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  Tadd's Ebay Searches 

I've been using these searches to find decent priced radios. If you are patient, these things come around. Search for "sold listings" on ebay to see what these have gone for before and how often.
soldlistings

I'm partial to the Icom IC-735 as a good starter HF radio. The Icom IC-761 used to be a cadillac of transceivers. Both are from around 1990. The DSP revolution has made both of these into "old" radios. You can buy a new
Yaesu FT-891 for under $800
and that has Digital Signal Processors for it's receiver.

You can buy a new
Icom IC-7200
for under $900.

DSP radios really demolished the value of the predecessor radios because with DSP all of the receive filters which might have been optional are now emulated by the processor. DSPs also do better at reducing noise. DSP is worth a bit, but you can get a great old radio for much less than the price of a low end new radio.
$300 is about all you want to spend on anything without DSP.
The two Icom radios were fabulous and well regarded radios. They just aren't very modern.

Note on commercial surplus radios

The surplus radios are excellent units. They are made for dump-truck duty and operated by people who don't care. They can easily survive the abuses we hams will put on them. They are not as versatile or pretty as the Japanese ham radios. However, compared to anything made by the Chinese vendors these are really obviously a better deal.
The radio shown to the right is a TK862G. This particular one only tuned receive down to 441.8. That means any repeater whose output is less than 441.8 wouldn't be heard or would be heard badly. Also, the radio incessantly beeps when dialed to a channel lower than 441.8. Since all of the local repeaters are above 442.0Mhz, this isn't a problem.
This particular unit is programmed with 8 channels, 7 of which are repeaters. The leftmost bottom botton is the MON switch which causes the squelch to open. The squelch control is configured by the computer so we program it somewhat tight. The MON switch bypasses the squelch for weak signals. One of the other buttons is "TALK-AROUND%quot; which causes the radio to transmit and receive on the repeater output, instead of using the programmed repeater split.
The microphone is very very robust and uses a 6 pin telephone-like cable with RJ12 connectors on each end.

I am not a die-hard commercial-only user. See my QRZ page for hamshack photos. I do, however, own 30 or so of these Kenwoods for my packet radio projects. For $50 you can get a 25 watt mobile radio that will take lots of abuse and will sound great. For about $15 you can get the programming cable -- I have one you are welcome to use. Beware that if the radio needs MSDOS (see my notes) to program, you can't use a USB cable. You'll need a DE9 RS232 cable.

These radios are really inexpensive for what they are because the FCC jerked around the rules and made these radios useless to commercial mobile radio service, or in some cases they just made the whole process uneconomical. While the newer of these radios were shipping to dealers, the cellphone revolution was making them pointless. These radios came onto the surplus market by the truckload several years ago. We're now seeing the 2nd hand surplus dealer. The 1st hand dealers bought hundreds and sold them off untested for $10 to $20 but usually in quantity or at the bigger swap fests, like Dayton/Xenia Ohio.

Here is a website on understanding the Kenwood model numbers

Below you will find my Ebay searches to find these things. I cherry picked the models which are my favorites but also included related units which have more channels. I expect to be able to program any of the units mentioned. I make it clear which ones I've actually used.

Other people may have different sets of tools for working with the radios. For instance, each brand needs its own programming cable. Some companies used different cables, each of which covered several models. I have the cables for these models. Use a search engine to find images of what these radios look like. Include the brand name in addition to the model number when you search else you get very interesting things which aren't radios.

If you are going to bid on one of these, please alert the rest of us by posting on the Facebook page so other hams don't compete with you. If somebody else says they are going to bid on one of these and you want it, please negotiate. Don't snipe it from each other.

Some of the best deals are from people who said they couldn't test the radios. So far I've had pretty good luck with them. But, if somebody says the radio was tested and failed.. or says they don't include critical items, like most of the radio, then don't bid on them.

Make sure you are bidding on one of the radios mentioned. Ebay will show you other equipment after the end of your search results.

Caveat: Your millage may very. Don't spend money you can't afford and it is your money. Read carefully.

If you have any doubts, catch me on 444.525.

I'm fine with emails too. See my QRZ page.

--- KA2DEW

Ebay Searches

Info about the TK86xHG radios