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Author Topic: Why the hatred for menu driven radios?  (Read 12497 times)
AF5CC
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« on: September 15, 2013, 01:33:11 PM »

In reading some of the eham.net reviews and for sale ads, it seems that a lot of hams have a real hatred of menu driven radios?  Why?  They aren't that hard to use, just read the manual.  The menus also the radios today to do so much more than the old ones did. So, what is the problem with menu driven radios that makes so many people hate them? 

John AF5CC
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2013, 01:45:41 PM »

So, what is the problem with menu driven radios that makes so many people hate them? 

Hams don't like all those menus because It is a pain to change menu items thru the radio.However some radios come with free PC software (like a TS-590) that make the menus painless.

Stan K9IUQ
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AF5CC
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 02:05:26 PM »

I have never found it that difficult to go through the menus.  Giving my Yaesu FT100D a good workout this weekend in the VHF contest and it is as menu driven as any radio. How many of those items do you really need to change all that often anyways?

John AF5CC
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W1JKA
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 02:15:16 PM »

   I believe most hams would use the word inconvenience rather than"Hatred"due to the wide variation  of number and types of overlay menus between the lower and high end rigs of different manufacturers. My IC-7200  is very easy simple and intuitive to use compared to the high end rigs which often forces you to refer to the manual or if you get another brand rig you have to go through the learning process again. Keep in mind that most of the older hams were brought up with knob, switch and dial rigs, everything you needed to operate/tune or adjust was  right there in front of you, this was especially convenient when at another's shack, field day ect. when you could easily use another's gear of different manufacture with very little learning curve or operation manuals, try doing that with the different modern menu driven rigs of today.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 02:25:46 PM »

Having used menu driven spectrum analysers and signal generators, I found them a total PITA, With an HP 8640 sig gen or the HP spectrum analysers of the late 1970s' (can't remember the numbers, but carrying the two units one in each hand lengthened your arms!), it was far quicker to change settings than with the menu driven ones.

It's a case of ergonomics. Pushing a button three times or whatever instead of once is poor ergonomics. Simple as that.

However, there is a French saying of 'each dog to his own vomit' which applies.....
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AF5CC
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2013, 04:59:41 PM »

Keep in mind that most of the older hams were brought up with knob, switch and dial rigs, everything you needed to operate/tune or adjust was  right there in front of you,

But look how limited those rigs were also. Most of them only had 1 VFO.  None of them probably had built in keyers, much less memory keyers, or voice keyers, or DSP, or memories.  Learning to use menus is not rocket science, it just takes a bit of patience and a willingness to try before automatically condemning these rigs.

I prefer a rig with 2 VFOs, quite a few bands, DSP, a memory keyer, a home channel, quick memory banks, and all I get on the Yaesu FT100D. It sure does a lot more than the kenwood TS120 did, that is for sure.

John AF5CC
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W1JKA
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2013, 05:28:00 PM »

Re: AF5CC   reply #5

   Those rigs may be limited in your opinion, but they made just as many contacts as this new generation of solid state/menu rigs with better audio quality and they will probably be still on the air long after our KenYeElIco XYZ-2000++ has been sent to the recycle bin.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2013, 05:43:37 PM »

In reading some of the eham.net reviews and for sale ads, it seems that a lot of hams have a real hatred of menu driven radios?  Why?  They aren't that hard to use, just read the manual.  The menus also the radios today to do so much more than the old ones did. So, what is the problem with menu driven radios that makes so many people hate them? 

John AF5CC


Read the manual? You have to be kidding right? Who reads manuals? Oh wait, the guys who want to know how to get the most out of their menu driven radio that's who.
  Grin

My FT-950 is menu driven and I rarely have to adjust a menu setting. I have the menus set to where the radio performs best for my use and there is no need to adjust them.

You are correct when you say the new rigs do so much more than the older rigs, such as the hybrids and even the all tube rigs. But before the menu driven rig was here lots of contacts were made with the older radios. I made lots of contacts while using hybrids and older rigs too.
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2013, 08:43:46 PM »

In reading some of the eham.net reviews and for sale ads, it seems that a lot of hams have a real hatred of menu driven radios?  Why?  They aren't that hard to use, just read the manual.  The menus also the radios today to do so much more than the old ones did. So, what is the problem with menu driven radios that makes so many people hate them? 

John AF5CC

What makes so many hate them is that some rigs cannot even change power out, use processor or even box without digging into menus. Myself I like a rig that commonly used items are on front panel.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 08:46:16 PM »

I think the word "Hatred" is very appropriate in describing menu driven radios!  Perfect, in fact!

I've had two sessions with menu driven transceivers and if it came right down to it, I wouldn't take one if it was free.  

As one said, (paraphrased) the older hams are used to pushing buttons, turning knobs and flipping switches.  That's very true.  In my opinion, having to push buttons multiple times to get to use a function is ridiculous.  

As for reading the manual, that's a joke, and not a very funny one.  My last session with a Kenwood menu driven transceiver, which included the book was an exercise in futility.  The list of functions and key presses to activate or use these functions were close spaced and two pages long!

Frankly, I just wonder how a person is expected to remember all of those commands and procedures.  Especially if you get away from the radio for a few weeks because of business or other family functions that we all experience at one time or another.

Not only that but most of these buttons are very small and also in many cases are the same color as the case and it becomes necessary to get very close to the radio and squint to see the labels.

I suppose I'll be using switches, buttons and knobs along with Windows XP until I die.  Roll Eyes

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K1CJS
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2013, 04:45:43 AM »

Keep in mind that most of the older hams were brought up with knob, switch and dial rigs, everything you needed to operate/tune or adjust was  right there in front of you,

But look how limited those rigs were also....  Learning to use menus is not rocket science, it just takes a bit of patience and a willingness to try before automatically condemning these rigs.

As 'JKA said, inconvenient is a better word than hate for the feelings of the old timers to menu driven rigs.  The older rigs may be limited, but the old timers are better at tuning/operating those rigs than someone who depends on menus for adjustments and operation.  And they don't mind the 'limits' that the older rigs had, those rigs still got the job done for them.

I've got no objection to either type--menus or not.  If you want to use a rig, you'll learn how to use it.  And that's all it really comes to in the end.

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KA5IPF
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2013, 07:54:10 AM »

And the current crop of "old-timers" (most anyway) were looked down on by their elmers because they were "appliance operators" and not true hams who built their own from scratch.

So it continues today....  appliance operators vs button pushers....
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K5TED
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2013, 08:41:35 AM »

The limitations of a knob radio is that you either have few knobs and lost of menu choices, or lots of knobs and buttons and the need for a much larger radio front panel. I particularly like a large front panel with lots of knobs and buttons. I like the FT-1000MP layout. "The market" and product designers, however, dictate lots of functionality in a smaller package, therefore, menus are the only way to manage all that functionality in a compact form factor.

I don't believe that most potential radio buyers want a dual purpose base/field rig, but apparently the manufacturers believe otherwise.

Why not take a low/mid price rig like the IC-7000 and build it into a larger package, bringing most of the functionality out to the front panel?

Oh, wait, that would jack the price up at least double if not more. Lots of large discrete components like button pads and pots, encoders, etc. and a larger case mean larger cash outlay.

In the absence of knobs, I prefer something like PowerSDR.  All of the commonly used controls right there on the screen.

 
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K8AXW
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2013, 09:15:58 AM »

I've been through all of this before.  I started out with a Globeking 400b, which was 3 sections mounted in a 19" rack using a outboard VFO and an SP-600 receiver.  Everything was controlled by switches, buttons and knobs.... lots of them!

Then it was the smaller individual units like the SX-101A, Apache transmitter, both weighing in around 70 lbs each and again, with many controls.

Then came the transceiver in one box, which I considered something akin to blasphemy.  (As an aside, I took Wayne Green, W2NSD - Recent SK, over the coals once because he was such an advocate of the transceiver-in-a-box.  That didn't go well)

Now we have the sub-miniature microprocessor controlled transceiver that has menu driven controls that I consider counter productive, requiring more time to learn and use than one uses for communicating.

I guess the bottom line is that it's all one gets comfortable with, age, temperament and perhaps the belief one needs every feature known to man in one box.

I've predicted for some time that the next wave will be SDR.  It's in its infancy now but once the problems are worked out, the "box" will be on the floor out of sight.  I think this will bring us full circle because a lot of "switches, knobs and buttons" can be crammed onto an LCD monitor and it now becomes a simple mouse click to access any function desired.  Not only that the whole damn thing would be up-gradable by a quick download!
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W1JKA
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2013, 09:33:10 AM »

  The statement "learning to use menus is not rocket science" by a previous poster appears to be true, upon researching about 300+ eHam Spot light pics the majority of operators look to be very familiar with menus already and many are still operating boat anchor type gear. Wink
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