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eHam Forums => CW => Topic started by: W2TWM on September 23, 2007, 10:00:58 AM



Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: W2TWM on September 23, 2007, 10:00:58 AM
I would like your opinion on what is the best radio for the use of MORSE CODE.A newer radio after 1980.Tim   KC2ESQ


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: KE3WD on September 23, 2007, 10:24:58 AM
Any TenTec rig is a great CW radio.  

Also Elecraft.  


Flex radio has a great reputation also, I am lusting after a Flex 5000.  Soon.  



KE3WD


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: W5ESE on September 23, 2007, 02:33:54 PM
I agree with the previous poster that Ten-Tec and
Elecraft make excellent CW rigs.

That said, you hear all kinds of rigs used on CW on
the air. A buddy brought a 30 year old Atlas 210X
to Field Day for us to use at the CW station. We
sure had fun with it.

One refreshing thing is that you never hear pi**ing
contests on CW over whose radio is the best, as
you sometimes will encounter on SSB.

So I would say, whatever you have now, plug in a key,
and go for it. It will probably work fine.

73
Scott
W5ESE


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: WB2WIK on September 23, 2007, 07:01:50 PM
There isn't any best.  There are a few that aren't very good.

Anything Ten-Tec's ever made is a good CW rig.

Then again, my 17 year-old Kenwood TS-850S is also a good CW rig, as is my 29 year-old Drake TR-7.

What differentiates a "good CW rig" from others is its keying characteristics.  A "good CW rig" should be free of clicks and other detrimental artifacts, and have a smooth and clear CW note at any keying speed.

I'd say about 90% of all the rigs made in the past 40 years or so meet that requirement, but there are a few that don't.

WB2WIK/6


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: N0IU on September 23, 2007, 08:21:56 PM
The best rig all around is the ICOM IC-7800, but it costs $10,600.00 and for that price it had better be the best in every category.

Scott N0IU


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: AE5I on September 24, 2007, 12:00:32 AM
The best CW rig I've ever used is a little bit older than that...

It's a Drake T-4XC / R-4C combo.

Great performance and no menus!  :-)

For a post 1980 rig, I doubt if anything would beat a TenTec....

Tom


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: NI0C on September 24, 2007, 11:45:48 AM
This question comes up quite frequently in these forums, and predictably Ten Tec is mentioned.  Yet there is one serious drawback to many of the Ten Tec rigs that CW operators should be aware of.

If you are a CW operator who likes narrow filtering (250 Hz) as I do, and prefers low pitch (less than 500 Hz) for copying weak signals, you may need special crystal filters for your radio.  

The problem is that many of the standard Ten Tec filters for the 9 MHz IF stages are offset for a standard pitch of 700 or 750 Hz.  A person trying to listen at a pitch of 400 Hz (the lower limit available on the Omni 6 models) could find himself listening on the skirt of the filter passband.

Even with the special filters, you are just plain out of luck if you want to listen at a pitch lower than 400 Hz with some of these radios.  

I understand the Ten Tec Orions can be set to a pitch as low as 300 Hz, as can the new Elecraft K3.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
         


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: WQ3T on September 24, 2007, 02:00:09 PM
That low of a sidetone sure would make your license plate rattle whilst operating mobile. I can see the look on the gangbanger's face who just pulled up beside you.


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: VE7BGP on September 25, 2007, 12:12:22 PM
I don't think there is any one radio out there that qualifies for the Best CW Radio. It is all what you like. Ten Tec all and all is one brand that many CW ops like for it's full break in Keying. I have operated and really liked a lot of Icom radios especially the IC-751A I have owned for the past 7 years. I think it is still a killer Contest radio on CW contests. I recently inherited a FT-757GX Yaesu from a long time friend that became a SK. I must add that radio to the list of Very Fine CW radios. In 1983 Yaesu introduced this little Gem it included CW filter and a nice 4 bit Microprocessor keyer way better then the Curtis others offered then, the QSK if you use fast AGC is an absolute joy with that rig no relay noise to distract you!!! And wow does that Classic Yaesu Shift & Width combo control of the IF Bandpass do wonders for picking out your station in the crowd. It also sports an audio filter in the CW positions of the mode switch. All these features were standard for this radio not add the $$$ to the rig price to include these options. If you get a chance to get your hands on the FT-757GX grab one fast! Don't be put off by the negative reviews on this web site. This is one great little radio it has great Ergonomics Also nice sized push switches and cw controls on top of the rig were they are out of the way but ready whenever you need them. I hope this helps to bring another great CW rig more recogonsion.
73
Gerry VE7BGP


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: WB2WIK on September 26, 2007, 10:57:10 AM
>RE: the best CW radio????  Reply  
by NI0C on September 24, 2007  Mail this to a friend!  
I understand the Ten Tec Orions can be set to a pitch as low as 300 Hz, as can the new Elecraft K3.<

::Actually, Chuck, the Orion, like my Ten Tec Jupiter, can be set to a CW offset (pitch) of anything you like, from 1 Hz to 3.9 kHz.  Literally.  As they say in the manual, they shift the BFO injection along with the sidetone so whatever you set the sidetone to is also the correct pitch for properly receiving a signal.  It's all done in DSP and you can set it so low it makes your head rattle (e.g., 100 Hz) and the RX still receives with the same sensitivity and other features as it does when set anywhere else.

Not that I'd want to!

WB2WIK/6




Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: KB9BVN on September 26, 2007, 12:42:09 PM
I have a Elecraft KX1, K1, and K2/100 and I think they are the best.  I also have a couple of the Small Wonder Labs QRP monobanders, and a Norcal 40A...also very good CW rigs.  I had a Ten Tec Scout once upon a time, and it did a great job too.

73


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: NI0C on September 26, 2007, 02:04:34 PM
WB2WIK/6:
Steve,

Thanks for the info on the Ten Tec Orion! BTW, I've also heard the old Kenwood TS-930 is capable of a 300 Hz pitch setting.  

I got fascinated by low pitch CW after corresponding with W4ZV on the Ten Tec Reflector.  Bill Tippett is one of the top (if not THE top) DX'ers on 160m and has set some records in terms of miles per watt copying weak CW from QRP beacons.  He's probably got the best set of CW ears in the world, and he uses pitch settings as low as 270 Hz and says he never goes higher than 450 Hz.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: KQ6UP on September 27, 2007, 02:34:32 PM
WQ3T, that was hilarious.  I do mobile CW, and hate when those stupid gang bangers pull up beside me with their boom boom stereo when I am operating CW, and I aint even old.

Chris KQ6UP


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: W8JAS on September 28, 2007, 01:25:19 PM
Any TenTec radio. Without question, the best CW rigs on the market.


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: W8JAS on September 28, 2007, 01:28:35 PM
Forgot to mention, most Japanese radios - no matter how expensive - still use mechanical relays to shift between transmit and receive. Depending on the radio, they can be very noisy and distracting unless you want to wear headphones all the time and then in some cases you can still hear the relay. Japanese manufacturers are mainly marketing to the phone crowd and why they continue to use this outdated and old mechanical technology is anyone's guess.  You won't find this on TenTec radio - silky smooth and quiet QSK CW baby.....oh, it is sooo nice.


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: K0RS on October 02, 2007, 02:55:54 AM
>> most Japanese radios - no matter how expensive - still use mechanical relays to shift between transmit and receive. Depending on the radio, they can be very noisy and distracting unless you want to wear headphones all the time and then in some cases you can still hear the relay. Japanese manufacturers are mainly marketing to the phone crowd and why they continue to use this outdated and old mechanical technology is anyone's guess. <<

Bullsh*t.  Neither my TS-950SDX or FT-1000D use relay switching.  Nor does the Kenwood 850.  They *do* have relays for external amps, but in every case they can be switched off.  All these rigs provide 12V at the rear apron so it is a simple matter to configure an external transisitor switch for silent and instantaneous amp keying.  The last Kenwood rig I used with mechanical relays was a TS-830S, which incidentally is a quite good CW rig...just no QSK.

The 950SDX is without question the best CW rig I have ever used.  A super receiver and slick QSK.  Great frequency agility too.  Not as intuitive to operate as the 1000D, but a better radio.

All the Yaesu rigs I have owned have had lousy QSK.  The 'MPs were particulary grim.  The 1000D ain't too bad, but definately not in the same league as the 950SDX.

For my ears, Icoms have fatiguing audio with lots of white noise component.  Yaesu isn't immune to this complaint, either.  YMMV.  I had a couple of IC-765s, and they *did* use relay switching.  Two strikes.  Also an indefinable, toaster like appliance quality.  No fun to operate...strike three, you're outta here.

The Kenwood TS-870S is a horrible CW rig (but fairly competent on SSB).  Terrible selectivity and AGC problems.  DSP artifacts too.  Yes, even the late ones.  Nasty QSK.  Nice built-in Logikey keyer, too bad the radio sucked.  Just the ticket for the ESSB crowd ;-)

I have a K2/100 and find it only just acceptable on CW despite rave reviews.  It's also a PIA to change the received audio pitch of the K2 without significant adjustments to the rx.  The menu system is cumbersome and it's easy to inadvertantly key in unwanted menu selections.

Drake 4 line radios, while fun to use, aren't even close to modern transceivers in selectivity without extensive modification.  That's why Rob Sherwood made a living bringing them up to snuff.  They have really clunky frame relays too,  unlike modern high speed relays, so T/R switching is cumbersome at best.


Title: the best CW radio????
Post by: W2RDD on October 02, 2007, 03:22:10 AM
Best cw radio. Ten-Tec. Had five over a 25 year period. Traded some, just to trade. Sold some needing cash. Never because they were an inferior transceiver.