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Author Topic: Kenwood TS-480SAT or TS-480HX?  (Read 6487 times)
VK3TPM
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Posts: 2




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« on: June 27, 2014, 10:36:16 PM »

Hello to the group.  I am a new chum to HF even though being licensed since 1991.  I said I would never go HF mobile due to the inefficiencies and ugliness of the antennas, except probably 10 metres.  Once I put HF in the shack this year the bug has bitten and now I am looking for a mobile setup with a radio that has a remote mounting head.  To this, I am even prepared to drill holes in my eight year old sedan.  Not the roof, just the trunk, easier to change antennas.  My Ham Dealer is suggesting a Diamond HF40FXW, trunk lip mount to operate on 40 metres, our apparent most popular band and to be tuned to 7.070 MHz.  One of my friends tunes his to 7.100 MHz.

This antenna only has a bandwidth of 50 kHz so I am told.  I have read some of Alan's web page http://www.k0bg.com/   and I will not say I understood all of it.  There was so much there that I started to switch off.  Though I did come away with a better understanding about capacitive coupling, other terms and mounting.

If I may step back a couple of months, I was in a net on my home station chatting to some hams in New South Wales on 40 metres a 1,000 kilometres away S9, when a chap from Adelaide, South Australia popped up and he was mobile.  His signal was so weak, I thought why bother.  Yet to the credit of the net controller he persisted and welcomed the weak signal ham to the net.

After this experience I have been in a quandary whether I should go for a TS-480 SAT 100 watt and tuner or a TS-480 HX 200 watt?  My dealer has a HX though runs it at half power and a few other hams I know also run 100 watts though I think this is because it is the limit of their radios.  The 40 amp plus load that the HX puts on the car is something that also concerns me.  It is a big draw.

Anyhow I open this to the group for some constructive positive feedback on which way to go.  Australia is a big country with a 1,000 kilometres between cities as the norm.  Some times much further.

My question to the group.  Will the extra 3db make all the difference?  Or should I go with the SAT in built antenna tuner to play further up and down the band.  Mode of operation SSB.

I did look back in the previous posts and there was one on a similar line of thought, though that was for home station setup, under "Antennas" as the ham there was experimenting with different antennas.

Thank you for your time.

Paul.
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G8YMW
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Posts: 242




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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 05:01:07 AM »

Paul, I'm not sure how big 40 metres is over there in Oz but I would say is look at your allocation, subtract the CW/data portion and go for the middle of what is left.


One thing you will find (You have found) is that a good many HF operators will try for the "little guy"
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73 de Tony
Sent by WW2 Royal Navy signal lamp
M6GOM
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Posts: 957




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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 07:28:38 AM »

I've had both. I noticed no difference in making contacts between the 100W and the 200W version. The 200W one did however require far more extensive wiring and grounding.

Certainly if you're going to be using mono band antennas the benefits of the ATU to extend the bandwidth far outweigh the 3dB / half a S point gain the extra 100W gives you.

I find your belief about mobile HF being fairly pointless quite interesting given that I've worked Australia from the UK, a distance of 12,000 miles, on 20m with 100W from my TS480 running into a Little Tarheel II numerous times driving down the road in my car. Properly installed, a mobile antenna can perform very well.
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K0BG
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 03:58:14 PM »

The single most important mobile operation item you'll ever buy is the antenna! Minuscule antennas like the Diamond HF40FXW take a back seat even to a lowly hamstick in most cases! A better way to put this is, with the SAT version, you'll be radiating about 4 watts. That would be 8 watts with the HX version.

Let's assume you opt for a Tarheel 200A. You'll get about 10 to 15 watts out with the SAT depending on where you mount it. Besides, you won't need the SAT as you can get a low SWR without one, clear across 80 through 10 meters! Should be a bit obvious what the best solution is.

By the way, the TS-480HX is essentially a poor man's amplifier. With a decent antenna installation, you can work the world!
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VK3TPM
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 06:39:50 PM »

Thank you for your replies, they are gratefully appreciated.  I have had a sleep on it and think I will go for the TS-480SAT.  IN Oz we do not have the wide selection of equipment that hams have in the USA or else where have.  If I were to use a Tarheel I would need to import and install it myself.  This is something I am unsure about and do not know if I could accomplish.  Hence I was going with what products our local Ham store sells in Australia.

I have consulted a commercial radio installation company that looks after coal and iron ore mines and the like and they recommended a motorised antenna of their own.  I may have to give this another look.  The cost of which I am unaware of.

As has been pointed out Diamond antennas are only 4% efficient.  This is what I was alluding to about not getting much bang for your buck on the lower HF bands.  As Alan has pointed out, a motorised antenna would suit for the moment as we live in a country town though Shelley and I are moving back into the suburbs and that means a low ceiling height garage.  No large sheds. I will investigate the motorised antennas a little further and see how difficult it is to remove the whip section on a daily basis.  It maybe impractical.  That would OK as we do country trips once per fortnight and I could attach the whip then.  Though not on my daily commute to work in Melbourne.

After another look at Alan's reply and with a self tuning antenna the TS-480HX seem to be the pick of the bunch.  This is the company that I will be dealing with for the install http://www.aaradio.com.au/

Looks like another phone call and a trip back to Melbourne.

My local Ham Dealer  http://www.strictlyham.com.au/  in Melbourne and Australia for that matter.

Thank you for your replies you have given me something more to think about and reconsider antennas that I previously have just passed over and thought too ugly.  Looks like ugly wins.

Kind regards,

Paul.
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WB4IVF
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 03:06:35 AM »

I will investigate the motorised antennas a little further and see how difficult it is to remove the whip section on a daily basis.  It maybe impractical. 
No need to remove the whip if you use a foldover coupling.  Breedlove makes a nice one: https://www.breedlovemounts.com/Fold_Over_Coupling.html
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M6GOM
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Posts: 957




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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 03:23:49 AM »

Thank you for your replies, they are gratefully appreciated.  I have had a sleep on it and think I will go for the TS-480SAT.  IN Oz we do not have the wide selection of equipment that hams have in the USA or else where have.  If I were to use a Tarheel I would need to import and install it myself.  This is something I am unsure about and do not know if I could accomplish. 

Its not that hard. Just follow the advice on Alan K0BGs website in regards to mounting, bonding, grounds and you'll be OK. Because you're using a TS480 you can use the CW tune feature on it which makes using the manual rocker switch to control the antenna very easy. You don't need anything other than the antenna and the accessories that come with it, a good mount, some RG213 braid, some crimp connectors, serrated washers and basic hand tools. I had been licensed less than a year when I installed my Little Tarheel II. Initially I used a triple magmount and had issues with it, mainly rebooting the radio on 80m when using more than 50W, which is when I came across Alan's website. I installed it as per the information on his site which took about half a day. The problem disappeared and the performance when I changed the stock whip for a 6ft one was equal S point for S point with a Diamond CP6 home base vertical antenna I had.
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W8JX
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Posts: 6149




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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 06:17:09 AM »

I own a 480 SAT and I would do HX with self tuning antenna in a mobile. SAT is a better base rig.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 960




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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 05:24:43 AM »

On the low bands 3 db can be a hell of a difference especially when you consider how inefficient the antenna is. Try getting 3db more gain from a mobile antenna!
I would go with the 200 watt HX version which is the version I run. I also have a Henry 700 watt amplifier which I rarely turn on since I have been using 200 watts.
Besides nothing prevents you running the HX at 100 watts of output power. 

I have this same debate with many hams about the efficacy of 25 watts  versus 5 watt QRP when portable. I run 25 watts and most  hams cant tell the difference between  25 watts and 100 watts. The difference between 25 and 5 watts as reported by many hams is like turning on a linear. For this reason I like 25  watt military manpack and my portable radios to have 25 watts of output power which in the real world with a decent antenna is barely a perceivable difference  from 100 watts.

As for measuring the difference    very few ham  transceivers have a   S-meter that can measure 3bd let alone 6 db accurately. When you use a good SDR receiver its easy to see 3db difference.  I regularly test my mobile system with WSPR.  WSPR can detect the 3db signal difference in favor every time. So there is a difference and the difference can be measured if you use the right techniques. On  40 meters the 3db  made my signal detectable  on WSPR and I went on working  several stations in the Pacific on long path who all said that antenna B(200 watts) was better.

I also did this test on the 75 meter  dx into the west coast USA, and the difference was well worth the  extra price. You would not even bother buy something like an Ameritron ALS500 if you owned a TS480HX

Ham radio is  Db game and thats the laws of physics I would not throw 3db away on any band!

I've had both. I noticed no difference in making contacts between the 100W and the 200W version. The 200W one did however require far more extensive wiring and grounding.

Certainly if you're going to be using mono band antennas the benefits of the ATU to extend the bandwidth far outweigh the 3dB / half a S point gain the extra 100W gives you.

I find your belief about mobile HF being fairly pointless quite interesting given that I've worked Australia from the UK, a distance of 12,000 miles, on 20m with 100W from my TS480 running into a Little Tarheel II numerous times driving down the road in my car. Properly installed, a mobile antenna can perform very well.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 957




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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2014, 03:24:05 AM »

Good old Zenki.  Says 3dB can be a hell of a difference then destroys his own argument by saying hams can't tell the difference of a 6dB increase.
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VE7REN
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 09:02:58 AM »

i own both models and prefer the hx model over the sat.. going from 100 to 200 watts always has the other stations im talking to tell me there is a difference on the higher power..
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