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Author Topic: New rig, next step up from "entry level"  (Read 3851 times)
AC4RD
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« on: February 25, 2012, 01:11:52 PM »

My current HF rig needs repair.  And I'm thinking about getting a new rig, with newer DSP abilities than I've had in the TS-480.  I'm mostly doing some light CW DXing.  The two rigs I'm thinking about are the FT-950 and the IC-7410.  Opinions?    TIA!
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NO2A
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 01:35:09 PM »

What exactly are you looking for that you don`t have with the TS-480s?
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AC4RD
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 02:11:38 PM »

What exactly are you looking for that you don`t have with the TS-480s?

I guess this was unclear.  A "new rig" with "newer DSP abilities," in the hopes that it'll be better for CW on crowded bands.  The 480 is 8 years old now, I believe.  I'm not using computers that were introduced 8 years ago; maybe it's time to try a newer radio?
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WE1X
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 02:57:44 PM »

At one time I owned the FT-950 and it is a very very nice rig. Actually I had the FT-950 at the same time I owned a FT-2000 and thought the 950 offered better value. Think the 950 goes for about $1350 new and $1000 used.  In my current shack I have the Icom 7410 and a Flex 5000A.  The 7410 is great in almost every respect. Ergonomics are excellent, filtering is very good, build quality outstanding, etc.  Plus the integral sound card capability and usb port make PC connection and digital modes a snap. There are a couple of shortcomings, however, you should consider. First, avid CW ops have complained the full-breakin QSK doesn't perform well over a certain speed. As I plug along at about 13wpm and like semi-breakin this is not an issue for me.  Second, unlike the FT-950, the IC-7410 does not have downloadable firmware. Hence, upgrades are not possible. Yet with that said, I really enjoy the rig. Note the retail price of a 7410 is considerably higher than the FT-950 at $1800-$1900.  On 2 occasions HRO had them at around $1600 or $1700, but those were the exceptions.

Hope this helps.

Harry WE1X
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M6GOM
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 03:49:15 PM »


I guess this was unclear.  A "new rig" with "newer DSP abilities," in the hopes that it'll be better for CW on crowded bands.  The 480 is 8 years old now, I believe.  I'm not using computers that were introduced 8 years ago; maybe it's time to try a newer radio?

The difference between performance of computers and radio is that radio hasn't changed.

You're looking for the wrong thing. What you want is better selectivity and that has more to do with filters than DSP. And IF DSP is better than AF DSP.

So some suggestions in order of best to less best mid range:
Flex 3000
Kenwood TS590
Yaesu FT950


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KC8Y
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2012, 04:11:26 PM »

I also have the IC-7410, it has both IF roofing filters; just love the filtering for all modes on all bands Smiley...Agree with what WE1X said about the xmitting code speed; I only go about 15wpm...The receive is great...

KC8Y-Ken
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W7ETA
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 08:18:35 PM »

Try this site:http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

You can see how an old rig like the TS-820 compares to some modern rigs.

There is a list of every rig evaluated in QST on the ARRL site.

You can compare your rig's results to a rig you are interested in.

73
Bob
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2012, 08:32:18 PM »

What exactly are you looking for that you don`t have with the TS-480s?

I guess this was unclear.  A "new rig" with "newer DSP abilities," in the hopes that it'll be better for CW on crowded bands.  The 480 is 8 years old now, I believe.  I'm not using computers that were introduced 8 years ago; maybe it's time to try a newer radio?

If you would simply install a optional 270 or 500hz CW filter you will find it a whole different animal on CW and much more capable. I seriously doubt that a 950 would even equal let alone out do a 480 that has all  optional CW filter installed. The IF DSP on a 950 is not that tight. I have a 500 hz filter in my 480 as a compromise and use it for CW and Digi mode and do not find it lacking and if you are hard core get 270 hz filter. The optional filters on 480 have very steep skirts and excellent shape factor. I have always used a optional CW filter in all my rigs going back to my 830.  If you are looking for best CW rig I would look at a K3 and not a 950 or 7410. I did a lot of CW in past with a 570 and a optional 270hz filter in it and did not find it really lacking either. Stock filtering in 480 does not show its true CW potential.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 09:38:31 PM by W8JX » Logged

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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 03:50:14 PM »

The closed in spaced receive numbers aren't very good on the FT950.  The Kenwood TS590 has much better receive numbers. If you really want to get serious about DXing, though, I would get a used Icom 756PRO2 for around the same price.  You get dual receive and a bandscope, things the other rigs don't have. Both make DXing much easier.

The K3 and 590 would take it in CW. 756 though it has seen some minor updates and was a fine radio in its day is getting dated while the other two are more on the cutting edge DSP wise. 

Of course, putting a CW filter in the TS480 and spending the rest of the money on better antennas would be the best investment for the money DXwise.

Many dump rigs before even considering optional CW filters. I can tell you speaking for experience I have done CW with both a 570 and a 480 with optional CW filters. While filters used in 570 date back to 80's in design the ones used in 480 are all new and have much tighter/steeper skirts. When used with a optional CW filter and even narrower AF DSP band pass on top of it you will not be disappointed. Do not rate rigs true CW ability based on its performance without a optional CW filter.   
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AK7V
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 05:06:24 PM »

I am very happy with my IC-756 Pro III, and you can get one used for less than $2k.  Yes, it's a little older than some of the rigs you mentioned, but they are a fantastic value if you can find a good one for the right price.
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W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 05:31:18 PM »

The INRAD filters usually have much better shape factors, for less money than the OEM filters.  They also come in additional bandwidths. A Kenwood TS850 with a pair of INRAD 400hz or 250HZ CW filters will hold its own with about any other radio out there today.

Well the old Kenwood filters dated to early 80's and were used and carried forward into a lot of models. The shape factor/skirt selectivity of those filters was nothing to brag about. You will find the OEM filter for a 480 a whole new animal. I have a OEM 500 hz filter in my 570 and OEM 500 in my 480 and skirts are much steeper and difference it easy to see in use. A the old stock YK-88C1 500hz was 500 hz at 6db and 2khz at 60db. The YF-107C is 500hz at 6db and 950hz at 60db. Old YK-88CN1 is 270 hz at 6 db and 1.1 hz at 60 db. The YC-107CN in 480 is 270 hz at 6db and 650hz at 60 db.
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W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 07:54:17 PM »

Wow, Kenwood really did improve the shape factor for the 480 filters.  Too bad they aren't drop in ones like in the 450/850/930/940/950.  How do the INRAD filters for the 480 compare in terms of shape factor?

John AA5JG

Well the drop it is a lot bigger and rig is a lot smaller so it is a small price to pay. The 480 will accommodate two filters. I have the 1.8khz narrow SSB and 500hz CW filter in mine. I can even tell a difference between using the old 1.8khz in my 570 and the new style in 480.  As far as compared to Inrad filters I do not have spec for them handy at moment.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 04:21:02 AM »

    To what extent does your current rig need repair?,or is it still usable but you are mainly concerned about CW filtering? If filtering is your main concern you may want to look into borrowing an outboard audio filter.I have an IC-7200 with DSP/notching which works very well but as I am concerned with picking up weak QRP cw signals I find that DSP doesn't work any where near as well for signal separation/cancelling background noise as my NeScaf or Autek QF-1A  audio filters,plus I can adjust the cw pitch to my comfort level.Just a thought.Good luck with your decision.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 05:50:30 AM by W1JKA » Logged
W8JX
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 01:35:06 PM »

   I find that DSP doesn't work any where near as well for signal separation/cancelling background noise as my NeScaf or Autek QF-1A  audio filters,plus I can adjust the cw pitch to my comfort level.Just a thought.Good luck with your decision.

Not so sure, when I use my 480 and can set pitch I want to hear and auto zero beat a signal correctly and dial down a combo of xtal filter and AF DSP as tight as 50 hz.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2012, 12:24:58 PM »

I have lots of rigs in the shack, and have owned many more over the years. Everything from a FT 101 e to 101zd to siltronics and swan and heathkit and ts 950 , corsair II delta, triton IV, century 21, ft 840, ic 735,  ic 756, a couple of swans, a couple of atlas's , and currently have a  ft 857 d in the car and a 900 mhz spectra in the car, and a ft857 d in the truck( with 4 other mobile rigs) and a 746 pro, a ft 847, a pegasus, a ts 2000, a ic 740, and last but no the least is an orion. Most of them have their own amps, and filters and such.

All that said , I use the orion for HF. Now with the version 3 software just released ( supports both the original orion and the orion II. ) it becomes one of the absolute radio I have ever owned. And this also shows that Tentec is going to continue to support them both. The only other radio in this class is one of the fully set up K 3's but they are too small for my big hands.  You can pick up a used orion for under $2000 with filters and such, and you can also buy a refurbished orion from tentec with a warranty. they take trade ins and go through them and the sell them as use.  they also take trade ins  depending on what you have.  call them up and ask .

the latest version of software makes an already great rig even better...
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