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Author Topic: Kenwood TS-480 for CW?  (Read 13841 times)
K2TTM
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Posts: 52




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« on: September 08, 2012, 08:10:01 AM »

I have decided to get back on the air after a considerable time away.  I've always been strictly CW and I have been looking around for a good quality transceiver to buy.  I want to keep my cost reasonable and I the TS480 will fit my budget nicely. 

Most, if not all, the reviews I've seen about it seem very good and I really like the size of it (I have limited room for it in the house/shack) My question is, how does it handle CW? 

I have always been able to pull out signals thru all the QRM, having learned to copy CW while in the Navy about 100 years ago.  (Currently I can still copy about 25-30wpm in my head but only about 20 on a typewriter.)

Any suggestions?

Thanks

P.S. I don't know if this is the correct area for this question, but I don't see any "Equipment" forums.
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99.9% of the time I'm on the air, I'll be on CW.
PA0BLAH
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 09:40:07 AM »

Some guys  like to use QSK and some don't. When you like:

There was here in the CW chapter recently a thread going for the best appliance in QSK.
Look there.

A CW filter of 200 or 400 Hz wide is important, they sell them by number of poles. Poles? I remember a pole bought snowtires and complained in spring, they were melted.


73
Bob PAoBLAH
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KC9XG
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Posts: 19




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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 09:41:32 AM »

The TS480 is a nice radio but get the CW filter if you are going to do much CW.

I use the TS480 as a 100 watt transmitter and the Flex 1500 5 watt SDR as the receiver.  The SDR filters are brick wall and infiinitely variable.  Once you use them, you won't go back to analog receivers.

I have pre-ordered the Apache Labs ANAN-10+ 15-20Watt SDR transceiver.  The exciter/receiver is the HPSDR Hermes 500mw transceiver with a PA and additional filtering.

Here are some SDR links :

http://openhpsdr.org/

https://apache-labs.com/index.php   http://www.n9vv.com/hamradio.html

http://flexradio.com/

Bill KC9XG
ex RM3, USS Albany CG-10 1962-1964
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 10:00:19 AM »


The SDR filters are brick wall and infiinitely variable.  

Bill KC9XG
ex RM3, USS Albany CG-10 1962-1964


Be careful Bill, I am not acquainted with the way all those commercial Japanese products are designed, that are readily sold because hams nowadays are not able anymore to design their own equipment, may be as a club of beginners and engineers at the top, passing their expertise to the less experienced hams. Nowadays ham radio is just shit chatting about nothing, contesting with a standard report, because a report is required for DXCC in order to claim a valid contact, but it does not require  a true report, so you are a LID when you report a 448 chirpy station not 599. That is ham radio nowadays.  

But I know that when your filter is in the audio channel after product detection, it is far worse compared with a filter in the IF channel, because intermodulation distortion between the desired signal and the unwanted, cannot be removed when it is in the desired frequency band.

Because the FIR SDR correlation filters that you specify as "infiinitely variable" brick wall have such a long internal delay. they are not friendly for QSK that hates delay. So be carefull with your advice. When you look any further you can find a lot of frustration from hams working CW QSK (better trying to work) with the modern SDR products of industry. It is the main reason for finding those products on e-Bay. May be nice for SSB for the CB appliance no code technician operators, not for the exta licensed CW ham.

Bob PAoBLAH
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 10:11:08 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
AC4RD
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Posts: 1235




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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 11:16:21 AM »

I've got a 480 though I've never used it much, for various reasons.  Last year I went back to CW and got out the 480 for a contest weekend, to see if it was much better than the 897 I was using.   I never had any problem with the 480 on SSB and PSK, but on CW the 480 gave me a lot of trouble.  I think I was getting RF into the cable between the radio and control head, but I didn't spend the time to figure it out.

The 480 was pretty good overall; I'm planning to put mine into my new car soon.  From the little I used it on CW, I would agree that if you buy one, you WILL need an optional CW filter.

Just FWIW, I wound up buying an FT-950; not much more than the 480 plus a filter, and I'm no expert, but I've been delighted.  It's got great filtering compared to anything I've ever owned before; I can get down to 200Hz and hear ONLY the DX station even if other stations are close and moderately strong, no AGC pumping.   The 950 is a BIG step up from the 480 IMO, and you don't need any optional filters with the built-in ones.  Worth considering, I'd say, unless you're already sold on the 480.
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KB7FSC
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Posts: 53




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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 11:51:11 AM »

My CW experience is pretty much limited to using a TS-480SAT, so I can't really compare it against any other rigs.  I've had my radio for almost two years, and I've been using it for CW for almost one year.  I used it without any additional filters for about 4 months.  I could set down the RF gain, and pull signals through fairly well without agc pumping in moderately crowded band conditions.  When there was a contest going, the strong signals could swamp out some of the lighter signals, even using the dsp filtering.  I installed a 270 hz crystal filter last Xmas, and that made a huge difference.  During contests or crowded band conditions, I can click on the filter and the strong stations nearby disappear.  So, for my limited experience comparing to other rigs, I would say that the 480 without filters is OK, but with the filter it is excellent.  Also, I like the keyer built into the rig.  I find the QSK works fine on the radio, although I only send at about 15 wpm.  Overall, I am impressed with the radio, and use it for my base radio.  I like the fact that I can set the control head in front of my monitor, and it doesn't clutter up my desk space.  It is also very easy to interface with a computer and with Ham Radio Deluxe.  IMHO, the $130 for the extra filter was money well spent, and it really improved its operation for cw and digital modes.  I'm sure there are better rigs out there, but for the cost, I am very pleased with the radio and I feel like I've already gotten my money's worth in a short period of time.

73,
Wane - KB7FSC
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K2TTM
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Posts: 52




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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 05:35:08 PM »

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.  I'm not 100% sold on the 480, so I'll do a little more looking around before I decide what to buy.  I'll check out that FT-950.

Thanks

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99.9% of the time I'm on the air, I'll be on CW.
WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 06:43:03 PM »

I wouldn't pick the 480S for CW operation, although I like Kenwood stuff in general.

For the price of an FT-950 you could pick up a real CW rig which is optimized for the mode.  A Ten Tec Jupiter or fully loaded Elecraft K2 spring to mind.  Or, a used TS-850SAT with fully loaded filters (it can accomodate dual 500 Hz or 250 Hz CW filters in two IFs) wouldn't be a bad choice, if you don't mind "used."  Ditto for a used Ten Tec OMNI-VI, or many other rigs.

I view the 480S as more of a mobile/portable/remote rig, as it shines in these areas.
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W8JX
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Posts: 6692




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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 09:02:52 PM »

I wouldn't pick the 480S for CW operation, although I like Kenwood stuff in general.

Likely because you have never used one for it. I have used a 480 with a optional CW filter and it does a excellent job. It has a very "clean" receiver too. The filters Kenwood makes for 480 have very steep skirts and excellent shape factor. This together with some AF DSP to tweak it further does a decent job.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
K2TTM
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Posts: 52




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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 09:31:32 PM »

Ok, now I'm really glad I asked.  Seems there are quite a few rigs that will fit the bill.  I'd like to keep my cost under $1,000, including power supply so that pretty much disqualifies the Ten Tech Jupiter, but I have seen the TS850's in my price range.

Thanks again everyone. I'm looking forward to getting back on the air and getting back in CW.

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99.9% of the time I'm on the air, I'll be on CW.
W8JX
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 05:04:40 AM »

Something else to consider is the 480 has auto tune for CW to properly zero beat signal which is a must as to tighten band pass for a few hundred hertz or less which 480 can do and the 850 does not.
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You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling to old fall far behind....
MI0GRG
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2012, 11:34:39 AM »

Hi,be careful with the FT-950,my friend has one who is not a CW Op,but a mutual friend of ours who is a real dyed in the wool morse man had a play on his 950 and said he thought it wasn't great on CW.There appeared to be distortion on the received audio,which no amount of adjustment of the controls could clear,and he said he would take the TS-480 over it any day.Having had a TS-480 myself,I can confirm its an excellent CW Rig,but as was stated earlier,the CW filter option is a must.73
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K8AC
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 05:44:34 AM »

I used a 480 quite a bit over a couple of years, mainly to take along on vacations, but sometimes as a remotely operated rig.  With the optional CW filter, it worked just fine and most of my operation was on CW with it.  Overall, it's a well designed rig and easy to operate. 

73, Floyd - K8AC
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 06:16:00 PM »

I had a TS-480SAT (the 100W version with the tuner) for about a year and it wasn't bad at all.  However, placing it side-by-side with my Jupiter for CW?

No comparison.  But then, they don't claim it to be.

My most fun with the rig was operating portable/camping where I thought it was great because of the separate control panel that was actually large enough, easy to use, and easy to read!  I could sit that on the "kitchen table" in the RV with the main body underneath, and it wasn't intrusive; we could eat meals on the same table without it getting in the way at all.  I thought that was a rather spectacular feature.

But for QSK CW?  Not so much. Wink

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K2TTM
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 11:40:54 AM »

So, given a choice between the TS480 and a TS-850 which would you go with?

Space isn't an issue for me and the prices seem about the same, give or take a $100 or so.

The 480 is obviously newer (better?) technologically and I'm not too hung up on contesting (although I enjoyed it back in the 90's). I'm just looking for a good CW rig that I can use casually with the occasional foray into contests.

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99.9% of the time I'm on the air, I'll be on CW.
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