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Author Topic: Icom IC-7000 or Kenwood TS-480HX (SAT) for a new HAM  (Read 27893 times)
N3ZH
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #75 on: February 28, 2012, 02:52:57 AM »

Well, I am half a year late to this thread, but want to add my experiences.

Icom 7000: Where I work we have two ICOM 7000s for emergency communications and use them in exercises at least once a month.  They are used mostly with winlink 2000 with pactor-3 TNCs and Airmail2000.

Over the past few years there are been three incidents of the ICOM 7000s overheating, burning out transistors, can not transmit anymore, and needing a major repair.  During all three occurrences there was a different Amateur Extra licensed person present.  I usually bring one of my HF radios to work during exercises because I do not want to risk blowing up our last operational ICOM 7000.  Management won't fix the 7000s anymore - they want to throw them away and buy some other model.

So, if you want a radio you can rely on in an EMCOM deployment where you might be really busy for extended periods of time with digital modes, then forget the 7000 as an option.

A less important problem with the ICOM 7000: I can never get used to the menus.  Even after years of using the ICOM 7000 I still need to open the manual often.  Many buttons and dials on a different model radio might intimidate a new HF radio user, but I think the Icom 7000's menus are far worse to contend with.

I own a Kenwood TS590S and like it very much.  What I value very highly in a radio is good noise reduction (NR).  I need to clearly hear voice messages in the noisy bad conditions we have been experiencing the past few years.  The TS590S' NR is the best I have found so far - which is built into a radio.  It beats the NR in my Flex 5000, the 746pro (which I traded to a MARS member for a 7200), and the 7200.  The best NR which I own is an external GAP Hear-it-now which is made by BHI in England and sold in the USA by GAP - I use it with the Flex 5000.

Kenwood has long had the reputation for radios which sound good.  My Kenwood D710A has a very unique squelching system which listens for how quieting the signal is rather than simply looking at RF signal level.  Kenwood seems to have good expertise with sound processing.

The Flex is the best performing radio I own, and I like the panadapter display.  However I often like the simplicity of just pressing the power button on the Kenwood TS590S with the NR1 turned on to listen to a MARS net in the morning.

TS480:  I don't own and haven't used a TS480.  All good modern radios have FILTERS (with the exception of the Flex SDR radios).  The TS590s comes with 500 hz and 2700 hz FILTERS.  In Sherwood's tests he tested the TS480 with no filters installed and the dynamic range beats the ICOM 7000.  My guess is that the TS480 with filters will equal the dynamic range of the Kenwood TS590 on the higher Mhz bands where it uses up conversion.  I think one needs to differentiate between peoples' experiences with a stock TS480 and a TS480 with the optional filters installed.

People who own the TS480 seem to really like it and there aren't many of them on the used market.  I am intrigued with the 200 watt model and think the remote control console will be easier to use in our govenment van during exercises.  Of course any Kenwood will require different cables for the TNCs.

Back to work: They seem to be very budget conscious and replacing the ICOM 7000s with Kenwood TS590S seems to be out of the question.  I spent $1900 for my TS590S with the high stability oscillator, recording option, and Mars mod.

The Kenwood TS480HX would probably be a good choice, but with SO3, filters, and new cables for the TNCs it still costs too much for work.

The ICOM 7200 is affordable and is cable compatible with the 7000.  It has the reputation that it never overheats.  My main complaint is that I hate listening to voice SSB on the 7200 for long periods of time.  I also had to modify my 7200's mic - because it had way too much bass.  The ICOM 7000s will be replaced with 7200s when funding becomes available.

Well, I rambled on a bit too much.

Bottom line: 

1. Avoid the Icom 7000 because it can overheat and burn out the finals and then it won't be functional when you need it the most.  No radio is worth owning if it has TX-failure design defects.

2. The Kenwood TS590S is a really nice radio and its NR is the best internal NR I have experienced.  I am becoming a Kenwood fan.

3. The Kenwood TS480 outperforms the Icom 7000 in sherwood dynamic range tests and when filters are added probably will perform even better.  More important it is highly recommended by its owners, has 200 watts of tx power, and people say SSB voice sounds good.

Howard
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