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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superior:

from Bob Olsen, KK7WN on February 21, 2004
View comments about this article!

Which HF Transceivers are “Perceived” to be Superior:
By
Bob Olsen KK7WN

Recently a number of comments have appeared in the eHam columns asking about good new and used transceivers. In some instances the comments have come from Hams interested in purchasing an economical older transceiver. In other cases the comments have been related to issue of whether new transceivers perform better than older units with fewer bells and whistles. This article analyzes eHam reviewer ratings of HF transceivers to provide some perspective on this issue. Specifically, this article is based on the transceiver ratings information taken from the eHam product review section. Before looking at the numbers, the following should be kept in mind.

1. The eHam ratings reflect the overall perceptions of those Hams who have voluntarily chosen to respond to the transceiver ratings review. This being the case, the ratings do not necessarily represent the technical performance of a unit or the opinions of those who have not taken part in the survey.

2. The eHam ratings tend to reflect reviewer opinions shortly after a new unit has been purchased (a few months) and thus may not be representative of how the purchaser felt after using the unit for an extended period of time.

3. The transceivers rated tend to be mostly newer solid-state units (last 20 years or so). Excellent older equipment by Collins, Drake, etc. is reviewed so infrequently that the consensual representatives of the review is subject to considerable uncertainty.

4. All transceiver statistics are for units reviewed by at least 20 individuals. While this number of reviewers is somewhat arbitrary, I have chosen it because my analysis suggests that by the time 20 comments have been received, a reasonably stable average consensus about a transceiver appears to materialize.

What does the data suggest?

1. In general the 61 rated transceivers receive ratings bunched toward the high end of the 1 to 5 rating scale. Specifically, the average rating is 4.5 with a standard deviation of .35 across all 61 transceivers.

2. If the sample of transceivers is divided into three statistically distinct and separable clusters (Subjectively called, below average, average, and above average) the following ratings break points emerge. Below average transceivers have an average rating below 3.8. Average rated transceivers have an average rating of 3.8 to 4.7. Above average rated transceivers have an average rating above 4.7.

3. Icom tends to have the greatest number of above average rated transceivers; Icom 718,730,746,751A,765,781. Kenwood has the TS830, TS940. TenTec has the Argonaut V, Corsair II. Yaesu has the FT 1000D, FT 900CAT. Alinco has the DX 77T and Elecraft the K2.

4. The newest “full bell and whistle transceivers” (Icom 756Pro2, Kenwood TS 2000, Yaesu FT 897, Ten Tec Orion) receive average ratings.

5. Some other above average “bets”, but with fewer ratings, appear to be the Icom IC736, 761: Kenwood TS180s, 930s, 950sdx; TenTec Argosy, Triton IV Digital, Omni V; and Yaesu FT 650.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by LNXAUTHOR on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
- thanks for putting this info together...

- i occasionally copy and paste eham's tabular info of grouped items into a spreadsheet, then sort to get similar results (such as for power supplies, tuners, etc.)...

- eham's reviews are also good for finding out about new or specialized equipment (accessories, and so on)

- many of the reviews on eham are good, and every ham is entitled to an opinion about a piece of equipment... i've posted quite a few reviews, but have since resolved not to post a review unless i've used the item for at least one year...
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KA1PK on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
If only MFJ would come out with a high-end HF rig! I'm sure it would be at the TOP of the list... at least the ARRL review of it would be most flattering.

Tongue in cheek,

Dana KA1PK
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K0BG on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Back in the late 70s, I worked for an amateur radio distributor. During this time, there was a great influx of CB operators into amateur radio and they brought with them an ethic not common in the amateur ranks previously; brand loyalty.

Oh yes, you had your Drake and Collins fans, but for the most part the average Joe ham had a mixmash of assorted gear. While the neo ham had everything he owned coming in one color. Whether it be green, gray, chocolet brown, or what have you, it was all the same brand. They wouldn't be caught dead owning a speaker which didn't match, or even a mic.

This brand loyalty has crept into the mainstream of amateur radio. As a result, the readings (or ratings) within the reviews section is to be taken with a grain of salt. The best course for selecting a radio is to get the one which fills your needs, not the needs of someone else no matter his/her brand loyalty.

Alan, KØBG
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K3EY on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I appreciate the article, it's interesting. Personally I find eHam reviews to be for the most part based on emotion rather than practicle experience and usage. Granted there definitely are some guys who write well thought out critical and unbiased reviews, but there are not enough of them. Case in point: I personally know all about paddles since I have been machining for 30 years and also am a licensed mechanic, therefore I understand machining and mechanics. I wrote an honest review on a certain paddle here that accurately explained its many shortfalls. I was lambasted big time from the people who bought that particular paddle. The feedback I received was based on emotion and not practicality. I am sure this attitude and reality spills over into the transceivers and other ham products as well, therefore I take with a grain of salt what is written on eHam in its reviews section. I believe if one went strictly by that forum it would be no different then following the latest trend or fashion craze.

73

Curt/k3ey
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by W4LGH on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The reviews are a great way to get some opinions for the different brands and models. We all have our reasons as to why we like what we like, looks, quality, operation, features & durability. Being Ham Radio buffs, we all have a natural love for bells & whistles. However like all things in life, the more bells it has, usually the more trouble it will give us, as there is more to fail. Because of this a lot of GREAT lower end radios don't get eval'ed. I have owned a bunch of great "plane jane" radios over the years, but like everyone else, have migrated to the bells and whistles models. We should all keep a basic model around as backup!

Keep those reviews coming, as they are a great way to
see whats hot and whats not!

73 W4LGH Alan
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by RADIOBOB on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can not understand why, Eham has not adopted a rating scale with a larger range. Say 1 - 10. The ratings should also allow for fractions. If they did that, you might see a more honest real spectrum of the items being reviewed. The current 0 - 5 range is to narrow. Very few radios deserve a perfect "5".

I myself would rate many rigs in the 7 - 8.5 ranges.

I would also suggest adding a few more categories.

Reliability:
Ease of use:
Readability of instruction manual:
Best feature:
Overall score.

Seems like Eham wants to provide only a partial web site.

There are most likely very few "bad" radios. Most rigs work pretty well, and do lots of nice things. And yes, some of the older rigs do still hold there own, and may even be more fixable that the latest and greatest.

The perfect radio, ( perfect 5 / 10 / 100 ), doesn't exist. Everyone is looking for the radio that makes all the QRM go away, makes that weak signal sound like a local FM station, and removes all the Static and QSB from the background. Nope, isn't made now, not in the past, and may never be made, at lease for HF.

And oh YES………. Please don't forget all the "homers". The guys who believe that a certain brand is the best, just because love the name, where it's made, or had a bad experience with another brand. Also let us not forget the people who just like to bash a brand, or write a review based on one day of use.

Remember: " your mileage may very ".

Gud Luk in the contest.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K0RFD on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It just proves that any radio you actually OWN works better for you than all the radios you DON'T OWN.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by SSBDX on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The equipment reviews are nothing more than casual opinions of users. Unless a product is horribly flawed it gets a 4 or 5 on eHam. Most products sold work and users usually have few resources to really find significant differences. You get what you pay for. Using an eHam system to make purchases is not much better than buying something and returning it if it doesn't work as expected the first few days you have something. Most people buy what they like not what always may work the best anyway.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by CWTITAN on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Anything with Yaesu or Tentec on it.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by N4VNV on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thank you very much for compiling this info about transceivers. It allowed me to compare my own expierences to those of a large group of owners. Sometimes I feel "picked-on" by the fickle finger of rig failure.
I would like to add this bit of info about coax cable. Maybe I'm the slowest to catch on, but just in case this helps someone else, here goes. I've been having big trouble with coax purchased at my local Radio Shack stores. I suspected their product was below standards of others, but figured it was good enough for my 100 watt station. T'AINT SO! Take it for what it's worth.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KG4RUL on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
'Perceived to be better'

Now that is a statement that is as big as it is wide.

Apparently some people's perception of SSB audio is that anything less than 'Broadcast' quality is worthless. I perceive 'Broadcast' quality audio as hard to understand and worthless.

Two opinions about which, a battle could rage for aeons but, valid because they are subjective.

Some people hate the look of the Kenwood TS2000. I very much like it.

Again, two opinions which differ greatly but, are valid because they are subjective.

When evaluating LF/HF/VHF/UHF or any other Transceivers, the only things that count are objective evaluations, preformed in a laboratory environment, with consistent testing procedures.

From my perspective, the only 'objective' evaluations of LF/HF/VHF/UHF or any other Transceivers, that are currently available, are those published by the ARRL, in QST.

Anything else is just one man's 'subjective' opinion.

Dennis - KG4RUL
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by N8FVJ on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I suspect eHam did not know that their product review site would become as large as it has with the low resolution 0-5 rating scale. There is no way eHam can go back and change it, however the comments give better informantion of the items.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W3DCG on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well...keep in mind this whole thing has turned most into a hobby more than anything else.

Which includes this site.

I'm here for some good links, bulletins, but mostly, entertainment.

Obviously this place also serves excellently, as a nearly carte blanche place to VENT. Opinions, in keeping with good old American tradition, are never in short supply here.

This is one of the best aspects about this site. I like the other one as well, but I never did figure out how to navigate the structure of it's forums, or even the "Swap Meet" equivalent of it's Classifieds section, for that matter. And with Dial Up connection speeds at times, I simply did/do not have the time.

I like the Reviews.

I like how easy this site is for posting and reading.

I keep all of it in mind when deciding to purchase.

For what it is worth, which is sometimes, just a push, for a person to get the rig they really wanted, anyway. However it turns out, until one BUYS the rig they THINK they really want, one will never know. Without these reviews, for whatever they are worth, I likely would have made worse decisions or not at all, which would have been worse than if the opionions of others were not so readily available.

This place ROCKS. I like it.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KE7MU on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It always amazes me that hams will always brag about how good the radio they own is (must be a reflection on thier judgement of value). Why can't we review and judge our radios on merit? Take for instance the many hams that want to say the K2 is the best radio around. It does some things very well, but other things it doesn't do at all VHF/UHF, Low price, small size etc. The fact is we all have our own perception of value. With many choices, IMHO, we should judge equipment by design, function, ease of use, quality and price. Taking an objective view of these characteristics allows me to compromise on performance for price or size for ease of use. Bottom line is few operators can tell if I am using my Mark V or my FT-897. In the end what does matter in reviews is if a specific radio line has quality or design flaws. We should sound off when we find problems not ignor issues that detract from the radios function.

This is just my opinion, you will obviously purchase what you want for your own reasons. Just don't whitewash problems, tell it like it is.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K9ZF on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I use the eham reviews pretty often when looking at 'new' gear.

I typically ignore the positive reviews, as they are mostly just "I love my new radio!" statements. The reviews I find valuable are usually the negative ones that say "this is what I don't like about the rig:" However, for the most part, the numbers really don't mean much.

Dan

Dan Evans K9ZF
Scottsburg, IN 47170
{EM78}
K9ZF /R no budget Rover
ex-N9RLA
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
http://www.qsl.net/n9rla
QRP-l #1269
Central States VHF Society
IN-Ham list administrator
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K8DIT on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Anything I own is superior to anything you own. This is because my choices are better than yours. Lol!
In the last five years I have been the lucky recipient of some very nice radios from the tube era. With the help of a local ham whose knowledge and bench test gear
he has brought each of these radios back from the dead. A tube here, an electrolytic cap, a resistor, or a cold solder joint there, and voila it works like new.
I mention this because unless you have experienced a ham band tube rig next to a modern radio, your understanding of the span in technology is somewhat less than less than poignant.
By understanding how the older gear performs, illuminates how the newer gear has either refined, changed, modified or kept the same in the new era. Forty years and more later they are still capable of alot of quality hamming.
Unless the old gear can be brought back to working reliably, it can be a study in frustration and wasted energy. So, while some are able to expedite a repair quickly, its the guy who cannot, that would most benefit from this experience the most. Nice article and good comments!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KD6NXI on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I would eliminate anything that required a tube type tune up. It's just a pain in the ass for beginners to returne every time you want to change bands. I really like the kenwood 930s It's big, has outstanding performance and a built in autotuner.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by WF7A on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for compiling the list--and to all the rest of you--for the constructive data and comments above.

Yes, rating our gear is _highly_ subjective so I have a novel approach to reviewing equipment: invite a ham or two over to your QTH, let them play with it for awhile, then have them write the review. This way, we bypass the (understandable) "pride of ownership" feeling that may color a review; you have comparative information available; you get to invite fellow hams over to share coffee, stories and ideas, and the visiting reviewers will get hands-on experience with gear they may be interested in buying or trading up to, but don't want to find out the hard way if they like it or not by purchasing it, first.

Our hobby/service is pretty much for loners, so a little fraternizing with fellow hams in a comfortable setting would be a good thing.

Speaking of reviews, I can't wait for my SCAF-1 filter kit to arrive next week. BIG kudos to the people at Idiom Press for their outstanding customer service!

Ciao!
Rich
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KE1MB on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yep,love my TS930 also. Really a great PSK31 rig with all it's filters and slope tunning.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K1ZF on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Wow...

And yet ANOTHER thread on a ham site with "experts" with no call signs. Where do these people operate?

Gene K1ZF
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by AA4PB on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think K9ZF has the right idea. The reviews are generally great for identifying a device that has serious flaws. If you see that a whole bunch of reviewers are complainig about the same problem then you know this is one you might want to stay away from; or at least you know what to expect.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KC0OZU on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I found your divisions interesting. I read the E-ham reviews on HF transceivers to get an idea of what I wanted and after months of reading comments here and others, decided that I would only look for units w/ a 4.8 or higher review rating. Intuitive but matches exactly what you have put to statistics! Ended up with a very nice TS130SE.

Thanks Steve
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by N3EVL on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

you state:

"...4. The newest “full bell and whistle transceivers” (Icom 756Pro2, Kenwood TS 2000, Yaesu FT 897, Ten Tec Orion) receive average ratings..."

I just checked the reviews and, of this group, only the TS-2000 has a rating under 4.6. This seems to suggest these radios are somewhat better than average. Am I misinterpreting your comment here?

73, Pete, N3EVL

 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W8JI on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Have owned or used most new rigs and tested them both on the air and on the test bench, none of them are as good as they could be with a little more care by the designers.

This is why I still mainly use my six year old FT1000D. Nothing else I have owned or borrowed is overall a better radio. As a matter of fact most are obviously worse.

I get a kick out of E-ham reviews, because people who don't like radios so much they actually RETURN the radio wind up giving a radio a 4 or better!!!

It is not politically correct to point out flaws in a radio, nor is it politically correct to give less than a 4 or 5 review even if the radio is crap.

So indeed, you have to put the radios on a "curve" and grade them that way. Good work.

73 Tom
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by PROCANDLE on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
And yet ANOTHER thread on a ham site with "experts" with no call signs. Where do these people operate?


I operate on 40m, 10m and 2m. Since when is it a licencing requirement that I use my amateur callsign on the internet?

Like someone else said in the thread I look for the negative comments in the reviews. People might give high ratings but also seem quick to point out flaws in a radio. This is handy when looking at buying a radio, example the replay problems with the ft-102.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KA4KOE on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Tube type tune up a pain in the a**? I beg to differ old man.

The TS-830s is in a class by itself, second only to the vaunted TS-850S. It has tubes. Only takes 5 seconds to tune up if you're good.

If not, well the plates are hardy and can take a decent amount of red cherry time, within reason.

P
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K3BU on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Evaluation of ham equipment is tough nut. Magazines are fueled by advertising from the manufacturers, they will not poop on their bread givers. Everything is "nice" in those reviews. The closest to be objective is ARRL or QST reviews. In those rigs are tested, measured and results presented with figures that can be compared with other radios. But they are also "nice" to manufacturers/advertisers and will shy from mentioning negatives about the rig.

Another "problem" is who does the reviewing. In order to do the in-depth and fair review, you need unbiased reviewer who is intimately familiar with technology and operating, preferably contester - the race car driver. We have now media that is unbiased - the Internet (Publishing Co.) and we could use good, unbiased, consumer oriented reviewers and reviews. If the overall picture is presented (as we see with other consumer products) with some historical problems listed, we could, based on our specific needs, select then radio that fits us best. Contester, DXer, VHFer, Ragchewer, Digitalist, techie, we all have different requirements and budgets and will look at different rigs with different eyes. With good, in-depth review, one could do a better job in selecting the rig for his particular needs.

I figured, I will give it a try and started with brand new Orion review (see http://www.k3bu.us/Orion.htm). It was heralded as a second coming of the spark, advertised as that "killer" radio that we have been waiting for. I did the part 1 review - Ergonomics and packaging. To summarize it one sentence (so far) - Orion has remarkable advances in receiver and transmitter design, but I found deficiencies in the area of ergonomics and packaging (too "homebrewy"). I got some praise, but also bunch of personal attacks mainly from Ten-Tec "cult worshipers" on the reflector, but no arguments about the review points.

One "commentator" said: "if you are so smart, why don't you design it?" This actually got me thinking. Maybe I should spend effort to design that ultimate rig, rather than waste time reviewing what's out there. (No reward in it anyway.)

The problem is that manufacturers have been getting away with defficient radios and seldom respond to problem reports or suggestions. Just to mention few gross problems in some rigs: TX - too much phase noise, bad keying envelope, clicksing, high power spike at the beginning of transmission (killing amplifier tubes), wide signals, spurs, no PTT on CW. RX - poor strong signal handling, noisy front end, lack of sensitivity, phase noise, poor AGC response and control, limited filtering options, weak audio, lack of AF filtering, RX antenna selection, lousy ergonomics, etc. The only "suggestion" they react to is the competition. Maybe it is time to get our heads together and come up with design of decent radio for the decent price. Elecraft and SDR seems to be making some steps in that direction.

So we have a dilemma, is there "market" for decent reviews, would you pay for it? It takes time, equipment and skills to do that. Or, should we rather spend effort to develop better radio?

As far as the title and this article goes - "perceived" based on what is in eHam "reviews" is as valuable as "what car is (perceived) the best" - it depends..... some like blondes, some like brunettes

Yuri, K3BU.us
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by OBSERVER11 on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
one other thing to consider when you read the reviews... remember that most guys do not like to openly admit they were an IDIOT when they bought a radio.

I have found too may reviews based on the Idiot Factor.

"I bought one, I hate the P.O.S., buy it from me... please!" So they give the P.O.S. a high review to mask the IF.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K8JDC on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I find the reviews very helpful when I'm researching equipment. However, I have a couple of beefs:

1. I agree with you that many reviews are written by people who have only had the equipment a short time. I wish people would wait a while to submit their review so they can include more "issues" and give the equipment time to develop a problem or two. It's the difference between writing a review of a new car in the first 3 months and a car after it has 20,000 miles on it. Yeah, of course we're all going to be pretty happy in the first 3 months! Ever heard of a honeymoon?

2. I REALLY wish the rating system would use a 1 to 10 (or even 1 to 100) scale instead of 1 to 5. A system of 1 to 5 gives almost no granularity. Think about a test in school where you could only get a 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100. That's what this system equates to.

3. I, too, wish more people would write reviews, including reviews on the older equipment. I frequently go to view an item's reviews only to find that it has very few reviews. In some cases, I'm talking about equipment that has been around for 20 years and is in shacks in large numbers (see Drake L4B Linear Amplifier, which has 8 reviews).

But, even so, the reviews are very helpful to me and have helped me a great deal in the purchase of my Icom 746 and 706MKIIG radios and accessories.

JDC
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by RobertKoernerExAE7G on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
TU for crunching the numbers.

I’ve often wondered how data can suggest something, or data can indicate something?

Average rated rigs include: Icom 781, Elecraft the K2, TS180s, and TenTec Argonaut V.

From my point of view, those rigs aren’t similar, which so for me, the ratings are without meaning.

To me, the eHam reviews can only indicate a common problem with a particular rig, like “cold solder joints” in TS930s. A perfectly functioning TS930 isn’t the same (average) as a perfectly functioning TS950SDX.

Is a day where the temp is 78 better to a day when the temp is 68?

Have FUN
Bob
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K3UG on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yaesu FT 1000MP

Nuff said.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by N4SNL on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have had good and bad with most of the "major rigs". I would like to design my own but lack the machinery to make the face plates and case the way I would like but that might be a nice challenge in itself. But in the meantime, I wish one of the "big 4" would make everything modular with test points right in your face. I know some Ten Tecs do but I mean from the power supply to the front panel. So if there is a problem you just pop out the board and fix or replace it or make better mods to it and plug it back in. This can be done but I doubt it will ever happen. I wouldn't mind working on rigs for the most part if it weren't so &^%^$@$#@ hard to get to everything. Just my 2 cents worth.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by WB4QNG on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for your time. I like the reviews. At least you get some idea of what the radio is like. The magazines say they are all great. I think if a radio is getting a lot of 5 then is must be decent. If you see a lot of complaints then stay away from it. I agree it could be improved than most things could be.
Terry
WB4QNG
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by VE6DRW on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I mainly use the eHam reviews to learn about features and operating impressions not normally found in technical and performance reviews, hence I value the subjective opinions. When combined with the manufacturer's claimed specifications and various technical reviews, I find I can form a better opinion of the equipment's true operating experience.

I have seen lots of high performance cars that claim excellent gas milage and have spacious trunks, but they don't drive down the road very well. There is more to operating ham equipment than specifications and performance.

Dave
VE6DRW
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KK7WN on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Reply to N3EVL. Pete the rig would have to have an average rating exceeding 7 to fall in the above average group.While on this subject, People generally more notice when something falls below expectations as opposed to when it exceeds prior expectations. Given the fact that rigs with more features have an increased chance of having something that is perceived to fall below expectations( simply because there are more features) , I suspect that it will be less likely for very complex rigs to be perceived as above average.This may be why rigs like the Icom Pro II etc.fall in the average category. People's expectations are raised to such a level that it is difficult for the rigs to meet them.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N6AJR on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I guess it depends on what you do with your radio, as to which is "best" ..

I have a TS 2000 for my LEO satalite stuff and some casual rag chewing on hf.. a good general all around radio, with vox and autotune.. buy 1 rig once for $1600 or so and have it all.

I have an FT 847 for my AO-40 stuff and my vhf and uhf ssb and psk 31, rtty stuff. Also some hf rtty and psk, but no vox and no auto tune but $1200 or so is a bit cheeper.

I have a IC 746pro with a Ic 2kl amp and an ic at500 which basically turns the transciver into a 500 to 800 watt pounce and search rig for contesting.but $2500 for everything in use for this one.

On the other side of the shack I have a 756 with an als 500 solid state amp and another at500 which is for sitting in the contest and hollering cq contest.. cq contest.. on 1 freq for a period of time. probably $2000 in this one.

Over there I als have a ts 570 d for my favorite rag chewing hf rig and it runs through and ameritron 811h amp about $1500 for this setup, but this won't work very well on uhf vhf or satalites..

I also have an ft 840 , with a 600 watt amp, a manual tuner, and a couple of ham sticks on my pickup and a ic 2100 for vhf mobile.. maybe $1200 total in the truck..

in my car I run a ts 707 dual bander and it works well for vhf and uhf but aint worth a pile of beans on hf...about $400 I think ..


SOoooo my favorite rig.. probably the ts 2000 is my favorite all around rig, but like I said up front, it depends on what you use it for...

You best rig is the one that works for you.. just like shoes, if they are the wrong size, color aor built for the wrong purpose.. they aint the best..patent lethaer don't work for basketball and hitops don't work in a wedding procession..
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by W6TH on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My transceiver is the best. The sensitivity is .13 uv for 10 db signal to noise ratio. Selectivity variable from 100 Hz to 8 Khz. !00 watts output on ssb. cw and 90 watts output on am. No tuning or adjustments to make, just change bands. Weight of 5 pounds.

Best of all, a 100 year warrantee for any reason.

It is on the breadboard now in the making.

Details later.

.:
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by AB5XZ on February 21, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My home rig is a Kenwood TS-450S/AT, which I use for HF contesting. I think it is a great Little Pistol rig, and I've taken it on trips to operate in the boonies with good results.

This rig has a lot of bells and whistles - no DSP, though.

One feature I would add to this radio is a little teeny light that would tell me that I had VOX enabled. That would be cool. I might even design such a mod myself. The other feature I'd add is a field-replaceable coin battery to keep the memory alive.

73TomAB5XZ

BTW, I look at the reviews and try to read them in contest of what I want in a radio, not a bells+whistles count. Then I try to find someone who owns one.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KK7WN on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
reply correction and clarification for Pete. I said 7 but meant4.7. KK7WN
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K4LFK on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
the icom 756pro2 has 79 reviews with a 4.7 out of 5 rating. this radio is perceived to be better than average by most of the reviewers. in fact it seems to me that the pro2 has more rave reviews than any other radio.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W9YP on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Although this is an interesting and entertaining article, I question the statistical method used to arrive at the published results and challenge the generalizations based on the results. In other words, I understand statistics and I believe the method and the statistical hypothesis is wrong and misrepresents the facts.

For example, using statistics to say that the IC-756pro2 and the TT Orion are "average" radios is misleading at best. These rigs aren't anywhere near average transceivers. Compared to analog radios, they are a world apart, generations ahead in technology, and can outperform any analog rig out there. Also, to say that the TS-2000 is "average" is a misrepresentation of what this radio truly is - the most advanced, all-purpose, all-band, all-everything transceiver on the planet.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WB9YCJ on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Parts support is something often overlooked.
I once had an Icom IC-551 that needed a couple of toggle switches for the front panel. I contacted Icom parts only to learn that that model had surpassed its "mortality" date (parts no longer supported).
Seems Icom often discontinues parts support after 5 or 6 years. Where as Yaesu parts support is much better (still supports the FT-101 etc).
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N5JSE on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I can see the validity in many of the comments. Ham radio is very diverse and the use of a radio by one individual and their comments may be useful to others interested in the same field. Conversly it may not be worth reading to another. I,personally, have never owned a "new" rig. I read the comments in the reviews and then try out the rig before purchase or trade. My FT-102 and TS 430 work fine for me. The tube rig does require a little more tuning, but it works great. The 430 is "instant on" and works great....for what I do with my hobby of Amatuer Radio. The great supply of vendors for Amatuer Radio products shows that everyone has their owm idea of what a rig should or shouldn't do.

John
n5jse
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WO8USA on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have used the reviews in almost all of my ham radio purchase decisions, from filters to haedphones to rigs to antennas. I think the Product Reviews portion of eHam is the most valuable and dynamic part of the service and that's why I subscribe! eHam gives me my daily fix of ham news.

The reviews are arbitary and random but given many of them they reflect a sense of the equipment. What's the majic number? I think if you have 50 reviews you can trust the average. Anything less than 4 is questionable.

If nothing..the reviews are entertaining! If eHam keeps records it would be ggod to know if this is their most used service, and if so, maybe they could invest some time into the 1-10 rating system.

The trst: I can say I have never been fooled into buying something bad using the reviews!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W2NSF on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Maybe it was a typo, but I didn't see the ICOM 706 mentioned. With a sample size of 230 reviews, the statistics for this unit should be fairly accurate. ...and I happen to agree that 4.5 is a fair score for this unit. Based on my experience with the 706MkIIG, I gave it a 5 in my review and still stand by that score.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KC8WUC on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It's too bad that Julian Hirsch and Hirsch Laboratories never got into ham radio! I think the only way that any electronics can be accurately rated is in situ with real life conditions. While the specs from manufacturers may tell you their operating parameters, these are hyped up in best case scenarios without QRM, dead frequencies, solar flares, EMI/lightning/snow storms, broadcast interference, etc., with optimized antennae.

A real test would be to take measurements using typical test gear that a the "average" ham would have available to them, compare it to lab grade test equipment (the so called gold standard), then measure it's performance against similar makes/models from other manufacturers with different operators of varying skill levels using it in different modes. This, of course, would be impractical for an Internet resource like eHam because of budget constraints.

I don't place much stock in reviews that are clearly glowing because of the subjective nature of being enamored with one's ham shack (I'm not immune to this either... I'm proud of my set-up of QRP radios, GMRS, shortwave, and GMDSS equipment). I think that to get a fair evaluation of equipment, you have to keep in mind that people tend to think highly of their own equipment because it's theirs and the review may be a first impression. On the other hand, you need to consider that there is a reason that they keep this equipment and take into consideration how long they're been using and what purpose it serves.

73,

Michael KC8WUC
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N3EVL on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bob,

Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I guess we're a tough bunch to please at times! Having said that, I'd be more than happy to have any of those 'average' radios in my shack.

73, Pete
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W9JCM on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for the neat info. I use Eham Reviews on a constant basis. And find them to be a reliable asset to a purchase of a piece of equipment or software. Yes there are some scrubs posting things to try to screw up the ratings but if you read them all you can sort threw them. God knows ARRL reviews are the WORST. You will never see them rip apart a rig and tell you to not buy it. You gotta love em! NOT. :-)
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KG6TCJ on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In recent months I have read thread after thread of CW this and CW that and boycott this group and don’t support that group on and on. You all are finger pointing and blaming the wrong people it’s the FCC that is pulling the strings. This all started in 1998 WT Docket 98-143. In recent years the FCC has streamlined there entire licensing process and have stated they want a three group amateur structure which will fit within their current data base and will not bend on this. The ARRL must work within this mandate and has tried to please as many hams as possible with the current proposal. This is only a proposal the FCC can and most likely will come up with their own structure and most likely it will not include code as they will follow the ITU and other countries that have dropped it. The current ARRL proposal allows more HF bandwidth access to more amateurs and you now the old adage use it or lose. In this time of fast expanding digital wireless technology every hertz of radio spectrum is worth money and what little spectrum we have could be gone in the stroke of a pen. So stop the bickering and work together. If you have to be teed-off at somebody then be teed-off at the FCC.

KG6TCJ
Dave Hodgson
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KG6TCJ on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Sorry all my post is to the wrong artical
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by SSBDX on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
IF eHam really wanted to improve reviews they should remove the number rating system. If someone wants to review something they should explain in words not rely on a coded number that is supposed to mean something.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by G0HVQ on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I found the review section really useful. True, some (a lot?) of the info is subjective but at least you get opinions of other hams. And occasionally there are some gems in there - I nearly bought an Icom IC740Pro (IC7400 here in the UK) until I read of all the failures. Wouldn't have known about it had it not been for the eHam website, and certainly wouldn't expect a major manufacturer to be producing something with such problems in 2004, so thanks guys.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N4GI on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
MDS, IMD, BDR... What are those? As long as a rig has pretty lights, and works a DX station in one call, give it a 5. Some of the reviews are really quite comical.

The large number of meaningless 1-5 ratings of HF rigs here indicates that most HF rig buyers simply don't give a rip about how well their rig performs.

Not the case, you say? Well, just look at the sheer volume of E-ham reviews of all the splattering little shack-in-a-box rigs. Remember, buying that junk is just another way of saying "I don't care".

73,
Blake N4GI




 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KA5N on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Product reviews have a purpose and a use. You can usually tell something about the equipment if there are enough replies. There is always some guy saying that it is the worst POS ever and another guy saying it is good enough to make (insert a food you hate) taste good. In between those extremes you can get some info. I used to crack-up at the older ARRL reviews. They never met a rig they didn't like. Especially the Heathkit reviews. One reviewer said that the Heathkit he was reviewing was great because he had built it himself and therefore he would be able to fix it if it went bad amd then proceeded to tell how he had to send it back to the factory to get it to work. Hi Hi!!!! Don't need no stinking reviews? Then just don't read them.
Allen KA5N
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K1OU on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, did you hear that W9WHE is boycotting the ARRL?
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KA4KOE on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Any rig is superior when teamed up with a fan dipole.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by AD3G on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Boycotting the ARRL ???? That's news to me !!!!! hi
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K1OU on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
And he is boycotting fan dipoles as well. Look Paul, some test equpiment! (inside joke....)
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by W3ULS on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Bob, for a neat article.

We hams are a laugh riot. We think a rig costing $3000 is pricey. Government/commercial buyers spend five times as much--or more--for the radios they need and for the performance they demand. What we get are transceivers built to a price point, and we're lucky to have them, given how tight-fisted we are--and how much the ham market is shrinking in the U.S.

However, to say that the FT-1000D has not been surpassed since it was designed in the late 1980s is a bit much. The radios moving more and more toward software control, such as the ICOMs and the Ten-Tecs, are miles ahead of the old analog rigs. And as chips improve in performance and price, such rigs can only get better. Case in point: the government/commercial market is only buying the software-driven variety because these are the only ones that can meet their (very high) specs.

All those analog rigs so beloved by reviewers (myself included) on eHam.net are basically for us nostalgia buffs. Our preferences as they appear in the reviews do not represent the future. Chips and software do.

 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I would asy ANY radio that has COLLINS mechanical filters to be added as an option, gets a high perception rating.

Just because you can put in COLLINS filters, does not mske it a COLLINS RIG!

However I would say that he Kenwwod TS-850SAT seems to be the transciever, that every reviewer of a new rig use's as a basis of comparison.

I own a TS-850, when I get a new rig i will compare it against my TS-850SAT.

I must add that any Yeasu that cost over $2000, is considered a good rig. However many of the new yeasu's have key clicks and spectral purity problems.

Any American made rig is percsived to be superior.
IMO, they deserve the reputation!
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by NI0C on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Our radios interface with an analog world, hence "chips and software" can only do so much. The dynamic range of our radios is limited by analog components, and no amount of DSP can make up for a poor mixer or analog to digital converter. Manufacturers ignore these considerations at their peril.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
N0IC, makes an excellent about DSP. DSP has a long way to go. Even IF DSP with a roofing filter will not make up for poor L.O/Mixing schems in the front end.

A good example of good engineering is in the drake TR-7. No rf amp. High level mixing. The TR-7 was the first ham rig to use up conversion as well.

I think EHAMS reviews should stretch between 1-10.
A rig that gets an average of 4 is a less than average
rig.

How many times have you seen....I would have liked to given the rig a 5, except for.......

I was bidding on a Harris commercial rig. Guess what NO DSP. 2-30MHZ no bells or whistles. I had to droppot when thr price hit $1200.

Wish Eham would switch over to 1-10 rating. It makes sense to me.

Eham is a good resource for rating rigs.

73 DE MIKE
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by AD3G on February 22, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Been a long time since I saw any test equipment! (perpetuate the inside joke !)
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by ANONIMOUS on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
MFJ HF Rig---It would have to come as a kit because their assembled equipment quality is not very good.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by ANONIMOUS on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi
by K4LFK on February 22, 2004
the icom 756pro2 has 79 reviews with a 4.7 out of 5 rating. this radio is perceived to be better than average by most of the reviewers. in fact it seems to me that the pro2 has more rave reviews than any other radio
REPLY: You also have to take in account the initial price of the Icom 756ProII compared to a Icom 746. But i quess that doesn't make any difference if your a millionaire. If you want a spendy radio Icom has one for $10,000.00 the Icom 7800.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by ANONIMOUS on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W2NSF on February 22, 2004
Maybe it was a typo, but I didn't see the ICOM 706 mentioned. With a sample size of 230 reviews, the statistics for this unit should be fairly accurate. ...and I happen to agree that 4.5 is a fair score for this unit. Based on my experience with the 706MkIIG, I gave it a 5 in my review and still stand by that score.


REPLY: I agree with you 100%. They should also base it on the selling price of the radio. In my opinion, the Icom706Mk2G when you include the price is the best bang for the buck all mode, multi-band radio.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KC8VWM on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Rating Amateur Radio equipment is only as good as what the person knows.

I usually consider many ratings biased if that same person owns that particular piece of equipment.

One persons junk, is in many cases another persons high end equipment.

I rarely hear anything related to "technical specifications" when I read such ratings.

Equipment is usually rated as a users personal "experience" and does not reflect an objective analysis.

One has to get away from reading the "marketing" aspects of equipment and try and focus on the more important issues.

First thing you should do before considering a piece of equipment is to look and analyze the technical specification section of the operating manual even before turning the equipment on.

Learn how to read technical specifications and know what the various limits mean.

For example; is an FM radio receiver with a sensitivity rating of 0.5 uV acceptable for a receiver covering 28-30 MHz ?

Is a carrier suppression rating of 40 db acceptable for an HF radio transmitter?

"Tire kicking" in itself will never tell you much about the equipment.


73

Charles - KC8VWM
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, the MSRC cost could give one a radio a good elusiion of quality. Add the Name Drake to it.
You have the KWS-380. Read the EHAM review on THAT NEW DRAKE MOTHER OF ALL RADIO;S?

Seems like the old fable of ""The Kings New clothing DEAD DUDES SCAM"!!!!

Those in the scene, will Know what I MEAN!!!!!!!

73 AND HAVE FUN...IT S JUST A HOBBY!!!!!!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
EXCUSE MY STPID MISTAKE..THE RADIO WAS A NEW COLLINS, NOT DRAKE!!!!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by NT9M on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I wanted so badly to buy an ICOM 746-Pro when I upgraded, but thanks to the e-ham reviews, went with a TS-2000 instead. Thanks for saving me the angst of having to return a failure.

I agree with the others here, make the scale 1-10.

Tim
W9THD
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N3EVL on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I recently read an application note for some commercial SDR modules where they show a VHF receiver that has nothing but filter components between the antenna and the ADC - everything else was done in software. Don't assume those analog oscillators and mixers are always going to be there - the lines are blurring fast.

73, Pete
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by N2CKH on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Statistical analysis of poor data reveals poor
results. I have used them all and owned many,
the IC-736, how can you have an HF radio with
an automatic antenna tuner built in and not have
a VSWR metering circuit for display ! I had one
for a few years, gave it away to a friend who
needed a startup rig.

The TS-930S began the Kenwood top of the ladder
run as the all solid state best rig out there
contest ramped up in the early 80's, the TS-940,
well ok, the later TS-950SDX, yes ! I love all
four of my TS-930S rigs, going back the first one
I bought brand new in 1984, I have two operating
positions with two at each.

In the mobile class, although a bit large, the
TS-440 and TS-450 can't be beat. We have a much
used and abused TS-440 at the club and I own
two TS-450's, aside from the lack of 160m auto
tuner performance, the 450 is a great.

The FT-1000D put Yaesu on an equal footing
with Kenwood.

The FT-900 a good radio ? The FT-900 replaced
the excellent FT-890 which is not listed, the
FT-900 had nothing but problems and was dropped
fast. My FT-890 is my main hunt and pounch DX
cluster rig and digital station, love that auto
antenna tuner performance 160-10 meters.

/s/ Steve, N2CKH
www.n2ckh.com
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by WB2WIK on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Most everything's great if it's your only rig. The exception to that, I suppose, is when someone's "new rig" buying experience is terrible, because they received a DOA, or a rig that failed almost immediately.

A lot of gear has come and gone through my shacks over the years, but the only two HF rigs I've held onto through all the noise has been the Kenwood TS850SAT and Drake TR-7/RV-7, neither of which has ever failed in any way and both of which still offer superlative performance in the trenches, even today.

My first Novice rig, a 6V6 15W crystal oscillator homebrewed on a breadboard and built in my parents' basement, is probably still working fine *somewhere.* Wonder where it is now-?

WB2WIK/6
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA8TZG on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let's face it: "perception IS "reality."

Ask the average person what the world's best car is and there is a pretty good chance they'll mention a Rolls-Royce or some high-end Mercedes. But take a look at the ratings at J. D. Power and you might be surprised at what cars are /really/ among the best based on real-world experience.

After all, when humans use something, all their subjective "filters" come into play. These filters are conditioned by advertising, other people and personal experiences and may or may not correspond with "scientific" data. But then, it's /people/ who use the item, not the test equipment.

In the audio field, most solid-state hi-fi equipment can be scientifically shown to have lower distortion levels than tube-type equipment. Yet when subjected to an A-B test, the majority of people will prefer the sound of the tube-equipment. Why? Because the spectrum of distortion produced by solid-state equipment is /different/ than the spectrum produced by the tube amp and it is this spectral difference (which affects the psychoacoustics of hearing), rather than the absolute value of the distortion level that people hear.

Similarly, unlike their counterparts at most motorcycle manufacturers, the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) engineers at Harley-Davidson actually spend their time adding in NVH rather than taking it out. Why? Again, the /people/ who ride Harleys expect a particular NVH profile and will complain bitterly if it is not there!

The point is, people will frequently judge something as "better" based on criteria not measured with scientific instruments.

In ham radio, though there is certainly an important place for the type of technical reviews performed by the ARRL lab, it is also critical to get the views of hams who have actually used this or that piece of equipment. Sometimes the two types will agree well. Other times they will be at odds with one another. So be it - I'll tend to side with the other humans rather than the lab equipment since, like them, I'm a human, not an automated test fixture.

Having said all that, I do admit I have little faith in the /numbers/ presented by the eham reviews. The scale is too narrow and the judgements too subjective to expect the psuedo-scientific "rating" to be helpful. Good comments, however, are critical! "I love my rig" is unhelpful as is "It's a piece of junk."

So keep on reviewin' eham readers! I'll be reading the reviews.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K3UOD on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
For 42 years, I had nothing but second, third, or forth hand HF rigs. Last year, I managed to scrape up some bucks and decided that, just once, I would buy a really good HF rig with matching accessories.

I started out by scanning the eham reviews to see which had the most hits. Then I eliminated all that were not currently on the market. Then I eliminated all with ratings below 4.5.

I finally got it down to a half dozen rigs. I downloaded the QST reviews for all of them and compared specs. That brought it down to the IC-756 PRO 2 and the Yaesu FT-1000 MK V/field.

Comparing the two Yaesus I decided that I preferred the built-in supply to the extra 100 Watts. So, that reduced the choice to the MK V Field and the 756 PRO 2.

Then I started re-reading the eham reviews, this time looking for the negative comments on the two rigs. After a month of mulling it over, I still couldn't decide. So, I drove to HRO in Delaware where I could sit down with both rigs in front of me with an antenna switch to do an a/b comparison. After an hour of switching back and forth I settled on the MK V Field. To my ears, it just sounded a wee bit more natural and I like the controls better, and I like the seperate second receiver. On the other hand, I wish that the Yaesu had a band scope.

I also read the reviews on the various mikes and speakers. I bought the MD-200 and SP-8 Speaker (with phone patch) to go with the rig. There were complaints about the speaker sounding like a "tin box" but other posters said that stuffing the speaker with fiberglass improved it greatly. So I also bought some fiberglass from Home Depot. Result, a great sounding speaker to go with the rig.

Multiple reviews raved about INRAD filters. I bought a set of 1.8 KHz SSB filters from INRAD and the Collins CW filters sold by Yaesu.

Bottom line, after a year I'm still extremely satisfied with my choices. I don't often have $3,500 to blow on new ham gear. I'm glad eham was there to help in the decision making process.

73, Jerry
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by SM5DQC on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think the Yaesu FT-990 should be in there, there are just two or three 0/0 ratings - and I don't understand why - it's a wonderful tranceiver!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I rate EHAMS reviews highly. When I see a rig get a 4.7 from 40 or more users, I know statisticly it has to be winner.

If I see 2 reviews and they both got a 5, that is worthless to me. It means the first ham liked the rig.
While the second ham may not have liked the rig as much, there is peeer pressure.

I just wish the scale went to 6,7 0r 10. There is a big difference betwwen that 4 and 5. i cannot stand it when the OM says....I wish I could have gien it a 4.5. He then offers no explaination why!

Also on certain items the ratings are scewed. Why do MFJ tuners EVER rate above a 3.5!

I guess us hams have a bais as to how important the item is.

Periferals and shack acc.'s get lower ratings than rigs. Yoo wil noe see a power stripget a rating of 5, then get rave reviews on the construction! Who cares right?

I take a review seriously. I will use a service monitor. I have found that if a rig is honest about receiver sensitivity, they will not out right lie on another spec.

We have all learned that a reciever sensitivity of .25 is not that much difference than .5 if they rig uses a high leve mixing schem like the Drake TR-7.

For some silly reason I always compare the rig against the KENW00D TS-850SAT. Considering ts-850SAT's still bring up to $750-800 on ebay says something.

The TS-850 has no fancy IF DSP to emulate a better receiver. The TS-850 is one of the rare radio's tht has two stages of stacked crystal I.F.'s. I guess that is wht it des well agaisnt the DSP rigs that have 50 sofware defined filters in them.

I also use the kenwood as my standard of decent RX and especially TX audio.

Sometimes it is cear when a bunch of hams baught a radio at the same time and gave it good review!
You will see the same kind words. This is ultra rare.

My specs are an average of a minimum of 20 radio's and an average rating of 4.6-4.7..

I ahve found EHAM usefull toi find out when a rig I want has all the bugs worked out of it.

Case in point was the Yeasu ft-100D. Garbage at first. Then over 2 years yeasu fixed the fT-100D.
They were blowing them out at GIGAPARTS for $730.
Now for some whacko reason the FT-100D if you can get one NIB sells for more money($925) than the FT-857 that is a newer rig?

Ya never know!

 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K5UJ on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Generally I think we are living in a time in which there are many more small operations out there making quality products than ever before. A few off the top of my head: INRAD, ICE, Radio Adventures, DCI (Band pass filters), W3NQN, Elecraft, Palomar, QRO, and many more. This is partly because of the Internet. The word spreads quickly these days when it comes to scams, ripoffs, and garbage quality; hams seem to have become more demanding, and I think there are a lot of people in business who take pride in what they make. I really have not bought any products recently that were dogs and that may be partly due to the wealth of immediate information out there that I can get with a google search (including eham).
The best reviews are factual (the knob broke off, the display died after 2 days, it has a separate rx ant. jack etc.). I'm gg to puke if I see another review that says, "Simply the best." Please.
Re the QST reviews--you have to know how to read them. If you expect a QST review to literally call something a POS or some other colorful expression to that effect, then welcome to the Adult Zone, where the writers are mature. They've reviewed duds and they report on them with facts. The writer might suggest an alternative, report that the item fell apart, that its performace was below par, or damn it with omissions. Do you really need for them to come right out and tell you it stinks? What kind of reviews have you been reading lately? Something in Mad Magazine?
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KD2E on February 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Rig ratings are all kind of high, but perhaps the reason is not so hard to find. There hasn't been a really bad rig made in a long time. If life throws me a curve, I could sell all the high end rigs and do just fine with my TS520, or FT301D. In fact, that TS520 has nicer sound to it than anything Ten Tec!!
Both those rigs are at the opposite end of the scale from...say a 1000D, but they hear and talk just fine!
Now, restrict me to an Eico 753, and well...I may have to find a cheaper hobby!!!
 
RE: 'Perceived'  
by WA3VJB on February 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
You guys with your test equipment and reliance on technical specifications remind me of people who hope to find a match with computer dating services.

There is SO much more than a data sheet to draw a conclusion about which radio shall be the best "fit" for you in the subjective sense of the word.

A logic-driven analysis is doomed because it fails to consider human factors such as operating preferences, favored mode, and the more basic goals and desires regarding the use of the radio.

Icom's 756 Pro (II) for example has drawn a lot of favorable reviews. Yet it has a design flaw that renders a poor transmitted performance on AM. Some people who operate a majority of the time on AM would consequently rate this transceiver badly. Their criteria is different than, say, a contester, who might find no issue with the nasty sound this transmitter makes on AM.

That's why formulaeic analysis cannot work, and why the subjective, opinionated comments posted to the eham reviews retain such value for those of us who have to "feel right" about a given radio as we intend to use it.

Paul/VJB
Annapolis
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by N8EMR on February 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
With a diverse user community Superior is going to be all over the place. From my point of view the Icom 706MKGII is the best radio made in the last 20 or so years. Not that it has the best receiver, best transmit audio or best whatever but for is fit into my current radio enviornment. I am mobile of lot and I have a compact station at home. The icom fits my needs. One radio, pretty much all bands I am interested in. Reasonable size for mobile, portable or base use. Nice price so I dont have to move it around I can have serveral dedicated radio's.


 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K4CMD on February 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I love reading all of the "objective" reviews on older gear. Man, it's just amazing that EVERY SINGLE rig that's older than, say, 10 years, was a 5/5 "perfect" radio.

It's a product review forum, not a "Good Ol' Days Nostalgia" topic! While it may be true that "you can never go back" and "absence makes the heart grow fonder," think before you sum up an older radio with a one-line description of "perfect." There could be someone out there who's actually considering buying the rig used, and wants some facts.

Yeah, I owned some "classics." I bought a Kenwood TS-530SP, new, back in 1984. Yeah, I miss it, but not enough to want one again when so much newer stuff blows it away. My main complaint with the radio was frequency drift (300 kHz -- yes, KILOHERTZ -- from power-on to 30 minutes. It also suffered from a very slow frequency-counter digital display. Among its shortcomings compared to modern-day transceivers were, only one VFO, no memories, no general-coverage receive and tube finals (if you consider that a shortcoming). When you compare the fact that you can buy a used IC-725 or 730 for nearly the same price, that 530 doesn't seem so wonderful by today's standards.

Let's just keep in mind that these are product reviews and not love letters to our first rigs.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K1ZF on February 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

<<I operate on 40m, 10m and 2m. Since when is it a licencing requirement that I use my amateur callsign on the internet?>>

Hmmm… I would think that on a Ham Radio forum, one would WANT to leave their callsign… Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

If the review on here is not longer than a year, I give it little credence. Unfortunately, most hams coming into the hobby today don’t know how to operate radios. The RF gain is pegged to the boing bar, the pre-amp is on and the DSP button is “in”.

Few know the value of the attenuator. Or turning off the AGC, and feathering the RF gain when the copy gets rough. I have a IC-765 here that can blow the knobs off any 756pro, or Yaesu 1000. But that’s in my hands, not theirs. And we won’t even go near “studio quality audio”. I also have a Drake R4-C, (Highly modified) that will hear stuff on 160 that won’t even move the light bar on most “new” radios. (I did say most…)

Read the reviews, of course. But remember who is writing them.

Gene, K1ZF

 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by K0AMZ on February 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that the scale should be 1-10. Also I do not read reviews from people thathave had the equipment less than six months. I feel one gets a better review from someone that has had the equipment for a while and hopefully has found any "bugs". After that I bought my IC-718 with a 4.8 rating and have not been disapointed with it. Now I use my FT-817 and hope the finals don't go out on it.
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by W3JMU on February 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"Simply the Best" were the words I used in describing my ten year old IC-2KL. I certainly hope it did not(does not) cause you a distressful day, or as you put it, to barf, hurl or even gag!
I am perfectly willing to answer questions concerning my experience with this amplifier; the answers will be in operational terms, since I am not an HF amplifier design expert, or an electronics engineer. Operational experience, to me is the major variable, and, my goodness, my 2KL has a MTBF of ZERO!
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by K4CMD on February 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
BARF!
 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by W7KPQ on February 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have two 2KLs and like them very much, but this wasn't the question was it? As far as HF transceivers are concerned the top three older rigs would be the following--(and not necessarily in this order)

the Kenwood TS950DX
the Yaesu FT-1000D
the Icom IS-781

Of course the Ten Tec Orion with its roofing filter is the way most new rigs of tomorrow will most certainly have. Is it the best – perhaps.

Next in line would be the Icom 756 Pro II (will the Pro III have a roofing filter?) If Icom is smart it will!

The Kenwood TS-850SAT is a great rig also.

The Ten Tec Jupiter – many people like them (probably noteworthy).

The Icom 746 is a good rig.
The Kenwood TS-570D and S (G) series work well for rag chewing but not a contesters rig.


 
RE: Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Su  
by KC2MKI on March 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!


I also am in love with my Icom 706 mk 2 G.
Its wonderful on all bands and modes! Would like another one for my van! Was surprized not to see it mentioned, but I as well stand by my rating of "5" also and wanted to brag about a great tranceiver and let everyone know about the 706, but I'm sure you know that!!!

73's, see ya on the bands.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by ON4MGY on March 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think with the rating of a transceiver you know if the transceiver is good or not. You can't compare transceivers by looking at their ratings!
The Kenwood TS-830S has a 4.9, the Yaesu 817 has a 4.7
When you compare both ratings you can think the FT-817 is almost as good as the 830S, NO WAY!!
The FT-817 is a nice transceiver, and very good in it's class, but you can't compare it with the TS-830S. Ayone tried a TS-830S with a small battery for a backpacking-trip?, or a FT-817 for working DX on a crowded HF-band during a major contest? Both radios are good (but the TS-830S is a lot better, hi) but you cant' compare them just by their ratings.
That's my opinion

73

Nic ON4MGY
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on March 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is a good point that a TS-850 will get a 4.6, while an FT-100D will get a 4.

It is comparing apples and oranges.

The TS-850SAT gets it's rating on performance.
The FT-100D gets a close rating, just by vitue of the fact it is a tiny rig with UHF/VHF and DSP.

Perhaps rig ratings should be broken up into types

1)Vintage-Collectors-Collins and Drake
2)Transistor/tube final economy rigs(FT-101/TS-520
3)Not current production- ULTRA HGH performers(TS-850,830 DRAKE TR-7))
4)Current production base rigs..TS-570, FT-1000, ORIEN
5)Current production Mobile DC-daylight FT-100D, 859,
Icom 706

IMHO...This would give a much more accurate rating system.

73 DE MIKE
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by KC4ZGP on March 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!


The American-Made Kenwood TS-450SAT is the best radio past, present, and future. All parts inside and out
are American-Made. We're honest, hard-working, faithful, and truthful folks.

Kraus
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on March 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When somebody does a review with no communications analyser and other test gear, that is OK by me.

Still when I do an EHAM review I do use my test gear.

However when somebody just goes checked TX and RX Audio and it is GREAT, I want to know how they came to this conclusion! (You do not need a wavetec-3000B for example to do a good review)

I would except an A/B comparison against a known all around ""good'' rig. My personal bias standard is a Kenwood TS-850SAT.
A Drake TR-7 for certain standards, like construction.(IMO the TR-7 is the best constructed rig, I have ever owned.)

I will use an antenna switch box and go between the TS-850, Drake TR-7, and the rig I am evaluating.

For general RX performance I find the TS-850 a good all around standard to go against. Dual IF xtal filter scheme. none of that IF DSP to emulate all sorts of XTAL filter schemes to save money.

I also use my TR-7 it has a very quiet and clean RX.
Simple PTO VFO/fixed frequency mix and high level mixing makes for clean RX tuning. No DDS and CPU's to generate digital atifacts unwanted signals, noise, and spurs.
For quality of the received audio, I use the TR-7.
If you do many of the published mods, the RX audio can have that warm tube sound.

When I read an EHAM review, if somwone just goes TX and RX audio GREAT, I ignore that review if they did it with no well known standard for comparison.

Kenwoods have a reputation for good TX audio and excellent speech processing. HOWEVER, not all KENWOODS are created equal. The TS-850 is well known for it's audio. However the new TS-570 has audio speech processing. The difference in audio is day and night!
A Good RF speech proc will still be undistorted up to 15db of compression. peak power is increased where it improves intelligability and range.

Audio speech procs can sound like CB power microphones if you use only 7-8 db of compression. You may see more peak power, however you do not need to shotgun amplify and compress.

Some say thier old TS-520's hold thier own in TX and RX against the new ts-570 in audio. The DSP is nothing to write home about.

Also when a rig is operated fresh out of the box, the euphoria of getting a new rig throughs off ones judgement! I like to see a review that is done after 6 months of ownership.

I really wanted to rate my FT-100D a 3.5.after really using the rig for a while!
Out of the box, I was too impressed to write a fair review. Just about every band, mode and the size of a CB radio. I got it at a closeout, $730 w/DSP, TCXO, and 500hz cw filter. It had to be redesigned many times. I got one that was the last revision.(I still run UHF and VHF at half power, Yeasue never fixed the underated power brick).
If someone did a review after 5 minutes of using they would give it a 5, because of the huge bang for the buck. However once you get annoyed with all the menues enough, and the medeocre HF RX, you might go down to a 3. The DSP works, but takes too much diddling around for various locations and bands.
The IF SHIFT OF COURSE DOES NOT WORK, IT IS DONE IN THE AUDIO STAGES!

Those are just my standards and opinion.

COMMON STEREOTYPES

Some RIG maker stereotypes...

All Kenwoods have great audio and the best speech processing.(only the RF speech processors really stand out)

All DRAKES and COLLINS are good radio's in all area's of performance.(every rig has it's problems)

ICOM got it's act together with DSP.(DSP is simply too new)

The yeasu's that can use COLLINS filters must be good!
(A Collins filter in your I.F. chain does not equal a Collins filters in a real Collins)

ELEKRAFT-Just a great rig all around.I I do see the excellent reviews. However ELKRAFTS SSB audio is just average.(Some have said you really need the speech proc all the time.)
Do not say negitive things about ELKRAFTS to ELKRAFT owners. You will be causticly lambasted!(hi-hi).
Actually I have used an ELKRAFT, I was impressed with the RX! Also the fact is this is a kit that works as well as a built rig.

HEATHKITS were never known for being performance rigs!

PERCEPTION AND REALITY. I guess advertising blurs the line. Word of mouth is a good source to go by.

Talk about perception, I was willing to pay $1500 for a Harris HF rig. 2-30Mhz TX-RX. 100W SSB/CW/digital. No DSP. No speech proc, IF shift,notch,AIP,a/b VFO. No features at all for that matter. Oh, it did have a built in phone patch!

However this is a modern commercial/mil radio.
Someone on EBAY got it for the bargain price of $2100!!!! The NEW price is over $10,000!
However I have seen the insides of these darlings.
All I can say is WOW! Lots of gold plating. You can see it is a radio that can be diagnosed and fixed in a snap. It weighs 40LBS. Stable enough for 60M, sure thing!
Racal and Harris HF radio's are like owning a Bently.
You never know when you need a radio that needs a Rubidium standard as part of the alignment kit!
I PERCEIVE THESE RADIO'S AS BEING SUPERIOR! ENOUGH SAID!

73 DE MIKE

Just my 2 cents of literary trash! 73 DE MIKE
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on March 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Miltary and comercial rigs are percived to be superior.
They have no features or bells and whistles.
My Harris 1446 1-30 MHZ SSB/CW/Data rig must have cost the U.S. GVT a obscene amount of money.

The rig does not even have passband tuning.

Yet, it has lots of gold plating!
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on March 19, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Any ham rig that has a commercil/mil. version, I percieve as the 'right stuff''

Others....If it USES THE COLLINS IF AND MECHANICAL FILTERS.

IF IT HAS A BAND SCOPE ON IT!

TRUE RF CLIPPING SPEECH PROC. IN IT.

IF THE RECOMMENDED MICROPHOME COST OVER 200 bux!

IF IT OUTPUTS CLOSE TO 200W!

IF IT HAS FAST SWAP PLUG IN BOARDS!

IT IS A NEW RADIO THAT WEIGHS MORE THAN 50 LBS

IF IT SAYS HARRIS OR RACAL ON IT!

IF IT HAS 19 INCH RACK MOUNT HANDLES ON IT.

IF THE RADIO HAS A SOLID BLACK MA-BELL KEY PAD ON IT.

IF THE RADIO TAKES OVER 30 SECONDS TO GO THRU COMPUTER DISGNOSTICS, BEFORE THE AF GAIN CONTROL CAN BE USED!

IF THE PTT MIC IS A PTT TELEPHONE HEADSET.

IT HAS A JACK OR A CONTROL, THAT YOU NEVER HEARD OF!!!!

THATS MY LIST 73 DE MIKE WA2JJH
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by TG9AKH on November 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The great principles of "perceived superiority":

(1) Anything that I cannot afford is superior, regardless of what I already own. Suggested Action: idealize the unreachable in the knowledge that somewhere, somebody possesses that which you cannot posses.
(2) Anything that I already own is superior, relative to whatever my neighbour owns. Suggested Action: brag, brag, brag, smug-smile and be happy.

Corollary: if every your neighbour acquires something beyond your reach, MOVE to another neighbourhood to avoid the implied shame and humiliation. Apply rules (1) and (2) with ever increasing passion.
 
Which HF Transceivers are 'Perceived' to be Superi  
by WA2JJH on April 15, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My 2 cents.

1)TS-950SDX (MOSFET MOD A MUST!!!!!!!!!)
2)Harris FALCON-5 manpack. Without SINGARS, ALE, and BYTE....One may perhaps purchase one for $15,000
 
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