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Author Topic: TS-590S or IC-756PRO3.  (Read 26773 times)
EA5BZ
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Posts: 13




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« on: December 07, 2010, 01:12:19 PM »

Hello friends.
I need a second HF radio for my summer QTH.
I am thinking in a new TS-590S or a used IC-756PRO3.
What do you think is the best choice?
Scoope is not the most important for me.
Receiver performance is most important for me.
Thank's a lot for your help.
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NO6L
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2010, 04:46:03 PM »

I have the TS-2000, and from what I've read, the '590 is better (HF and 6M, obviously), owing to the 32 bit DSP and roofing filters. The reviews here (eham.com) say it is a fine rig better than 9 out of 10 times.

Another rig in the same price/feature category is the FT-950. As a bonus, it's got an equalizer to help make any mic sound at least acceptable, and in may cases, perfect, for your voice. Of course, if you really want something great, grab an FT-2000 with it's sub-receiver. That's where I would go currently if I was in the upgrade market.

Something else to consider, almost every one I know who owns or owned (gave up on) a recent vintage, post IC-746, seems to be spending more time using their "backup" rig than the Icom because it insists on spending more time in for repairs than in service, with very few exceptions. This would explain the high prices for used '746s, check it out and see. lastly, how many times can they repackage a ten year old rig/concept/technology and slap Pro, Pro II, Pro III (Or Pro IV, V, VI, VIII, etc.), on a radio and say it's "new".

No, it's no contest, in my estimation it's a tossup between between the TS-590 and FT-950 and their newer technologies without even a consideration for the 'Pro III, or whatever is next in that line.

73
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 07:29:27 AM »

Hello Ruben.  I have no experience with the FT-950, so will confine my comments to the Pro III.  Please look deeper than Rob Sherwood's rankings of receivers by close-spaced IMD when making the decision.  While this can be important to some, it's certainly not the most important consideration to most of us, although the average ham who has little understanding of what IMD even is has come to judge everything on those rankings.  Rob's favorite rig and the one he uses is still the Icom IC-781, which ranks way down the IMD list. 

A couple of years ago after acquiring my first Pro III, I used it in the ARRL CW Sweepstakes contest and did run into IMD problems on 20 and 80 meters where the band was full of very strong signals.  Inserting 6 to 12 dB of attenuation eliminated that problem satisfactorily.  After discussing the problem with Mr. Sherwood, I installed the Inrad roofing filter in the Pro III (not a simple undertaking) and found that cleared up the problem for me completely, even though the filter bandwidth is in the 3-5 KHz range, unlike the narrow roofing filters in the K3 and some other newer rigs. 

As you may know, newer technology is not always significantly better.  When I sold my first Pro III, I replaced it with an Elecraft K3.  I didn't like the K3 at all and sold it after a few months.  I ended up buying another new Pro III when the last units were being cleared out of inventory here in the U.S.  I've found the Pro IIIs to be extremely reliable and the display format and operating is excellent.  Each version of the IC-756 has brought improvements and the Pro III is indeed the best of the line.  I looked closely at the IC-7600 (Pro III replacement) when it first came out and thought that the new display design was inferior to the Pro III.  The 7600 does have a roofing filter as standard equipment.

The Pro III has held its value exceptionally well in the used market and for good reason.  They have very few problems and the built-in scope works very well, although not the equal of the Elecraft P3 or an LP-Pan setup.  On the other hand, the scope is certainly superior to the ones in the Orion II and FT-5000.  Myself, I wouldn't own another transceiver that didn't have panadaptor capability that works at least as well as that of the Pro III. 

The TS-590, at least here in the U.S., is available at a slightly lower price than the Pro III.  I don't believe there are enough 590s in use yet to know anything about their reliability or firmware bugs.  All the newer rigs I've owned or followed that have upgradable firmware routinely have new bugs introduced with firmware upgrades.  Apparently, Icom does a better job of testing their firmware and the lack of ability to upgrade that in the Pro III has never been a factor. 

Another good choice for a traveling rig is the Kenwood TS-480SAT.  I've used it several times at vacation locations and was very pleased with the results.  And - the price is substantially below that of the Pro III and 590.
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NO6L
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 12:44:11 AM »

Okay, fine. If the Pro III is so fantastic, why is it just another re-badged Pro, for all intents and purposes. For example, you don't see TS-2000 Mk IIs or Pro IIIs. Instead, they're the same TS-2000 with some improvements and priced accordingly, LOWER. I mean if Icom wants to sell old tech I don't have a problem with that, but don't pee in my Weaties and charge me for milk. And, Ruben said "A scope is not important", so why pay for something he won't use?

I stand by what I said concerning their QA. To be specific, I know two people personally that purchased new Pro IIIs. One went back three times due to transmitter issues and the other went back several times for an assortment of concerns. The first friend went back to Yeasu and never sent anything in again, the other to Ten-Tec and Yeasu and is enjoying the same situation. Even if I didn't know about other peoples problems with Icom, these two episodes are enough for me. I can afford anything on the market and I would not touch an IC-Anything after the original '746 or '756. If they put as much effort into QA as they do with fancy-shmancy trinkets and baubles like color scopes, they'd own the market, but they don't.

'nuff said. I'm done.
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K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 09:27:16 AM »

I suggest you wait until the Sherwood evaluation. It's December now so you probably won't be going to your "summer place" for at least the next few months. Maybe by then the Sherwood numbers and the ham magazine reviews will be published. Also, there will be more time for the 590's reliability to be determined.

If you've never used a radio with a band scope, you might want to withhold your opinion on how useful it is. Just one example: One afternoon in early December I switched my Pro 3 to the 21 MHz phone band and heard nothing. But I saw a single weak blip on the scope, up the band about 30 kHz. I QSY'ed up and there was a lonely ZL8X, repeatedly calling CQ. He hadn't even been spotted on the DX clusters yet, so I was the first to work him during that session on that band. Without the scope I might have tuned right past his frequency between his CQ calls, and never heard him.

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K8KAS
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Posts: 569




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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 10:13:54 AM »

The Icom is a nice and solid performer, many of my buddys use them with great results. I had a 756 Pro II and did have troubles with it three times but the guy I sold it to now 3 years later has had no problems. I like the scope on the 756 II's and III's they look and feel good and have very nice audio both RX and TX. The size is just about right for me as well. I think you will be happy with either radio, but remember the TS 590 just came out and you don't know what the review will be in 2 or 3 years on their problems. I'll take my FT1000D anyday over most of the junk out there today, 10 years old and never a wimp-er, solid as a rock as well. My TT Orion has been very good to me as well and the factory cannot be beat for owner relations, IMHO Denny K8KAS 73
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KE7FD
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2010, 09:50:15 AM »

If your budget allows for either of these radios, why not consider a Flex-3000?  You're not stuck with the features with software defined radios as you are with hard-wired units so features can be added and improved.  What's more it's compact and with any number of laptops becomes not only ideal for a fixed station but great for a vacation unit as well.  Here's a link:

http://www.flex-radio.com/Products.aspx?topic=F3k_features

Good luck.

g
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 08:54:42 PM »

And what is the point of waiting for Rob Sherwood's TS-590 ratings?  I assert that 99.9% of today's hams wouldn't recognize an IMD problem if it bit them in the ass.  Making transceiver judgements purely on the ratings is nonsense.  Don't believe that?  Ask Rob what his favorite transceiver is, given that he knows all the ins and outs of the measurements and could buy anything he wants.  You might be surprised at his answer.  If you happen to live in some places in Europe or are a serious contester in the Northeast,  then the IMD rankings might indeed be significant to you.  On the other hand, you probably wouldn't be looking at a TS-590 or Pro III in that case anyway.  Both the 590 and Pro III are reasonably good transceivers in their price range.  And check out the review ratings for both in the product reviews right here on eHam.  Looks to me as if the two have the same rating - guess those folks didn't wait for the Sherwood rankings. 
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K9IUQ
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Posts: 1626




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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 06:50:03 AM »

Okay, fine. If the Pro III is so fantastic, why is it just another re-badged Pro, for all intents and purposes. For example, you don't see TS-2000 Mk IIs or Pro IIIs. Instead, they're the same TS-2000 with some improvements and priced accordingly, LOWER.

I stand by what I said concerning their QA. To be specific, I know two people personally that purchased new Pro IIIs. One went back three times due to transmitter issues
'nuff said. I'm done.

I have owned the Icom ProII, Pro III and the Kenwood 2000. The Kenwood 2000 is not in the same class as the Icoms. The Icoms are a much better radio. The Kenwood 2000 is priced lower because it is a lower class radio, also very long in the tooth..  Smiley

I owned the Kenwood 2000 for 3 years. The transmitter failed twice. Got rid of that turkey. I have owned many Icoms starting with the 751a. Have never had an Icom fail me. What does all this mean? Nothing. As your remarks about 2 friends Icoms failing mean nothing.

I asked Rob Sherwood last winter which radio he actually owned and used. He told me a Pro III and explained to me why......

Stan K9IUQ



« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 06:52:06 AM by Stan Shestokes » Logged
K9IUQ
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Posts: 1626




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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 06:55:52 AM »

And what is the point of waiting for Rob Sherwood's TS-590 ratings?  I assert that 99.9% of today's hams wouldn't recognize an IMD problem if it bit them in the ass. 

100 percent true. 90 percent of the the hams reading Rob Sherwood's test results do not have a clue what the figures mean.

Stan K9IUQ


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K9IUQ
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 07:55:08 AM »

shmancy trinkets and baubles like color scopes

You must be a newbie, as you are clueless when it comes to scopes and panadapters.

Ever wonder why you sit in split pileups forever? It is because of hams like me with scopes/panadapters. We know where the DX is listening.  Grin

The most important tool I have for breaking pileups is my Flex 5k panadapter. I have an advantage you do not have becuz you think of scopes as "baubles....

Stan K9IUQ
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ZENKI
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 03:12:36 PM »

And what is the point of waiting for Rob Sherwood's TS-590 ratings?  I assert that 99.9% of today's hams wouldn't recognize an IMD problem if it bit them in the ass. 

100 percent true. 90 percent of the the hams reading Rob Sherwood's test results do not have a clue what the figures mean.

Stan K9IUQ




Yup and the other 10% of hams who understand the figures are the same ones who ignore spectral purity  issues on TX like phase noise, TX IMD and keyclicks and then go on to boast how they own the worlds best  transceivers  or radio brand. Ignorance cuts both ways  on RX and TX.

Amazing how people boast about the words best receivers and bury their heads in the sand about their favorite radio brands shocking TX IMD.
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KA9O
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2010, 10:45:20 AM »

shmancy trinkets and baubles like color scopes

You must be a newbie, as you are clueless when it comes to scopes and panadapters.

Ever wonder why you sit in split pileups forever? It is because of hams like me with scopes/panadapters. We know where the DX is listening.  Grin

The most important tool I have for breaking pileups is my Flex 5k panadapter. I have an advantage you do not have becuz you think of scopes as "baubles....

Stan K9IUQ
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K6AER
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Posts: 3471




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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2010, 05:09:42 PM »

You did not mention what mode of operation you prefer. The reason I bring this up is the very dynamic adjacent channel selectivity being referenced on the newer transceivers are for CW with very narrow IF filters and 200Hz second IF bandwidth. If your operation is SSB at 3 KHz bandwidth many of the high dynamic range radios such as the FT-5000, K3, Flex-3000, IC7700, ect. will be greatly reduced. With wider bandwidth the first and second filter are not as sharp. Almost in no case will you encounter a S9+40dB signal next to a S1 station. When the band is alive or contests are raging you will almost never see a signal below S9. In the old days when we encountered signal overload we used the RF gain control to reduce the signal. Most hams today have no idea what the knob is for and complain that the S meter doesn't work when they use the control.

A radio that is fine on a dipole may be a basket case on a beam up high due the much higher signal levels. I would chose the radio with a good third order intercept point over selectivity. Most of your IMD is generated in the RF front end and the mixer. Be careful when the 3rd order intercept reading is spaced much wider than normal tests. It make the figure look great but no one is worried about strong signal 200 KHz away.

Band scopes are very valuable for spotting stations on a dead band, looking for empty places to call CQ and looking for a call frequency during a pile up. In addition the pan adaptor is great for seeing a 60 second history of the band operation.

I place little value in postings about radio operation and reliability. Hams load their transceivers into bad loads and blame the manufacture when the finals cook off. It is their application that was the problem. You will notice it is the entry level radios that have most of the final problems.

Points to consider in a transceiver selection are the quality of the audio from the receiver and the transmitted audio. There is a big difference from radio to radio and when using a radio for hours, a very selective receiver is worthless if it causes fatigue to your ears. Lots of radios will list their distortion at 10% at 2 watts out. You would never buy a stereo with that kind of distortion.

Ease of operation is also a large factor. Many of the newer radios fail the operator first drive test. If you need to change a radio perimeter and it takes 15 minutes searching a menu or manual, the user interface has failed. This is why many older designs become classics. The ICOM 756 Pro series is example of customer input and development when technology provided better components. I have owned the Pro-II, Pro-III and now own a 7600. The 7600 radio is very comfortable. In each case the radio improved. It was not a case of getting right the first time but having better components made available over the years.

I had a Flex-3000 and did not like the transmitter distortion nor did I care for the T/R relay noise. I did love the receiver. I still have a TS-2000 and will keep this ugly radio. It is easy to use, well built and only under the most extreme conditions will the receiver let me down. Great back up rig.

I have put together three K3’s in in each case the radio failed the quality audio test in transmit and receive. Great receiver on selectivity but the recovered audio was too strained when the volume was turned up. Transmit audio was never quite right. If your bag is CW this is a great radio.

Bottom line is it takes time to appreciate a transceiver design and when a new radio comes out you have to take the time to give it a honest evaluation. Your mode of operation has a lot to do with your satisfaction and as always the antenna makes the radio.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 08:47:50 PM by Michael S. Higgins » Logged
WA2JJH
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2010, 02:42:32 PM »

Heck for $1700bux new in the box......TS-590. If it is anything like a quieter TS-850, I would go with the newer radio.

  I owned the TS-950SDX, cannot get all the parts for the 1993 vintage rig.

The TS=590 is also software upgradable. Cannot beat the 950SDX used for about the same money. Sure is nice to use the one or two out of 8 installed xtal filters as well as the DSP.

   If you have the time, you could build a minimal K-3 for about $2200.
I have a K2 as well. I will see how much the audio DSP and other upgrades work.

    From what I understand the 590 should work as well as the TS-870 minus the ultra wide TX ability.
  Newer circuits, a 500 and 2.7kc filter to fall back on.
     Good luck and 73 DE MIKE
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