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eHam Forums => Software Defined Radio => Topic started by: KE5JPP on October 04, 2012, 03:37:14 AM



Title: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: KE5JPP on October 04, 2012, 03:37:14 AM
http://www.sherweng.com/table.html (http://www.sherweng.com/table.html)

A new #1.  The KX3 is no longer at the top of the heap.

Gene


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: KA4POL on October 04, 2012, 05:35:46 AM
What a remarkable discovery.
Does this justify the price tag?
And evolution will continue.


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: NI0Z on October 04, 2012, 06:20:52 AM
I think it's great news.  I expect the top 5 to change a few times over the next 18 months, lots of goodies on the horizon charted for that time period.

We have the new Yaesu, new Kenwood, new Flex, and a few others.  I suspect we may hear about a K4 somewhere near the latter part of that 18month period as well.

It's all good!


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: NI0Z on October 04, 2012, 10:32:51 AM
One other thought, question if you will.  At what point does the criteria used to rank these radios become obsoleted and in need of being transcended by a more relevant set of variables that will translate into something tangible to the ham actually operating the rigs?

What would be more meaningful? 

I haven't been a ham long enough to really answer this question myself, which is why I ask.

I say this because all said and done after playing with a couple of the rigs in the top 5 side by side, I have concluded that in real practical terms, there was absolutely no difference that I could scientifically discern between the two radios as a user (using my eyes a d ears) that would mean anything to me as an end user as it relates to these measurements.

At what point does it simply become meaningless spec wars?

What really really counts with consideration to the new radios we will see here in the next year or so?


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: W6UV on October 04, 2012, 10:44:34 AM
At what point does it simply become meaningless spec wars?

I suspect that if the Flex-6000 makes the top of the list, people on here will trumpet it far and wide, but if it doesn't they'll say that the list itself is meaningless and irrelevant.


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: KE5JPP on October 04, 2012, 12:36:51 PM
One other thought, question if you will.  At what point does the criteria used to rank these radios become obsoleted and in need of being transcended by a more relevant set of variables that will translate into something tangible to the ham actually operating the rigs?

What would be more meaningful? 

I haven't been a ham long enough to really answer this question myself, which is why I ask.

I say this because all said and done after playing with a couple of the rigs in the top 5 side by side, I have concluded that in real practical terms, there was absolutely no difference that I could scientifically discern between the two radios as a user (using my eyes a d ears) that would mean anything to me as an end user as it relates to these measurements.

At what point does it simply become meaningless spec wars?

What really really counts with consideration to the new radios we will see here in the next year or so?

They are already meaningless.  Atmospheric and man made noise dominates below 14 MHz and all receivers in the top 10 on that list are too sensitive below 14 MHz.   Even if you are one of the fortunate 1% that has a very quiet rural location with low man made noise, you still have the problem of the Ham bands being full of splattering transmitters.  The problem seems to get worse as you go up in frequency.  Any one with a pan-adapter can verify that at least 50% of the signals seen on 10 meters lately are splattering +/- 5-10 kHz.   So even though atmospheric and man made noise is lower on 10 meters, it is more than compensated (negatively) for by splattering transmitters. 

The only time you will be able to notice the numbers given by the top 10 receivers on that list is in non-real world laboratory conditions with expensive test equipment.   Ergonomics and other parameters, such as AGC response, is much more pertinent to every day real world operation than any of the measured parameters in the Sherwood list.  The list is only for bragging rights and those who participate in Specmanship.  Too bad Ham Radio is so dumbed down that guys are still impressed by the position a receiver has on that list.

Gene




Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: W8JI on October 04, 2012, 04:13:30 PM
They are already meaningless.  Atmospheric and man made noise dominates below 14 MHz and all receivers in the top 10 on that list are too sensitive below 14 MHz.   Even if you are one of the fortunate 1% that has a very quiet rural location with low man made noise, you still have the problem of the Ham bands being full of splattering transmitters.  The problem seems to get worse as you go up in frequency.  Any one with a pan-adapter can verify that at least 50% of the signals seen on 10 meters lately are splattering +/- 5-10 kHz.   So even though atmospheric and man made noise is lower on 10 meters, it is more than compensated (negatively) for by splattering transmitters.  

The only time you will be able to notice the numbers given by the top 10 receivers on that list is in non-real world laboratory conditions with expensive test equipment.   Ergonomics and other parameters, such as AGC response, is much more pertinent to every day real world operation than any of the measured parameters in the Sherwood list.  The list is only for bragging rights and those who participate in Specmanship.  Too bad Ham Radio is so dumbed down that guys are still impressed by the position a receiver has on that list.

Gene




The statement above might be accurate on bands with few signals, or on SSB, in many cases. It is not accurate for RTTY or CW contest operation, operation on very crowded bands, or with multiple transmitters on one site.

We are right at the limits of the K3 here on CW in contests, especially on 160, 80, and 40 meters.

On SSB, something in the 80-85 dB IM3 DR is about the typical minimum limit here, but on CW it easily gets 10 dB more. Anything below 90-95 dB close spaced IM3 DR is definitely noticable and starts hurting.

For example, we tried a Flex here a few years back, and it was useless. It had transmitter spurs that bothered our other on site operators, and other people far away. It also did not have the wide spaced dynamic range we needed. It would have been OK without our own transmitters running though.

73 Tom
  


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: KE5JPP on October 05, 2012, 03:01:51 AM
They are already meaningless.  Atmospheric and man made noise dominates below 14 MHz and all receivers in the top 10 on that list are too sensitive below 14 MHz.   Even if you are one of the fortunate 1% that has a very quiet rural location with low man made noise, you still have the problem of the Ham bands being full of splattering transmitters.  The problem seems to get worse as you go up in frequency.  Any one with a pan-adapter can verify that at least 50% of the signals seen on 10 meters lately are splattering +/- 5-10 kHz.   So even though atmospheric and man made noise is lower on 10 meters, it is more than compensated (negatively) for by splattering transmitters.  

The only time you will be able to notice the numbers given by the top 10 receivers on that list is in non-real world laboratory conditions with expensive test equipment.   Ergonomics and other parameters, such as AGC response, is much more pertinent to every day real world operation than any of the measured parameters in the Sherwood list.  The list is only for bragging rights and those who participate in Specmanship.  Too bad Ham Radio is so dumbed down that guys are still impressed by the position a receiver has on that list.

Gene


The statement above might be accurate on bands with few signals, or on SSB, in many cases. It is not accurate for RTTY or CW contest operation, operation on very crowded bands, or with multiple transmitters on one site.

We are right at the limits of the K3 here on CW in contests, especially on 160, 80, and 40 meters.

On SSB, something in the 80-85 dB IM3 DR is about the typical minimum limit here, but on CW it easily gets 10 dB more. Anything below 90-95 dB close spaced IM3 DR is definitely noticable and starts hurting.

For example, we tried a Flex here a few years back, and it was useless. It had transmitter spurs that bothered our other on site operators, and other people far away. It also did not have the wide spaced dynamic range we needed. It would have been OK without our own transmitters running though.

73 Tom
  

In your case, it sounds like you need to plunk down $20,000 for the Hilberling.  :)

How do the receivers in the top three on the Sherwood list magically clean up the other transmitter's TX IMD and other nastiness on the very crowded bands or from the multiple transmitters on site?  For example, the K3's TX IMD is not very good at all at full power.  Do the receivers in the top three on the list also magically clean up the other guy's key clicks when operating CW?  Are they able to magically help the other guy tune his amplifier correctly and keep him from overdriving it?  Does it fix his ALC problems?

Your experience with the Flex illustrates the main point I was trying to make.  At one time Flex was in the top three on Sherwood's list, but you have found it to useless for the conditions you operate under.  If people blindly use Sherwood's list as a buying guide, they may find that their 'top' receiver is not that nice to live with.

How did the hobby of Ham Radio get by for all those years without radios like the K3?  I feel so bad for the old timers who didn't know how bad they had it before the top three in the Sherwood list.  :D

Gene


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: N3QE on October 05, 2012, 07:08:08 AM
I myself am astonished at the amazing differences between the top two radios.

The Hilberling is huge and expensive and I cannot imagine even the well-to-do hams in my club ever owning one. $18000.

The KX3 is a dang good QRP rig you can hold in your hand. Not a cheap QRP rig, by any means, but small. And at the low end of the market price for an all-band all-mode rig ($900).





Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: K8AC on October 05, 2012, 06:51:26 PM
Forgive me for bringing this up, but Rob's receiver ranking chart has the entries sorted on just a single column - Narrow spaced dynamic range.  For serious contesters, that can be one of the most important things but for others, maybe not.  If you were to sort the table on the 100 KHz Blocking column, a 34 year old rig bubbles to the top.  For newcomers, unless you have the gravitas to finish in the top 50 scorers in any contest or contest classification, you're wasting money buying a rig solely because of its position in the chart.  You'd gain more by improving your operating skills and antennas as opposed to buying the rig at the top of the chart. 

73, K8AC


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: ZENKI on October 06, 2012, 06:15:29 AM
The reality is that the Hilberling is really the only radio in the top 5 list that deserves to be there. The reason I say this is its excellent transmitter IMD performance. The  Hilberling has very well engineered PA that  really outperforms all the radios in both 2 tone IMD and and dynamic voice  IMD performance. The is a great contribution to  the ham radio market. Hilderbling can hold its head high for producing a radio with both an excellent receiver and  superbly clean transmitter.

  If Sherwood reorganized his list by transmitter IMD performance  the only radio that would be on a transmitter league performance would be the ADAT and Hilberling. In terms  of spec-manship Hilberlberling and ADAT get it. When will the other ham  manufacturers produce transceivers with impressive transmitters? I guess they like fooling hams with impressive receiver numbers and dont want to tell them that they dont have a hope in hell of using all the impressive number radios on the hams bands because we basically jamming each other with crud  from poor transmitters.

The smat guys are really the ones who are buying cheap radios like the IC718 and IC706 because in reality on busy bands thats all the receiver performance you can use on SSB. I suppose its like owning a Ferrari in Tokyo or Bangkok, you can brag to all your friends how fast you can go but you will never go faster than10mph if you lucky!  When will hams wake up, its amusing that all the radios with the best receiver numbers besides the Hilberling have basically got crap poor IMD transmitters. Look at the K3 poor TX IMD and poor keying sideband suppression but its the best in the world in everyone's eyes because its on top of a list.

A more interesting chart would be to show the dynamic range figures at 5, 10, 15 and 20 khz spacings. Then below that show the average TX IMD performance. You can will soon get the picture how meaningless high receiver numbers look when signals approach the blocking limits.

Dynamic range  figure KHZ             5      10    15    20  spacing
                                                100     105  110  120  Db

Typical transmitter ham IMD         25    30    40   50     Db
Ideal transmitter would be            50     60    70   80     Db

When you draw a chart like above you quickly see how man DB's in receiver performance is wasted simply because the transmitter performance is so poor. Its a no brainer,  but hams  are just getting sold
all hype about excellent receiver performance numbers. The jokes on us! Hilberling deserves a medal for designing a transmitter with excellent commercial IMD performance.

The next joke on Sherwoods list will be the TS990S, same deal, all receiver performance, costs a lot and will probably  have a crap transmitter with ALC induced splatter.



Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: K0OD on October 06, 2012, 08:37:41 AM
The Hilberling Yahoo group has only about 60 members, about the same as the ADAT group.


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: KF6QEX on October 06, 2012, 04:38:42 PM
Quote
The Hilberling Yahoo group has only about 60 members, about the same as the ADAT group.

Probably too busy playing with ther radios rather than join forums to moan and rave :)
As "wrong" as it is to rank radios on the basis of a certain spec , so is to rank radios on the basis of an online group membership ... just sayin'  :)





Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: W6UV on October 07, 2012, 06:19:47 AM
The reality is that the Hilberling is really the only radio in the top 5 list that deserves to be there. The reason I say this is its excellent transmitter IMD performance.

Wrong. Go back and look at the list again, specifically the title: "Receiver Test Data". Transmitter specs have nothing to do with this list and shouldn't.

Perhaps you should argue that Sherwood should have three lists: Rx Test Data, Tx Test Data, and Combined Performance.


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: NI0Z on October 07, 2012, 07:35:43 AM
The reality is that the Hilberling is really the only radio in the top 5 list that deserves to be there. The reason I say this is its excellent transmitter IMD performance.

Wrong. Go back and look at the list again, specifically the title: "Receiver Test Data". Transmitter specs have nothing to do with this list and shouldn't.

Perhaps you should argue that Sherwood should have three lists: Rx Test Data, Tx Test Data, and Combined Performance.

I like this idea!  I then think that some other group should through surveying come up with the most valued features and usability attributes and provide a score based on that.  While it would be nearly impossible to please everyone due to the subjective nature of use ability definitions.  A definition could be applied to each area rated.  User ratings could be applied as well.  IE HamLabs score for roofing filter X is 86 owners score I'd 65.

Mix that with the Sherwood, which I have decided in so much as knowing what NOT to buy at this point.  IE, get the performance you can afford and hopefully that can match the minimal discernible difference between as good as you need and much more than you'll ever need.

The idea being then you the end user pick what's most important to you and it will give you the top ranked radios that match that criteria. 


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: ZENKI on October 08, 2012, 01:42:56 AM
We all know its  a "receiver test data" league table.   The point is that its gets annoying when  people will go around claiming that they have the best radio  because they only consider receiver  specifications. There is two sides to the equation, receiver performance and transmitter performance. If I bought something thats claimed to be the best  I would want the item to be perform well in  all areas of its operation not just in one area.  If I went out and bought a  Rohde-Schwarz EK2000 transceiver today I know I would be buying something that has both a perfect transmitter and receiver. For that  matter it would be perfect and meet all its claimed design specifications. What we typically  get when we buy a very expensive amateur transceiver  is a radio that generally  is far from perfect and probably has several failings.  If it was beer  money I would not complain, but these days radios are getting very expensive and the price creep is getting very close to full commercial  mil spec radios. For the money I think I deserve to get  something better and that performs better than a 100 dollar CB radio. Unfortunately thats what you typical get in ham transceiver, a transmitter whose IMD specifications is just as bad as the average CB radio. Its pure folly to turn a blind eye to the failings of amateur transmitters because they are crap.

You dont have to tell Rob Sherwood what to do, he knows  that transmitter performance should be considered. Rob does not have the time and resources to do all this testing. The people you should be dressing down is the ARRL who collects my and your money  and are the one who turn a blind eye to radios with bad IMD performance.  The ARRL also has the resources to do the job, but they  dont seem to want to get into the business of being critical of their advertisers.


The reality is that the Hilberling is really the only radio in the top 5 list that deserves to be there. The reason I say this is its excellent transmitter IMD performance.

Wrong. Go back and look at the list again, specifically the title: "Receiver Test Data". Transmitter specs have nothing to do with this list and shouldn't.

Perhaps you should argue that Sherwood should have three lists: Rx Test Data, Tx Test Data, and Combined Performance.


Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: WD5GWY on October 08, 2012, 05:46:21 PM
Zenki, have you seen this Kenwood TS-990 ad yet?
 http://www.hamradio.co.uk/userfiles/file/TS-990S-Leaflet-final.pdf (http://www.hamradio.co.uk/userfiles/file/TS-990S-Leaflet-final.pdf)

Look mid-way down the page of the leaflet and you will see the transmitter
specs. It appears "to me" that someone might just be listening to you!
james
WD5GWY




Title: RE: For all you Sherwood 'Specmanshippers'
Post by: ZENKI on October 10, 2012, 01:33:17 PM
TS-990S is another unremarkable radio that is using dinosaur concepts with bells and whistles.

I have read all the available material on the TS-990S and I read nothing that makes me excited about the radio.
While Kenwood has had a history of producing radios using  rather clean PA's, and  selecting linear PA devices, it excels at very little else.

The TS990S looks like its just going to be another pig in lipstick radio with the usual shortcomings.

Old technology
Birdies in the receiver
Poor transmitter design with the usual poor transmitter ALC. There is no reason whatsoever to have ALC in a modern transmitter as implemented by ham radio manufacturers.
A PA using excellent FETS that will not be optimized on all ham bands. Adaptive pre-distortion should have been the new standard.
Uncalibrated S-meter
A bandscope that wont have enough dynamic range  and controls to be a useful tool.
A radio with a 2 watt distorted 20% distortion audio amplifier.
Poor  receiver in band IMD.

Yes, its exciting that they have re-entered the ham radio  with a big radio. Projects like the HPSDR transceiver will  very shortly be  blowing all these expensive white elephant radios out of the water. Kenwood
and the other Japanese manufacturers really should get with the program and design radios using  the latest DDC/DUC architecture designs. This technology can deliver all the performance required  that does not require obsolete   dinosaur technology that will become obsolete when the Chinese manufacturers stop manufacturing the crummy parts.

There  is not one killer feature in the TS-990S design that can  be considered leading edge, its just another  new radio that will do little for the ham radio masses.
 Its a good radio for milking the baby boomers of their retirement savings. Nothing like a big box with knobs that does very little to help the average ham enjoy his hobby that cant be done with any available transceiver already available.

Excuse me I need to have a snooze!

Zenki, have you seen this Kenwood TS-990 ad yet?
 http://www.hamradio.co.uk/userfiles/file/TS-990S-Leaflet-final.pdf (http://www.hamradio.co.uk/userfiles/file/TS-990S-Leaflet-final.pdf)

Look mid-way down the page of the leaflet and you will see the transmitter
specs. It appears "to me" that someone might just be listening to you!
james
WD5GWY