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Author Topic: TS 450S or TS 850S what are the differences???  (Read 625 times)
N9SZC
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« on: February 14, 2004, 04:58:43 PM »

TS 450S or TS 850S what are the differences???
Which is better?
Thanks for your opinions

Scott
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EI4HQ
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2004, 05:18:45 PM »

I've owned a TS450SAT since 1993 and used a TS850 in contests regularly over the years.

As best I can remember...

The TS450 has no internal keyer, no tunable passband filter, no MOX and no auto-notch (does the 850 have an auto-notch? I'm not sure). The TS450 is quite a bit smaller and consequently suffers a bit ergonomically (but wins in the portability stakes). The alc on the 450 is a bit peaky and the s-meter a bit insensitive (at least on my one).

Other than that, I reckon they are identical. Both rigs share the same 'business' internals i.e. RX and TX and it is worth noting that the RX in this family of rigs is particularly good for JA equipment. They are also durable and reliable. They are still very popular and I'd get my hands on either if the opportunity permits. I'm looking out for a good base station rig and the 850 is at the top of my list.

Either would be an excellent choice: to be frank I'd base the decision mostly on whether you are looking for a base-station rig (850) or one that can be easily moved (450). The differences otherwise are pretty trivial.
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N9SZC
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2004, 05:46:46 PM »

What about the differences in the IF filter?
The 450 has one
The 850 has the slope tune
what is the good and bad there?
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W6EZ
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2004, 05:54:21 PM »

Oh my!  There is lot of difference.
Along with the differences already listed:

The 850 has menu selction that allows the display to show freqs on 2M, 440, and I belive 6M if you use a transverter so you won't have to calculate what freq you are on.

The 850 has IF out, so you can run a band scope or monitor the rf signal off the air.

If you go to the ARRL website and look at the reviews of the two radios you will see that in the lab tests the receiver of the 850 blew a lot of much more expensive radios in the dirt.

You can set the menu on the 850 so you can transmit through the filters, with independant settings for TX and RX.

There are more differences, but I can't remember them all right now.

As a plus for the 450, the controls for the vox setting are on the front of the radio, where they are on the rear of the 850.

I have an 850, and HAD a 450.
The 450 would be fine, but if I could get an 850 I would go that route.

On ANY of this age group of Kenwood HF rigs, 950sdx, 850 and 450 you MUST check the memory battery for leakage. It is a faily easy change, but if left unchanged it will damage the radio. Just something to look for on a used rig.
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EI4HQ
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2004, 06:28:57 PM »

Personally I like the slope-tune better; the lack in the 450 is a shortfall. That said I don't think I've ever not worked a station because I didn't have slope-tune on the 450... though it would probably have been easier with it ;o)

As regards the comments made by W6EZ, I'm not aware of most of the things mentioned, but obviously they may matter to you. Subject to my comments in my original posting, I'd probably pitch for the 850 too -my allegiance to the 450 is clouding my judgement ;o)

EI4HQ
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2004, 12:33:22 AM »

It all depends on what you want to use it for.

Normal ragchewing or mobile work the 450 really is a tough radio to beat.  Add in all the IF filters and it does quite nicely on digital and CW.  For most users, a 450 will be a perfect radio.  The receiver is hot (and a little noisy), the AGC could be better (there is a mod), but the ergonomics are superb.  I've had one for 10 years now running SSB, RTTY, and CW.  Replaced the battery last year after some leakage, but so far it's been an ultra-reliable rig.

However, if you are a demanding user, such as contesting or really, reeealy tough DX work...the 850 is the best pick.
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EI4HQ
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2004, 05:06:15 AM »

KE4MOB: Where could I find info about the AGC mod for the 450?

Just an observation about the receiver in the 450:
over the years, I've read a great many comments from knowledgeable users about RX performance. The observations fall into 2 very distinct categories: excellent or so-so (noisy, a bit insensitive and 'hot' as described by KE4MOB). I've come to the conclusion that the reason for this is that there is quite some variability among individual 450 units.

Fortunately, mine is certainly a good one and isn't hot noisy or insensitive; this has been confirmed by RF comms professionals with far more experience and better 'ears' than me.

I suggest that if you are looking at a 450, it would be best to test drive a few individual units and see if each one 'smells' right to you; if one doesn't then it may well be an average and not an excellent unit and perhaps ought to be avoided in favour of another...

Indeed this advice probably applies generally; I'm firmly convinced that even in this age of mass production electronics, there is still significant variability between individual units.

EI4HQ
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KE4MOB
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2004, 07:31:18 PM »

Here's the mod for the AGC:

http://user.chollian.net/~cyberline/agcmod.htm

Please note that this is a bilingual (English/Japanese) webpage...Windows will want to try download Japanese text support.  Just hit "Cancel" and it will take you on in.  If you decide to try this, let me know how it turns out.  I've been debating doing it but would like some input on just how big of a difference it makes. (I don't like cutting board traces unless it's absolutely worth it!!)

As for the RX performance, my experience is pretty much inline with the ARRL review.  On an open band, there is nothing that the 450 front end won't hear.  On the other hand, on a very crowded band (like Field Day) the crud really gets difficult to work through after about an hour.  You end up turning on the AIP (essentially a 12 dB attenuator pad, if I recall) and knocking down the strong signals to prowl for the small guns underneath.

It's not an unmanageable situation....just an annoyance.  


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EI4HQ
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2004, 08:08:38 PM »

Hmmm,

I had a look tonight, and while the mod is reversible, as you say it involves hacking at a PCB...

I'm a little concerned about the magnitude of the change proposed by the mod: a change in AGC delay from 2.2s to 11.6s is 6 times... did Kenwood get it that wrong? ;o) Also I can only find that one reference to the mod; did this guy dream it up?

I'm going to read around a bit more and see what else I can find out before deciding whether to carry the mod out or not.

I agree with the difficulty that exists with listening to the radio for extended periods on busy bands: I've been on 40m this evening for a couple of hours and my ears are ringing...

I'll post again once I've looked around some more.

Cormac EI4HQ
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