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Good deal TS-950SDX?

 
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:51 pm    Post subject: Good deal TS-950SDX? Reply with quote

So the Brother-in-Law of a friend of mine left his wife and she got custody of the gear in the divorce. He never came back for the gear. I have the 950SDX and have been checking it out for a few days and thinking of buying it myself. Great condition, seems hardly used with a 50 million serial I'm assuming means '93 vintage. The rig can be had for $1K. What do you think?

Mike
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No opinions? I'm slightly apprehensive considering what I believe to be a '93.
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BillPaul
Digital Voodoo Guru


Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're certain the rig is fully functional and the physical condition is as good as you claim, I think $1000 is a steal, even if the rig is stock (i.e. has no optional filters or other accessories).

I say certain, because sometimes, with older units, there can be intermittent problems that you might not spot until the rig has heated up a bit. Mine has a 40 million serial number, and was advertised as being 100% functional. Well, it was more like 95%. There was a problem with distortion in RX and TX audio on SSB (accompanied by noise in the monitor on AM), but it would only show up after the rig got really warm, so it wasn't noticeable with just casual 'tire-kicking' tests. Luckily I was able to fix it myself (cold solder joint on TC1 of VCO2 on the AF unit), so I didn't end up having to put any more money into it.

Goodies that add to the value are:

- Having additional analog RX filters. You should be able to tell by cycling through the 455Khz and 8.83Mhz filter selections, though to be positive I'd take the bottom cover off and have a peek.

- Having the DRU-2 digital recording option and/or the VS-2 voice synthesizer accessories installed.

- Having the RM-1 remote keypad. I'm pretty sure the rig is supposed to come with this, but sometimes they get lost. (You really only need it if you have the DRU-2 option, so sometimes they get put in a drawer and forgotten.)

- Having the original hand mic. (These tend to get lost too.)

- Having the complete original manual set (user's manual, communications manual, schematic diagram manual). You can get PDF files of these, but I like having the dead tree media versions around.

- Having the original boxes and foam packing inserts (trust me: if you ever need to move the unit, you'll want these).

The lowest price I've seen one go for was $1500, and that was for a 40 million serial number unit, stock, without the original boxes.

The highest price I've seen was something like $2300 for a 90 million serial number rig, in good condition, fully loaded with filters, and with the original boxes.

(I paid $1600 for mine, and I consider that a good deal: although it was a 40 million serial number and not in mint shape, it came with _all_ optional filters installed, had the RM-1 unit and all the manuals, and the original box and foams. The seller claimed it had no filters installed, so having it show up fully loaded was a nice surprise.)

Anyway, at $1000 for just the rig, I'm already jealous. Smile If you have any of the stuff listed above too, then that's icing on the cake.

-Bill, N1GPT
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BillPaul
Digital Voodoo Guru


Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, also, you're right about the year of manufacture. The radio was in production from 1991 to 2000. The serial number pattern is:

YMMXXXXXXX

Y == last digit of year of manufacture + 2
MM == month of manufacture
XXXXXXX == unit number made that month

So in your case, 5 - 2 is 3, which means 1993.

First year models would have numbers in the 30 million range, last year models would have numbers in the 20 million range. The numbers wrapped in 1998: radios made that year have serial numbers that start with a 0.

The late production units are usually the most desirable, largely because they tend to be in the best condition, have all service bulletin fixes applied, and have the latest firmware. You can get updated firmware for your rig if you want though.

Again, even for an early unit, $1000 for a TS-950SDX is a good price.

-Bill, N1GPT
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bill.

More of the story, my friend (whom I've know since high school 41 yrs ago) had to get his Sister out of the house quick. He claims he couldn't find the box or manuals so we decided to sell it local. He's a ham too but a tech so he asked me to check it out. I read about the cold solder issues so I left the rig on for 3 days straight. I only turned it off and unplugged antennas this afternoon because of thunderboomers. Haven't found any issues yet. I never met the fellow who owned it so don't know it's history.

I'd have to open it up again. I only checked for filters. It has both 500hz, both 2.4khz and a 500hz for the sub but I believe they are all stock. No?

No hand mic but comes with the MC-90 so that's some icing. Other than that just the radio.

I originally had no intention to buy it just check it out. The more I use it the more I like it. Certainly reminds me of the 940 I had a few years back. Presently I have a Yaesu Field but there is something intangible about the 950. It speaks to me. Cosmetically I haven't found a thing wrong except it was dusty. Cleaned it up and my thoughts were this thing looks mint.

There was also an MA-40 with the tilt fixture, Mosley PRO-57B and Yaesu SDX-1000 rotor. Friend's Sister was going to junk it all including the radio. The tower, antenna and rotor were sold for $600 so that was a great deal for the buyer. I was told if I can get $1K for the radio to sell it. From what you have written ebay would probably yield more money but w/o the box that would be a problem. Man, I only thought the Field was heavy! There's no pressure so I'm going to continue to use the rig and make up my mind in the next week or so.

Mike
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BillPaul
Digital Voodoo Guru


Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that sounds like a stock filter setup. The three optional filters are the YK-455CN-1 (250Hz), YK-88CN1 (270hz) and the YK-88SN-1 (1.8Khz). Which ones you might want depend on your operating preferences. Some distributors still have these sitting on shelves, and they're not hard to find on the used market. Also, Inrad makes drop-in replacements.

If possible, I would try to locate the RM-1 keypad unit. You can get a replacement MC-43 hand mic pretty easily, but those little remote keypads are much harder to replace.

By the way, if you haven't found it already, you can get a copy of the owner's manual on Kenwood's web site:

http://www.kenwoodusa.com/UserFiles/File/UnitedStates/Communications/AMA/Manuals/TS-950SDX.pdf

This should help you understand what the various menu options mean.

You can find a PDF of the service manual on the VooDoo Audio site too, if you're interested. (I actually managed to acquire a mint original paper copy. You can occasionally hear me gibbering over it and calling it The Precious. Smile )

As for cold solder joints, having the radio on and sitting won't necessarily get it warm enough to expose them. In my case it took some serious ragchewing before I noticed the problems with my rig. However if you haven't noticed anything after 3 days it's probably okay. And there's a lot of info available on how to fix these problems when they arise.

And yes, the thing is really heavy. You're lucky you didn't need to pay for shipping. Smile

Lastly, the price info I have is based on what I've seen over the past couple of years on places like QTH.com and eHam.net classifieds (and occasionally the QRZ.com classifieds as well). I never use eBay myself, though from browsing in the past, the $1500 to $2000 range is pretty consistent even there too. (I've bought stuff off QTH.com classified several times, including the TS-950SDX that I have now, and have had nothing but good, honest dealings there.)

The TS-950S and TS-950SD usually sell closer to the $800 to $1000 range, however these aren't really comparable to the TS-950SDX.

Also, it looks like the MC-90 mic sells for about $250 brand new, so that's not a bad perk.

-Bill
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bill. All good info. Appreciate it.

Mike
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Voodoo Guru
VooDoo Site Admin


Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 717
Location: Down there on the right...

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Show BillPaul!
Couldn't have said anything better ourselfs, your spot on.
We would like to elaborate on one thing though...

The DRU-2 and the VS-2 options are horrible for an eSSB Audio rig. If you plan on voodoo modifying the rig, the mods bring the noise floor down so much that those two units will spray Digital Noise in the latent audio. There is nothing you can do to shut them up either, we tried. Best thing is to remove them and sell them.

For a stock rig they work just fine.

$1000.00 is a steal for any S/N SDX.

Take Care,
_________________
Voodoo Guru
From Deep in the IDD of the Sub-Harmonix Realm
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More great info. The rig doesn't have either of those options. Neat toys just not for me.

I really like the way the info was presented matter of factly by Bill and Voodoo Guru.

Thanks guys

Mike
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!KANT
Voodoo Audio Crew Moderator


Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BillPaul wrote:
I think $1000 is a steal, even if the rig is stock (i.e. has no optional filters or other accessories).


Voodoo Guru wrote:
$1000.00 is a steal for any S/N SDX.



DAAAAAAAAYUM!!!! (Damn right that's a steal!!)

Any update on this thread?? Question
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WA2E
Voodoo Audio Head


Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 10
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have gotten back here sooner. I decided not to purchase the above mentioned 950sdx but instead put an ad on eham for $1200. Guys were fighting over it. As I had stated for pick up only one fellow from Maine was willing to drive to NJ to get it. It did end up staying in NJ. The buyer was happy, my friend was happy and I ended up getting $100 for my trouble so good deal all around.

Why didn't I go for it? Well, I already have 3 HF radios. Not a one would be considered Voodoo although the Field could be. I try to sound the best I can but given I'm limited to wire antennas and 100W I'm not sure it would pay off.

May be interesting to some. My town limits antennas to a height of 70'. Some will say that's wonderful and it is but my lot is only 37' X 100'. It's also stated any tower must fall on your property plus 20%. You might think I'm bitchin' but I'm not. I believe the rules are reasonable. I also have a nice Heathkit SB-200 I did all the Harbaugh mods including new feet but given the houses are only 10 to 20 feet apart running 400 to 600W is an issue. I generally have zero complaints with 100W. So till I am able to move to the country that's my story.

Thanks for reading and for this site.

BTW I just read on John NU9N's site that he seems to be embracing Voodoo. Very Happy

Mike
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