100-watt version plus add the $2300 500-watt amp. When all is said and done $5K including a panadaptor and you’re on the air.
- The 10-watt KX3 at $1,000 looks amazing especially when you add the 100-watt amp for $1200 which will also work with my FlexRadio 1500. Hummm.
- Really like what I read about the Kenwood TS-590s which sell for around $2K.. Always liked the audio coming out of Kenwoods (especially when compared to Icoms which I have owned and loved but do have harsher audio in the headphones. Still great rigs and if I’d still consider a Pro III as a nice box radio for contesting.
- FlexRadio 3000. Why? It’s the 100-watt version of my beloved 1500 (which at $600 blows the doors off most of the big box contesting radios when it comes to contesting) and therein lies the rub. If I bought a 3000 at around $2K my contesting experience would be identical to what I am experiencing now. It’s just with 100 watts I’d be able to work in less than ideal conditions. The good news is all my accessories would work on this radio and software is all setup.
- Finally and I’m not considering buy one but here’s an audio clip of a Flex 6700 on 80 meters during a lightening storm. Watch the noise floor jump and listen to the audio. This is amazing and at $7500 it should do something but this is truly sensational.