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Author Topic: How Do We Pick Between These Two Radios?  (Read 2271 times)
KA1MDA
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Posts: 543




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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2008, 08:43:36 AM »

I think the IC-718 does not have FM as a mode. Although not a big deal, it would prevent you from using the 10 meter FM repeaters, if you were so inclined. ALthough I have only tried the 10 meter repeaters a handful of times in the last 10 years, they are fun when the band is open.

73, de Tom, KA1MDA
www.ka1mda.org
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9906




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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2008, 10:49:35 AM »

ft 857 , fan dipole
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WILLIATY
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2008, 11:47:44 AM »

I'm going to try to answer questions that were ask in sort of a random fashion since eHam doesn't have a quote function.

Regarding saving for a better radio to get what we really want: That is how we do more important purchases. However, both of us are amused by radio but could live without out it. The price range we're hunting in now is what we determined a radio was worth to us and that's the price range in which we'd like to stay.

Regarding trying both radios: Yes, we want to do this, as I said in the original post. However, our local shop, Universal Radio, doesn't keep a FT-450 on the floor, so we can't play with one there. We have to drive up to Cleveland and AES. We're looking at a making a day of it and doing whatever else there is to do in that part of the state.

Regarding TX coverage: I'm aware the 718 doesn't cover 60m or 6m. Honestly, I have no idea how big of a deal this is as I don't have either 60m or 6m now!''

Regarding FM: Like TX coverage, I don't know if this is a big deal now or not. I don't have FM on 10m now and I don't know if I'd want it.
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M0JHA
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« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2008, 03:08:58 PM »

One post did mention the 718 not having FM, this is correct and at the time of me enquiring ICOM did not supply one for it.

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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5475




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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2008, 03:25:08 PM »

You should get a "hands on" for this decision.
The FT450 is the better radio if you can put up with the "tiny" tuning knob.  Many hams have complained about this.
The IC718 is an older rig without FM, 60 or 6 meters. You will not miss FM.
It will work fine for what you plan on using it for.
73s.

-Mike.
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WILLIATY
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2008, 07:55:30 PM »

Can anyone compare the relative receive audio on these two radios? One thing I like quite a bit right now about the FT-101E is that the receive audio is quite "listenable" in that it sound natural, isn't harsh, and isn't fatiguing if you listen to it for long periods of time. It's not the last (or even the first) word in clarity or freedom from interference, but I can sit and use it for hours without getting a headache. I've heard some people complain about the 450 being very harsh and fatiguing and some people say it sounds just fine (which suggest to me that there's some big manufacturing variations) but I can't find much about the audio of the 718.

Does either the 718 or the 450 have an advantage in the "listenability" department?
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PD2R
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2008, 02:58:18 AM »

Audio quality also depents on what speaker you are using. Most mobile/portable transceivers use a small low quality speaker.
If you want to compare RX audio you should use a good external speaker or even better, use headphones.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2383




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« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2008, 08:08:31 AM »

I agree with PD2R.  Neither radio has a good loudspeaker.  

Take a good set of headphones with you to the store.   Or bring a small (5" - 7") "hi-fi" loudspeaker with a cord and 1/4" and 1/8" phone plug.  [I use Sennheiser HD-280's, but headphone quality is very subjective.  My loudspeakers came from Radio Shack for about $30/pair.]
 
I just checked my FT-450, listening to AM broadcast-band stations in SSB mode.  With the widest filter setting (which is what I always use), they all sounded fine.  There wasn't much difference between the AM and SSB sound.

The bandwidth on both of them may be narrower than what you're used to.

      Charles
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KE5OKQ
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Posts: 193




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« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2008, 09:13:49 AM »

I owned a IC-718 after I tried playing with an FT-450.  I did not use the FT-450 enough to form an opinion on it vs. the 718.  I did hate the menu system on the FT 450.  The 718 is infinitely easier to operate and rarely to you have to go into the menu.  The 718 is robust, reliable.  Some may consider it "outdated", I would characterize it as tested.  It is a great receiver.  I would consider a used one.
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WILLIATY
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2008, 07:34:51 PM »

Well, we made the trek up to AES Cleveland today. A half hour or so of playing with the two radios produced results I was surprised with.

Three things to consider, first of all. There was apparrently some sort of major contest on today and 20m was BUSY BUSY BUSY. The radios were connected to the antenna through several antenna switches. I also took my own reference headphones (Sennhiser circumaurals)

I started with the 718 and found it relatively easy to use to do basic work but couldn't figure out any of the fancy features without the manual (and I have another of Icom's current radios). I also had a devil of a time finding a single station I could tune in amongst the incredible amount of noise and hash. Once a station was isolated, I was shocked at how incredibly brash and harsh the audio out of the 718 was. It literally hurt to listen to, regardless of AF Gain setting. I'm going to try to listen to another 718 at a different store this week to see if the one at AES Cleveland is broken or something. Additionally, I had a VERY hard time using the VFO dial to set the frequency precisely. I'm a bit ham fisted and I just couldn't get the VFO to stop on exactly the frequency I wanted with 3-4 tries at it.

I then played around with the 450 for a while. I was initially very disappointed in the audio before I realized that the Width control had been set to minimum. Widening it all the way, the received audio quality was very good, much better than the 718. Additionally, single voices, even at the widest Width setting with all other DSP turned off, were far easier to separate from the incredible chaos on the air today. Randomly poking and prodding at the DSP controls eventually resulted in an astonishing improvement in the ability to isolate a single station's voice, albeit at the expense of some audio quality. Even at the most severe processing, the audio was easy to listen to and not fatiguing. However, I never was able to figure out what the point of the Notch or Contour DSP functions was. The VFO knob, although small, was also much easier to use than the 718's was. I don't think I bumped it off my intended frequency once.


All in all, it's basically the exact opposite of what I had expected going into the store. Really, the only advantages I can find that the 718 has over the 450 are the direct numeric entry of frequency and a better sensitivity on receive. As I said, I'll be trying to sample another 718 to make sure the horrible receive audio wasn't just a fault in the radio I listened to today.
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WILLIATY
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2008, 08:01:47 PM »

I had also meant to ask a question about noise. Using the FT-101E at home now, I hear a succession of sharp pops/clicks that keep the signal meter at about S5+. I can switch on the Noise Blanker and they immediately fall away. Does the whiz-bang stuff in the 450 have some equivalent function to reduce this kind noise?
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N6AJR
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« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2008, 10:53:41 PM »

the notch filter is used to basically take out a tuner upper.  someone throws a carrier on what you are listening to and the notch filter removes that 0ne freq so you done hear the  carrier.  the contour is "shaping" the passband and may or may not be of use to you.  ( Don't use a notch filter on CW, it will "notch out that annoying carrier going da dit da dit:)

I like the 450 and thought about getting one a while back a good medium level rig for the price. I have several other radios and use an ft 857 in the car, an ft 847 in the truck and in the shack currentlu there is an orion, a pegasus, a scout, a ts 2000, an ic 746 pro, and a ft 990, and somewhere around here is a second ft 857 from the car I sold.. so I have and have a ton of different radios and such. I do dx and contesting, ssb, rtty, cw and psk31, and al;so 2m 440 6m ssb and 220 and 1.2 ghz fm. among other stuff.  I say the ft 450 for the shack and an 857 for the car.

start with a good homebrew dipole and then look at the steppir virticles and beams.  good stuff.
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M0JHA
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2008, 03:34:57 PM »

I thought my 718 was fine to listen to. it did take some time to get used to the front facing speaker but once i got used to it i thought it gave far easier audio to listen to than the usual top fitted speakers.

It may of sounded harsh because it was directed straight at you but it shouldn't sound bad. The vfo has settings to tune in steps so you may of had a radio that was set to very fine tuning steps.The 718 isn't hard to hit a frequency first time without messing.

As for not understanding the menues there is very little to take in on the 718. thats what i liked about it. straight forward with a button for this and a button for that none of this hunting through a menu.

billy
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AC2Q
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2008, 08:20:02 AM »

Our club used one of the members 450 during last Field Day. It performed flawlessly and was used by over a dozen operators. None of us had used the rig before, and for the most part the basic functions were as "intuitive" as any of the modern radios are. The only complaint I had was the lack of an AUTOMATIC NOTCH filter, which I thought extremely odd in a DSP based radio. It isn't an equal to my Ten Tec Omni VI, but then again nothing is =0)

BUT for the price, It is hard to beat.

You will probably find your best price through R and L Electronics though.

www.randl.com
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AF6IT
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2008, 12:52:52 PM »

No question that the FT-450 is more radio for the buck. Not necessarily more convenient, but that is largely because it does more. Either should be quite adequate.

Just understand that today's rigs will not ever be able to live as long as your FT-101 has. Given their price I do not believe that should be too much of a concern, however. Eight years  translates to a lot of fun for under a quarter a day- not bad for any hobby, really!  (Eight years is an arbitrary number, but any rig assembled with RoHS solder is not expected to go beyond ten years according to NASA's RoHS website. The FT-450 is RoHS, earlier IC-718's were not, not sure about current ones) Considering what the FT-101 cost in terms of today's dollars we're still in good shape...

The other thing to be considered is the reputation of each manufacturer's service dept. and warranty track record.

Stu AF6IT
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