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My use case is intercontinental HF radio, and I am frequently traveling. Lugging a big rig is inconvenient and expensive ones get you into customs trouble all the time. So, I'm looking for a low cost portable rig that can be driven to at least 100 W output. ICOM IC-78 is the baseline, is there anything that can beat it in price and portability? Most portable rigs I find are UHV/VHF rigs. I know people frown on cheap Chinese stuff but they sometimes produce pretty market-disrupting stuff, anything like the "Baofeng of HF"? HF is too much of a niche right?

The Yaesu FT-857 has the small form factor and same output power, but it is even more expensive, so constant hassle by customs as airports are guaranteed. The Kenwood 480HX is a 200W rig, and smaller than the ICOM IC-718, but it is also more expensive, so giving me the same headache.

Xiegu X5105 is at same price as ICOM IC-78 but it needs an external RF amp to drive 125W and that's another box for the same price again. So it doesn't really beat the FT-857 and Kenwood 480HX in portability or price.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello Gunther, and welcome to this site! We look forward to seeing more of you here. IIRC, a very similar question was asked here before, and it seemed that nothing was available. Can someone help me out here? Also, before anyone flags this as a shopping question, kindly keep in mind that there are likely few (if any) on the market that fits what Gunther is asking about. I hope someone proves me wrong and answers this question. :-) $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Jan 11 at 17:56
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You might find it more cost effective to buy a relatively inexpensive, lower power radio (even QRP class), and couple it with an amplifier to get your desired power level. There is a fairly broad selection of lower power "all-band" portable/mobile HF rigs available, some in "some assembly" form for under US$200.

For only 100W output, you ought to be able to find a solid state amplifier to do the job, which would be more compact than a vacuum tube unit for higher power (and require less bulky/heavy power supply, likely run off the same supply as the actual transceiver).

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    $\begingroup$ Very good idea indeed. There are tons of HF amps for sale for less than $100 even, question is how well they work and how to figure this all out. But indeed, separating the two might make it easier to stow in the luggage even, and the car battery is always a great power supply ubiquitously available, doesn't even need to be carried in luggage. $\endgroup$ – Gunther Schadow Jan 13 at 16:08

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