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Author Topic: Kenwood TS-480 vs Icom IC-7000  (Read 30534 times)
KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« on: September 01, 2013, 02:44:38 PM »

Hello, everyone.  I posted this question at the bottom of one of my previous discussions, but didn't get any bites there, so I'm trying here instead.

As far as my first transceiver purchase goes, I have narrowed my choices down to these two units (Kenwood TS-480 vs Icom IC-7000).  The main thing for me is bang for the buck at the $1000 QRO / IF-DSP price point.  I'm currently leaning toward the IC-7000 because it includes 2m and 70cm, and I'll need those for local repeater and club use.  I'm aware I can purchase a separate mobile unit for that if need be.

I'm also aware of the warnings about cooling problems on the 7000, but there's a lot of conflicting information there.  I'm willing to take the risk to find out myself.

Before I pull the trigger though, I wanted to see if any of you have used both, and what your thoughts are.

As always, thanks very much in advance and 73!
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 02:46:55 PM »

I wish Yaesu had a more modern radio at this price point than the 897.  (not that it's a bad unit)  I'd love to get my hands on a FT DX 1200, but the price is too high for me to start with.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
K9IUQ
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Posts: 1950




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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 03:03:08 PM »

I wish Yaesu had a more modern radio at this price point than the 897.  (not that it's a bad unit)  I'd love to get my hands on a FT DX 1200, but the price is too high for me to start with.

I owned the FT-897D and still own a 7000. The 7000 is a much better radio and far more versatile.

Stan K9IUQ
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WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 04:41:40 PM »

I have the 480 and I love it, but it does not have 2 and 70 cm.  You should consider bumping your price range up and looking at the IC-7100.  It appears to be an excellent rig (I don't have it, but have read about it), an improvement on the 7000 with a plethora of capabilities.
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WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 04:52:30 PM »

Not only have I used both, I still own both radios. Each have their pluses and minuses.
The TS-480(mine is the SAT version with the built in antenna tuner) is a good radio.
The DSP is a bit dated, but, works pretty well in most situations. And the audio from
the receiver is not tiresome to listen to for long periods, like the 7000 can be.
The display on the 480 is very large, and easy to see. And the control layout seems to
work well and the most used functions have buttons and knobs that are easy to learn and
manipulate while mobile without being distracting. It also has a lot of settings in menus, that
can customize the receive audio and the transmit audio as well. I have always got good audio
reports with the 480SAT.
  The body of the 480 is rather large compared to the 7000, and if you plan to use it as a base
unit and mobile, then the optional mobile bracket is a must. One thing I do not like about the
480 is having to run the microphone cable to the body of the radio instead of the remote head
like the 7000. Depending on where you want to mount the body of the radio, either in a vehicle
or at home, that can be a problem. Another issue is for better performance, you need to add the
optional filters. The DSP filtering while good, cannot handle all situations as well as the 7000
which does not need extra filters.
  As for the ICOM 7000, it is a very good radio. All of the most common functions that you might
want to change often (for one reason or another) even while driving, are associated with buttons and knobs. And the color display is really bright and easy to read in almost all lighting situations.
Having 2 meters and 70cm available in the same radio is nice too. Using it mobile is easy and
offers a lot of options for installation. The radio does get warm to almost hot. BUT, the entire
case is a heatsink and is designed to work that way. Just don't mount it in a tight place. Put it
somewhere that there is air movement around it. No mods need to be done to keep it cool.
Mine has lived in an 18 wheeler for a couple of years now and I have yet to have any issues with
it. If there is one thing that I don't care for with the 7000, it is the receive audio. It can be tiring
to listen to for long periods of time. I've tried different external speakers and the best I have found
was one installed in the headliner of the 2007 Kenworth I have been driving (working a different trucking job now and have not reinstalled the radio gear yet!). That speaker which was intended
for CB use, (puts the audio right beside the driver's head) has a very good sound to it.
But, still the audio from the 7000 seems a bit harsh compared to the TS-480SAT. I'm sure there are menus settings buried in that radio that might make it better. But, being the lazy trucker that I am, I have not dug thru the manual enough to find them!!
  Of the two radios, I'd say the 7000 is the most bang for the buck. BUT, I'd not turn down a good
deal on a TS-480 if I was in the market for another radio. If I were wanting to replace the 7000, I'd look at the ICOM 7100. For a truck driver, and the current truck that I am driving, that radio
with it's slanted remote head, might be a better deal. I wish it had a color display, but, other than that, it looks like it might be a better radio than the 7000. For one thing, the body of the radio is
larger and should not run quite as warm as the 7000. And if you are into DStar, or think you might be interested in it one day, that feature is already built into the 7100. Also, early reviews by some previous 7000 owners, say the DSP functions are better and the audio from the radio sounds better. But, it's $1,600.00 too!!
  For a quick install, the 7000 is the winner. (and it has a good remote kit too) Just don't put it
in a tight place with no air space around it. And on top of that, the body of the radio can be installed in the trunk of a car and the microphone is connected to the remote head. That is something to consider. Mounting the body of the 480 in the trunk of a car, means running an extra
cable for the microphone. And more chances of having RFI issues as well.
Good luck. Either radio, depending on your planned use, will be a good choice.
james
WD5GWY
 
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KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2013, 07:10:22 PM »

I have the 480 and I love it, but it does not have 2 and 70 cm.  You should consider bumping your price range up and looking at the IC-7100.  It appears to be an excellent rig (I don't have it, but have read about it), an improvement on the 7000 with a plethora of capabilities.

I thought about it, but I plan to drop some cash on a KX3 this Winter for field QRP and as a second base rig, which is why I am limiting myself to about $1000 on my first base.  The touch screen seems neat, but I don't like the black/white monotone screen.  I like to operate in low light, so the color TFT screen on the 7000 seems much more comfortable to look at. Amber is better for monotone, IMO.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2013, 07:15:38 PM »

WD5GWY, thanks for all the great information. I appreciate you taking the time.  I'll be using the transceiver as my first base and maybe move it to mobile in my Jeep in a year or so.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
M6GOM
Member

Posts: 944




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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2013, 06:34:11 AM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as is the RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 have been addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.
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KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 12:47:39 PM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as is the RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 have been addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.

Thanks for the advice.  It's a tough call, because I really want to stay at the $1100 price point for my first transceiver purchase, and it seems no one can touch the 7000 at that price.  I don't want to buy used unless it's barely used and an amazing deal because I don't like dealing with other people's problems.  Truth is, I really want to get into a higher end SDR or a full size radio in about a year or two, so the 7000 is probably more radio than I need being a beginner.

Funds aren't super tight, though I have many hobbies to pay for.  I'm planning to get a KX3 in addition to this first base radio for field QRP this Winter because I am an avid hiker/camper and I'm interested in activities like SOTA. I'm just trying to budget it all to make it work in a short amount of time.  My camping and hiking season down here in SoCal is Fall/Winter so I'm excited to get into QRP.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
M6GOM
Member

Posts: 944




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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2013, 01:00:10 PM »

In the UK you can buy a new Kenwood TS480SAT and a Kenwood TM-V710 for £1100 which would probably work out around $1100 USD given the standard £1=$1 currency conversion with prices over here.
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W8JX
Member

Posts: 6030




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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 09:58:41 AM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as is the RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 have been addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.

Personally I could never see logic of a HF rig being used for 2m and 440 FM. Kinda a waste of resources. When you make a HF to UHF rig in a box in a certain size and price range compromises must be made. Kenwood wisely choose not to make those compromises with 480 and the result is a excellent compact HF rig.
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KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 01:13:34 PM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as is the RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 have been addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.

Personally I could never see logic of a HF rig being used for 2m and 440 FM. Kinda a waste of resources. When you make a HF to UHF rig in a box in a certain size and price range compromises must be made. Kenwood wisely choose not to make those compromises with 480 and the result is a excellent compact HF rig.

Good point.  I've been hoping someone would explain what is technically better about one or the other radio so I can make a choice on some hard facts. I'm still learning about the hardware, DSP and other features and I'm not quite at a point where I can make the call on my own.  So far, they seem fairly even from anecdotal evidence, both having pros and cons. If the quality of the Kenwood somehow outweighs the quality and band access of the IC-7000, that would be helpful info to have.

For me, it's also a budget thing.  I have several hobbies aside from this one that cost money, so I have to look for the best bang for the buck in each of them, rather than spending all my discretionary funds on a single hobby.  Of course, over time, I will invest much more money, but this is my first transceiver, and I have capped myself at about $1000.
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6030




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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 03:43:09 PM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 hineeb een addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.

Personally I could never see logic of a HF rig being used for 2m and 440 FM. Kinda a waste of resources. When you make a HF to UHF rig in a box in a certain size and price range compromises must be made. Kenwood wisely choose not to make those compromises with 480 and the result is a excellent compact HF rig.

Good point.  I've been hoping someone would explain what is technically better about one or the other radio so I can make a choice on some hard facts. I'm still learning about the hardware, DSP and other features and I'm not quite at a point where I can make the call on my own.  So far, they seem fairly even from anecdotal evidence, both having pros and cons. If the quality of the Kenwood somehow outweighs the quality and band access of the IC-7000, that would be helpful info to have.

For me, it's also a budget thing.  I have several hobbies aside from this one that cost money, so I have to look for the best bang for the buck in each of them, rather than spending all my discretionary funds on a single hobby.  Of course, over time, I will invest much more money, but this is my first transceiver, and I have capped myself at about $1000.


The 7000 has a reputation for being a hot running rig tempature  wise. One must also remember that the mere presence of DSP in IF does not me top performance. It costs $$$$$ for good IF DSP to have a higher sampling rate and tight steep skirts. Entry level DSP rigs lack in this area. The 480 is a very mature analog rig and it has a clean receiver. The optional SSB and CW filters have very tight/steep skirts, tighter and steeper than you will get in a low cost IF DSP rig.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 04:18:29 PM »

I have both and concur fully with GWY's overall view.

The selectivity is better on the TS480 as RX audio and the receiver is a lot quieter too.

The new Icom 7100 isn't much more than a new Icom 7000 but a lot of the shortcomings of the 7000 hineeb een addressed.

If you are a bit tight on funds and only use VHF/UHF on FM then look at a Kenwood TS480 and a cheap dual band FM transceiver which gives you the advantage of being able to monitor repeaters whilst working HF, something that you can't do with the 7000 or 7100.

Personally I could never see logic of a HF rig being used for 2m and 440 FM. Kinda a waste of resources. When you make a HF to UHF rig in a box in a certain size and price range compromises must be made. Kenwood wisely choose not to make those compromises with 480 and the result is a excellent compact HF rig.

Good point.  I've been hoping someone would explain what is technically better about one or the other radio so I can make a choice on some hard facts. I'm still learning about the hardware, DSP and other features and I'm not quite at a point where I can make the call on my own.  So far, they seem fairly even from anecdotal evidence, both having pros and cons. If the quality of the Kenwood somehow outweighs the quality and band access of the IC-7000, that would be helpful info to have.

For me, it's also a budget thing.  I have several hobbies aside from this one that cost money, so I have to look for the best bang for the buck in each of them, rather than spending all my discretionary funds on a single hobby.  Of course, over time, I will invest much more money, but this is my first transceiver, and I have capped myself at about $1000.


The 7000 has a reputation for being a hot running rig tempature  wise. One must also remember that the mere presence of DSP in IF does not me top performance. It costs $$$$$ for good IF DSP to have a higher sampling rate and tight steep skirts. Entry level DSP rigs lack in this area. The 480 is a very mature analog rig and it has a clean receiver. The optional SSB and CW filters have very tight/steep skirts, tighter and steeper than you will get in a low cost IF DSP rig.


I'm not planning to get into contesting anytime soon, and I've read that those narrow filters are best used in high QRM scenarios, so maybe they are something I don't need right away? 
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73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
W8JX
Member

Posts: 6030




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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2013, 09:44:37 AM »

On optional filters for 480, I find the narrow SSB filter very useful at times and I am NOT a contester.  It you do Digi the 500 hz xtal filter plays nicely
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