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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: Best light radio for DXpedition  (Read 27291 times)
W8JX
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Posts: 12220




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« Reply #60 on: February 21, 2015, 08:41:32 AM »

The Kenwood TS-480 is a decent choice.

The Kenwood TS-590 is the hands down winner for its cost, ease of use, and overall performance capabilities.

590 is a good rig but it cost a lot MORE than a 480 and bigger to take, its no easier to use and the performance of them is not far apart (nearly equal with optional filters in 480 and 480 is still way cheaper)

I've been using a TS-480 for 7 years, mobile, and up until 2 years ago, also at home. Both with filters. I'm reasonably confidant I know how to use it.

On the desk, for the last 2 years, I've been using a TS-590. For the last 2 months, I've been using one of the 480s as a receive only radio with a RTR-1A from DXEngineering, in effect giving me a second receiver for my TS-590. Works great.

Both receive at the same time, on the same antenna.

The only points I'll agree on is the TS-590 cost more and it is heavier than the TS-480.

The TS-590 is a lot easier to use. The front panel is bigger, more buttons (less double press buttons), more functions are on the front panel, CAT control/DIGI modes is one USB cable.

Close in strong signals don't pump the AGC on the 590 like they do on the 480, and the filtering on the 590 is better.

The only reason I'm using the 480 as a second receiver is I haven't saved enough nickels yet to buy another 590.  Tongue

The TS-480 is a very nice radio.

 The TS-590 is much better.

73, Tom
N5MOA

If you leave preamp off, pumping is rarely a issue. (not sure way many think they need max gain on HF) While I do not own a 590 I have had the chance to play a 480 and 590 side by side many times and I find no big edge with old 590. With optional filters and proper use of preamp and even attenuator, the 480 is a very strong performer. Without optional filters in 480, the 590 has a bigger edge.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N5MOA
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Posts: 1579




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« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2015, 09:14:33 AM »


If you leave preamp off, pumping is rarely a issue. (not sure way many think they need max gain on HF)


I'm in a very quiet location, with decent antennas. On more than one occasion, depending on the band, I don't hear them with the pre-amp off. Sometimes, max gain on HF is needed.


Quote from: W8JX
While I do not own a 590 I have had the chance to play a 480 and 590 side by side many times and I find no big edge with old 590.

I do own both. I do have a chance to play with both side by side every day.  I do find  the 590 has a big edge over the 480.

I've never used a K3 or FLEX anything, so I can't comment on those.

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W8JX
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Posts: 12220




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« Reply #62 on: February 21, 2015, 01:52:54 PM »


If you leave preamp off, pumping is rarely a issue. (not sure way many think they need max gain on HF)


I'm in a very quiet location, with decent antennas. On more than one occasion, depending on the band, I don't hear them with the pre-amp off. Sometimes, max gain on HF is needed.


It is very quiet here in rural area. I am mostly on 40m and rarely needed a preamp.


While I do not own a 590 I have had the chance to play a 480 and 590 side by side many times and I find no big edge with old 590.

I do own both. I do have a chance to play with both side by side every day.  I do find  the 590 has a big edge over the 480.

I've never used a K3 or FLEX anything, so I can't comment on those.


I found 590 a big jump over 570 but I would not sell/dump a 480 with filters for a old model 590 as it is not a big difference. Jury is out on 590SG
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
AF5CC
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Posts: 250




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« Reply #63 on: February 22, 2015, 10:43:50 PM »

"You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling tightly to old XP or even 7 technology and fall further behind everyday...."

It is interesting that you believe this about computers but not radios.  The TS-480 is a design that is over a decade old, uses AF instead of IF DSP, and relies on crystal filters, which are so 20th Century.

John AF5CC
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W8JX
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Posts: 12220




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« Reply #64 on: February 23, 2015, 04:00:35 AM »

"You can embrace new computer/tablet technology and change with it or cling tightly to old XP or even 7 technology and fall further behind everyday...."

It is interesting that you believe this about computers but not radios.  The TS-480 is a design that is over a decade old, uses AF instead of IF DSP, and relies on crystal filters, which are so 20th Century.

John AF5CC

It difference is how it uses the technology. With IF DSP, xtal band pass filter are called roofing filters but they are same technology as a optional filters used in a 480. It is a combo of a mature modern designed analog radio with xtal filters and mature AF DSP provides excellent bang for buck. Unlike PC/Tablet and OS technology that opens door to new computer technology and programming, current IF DSP rig are not revolutionary in operation or receiver ability and is still maturing in application.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
AF5CC
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Posts: 250




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« Reply #65 on: February 23, 2015, 07:43:23 AM »

Crystal filters are only roofing filters if they occur at the first IF stage.  There are IF DSP rigs that use crystal filters in other stages so they wouldn't be roofing filters.

Windows 7 and windows XP do more than I need already.  I am not that big into programming and those other things, and I would guess 95% if not more of computer users are the same way.
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W8JX
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Posts: 12220




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« Reply #66 on: February 23, 2015, 08:23:26 AM »

Crystal filters are only roofing filters if they occur at the first IF stage.  There are IF DSP rigs that use crystal filters in other stages so they wouldn't be roofing filters.

They do same thing they call them roofing because it is before down conversion to IF DSP. Same result in end. With optional filters a 480 can be very tight. Kenwood should market a 480 with filters installed like old 830 gold model. (not gold label)

Windows 7 and windows XP do more than I need already.  I am not that big into programming and those other things, and I would guess 95% if not more of computer users are the same way.

If you like to ham string yourself it is your right to do so. Sticking with XP/7 is kinda like sticking with Win 95/98 past their prime as hardware has advanced tremendously and old OS cannot exploit it. Then there is new software being written for Win 8x and beyond that will NEVER be supported by 7 and older further limiting options more as time goes one. I knew a guy that 3 years ago took a intel quad core with 64 bit 7 and 4 gig and down graded it to 32 bit XP because he did no like change. It was a pig with XP because of 32 bit on 64 bit hardware and XP's lack of good multi cpu support. You snooze you loose in PC world.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N3QE
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Posts: 5026




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« Reply #67 on: February 24, 2015, 05:57:23 AM »

K3 is extremely popular.

Also in same class of small latest-generation high-performance DSP rig is the Ten-Tec Eagle and TS-590(whatever suffix).

I have used K3's and Eagles extensively in demanding contest environments and can recommend either. TS-590 looks very similar but I have much less experience with it.

Commonly rather than try to put a power supply inside the rig, the DXpeditioners take the dinky little switching power supplies (that handle both 110V and 220V input so good for international travel) and run off hotel power. Some of these are really dinky, like pocket sized! e.g. MFJ-4125P.

Tim.
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WO7R
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Posts: 2625




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« Reply #68 on: February 24, 2015, 10:46:17 AM »

++ on the switching supplies.

Nowadays, it's not very hard to get an RF clean switching supply that is very lightweight and internationally capable.  On my rare DXpedtioning trips, that's exactly what I used.

Nice benefit -- it increases the universe of rigs you can consider.  Like, maybe one you already own?

I'm sure volume gets into it eventually, but at least for the fly-in stuff that I do, the big issue is weight not volume.  You're going to end up checking luggage. but I was able to get the rig, power supply, SWR meter, and RigRunner in one standard carry on.  Plus a little bit more.  Next time I go, it will probably be a similar sized Pelican case.  I may have to check my clothing, and probably the larger antennas, but I guess there are sacrifices a DXpeditioner has to make.
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N5PG
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Posts: 1035




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« Reply #69 on: February 24, 2015, 06:17:28 PM »

Tnx everyone for the rig comments. Interested in the Eagle, just hope they keep the current "package" pricing.
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KD7WPJ
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2017, 08:55:20 PM »

I am considering IC-7300. It is not as heavy as TS-590, but the performance is about the same. It is also capable for digital modes. It is not as small as FT-857D, but I expect that it has better receiver.
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KC0W
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Posts: 345




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« Reply #71 on: December 14, 2017, 07:04:16 AM »

Countries in which I brought along a  K3:

 Haiti
 American Samoa
 Samoa
 Tuvalu
 Fiji
 Vanuatu
 Kiribati
 Hawaii

 Countries in which I brought along a FT-857d:


 Philippines
 Guatemala
 Hong Kong
 Vietnam
 Brunei
 Cambodia


 The hands down winner was the FT-857d. It's small & it's performance is remarkably good. Transporting it as a carry on when flying was never an issue. Numerous problems arose when trying to do the same with the K3. If something happens to a FT-857d your loss is $800. If something happens to a K3 your loss is $3,000 to almost $6,000. (first hand experience, trust me) With the addition of the CW filters the FT-857d truly shines.  

  Rather than pontificating about traveling with a HF radio why don't you actually try it? Probably 95% of people spewing about what the "best" rig to travel with have NEVER operated from anywhere other than at home or a local park during Field Day. Fantasy DXpeditioners. They are quick to point out what the "best" rig to travel with is but have zero experience actually doing so.  Smiley            
 
                                                                           Tom KC0W

    
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WO7R
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Posts: 2625




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« Reply #72 on: December 14, 2017, 07:16:24 AM »

Rigs I have actually taken to fly-in locations:

SDR 1000 (obsolete, but quite workable back in the day)

FT857D  (it was my backup rig).  Worked well for trivial places.  Very compact and capable.  Ergonomics not perfect, but usable.  Would not take this somewhere rare, receiver not good enough.  Still, it shows that you can make "the rig you have" work if you have the opportunity to go somewhere.

KX3 plus 100 watt brick.   I don't think this one was mentioned before.  The radio plus brick fits nicely in the Pelican 150 case plus a few other accessories.  You need a power supply and an antenna in some other suitcase, but you can get on the air with this and have fun.  Probably would prefer the K3 for more serious work and, indeed, that's what my buddies brought along for the 6m work.  But the receiver on the KX3 was very good, which matters a lot.
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KC0W
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Posts: 345




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« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2017, 08:01:22 AM »

  But the receiver on the KX3 was very good, which matters a lot.

 A KX3 & SPE 1.3 amplifier would be a great combo. There is a strong possibility one might be able to transport this setup as carry on many airlines. Problems might occur if trying to do so on small Caribbean airlines & definitely on South Pacific airlines. I'm a firm believer in carrying as much as one can on the plane with you. Once you start combining a HF radio with other carry on necessities (laptop & other delicate equipment) the 7 Kg. carry on weight restriction imposed (& strictly enforced) by MANY foreign carriers can be easily exceeded.         

 I used a KX3 for 3+ hours while in Samoa visiting a amateur operator there. I can't say bolts of lightning shot from the sky & bowled me over but I'm more than willing to give a KX3 another shot. So much so that I'm seriously considering the KX3/SPE 1.3 combo as a new traveling setup. The KX3 is super small plus the ability of having 1 kW+ with a built in antenna tuner is a super, super potent combination.

                                                                       Tom KC0W 

                     
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W5JON
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2017, 08:21:48 AM »

Hi,

From 1996 until 2007, I traveled the world with my trusty ICOM IC-706, a small MFJ antenna tuner, and Astron PS, all in my "roll-on" computer bag. But with dipoles and coax packed in my checked baggage.  

Back then my UK license G0AOH, (issued 1984) which I still hold, with SEPT gave me access to many, many countries that my US license did not, as the US was not a member of SEPT back then.  

In 2007 the radio changed to an ICOM IC-7000, then years later the radio changed to an YAESU FT-857D, but the "roll-on" computer bag stayed the same. Customs around the world rarely even giving the computer bag a second look. However had they, I was prepared with all the SEPT agreement documents, and licenses.

I must say, of all my "travel radios" the FT-857D was, and still is my favorite. I keep it as a great back-up to all my BIG station radios, both in Texas and St Kitts. I must say, as an can-do everything really "good", versatile radio, the FT-857D is really tough to beat.

73,

John  W5JON - V47JA

    
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 08:34:52 AM by W5JON » Logged
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